The Buffalo Bills are making a serious bid for their first AFC East division title since 1995. And with a win on Sunday the Bills can lock up their first double-digit win season since 1999, when they finished at 11-5. But to do it, they will need to win their fourth game in a row — after toppling the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day — when the Bills take on the NFL's hottest team, the Baltimore Ravens.
The Ravens' eight-game winning streak, which now includes victories over two top Super Bowl contenders in the New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers, is three games longer than the second-longest streak, which is held by the Seattle Seahawks. Baltimore also brings the NFL's most productive offense into the matchup, averaging 33.8 points per game, compared to just 21.4 for the Bills.
Ravens' quarterback Lamar Jackson, a clear MVP candidate in only his second NFL season, leads the league in overall quarterback rating at 80.7, and sits fourth in passer rating at 109.6, according to Pro Football Reference. The 22-year-old out of Louisville is just as devastating on the ground as in the air, leading the NFL in yards per rushing attempt at an even 7.0, as well.
The offensive disparity accounts for the Bills' rather heavy underdog status, even playing at home where they are 4-2 this season. Oddsmakers favor Buffalo by 5 1/2 points, according to The New York Post, whose expert prognosticator is picking the Bills to beat that spread at Orchard Park.
Watch a preview of the Baltimore Ravens vs. Buffalo Bills game in the video below, courtesy of ESPN SportsCenter.If the Bills hold an advantage, it comes on defense. Buffalo ranks third in the NFL, allowing a stingy 15.67 points per game — behind only New England and San Francisco. But Baltimore ranks fourth, at 18.25 points per game.
And the Baltimore offense put up 37 and 20 points against the Pats and 'Niners, respectively.
A ninth straight win would not only add to what is already the longest winning run in Ravens franchise history, but would clinch the team's second consecutive AFC North title, according to BaltimoreRavens.com.
The Bills, however, remain unlikely contenders to snap the New England Patriots record-setting streak of division titles. The Patriots have won the AFC East for 10 consecutive seasons. But an upset win for Buffalo on Sunday, combined with a Patriots loss at home to the Kansas City Chiefs, would leave the teams separated only by the tiebreaker atop the division. The Patriots defeated Buffalo at Orchard Park in Week 4, but the two teams meet again in Week 16.
The Baltimore Ravens vs. Buffalo Bills showdown kicks off at 1 p.m. EST and will be broadcast by CBS, which carries the game in the majority of markets across the United States.