The Baltimore Ravens have clearly put their season opening blunder behind them, and take on a Buffalo Bills squad struggling with injuries on Sunday afternoon at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Joe Flacco and the Ravens defense put the beating at the hands of the Denver Broncos behind them, and ripped off victories over division rival Cleveland, and last week’s 30-9 smacking of the Houston Texans.
Flacco only totaled 171 passing yards while Daryl Smith and Tandon Doss each returned interceptions for touchdowns, and kicker Justin Tucker connected on three field goals, including two for 40-plus yards.
All told, the Ravens have only surrendered five field goals since the seven touchdowns scored by Denver.
The offense should also get a boost with Ray Rice expected to return, but not start, after sitting out his first game since his rookie season last week with a hip injury. He’ll likely split carries with Bernard Pierce as a precaution.
The Baltimore defense humming, and the return of Rice could spell trouble for the Bills, who followed up their first win of the season with a 27-20 letdown against the rival New York Jets last week.
Rookie quarterback EJ Manuel struggled with his accuracy, going 19-for-42 for 243 yards and one touchdown, and gained 40 yards on the ground. Overall it was a rough day for Manuel and the Bills offensive line, which let up eight sacks and failed to spring running backs C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson for more than 81 combined rushing yards.
The Bills defense, now ranked 30th against the run, gave up 182 rushing yards to the Jets, but Kiko Alonso and Jim Leonhard each recorded interceptions.
Baltimore is reportedly focused on stopping Bills defensive end Mario Williams, who posted a franchise record 4.5 sacks in the win against Carolina in Week Two. Williams is also nursing an ankle injury, but is expected to play on Sunday, while Spiller is probable with a thigh injury.
Buffalo cornerback Leodis McKelvin (hamstring) and safety Jairus Byrd (feet) are both listed as questionable.
Further depleting their running game, Baltimore’s Shaun Draugh (ankle) is questionable, and so is receiver Deonte Thompson (foot).
The game starts at 1 p.m. ET and will be broadcast by CBS, or watch a live online stream by purchasing NFL Game Access here.
Betting Odds: Baltimore is favored by 3 points.
Over/Under: 44.5 points
Prediction: Buffalo 20, Baltimore 14