Bills vs. Ravens Free NFL Picks - Take The Points With This Sunday Week 1 Game

Buffalo Bills player holding the ball

Ross Benjamin

Tuesday, September 6, 2016 8:01 PM UTC

Tuesday, Sep. 6, 2016 8:01 PM UTC

Our NFL betting expert previews Sunday’s season opener between Buffalo and Baltimore. Go inside to read this highly informative article concluding with an NFL pick.

Buffalo Bills vs. Baltimore Ravens 
The Ravens and Bills will open their seasons on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. These teams last played each other in 2013, and Buffalo came away with a 23-20 win as a 4.0-point home underdog. Buffalo is coming off a somewhat disappointing 8-8 season. On the other hand, the Ravens went 5-11 a year ago, and it was their first losing season of head coach John Harbaugh’s 8-year tenure in Baltimore.

Current NFL betting odds at Heritage indicates that Baltimore is a 3.0-point favorite, and the posted total is 44.5. Make sure to check out the generous sign-up bonuses that Heritage is presently offering. Heritage is widely regarded as one the best sportsbooks to conduct business with.


Ravens Undefeated Preseason
Baltimore went undefeated through the 2016 NFL preseason slate. That’s not necessarily a good thing. Since 2012, there’s been five teams that have done the same. Those teams combined to go an uninspiring 30-50 (.375) during their ensuing regular season. Ironically, only one of those five teams posted a winning regular season record, and that was Baltimore who finished 10-6 in 2014. The other four teams were a cumulative 20-44 (.313). The moral of this story, winning all your preseason games is clearly a curse as opposed to a blessing.


Bills Turbulence and Turmoil
The Buffalo Bills have endured more drama than any NFL team could possibly hope for, including both on and off the field. They’ll start this season without 2016 top draft pick Shaq Lawson who was penciled in at starting outside linebacker. The former Clemson star is currently on the PUP list while recovering from shoulder surgery, and will miss a minimum six games.

During the first week of training camp at St. John Fisher College, second round pick Reggie Ragland was lost for the year after sustaining a knee injury. The former defensive leader for Alabama was slated to be Buffalo’s starting inside linebacker.

If that wasn’t enough, second-year running back Karlos Williams reported to training camp some 30-pounds overweight, and shortly after was suspended by the NFL following a third failed drug test. Ultimately the Bills coaching staff and upper management had enough, and he was let go after having such a promising 2015-2016 rookie campaign.

Last but certainly not least, all-pro defensive tackle Marcel Dareus was suspended four games due to violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. At the time of this writing, Dareus is in a drug rehabilitation center and is tentatively scheduled to return in week 5 at Los Angeles.

Oh, by the way, I almost forgot to mention projected starting outside linebacker Manny Lawson. He suffered a torn pectoral muscle during an offseason weightlifting exercise, and when returning wasn’t nearly up to snuff. Furthermore, the Bills were made aware that Lawson was under NFL investigation for a personal conduct issue. Subsequently, Lawson was released. You just can’t make all this stuff up.


Head Coaches in Season Opener
Rex Ryan is set to begin his 8th season as an NFL head coach. Ryan spent six of those years with the Jets before being hired by Buffalo prior to last season. Ryan has gone a combined 6-1 in season openers during his head coaching career.

This will be John Harbaugh’s 9th year as the Baltimore Ravens head coach. It’s been the only stop of his NFL head coaching career. Harbaugh won each of his first five opening games. However, since that time, the Ravens have lost three consecutive season openers.


Return of Joe Flacco
Baltimore was ravaged by injuries a season ago. Joe Flacco was on that long list of casualties, and consequently appeared in just ten games. Since signing a massive long-term contract following his 2013 Super Bowl MVP performance, Flacco’s statistical numbers have steadily declined. Over the previous three seasons, Flacco has thrown 60 touchdowns and been intercepted an alarming 46 times. Compare that with the three years prior to him becoming an extremely wealthy man, and you’ll discover he threw for 67 touchdowns against only 32 interceptions. If Baltimore hopes to contend with Pittsburgh and Cincinnati in this year’s AFC North race, it’s imperative Flacco returns to the Pro Bowl form he once displayed.


Tyrod Taylor’s Return to Baltimore
Tyrod Taylor will begin his 6th season in the NFL. Prior to winning the starting quarterback job in Buffalo last season, Taylor spent his first four years backing up Joe Flacco in Baltimore. Taylor rarely saw the field in a Ravens uniform, and when he did it was in a mop up role. Nevertheless, Taylor seized the opportunity provided by Buffalo and was a more than respectable 8-6 as a starter last year. Taylor tossed 20 touchdowns versus only 6 picks. He also ran for an extremely impressive 568 yards and 4 touchdowns. Keep in mind, Taylor put those type of numbers up despite missing two games as a result of the injury.


Final Take and Pick
Granted, Bills players had to put up with a multitude of distractions this offseason and throughout training camp. Nonetheless, this is a deeper team than most pundits give them credit for, and they possess solid veteran leadership from within. One quarterback (Taylor) is ascending, and the other (Flacco) has exhibited a gradual but steady decline. I’m going to take the points in this game for one of my Sunday free NFL picks.


Free NFL Pick: Buffalo +3 +105
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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