All four of this weekend's divisional round playoff games are highly anticipated, but none figures to be quite as close as Saturday's prime-time contest between the Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Ravens. Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson are two of the NFL's most dangerous young quarterbacks. Sean McDermott and John Harbaugh are two of the league's most respected veteran coaches. But only one side can advance to the AFC Championship for a shot at representing the conference in the Super Bowl.
Can Allen build on his MVP-caliber season with another big night, this time against a feisty Ravens secondary? Or is Jackson poised to showcase his All-Pro speed en route to his second straight playoff win? We'll find out soon enough. In the meantime, if you're wondering how to tune in, or which matchups could decide Saturday's showdown, we've got you covered with info below:
How to watch
When the Bills have the ball
This may sound obvious, but Buffalo's game very much lies in Josh Allen's hands. The Ravens are no slouches on the defensive side of the ball, despite a few notable leaks during the regular season (see: Dec. 14, when they allowed 42 to the Browns). They rank No. 6 against the pass and No. 8 against the run. They've got feisty competitors in the secondary. And they love to bring the heat up front.
It's up to Allen, then, not only to manage the ball in what could be a lower-scoring, weather-affected battle but also showcase his trademark aggressiveness when the opportunity presents itself. When the Ravens blitz, for example, Allen can't afford to stumble into turnovers considering the way Baltimore is capable of keeping possession for long stretches of time. But it's his arm, above all, that needs to shine if the Bills want to best a run-heavy Ravens squad, so he'll have to be looking to take shots when extra pressure arrives.
Baltimore has proven particularly vulnerable against running backs and tight ends in the passing game, so if Buffalo wants to exploit those holes, Devin Singletary and Dawson Knox could play bigger roles than expected. That's assuming, of course, that Stefon Diggs still gets his fair share of targets on the outside. This game plan, you may have noticed, isn't much different from the one the Bills run on the regular; it's just a matter of Allen executing it well against a good "D" in potentially snowy conditions.
When the Ravens have the ball
They should run, run and run some more. We all stare in awe when Lamar Jackson lofts a deep ball with the flick of a wrist, but two stats paint the whole picture here: The Ravens are the absolute best rushing team in the NFL, and the Bills are just below average (No. 17) defending the run. It doesn't get much more obvious than that. Obviously, if Jackson intends to best Josh Allen on the road, he's going to have make some key throws. But this shouldn't necessarily be a game where he has to win the whole thing with his arm.
Couple this with the fact Buffalo could be hosting some snow and wind on Saturday night, and there's even more reason for the Ravens to lean on what they do best. Greg Roman has plenty of ways to feed his plethora of ball-carriers -- Jackson included -- and the Bills, for all their talent on the back end, have proven vulnerable to big opposing run games at multiple points this year. Sprinkle in some play-action, and take a shot here or there, but this really couldn't be much simpler for Baltimore: Keep the ball on the ground, eat up clock on methodical drives, and make the Bills have to throw the ball late.
This is truly such a tossup. The Bills have the firepower to hit on big plays against Baltimore's otherwise stout "D." The Ravens have the rushing attack to gash Buffalo on the road. At the end of the day, it might come down to the QBs, and honestly, the safer bet might be Allen, who's more effective as a true downfield passer. The Bills also have the benefit of playing at home on an extra day of rest. But you know what? Jackson's legs, coupled with all the Ravens' other runners, should still give Baltimore a slight edge.
Pick: Ravens 26, Bills 23