Dec 14, 2014; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy (27) is tackled by Buffalo Bills strong safety Duke Williams (27) during the first half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
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You should start the Bills Defense or the Ravens Defense if you have them on your fantasy roster.
The Buffalo Bills face the Baltimore Ravens this Sunday at 1pm which will kick off the season for both teams. Each team is trying to redeem themselves after disappointing seasons last year.
Buffalo finished the year 8-8 and missed the playoffs for the 16th straight season despite Rex Ryan’s promise to end that streak. On top of that, the Bills defense finished ranked 19th in yards allowed which is the worst for a Rex Ryan defense by a considerable margin since he became a head coach.
The Ravens finished last season with their worst record since Brian Billick was the coach in 2007 when they were also 5-11. Injuries to several key players including their triplets of Joe Flacco, Justin Forsett, and Steve Smith Sr. derailed this team. Despite the injuries, the defense still held up and finished as the 8th best in yards allowed.
When the Bills and Ravens have faced off, it has historically been a low scoring event with the average score of 20 -17 Ravens over Bills. The teams have split evenly in the six games that they have played against each other. Out of those six games, there was only one where either team scored more than 23 points and that was in an overtime game in 2010 that the Ravens won 37-34.
The Bills defense is expected to improve this season. Sure they are banged up and their most talented player, Marcell Dareus, is suspended for four games but the players have bought into Rex Ryan’s schemes and the communication on that side of the ball seems improved in the preseason. Finishing outside of the top 10 in yards allowed is uncharacteristic of a Rex Ryan coached defense and you can expect them to do much better than 19th in yards allowed this year.
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The Ravens defense played well last year. They gave up the 8th most yards overall, 10th most passing yards and 12th most rushing yards. Where they struggled were points allowed where they were ranked 24th in the league.
The reason it seems that they gave up fewer yards than most teams but more points was the inability of their defense to generate turnovers. The team finished ranked 30th in the league in turnovers which was a huge problem for them during the year. Considering the lack of turnovers and how many points they let up it’s no surprise they finished as the 20th best defense in points in Yahoo leagues.
The reason why you should start either of these defenses if you have them Week 1 is because historically the teams have played in low scoring games. On top of that, the Bills defense looks to bounce back from a down year with a stronger pass rush which should lead to more turnovers.
The Ravens defense is likely to increase how many turnovers they create as well. If both teams are able to improve upon their weaknesses from last year, they could both end up as a top 10 defense in yards allowed and in points in fantasy football.
You always want to have a defense in games that have a high probability of being low scoring battles and that should be the case Week 1 when the Ravens face off against the Bills. If you drafted the Bills or Ravens, start them!