Zylbert’s NFL Over/Unders: Can Bettors Trust Bills QB Nathan Peterman?
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Bills quarterback Nathan Peterman
Betting odds: Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens
- Over/Under: 40
- Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET
- TV: CBS
There’s no question the Bills made major strides last year, snapping a postseason drought that had lasted 17 seasons. It was, at the time, the longest such streak in all of professional sports.
However, after taking one step forward, it’s as if the organization did a three-step drop, entering the new campaign with very little promise. Many are rightfully predicting a long season for the Bills, as they fade back into irrelevancy.
A lot of that has to do with their decision at quarterback. After a three-way battle, Nathan Peterman was named the starter to open the season.
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You might recall Peterman’s first career start last year, when he infamously tossed five interceptions in the first half on the road against the Chargers, and was promptly benched.
It was a nightmarish outing for the former fifth-round draft pick, and Peterman’s performance didn’t get much better in the few opportunities he saw afterward. He finished the season with a 38.4 passer rating.
Though he did have a strong preseason to cement his starting status, there still isn’t much optimism surrounding Peterman and this offense.
He’s working behind a brutal offensive line, one that could potentially be terrorized on a regular basis no matter if the Bills are running or passing. Perhaps most importantly, Peterman is almost completely devoid of playmakers.
He still has LeSean McCoy as his running back, and Kelvin Benjamin is a solid receiver, but that’s about it. Tight end Charles Clay is the definition of “meandering” at this point in his career.
On top of that, the new Bills starting quarterback will also have to tangle with a very good defense on the road in what will probably be poor weather conditions.
Even in nice weather, it would still be hard to envision a productive day at the office for Peterman. Baltimore yielded the sixth-fewest points per game last season (18.9), and it ranked in the top 10 in passing yards allowed as well.
The Ravens also usually have it together coming out of the gate under head coach John Harbaugh.
Since Harbaugh first took over in 2008, the Ravens are 15-2 at M&T Bank Stadium in September, tied with the Seahawks for the best home win percentage in the season’s first month over that span.
The upside for the Bills is their defense, one we’ll hope can prevent the Ravens from lighting up the scoreboard and blowing them out.
Even if the Bills have a tough time providing resistance, we can take solace in the fact that Baltimore is not a big-play offense. The Ravens will likely consume a chunk of the game clock engineering their drives.
The Ravens were eighth in average time of possession a year ago (30:47) and they also finished seventh in rushing plays called per game (28.8). Looking up and down their depth chart, you won’t really find players who routinely burn defenses for significant gains.
Quarterback Joe Flacco has a new cast of receivers in Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead, but the offense will still use the same style of methodically moving the ball.
Flacco is also missing his starting tight end, promising rookie Hayden Hurst.
With bad weather anticipated, there’s a very good chance the over/under for this game will drop further down from its opening line, so make sure you get in this under bet as soon as you can.
Play: UNDER 40 (-110)