With the possibility of snow in the forecast for Saturday night's divisional playoff game in Buffalo, both teams must prepare to deal with inclement weather.
Greg Roman was once the Bills' offensive coordinator (2015-16), so this scenario is nothing new for him. If the snow comes, he believes the Ravens will handle it well, including quarterback Lamar Jackson, who grew up in South Florida and has never played a game in the snow.
Jackson's elusiveness makes him difficult to tackle on a fast track. On a snowy field, Roman still feels his quarterback would have an edge.
"I definitely think it can aid somebody with his skill set as far as the footing of the people trying to corral him," Roman said.
While snow hasn't been a part of Jackson's young career, he has dealt with rain and wind on numerous occasions, and Roman views those conditions as a tougher challenge.
"I think the snow would be much easier for him to deal with than some of the heavy sheets of rain, the torrential downpours we've played in the last couple of years," Roman said. "A nor'easter just happened to blow in when we went to New England. Last year, you guys remember the 49ers game. There was flooding everywhere. Those are the games that really, really impact it. Snow, not so much. Wind, yes, wind can be a major factor."
Wind was a major factor in last year's game in Buffalo, and both quarterbacks struggled with it. Jackson was 16-of-25 for 145 yards while Allen was 17-of-39 for 146 yards. It remains to be seen which offense would be impacted more by foul weather.
Understandably, Jackson is hoping for clear weather.
"My first-time seeing snow in Louisville, we had a snowball fight, so that's totally different from playing in it," Jackson said. "But yes, that definitely would be my first-time playing football in the snow – Saturday, if it does. Hopefully, it doesn't."
Jimmy Smith Sees Similarities to 2012 Super Bowl Run
Veteran cornerback Jimmy Smith is one of the few Ravens who was with the team during the 2012 season when they won their last Super Bowl. During that year, the Ravens started 5-1, just like this year's Ravens. They had a three-game losing streak that almost cost them a playoff spot, similar to this year's Ravens, who had a three-game losing streak before winning five straight to make the postseason.
Smith sees the similarities. And of course, he hopes this year ends the same way the 2012 season ended.
"It's similar," Smith said. "I'm not going to say it's the same. But it's eerily similar to us hitting a little adversity and then going on a hot streak. That's kind of the route we took then. Kind of on pace, but we'll see."
When Smith looks around the locker room these days, he no longer sees Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs, Marshal Yanda or Joe Flacco. But he sees many young players who have grown into leadership roles like Jackson, Marlon Humphrey and Matthew Judon, as well as respected veterans like Pernell McPhee, Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe. Smith feels the same kind of championship culture in the locker room.
"I think it's still the Ravens, to be honest," Smith said. "We make sure that anybody who comes in here plays Ravens ball, know how to uphold the legacy of what we do here. The swagger may be a little different because there's different names, but the bravado, that confidence we all have has remained here my entire career, and I'm sure will when I leave."
Smith Happy to Re-Sign With Ravens
Last offseason, Smith tested the free agency waters before he re-signed with the Ravens. There will be no free agency for Smith this offseason, after he happily re-signed a one-year extension earlier this month.
The cornerback rotation of Humphrey, Marcus Peters, Smith and Anthony Averett gives Baltimore perhaps the deepest in the NFL and will be put to the test against the Bills' deep wide receiver corps.
"I think I'm way smarter the second time around," Smith said. "When the Ravens offered me the previous time, I declined thinking maybe I'd go out and get a bigger offer, so I could get them to give me one or something like that. I'm excited to be here, I'm excited to be a Raven for life. It was one of my goals coming here. I'm happy to do it and have another year to play for the Ravens."
Jackson Made the Right Read, Then Reacted on TD Scramble
It took Jackson's tremendous speed and open-field running ability to turn one of his scrambles Sunday into a 48-yard touchdown run.
However, it also took Jackson's brain and advance preparation. After he dropped back to pass, Jackson quickly recognized that the Titans were playing a man-to-man coverage that left them vulnerable if he escaped the pocket. Once he passed the line of scrimmage, Jackson had plenty of room to operate. He turned on the jets to run past Titans safety Kevin Byard, then won a footrace with cornerback Adoree Jackson to the end zone, diving inside the pylon for the touchdown.
Roman loved the result, but he also loved that Jackson knew exactly the right time to run.
"The Titans chose to play a coverage we call Cover-7, which is man with doubles, which essentially was able to take away our deep dig routes which we've hurt them on in the past," Roman said. "They've had quite a bit of success with that coverage against us, primarily in the red zone. Watching the film from the prior two games, it was really pretty obvious that if they're going to play that coverage, look at what would happen here if you just tucked it and ran.
"Low and behold, that's what happened. Lamar saw it, did it, and took over from there. That's a good story about him taking his film study to the field and applying it."