The Buffalo Bills will send fourth-year QB Thad Lewis into the fire on Sunday when he lines up for only his second game of NFL action against a tough Cincinnati Bengals defense. Just last week the Bengals stymied Tom Brady and the offense of the New England Patriots and held them to only six points. It was the first time in 54 games that Brady did not throw a TD pass and it was the lowest point total for the Patriots in a game since 2006. Now Lewis gets his crack at the 8th best defense in the NFL.
The Bengals have been a versatile defense. They are 11th in the league in passing defense and 10th in the league in rushing defense. That means that Lewis will likely need to make plays in order for the Bills to keep it close. Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller will only be able to do so much against the stout front line for the Bengals. It will be vital for Lewis to avoid mistakes. The Bengals have five interceptions on the year, which puts them in the middle of the pack. They’ve sacked the QB 13 times which also puts them around the league average. They are more of a stopping defense than a turnover-producing one so it will be vital for Lewis to protect the ball.
The key to beating a team like the Bengals is to try an execute a big play or two. The Bills will have to try and do something unique to get the ball down the field. They haven’t been a big screen team so far this year even though they have the personnel to run effective screens. Maybe this week will be a good time to take that one off of the shelf and try to get Spiller or T.J. Graham in space with room to run.
The saving grace for the Bills in this game could be that their defense matches up favorably with the offense of the Bengals. As they showed last week against Brady and company, however, that may not matter if they can keep you out of the end zone.