Week six of the 2013 NFL season pits the Cincinnati Bengals against the Buffalo Bills. If both teams were at full strength, this could be an intriguing matchup between a sputtering Bengals offense against a talented rookie quarterback in E.J. Manuel. With injuries, though, this game has an entirely different look to it.
Coming into this game, the Bills are without Manuel, with a limited-in-practice C.J. Spiller, and with a number one receiver in Stevie Johnson who hasn’t practiced all week and is nursing a minor injury. The biggest loss is, of course, Manuel because of the simple fact that now second-year quarterback Thad Lewis is getting the start.
Lewis spent last season with the Cleveland Browns and played in only one game. In that contest, he completed 22 of his 32 passes for 204 yards, tossing a touchdown pass and also throwing a pick. It wasn’t an awful performance, but Lewis is definitely still unproven and not deserving of a lot of faith.
With the injuries to this Buffalo team, the Bengals defense is set to absolutely dominate on Sunday. Not only is this Cincinnati defensive unit going up against a depleted Bills offense, but they have also quietly been one of the better defenses in the league this year.
One of the biggest things that you have to look at about this game is that the Bills are probably going to run the ball a lot, no matter how healthy Spiller is. After all, they do still have another talented back in Fred Jackson. However, the Bengals have been a solid run defense this season, allowing just 95.6 yards per game on the ground to their opponents and having just two rushing touchdowns put up against them.
If the Bills do end up having to throw, the Bengals have been solid in that department as well. They’ve only allowed 221 passing yards per game and a 58.2 percent completion percentage against them this season. Moreover, they’ve only had six passing touchdowns scored on them and are averaging 2.6 sacks and an interception per game.
After five weeks, the Bengals have the seventh ranked scoring defense in the league, allowing only 17.4 points per game. They haven’t been great at creating turnovers, but it’s also been difficult to score on this Cincy team as well. As they face off against a Lewis led Bills team, they should be able to find a ton of success and the team should be able to ride their defense to a victory.