Week 6 Primer: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Buffalo Bills
Week 6 Primer: Bengals vs. Bills
The Buffalo Bills will host the Cincinnati Bengals in a Week 6 matchup this Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The Bills are 2-3 and coming off of a loss to the Cleveland Browns 10 days ago. The Bengals are a game better at 3-2 and coming off of a big home victory against the New England Patriots last Sunday.
The Bills will be without starting QB E.J. Manuel, which will put them at a severe disadvantage. Luckily, they expect to get some key players back from injury, including CB Stephon Gilmore and S Jairus Byrd, who have each missed the first five games of the season. The Bills will need to play a defensive game on Sunday, so the fact that it may be all hands on deck for the first time this season on defense may be a huge help. Further, the Bengals have struggled offensively despite being 3-2. They only managed a TD and two FGs last Sunday against the Pats, and their starting QB Andy Dalton has been struggling with consistency issues all season long.
On the other side, QB Thad Lewis will have a tough task ahead of him if he wants to win his first game as Manuel's replacement. The Bengals have the eighth-ranked defense in the NFL and can stop the run and the pass equally. They come with a lot of pressure up the middle and they are adept at keeping plays in front of them. It will be very hard for one of the Bills' receivers to get behind the defensive secondary of the Bengals for big plays.
It couldn't have been a tougher matchup for Lewis in his first game as a Bills player, but Dalton will have to be better than he's been or else this game might end of being too close for comfort for the Bengals. Here is a look at how both teams match up in Sunday's contest.
Bills' Pass Offense vs. Bengals' Pass Defense
The big story here is obviously how Lewis handles being given the starting job. He did a decent job in his only other start, but that will likely not mean much here. The Bengals love to bring pressure up the middle, so they might want to move Lewis around in the pocket. The Bengals have exceptional play in the defensive backfield but S Taylor Mays could be beat, so look for the Bills to try and get Scott Chandler involved early.
Bengals' Pass Offense vs. Bills' Pass Defense
Dalton and company have struggled of late. The Bills will try to get pressure in Dalton's face and see if they can induce some mistakes. Tyler Eifert has been a beast in the passing game for the Bengals, but the Bills successfully shut down Jordan Cameron, the big target at tight end for the Browns, last week. Gilmore will be in his first game of the season, but his injury was to his hand so once he shakes off the rust, he shouldn't be slowed down. Still, A.J. Green will be a tough task for him after a six-week layoff.
Bills' Rush Offense vs. Bengals' Rush Defense
With Manuel out and Lewis in, I'd expect to see more of the same from the Bills on offense -- a lot of Fred Jackson and a lot of C.J. Spiller. Spiller was used sporadically last week, only getting eight carries, but he's had 10 days to rest up and has been a full go at practice this week. The Bengals are good against the run, but that won't stop the Bills from pounding the rock at them. The only question is how many second- and third-and-shorts can they produce and keep from putting the game on Lewis' shoulders?
Bengals' Rush Offense vs. Bills' Rush Defense
The Bills are familiar with BenJarvus Green-Ellis from his time with the Patriots. He is a tough runner who is hard to bring down. Expect the Bills to key on the run early in the hopes that they can make Dalton beat them. They did the same thing with Joe Flacco to great success two weeks ago and will be looking for a repeat performance this Sunday. It all starts with stopping the run.
Final Score Prediction: Bengals 16 -- Bills 9
I see another defensive battle here with the Bengals doing just enough to beat the Bills. I have a hard time seeing Lewis getting into the end zone. He'll fare a bit better than Jeff Tuel did, but not by much. The Bills will have to make plays on defense to win this game. The Bengals made two crucial mistakes last week and still won the game against a superior team to the Bills. Buffalo will likely need to induce four or five big mistakes on defense, and it sounds like a task too tall. The Bengals will come away with another win in a defensive battle against an AFC East opponent.