The Buffalo Bills will host the Cincinnati Bengals this Sunday with a shot at getting to .500 at 3-3. It will be a tall task without starting QB E.J. Manuel. Fourth-year journeyman Thad Lewis will get the call. He hopes to avoid going the way of Billy Joe Hobert and Brian Brohm in becoming an embarrassing blip on the radar of the team’s franchise history. He faces the no. 8 defense in the league with the Bengals.
For Lewis’ part, he did play well last season against the Pittsburgh Steelers, who had the no. 1 defense in the league at the time. Still, it will be imperative for Lewis to limit mistakes and move the chains. He’ll naturally rely heavily on C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson,who will be instrumental in creating second- and third-and-short situations. I’d imagine that the Bills will rely on the screen game, and look for Lewis to key on TE Scott Chandler over the middle.
A situation to watch will be WR Stevie Johnson‘s availability. He hasn’t practiced since Tuesday due to a death in the family and is listed as a game-time decision. The Bills will get rookie Marquise Goodwin back for the first time since opening day.
On defense, the Bills are getting healthy. Jairus Byrd will play his first game of the season. Stephon Gilmore is a game-time decision and would be a huge return if he is active for the game. The Bills will need to keep the points total low, so look for them to try and stuff the run and put the game on Andy Dalton‘s shoulders. Dalton has been inconsistent all season long. He’s struggled with accuracy and has made mistakes at inopportune times.
Do I think the Bills have a chance to win this game? Yes I do. Do I think they will win? Probably not. It’s all about getting Lewis acclimated for the next few weeks. It will be a safe game plan that will try and limit the chances that he takes. At this point for the Bills, it will be all about surviving the week.