Gameday Preview: Bills vs. Bengals

Gameday Preview Bills vs. Bengals

 Being 3-0 is exciting, but defeating the Cincinnati Bengals and reaching 4-0 would feel even better. Being the only undefeated team in the AFC, the Bills have quite the target on their back heading into Sunday’s contest. Buffalo is hoping to continue their perfect record after an emotional victory against the division rival Patriots. With their Week 3 victory over the Patriots, the Bills have established themselves as a threat to be respected within the AFC.

Bills Offensive Line

The Bengals are currently the NFL's 3rd ranked defense.
The Bengals are currently the NFL's 3rd ranked defense.

Although it may be difficult to comprehend, but the Bills will be facing the third best defense in the NFL when they make their trip to Paul Brown Stadium this Sunday.

The production of the Bengals defense can be boiled down to the success of their defensive line. Cincinnati has a rather deep defensive line that will be fully utilized against the run and gun style of the Bills offense. The Bengals defensive line has sacked opposing quarterbacks nine times in their first 3 games this season, and they certainly expect to heckle Ryan Fitzpatrick.

If the Bills expect to continue with their winning ways, the offensive line will have to protect Fitzpatrick against the relentless front seven of the Bengals. Possibly look for the Bills to implement a no-huddle offense to fatigue the Bengals defensive line.

Bills Linebackers

The Bills need another stellar performance from the linebacking corps.
The Bills need another stellar performance from the linebacking corps.

After a stellar performance against New England, look for Nick Barnett to lead the defense again. Buffalo’s linebackers will have the distinct responsibility to defend Cincinnati’s athletic tight end, Jermaine Gresham, and fluster Andy Dalton. Dalton leads an inexperienced Bengals offensive unit that has the potential to put up points, however exotic blitz packages will definitely confuse the rookie gun-slinger and force him into turnovers. Although the Bills have played a somewhat traditional defensive style in the first three weeks, executing exotic blitz packages against a youthful Bengals team will provide the Bills with game changing moments.

Merriman will be working against Andrew Whitworth, who is one of the underrated tackles in the league. Whitworth has not gotten the credit he deserves, most likely because he is playing on a 1-2 football team. Although he is still recovering from injury, it would be a relief to see Merriman achieve the success that he had with San Diego.

Stevie Johnson

Why so serious? Yes, that is all that needs to be said. One year ago, Stevie Johnson has his coming out party against the Bengals secondary. In a matchup that will feature Stevie against the veteran cornerback, Nate Clements, expect Stevie to have the slight advantage. Fitzpatrick and Johnson need to hook up to generate points for the Bills early and often against a Bengals defense that they can solve. This matchup will consist of one former Buffalo Bill against a current Bill. Stevie Johnson can beat the physical style of Clements with his exceptional route running ability.

The Bills cannot afford another lackadaisical start in Week 4. Yes, they have managed to comeback against two extremely talented football teams, but it is a habit that is not highly recommended for success. Stevie Johnson has had a touchdown catch in each game this season and look for that trend to continue. Fitzpatrick will look to lead the NFL’s highest scoring offense and continue their success against a stiff Bengals defense. This matchup has been peppered with themes of upset all week long, but do expect the Bills to come out clicking on all cylinders. Chan Gailey has prepared this team all week for the expectations coming into this game and those expectations have been highlighted by remaining hungry but humble at the same time. After the final whistle blows on Sunday, the Bills will be leaving Paul Brown Stadium 4-0. Ultimately, I will be happy with however the Bills are able to win, but I will predict a 38-20 victory. Buffalo will keep rolling and remain the only undefeated team left in the AFC.

Zachary Spect
Bills Mafia Blog