Monday January 2, 2023 at 8:30 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN and ABC
Paycor Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio
Weather: Upper 50s and rain
Latest line: Bills-1, over/under 49.5
God Bless Buffalo and it’s resilient citizens. The images and lost lives from the Christmas Blizzard of ’22 were heartbreaking. Volunteers helping shovel out city neighborhoods, plus an emotional Sabres win, were very welcome healing moments on Thursday. Good weather is nice, but living amongst good people is priceless.
There’s no need for hype, and no better than a coin flips chance of predicting the winner. Bills/Bengals. Allen/Burrow 1. If they played a best of seven series, we would expect it to go the distance. The Bills have played in the most attractive Monday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday Night Games of the entire NFL schedule in the same season. If you are counting, this marks the ninth nationally televised Bills game of the season. Let’s break it down.
If this were a pitching matchup, we get to watch two of the top aces in the sport. The win/loss records are close this season, but Burrow would have the better ERA. 101 inches of Orchard Park lake effect snow have fallen since we have seen Josh’s “A” game, but the bottom line is measured in Ws. While Mahomes and Allen are state of the art mobile improvisational QBs, Burrow offers a contrast in style as a classic pocket passer. Neither the Bills nor Bengals excel in pass protection, but the unit that performs better Monday night in that phase of the game might well be a key for victory. The good news is that the Bills should have their “best five” on the field. Call it even.
Running game weapons:
Devin Singletary ranks 21st in rushing yards. Joe Mixon ranks 22nd. After that, Josh Allen and James Cook tip the scales heavily in the Bills favor. The Bears game was one of the most dominant rushing performances of the McDermott era. Advantage Bills.
Passing game weapons:
I thought it was very debatable before the season, but this one goes to the Bengals. Whatever the explanation, and I haven’t heard a good one yet, the lack of targets for Diggs is a cause for concern. Gabe Davis is solid, but not the superstar that the Chiefs playoff game teased us with. Chase and Higgins are in the conversation with the Eagles AJ Brown and Devonta Smith, and the Dolphins Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle for the top tandem in the NFL. Yep, I’ll be scouting WRs during Bowl Season! The Bengals RBs have produced more consistently in the passing game as well. Advantage Bengals
The numbers are very close for these top 10 units (Bills 4th, Bengals 7th, 30 yards apart). I expect the game to be in the hands of the QBs. Even.
MUCH more important Monday night…it’s nice to see the Bills ahead of the Bengals and Chiefs in the rankings. It’s a big test for Tre White’s repaired knee, but the 70 degree rise in “feels like” temperature can’t hurt. Tiny advantage Bills.
On paper it should be even, but the Bills ST had a bad week in Chicago. Bass and McPherson are two of the best kickers. I had a hunch that when we acquired Hines we would see a return TD at some point..why not now? A wish, not a prediction…call it even.
Sean McDermott and Zach Taylor are excellent…this is also their first of many big matchups. Can Ken Dorsey scheme enough points to outscore Joe Burrow and company? We’ll find out Monday night. Even.
No one expects the Chiefs to stumble, so the Bengals odds to get the #1 seed are not favorable even with a victory. The Bills control their own destiny. But this is the biggest home Monday Night Game in Bengal’s franchise history. No advantage.
The Forecast: Bills 34 Bengals 31
A field goal either way, but KC has hosted enough!
The Pregame Plan:
I can get Cincinnati’s Skyline Chili at our Wegman’s and make mine four way…..Spaghetti, Chili, Cheese, and Onions.
I am a big fan of Cincinnati’s Rheingeist Brewery and their IPA “The Truth”, but they don’t distribute in New York State yet. Buy local; in Rochester that would be Three Heads Brewing and “The Kind” flagship IPA. A toast to more Truth and more Kind-ness in 2023!
Kentucky is right across the Ohio River and the birthplace of the Incomparable Dwight Yoakum:
- Heartaches By The Number-that would be three so far..
- South of Cincinnati-explore the Bourbon Trail if you are down that way!
- Ring of Fire-superb Johnny Cash cover.
- Please, Please, Baby-the team, the city, and the fan base deserve the bye!
Happy New Year, Bills Mafia!
Editor: We are blessed to have Joe Reagan contribute to our blog. You can also find him on Twitter @joer969. Happy New Year from our BuffaloFAMbase blog to you.