Buffalo Bills: Game preview versus Cincinnati Bengals

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 01: Tyrod Taylor
ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 01: Tyrod Taylor /

We bring you all the latest information and stats, as the Buffalo Bills prepare to face the Cincinnati Bengals, with the chance to improve to 4-1 on the season.

Despite last week’s stunning win in Atlanta, a lot of people are still wondering if the Buffalo Bills are for real? In turn, this has led to fans accusing the media — among others — of a lack of respect.

However, objectively speaking, it’s right to ask if the Buffalo Bills are legit, even after a promising 3-1 start. There have been a number of solid starts during the 17-year playoff drought, which have eventually collapsed into a rubble of lost opportunities.

Pure and simple, until the Bills are able to consistently win throughout a season and remain in realistic contention entering December, questions will be asked. In that respect, Sunday’s game in Cincinnati will continue the journey towards finding the answer.

The majority of bookies have the Cincinnati Bengals as three-point underdogs, adding just another reason for Bills fans to feel slighted. In truth though, being given three points on the road is no big deal in the world of sports betting.

In the real world, the Bengals’ have played better than their 1-3 record suggests, with the best evidence coming from taking the Green Bay Packers to overtime in Week 3, at Lambeau Field no less.

Further, it’s not as if this is the same franchise previously referred to as “the Bungles”. Under three-time Pro Bowler Andy Dalton, they have made the playoffs five of the last six seasons.

And while some will scoff at even the mere mention of Dalton, he has a record of 3-1 when facing the Buffalo Bills. Regardless of all this, Sean McDermott’s team must still win at Paul Brown Stadium, to avoid being called the “same old Bills”.

As you’d expect, McDermott will not take the Bengals for granted, especially with them scoring 51 points in the two games since switching coordinators. As reported by newyorkupstate.com, he said:

"“They do a great job with their screen passes and screen game. That’s something we have to be highly aware of. Coach (Bill) Lazor is a great coach, as is Coach (Marvin) Lewis, and Coach (Paul) Alexander, their offensive line coach, they do a tremendous job with an experienced staff. This will be a big test for us.”"

Another concern for McDermott, will be the absence of linebacker Ramon Humber and wide receiver Jordan Matthews, who are both projected to be out for at least a month. Humber is the Bills’ leading tackler through four games, while Matthews is third on the team in receptions.

Conversely, there are a number of reasons for Buffalo Bills fans to be optimistic about Sunday’s game. For a start, the disciplined, opportunistic defense has shown a propensity to make timely stops.

Think specifically towards the end of their road games in Carolina and Atlanta. With the fewest points allowed in the NFL through four games, this — theoretically at least — gives the Bills a genuine chance on Sunday.

Having said that, looking at the Carolina game specifically, the offense will also need to do their bit, in order to secure a win. Tyrod Taylor has looked efficient in the victories against the Broncos and Falcons, making sure to limit his mistakes. (Always easier when you know you have a good defense backing you up, meaning you don’t feel pressured to take more risks.)

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Regardless, at some point LeSean McCoy will have to step up and provide more of a ground game for Taylor. At least he managed to grind out 76 rushing yards against the Falcons, after being held to 30 combined in his two previous games.

In fairness to McCoy, part of the reason for his struggles carrying the rock, come down to defenses keying on him. It’s also worth noting he has provided a nice outlet for Taylor in the passing game and leads the team in receptions.

One other factor to consider, is Steven Hauscka. While we’ve said the Buffalo Bills cannot keep relying on him, they will ride his hot foot as long as he continues to deliver.

In this respect, Hauscka is on the verge of history. Including his four 50-yard field goal attempts for the Bills this season, if he converts his next one, he will set a new NFL record for most consecutive 50-yard field goals made in a career.

Overall, once more looking at things objectively, all the indications are there that the Buffalo Bills will emerge victorious on Sunday. However, any objectivity goes out the window if you ask us to put any money on it, because of the previous 17 years – it’s time for McDermott and company to make believers out of all of us.

Next: Bills can't keep relying on Hausch money

What’s your prediction for Sunday’s game? Do you believe the Buffalo Bills will win and move to 4-1? If so, what will it take for this to happen? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.