For the third straight year, the Buffalo Bills will take on the Cincinnati Bengals in an AFC showdown. The Bills are looking for their 3rd straight win of the season as they head to Cincinnati. The Bengals got their first win of the season last week and look to make it two in a row. Kickoff inside Paul Brown Stadium is at 1 PM ET.
I must admit, I am surprised that the Bengals are favored by 3 points in this game. Cincinnati (1-3) defeated the hapless Browns last week for their only win of the season. Additionally, when the Bengals have faced a top-tier defense, they have been shut down. Against Baltimore, the Bengals lost 20-0 and against Houston they lost 13-9. Buffalo’s defense is just as good as the Ravens and Texans are this year, and I expect the Bills to do the same this week to the Bengals.
Buffalo (3-1) is coming off an impressive road win over the Atlanta Falcons 23-17. This win came on the heels of another impressive victory on the season as they defeated the Broncos 26-16. Buffalo features one of the best defenses in the league and look to beat up on the Bengals this week.
The spread opened with the Bengals favored by 2.5 points, it has since gone up to 3 points. The Over/Under opened at 38.5 points and has gone up to 39 total points.
Buffalo has the top scoring defense in the league as they only allow 13.5 points per game. Additionally, they have held opponents to just 93 rushing yards per game. The Bengals are unable to run the ball so far this season as they have only averaged 88 rushing yards per game. So, this game will come down to Buffalo’s defense versus Andy Dalton and the Bengals run defense versus McCoy.
Andy Dalton has had a rough year so far, as he is only averaging 223 passing yards per game and has a TD-to-INT ration of 6-to-4. The Bengals o-line hasn’t done Andy any favors as they were dominated by Baltimore and Houston in the first two weeks. Although they seem to have improved some, most of this improvement came against the Browns last week. You can bet, that won’t happen against the Bills.
The Bills have the 12th best passing defense in the league and are tied for 3rd in the league with 7 takeaways. They’ve also tallied 11 sacks on the season. The Bengals are only averaging 16 points per game and that’s largely due to the 31 that they put up on the Browns last week. Against the Ravens and the Texans, Cincinnati combined for 9 total points. I expect them to struggle this week as well.
Defensively, the Bengals have to stop Buffalo running back LeSean McCoy, who is due for a big game this week. After struggling against two top-tier defenses in the Panthers and Broncos, McCoy was able to come alive versus the Falcons last week with 98 total yards. The Bengals allow 108 rushing yards per game, which is a bit deceiving as they’ve played the last two weeks against the Packers and the Browns who are 26th and 27th in the league for rushing offenses. Against Houston and Baltimore, they gave up 168 rushing yards and 157 rushing yards. So, I expect the Bills to eclipse the 150 rushing yard mark and for Shady McCoy to break 100 yards rushing in this one.
Buffalo is 11-3 ATS in their last 14 games against the Bengals including 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games at Cincinnati. The Bengals are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games at home. Over the last 10 head-to-head meetings, Buffalo is 7-3 against the Bengals.
I not only expect Buffalo to cover this spread, but I also believe they will win this game outright. Look for the Bills defense to harass Dalton all day, shut down the Bengals rushing attack, and force some game changing turnovers. Offensively, the Bills will have a big day running the ball with McCoy leading the charge. I also expect Bills QB Tyrod Taylor to get around 50 rushing yards in this one as well. The Bengals are not a good football team, so don’t let their win over Cleveland fool you. The Bills should win this one convincingly by a score of 20-10.