Buffalo Bills Matchups To Watch For Sunday
As the Buffalo Bills square off against the Cincinnati Bengals this week, there are certain matchups that the Bills will be looking to take advantage of. The Bengals have a high-powered offense and a stingy defense, but there are areas that the Bills can look to exploit.
1.) Josh Allen vs. Cincinnati’s Defense
The Bengals defensive line has failed to create reliable pressure on the quarterback and generate sacks this season. Cincinnati ranks 29th in total sacks, only tallying 30 during the regular season. Going up against QB Josh Allen will not be an easy task for them. Allen does very well with getting out of the pocket, whether it’s creating time to throw or scrambling for a first down. So if the Bengals choose to blitz, he can beat the pressure with his arm or his legs.
The Dolphins played a lot of Cover 0 defense, blitzing almost 40% of the time. However, the Bengals typically don’t blitz as much and rather, leave two safeties high. As much as you might think that Allen will have more time to drop back and tee off on the Bengals’ 23rd-ranked pass defense, especially considering their low sack rate, it may be better to use that extra time to survey the field, see what the defense is giving them, and use the short to intermediate game. And then when the defense starts playing up, that’s when you burn them deep.
2.) Stefon Diggs vs. Eli Apple
Speaking of which, Stefon Diggs is one of the best wide receivers in the league and it will be tough for the Bengals to slow him down. CB Eli Apple will most likely be the guy to try and do so. Apple is tied-43rd in the NFL in receptions allowed, and has an overall PFF grade of 52.9. Apple had a solid regular season but struggled last week against the Ravens, as shown here on this route by WR Demarcus Robinson.
The Buffalo Bills should have a lot of confidence that Diggs can take advantage of that secondary when Apple is lined up against him. (If it’s not Apple, it will be rookie CB Cam Taylor-Britt, who has a 56.1 PFF grade.) Diggs finished the regular season fifth in the league in receiving yards (1,429), fourth in receptions (108), and tied for third in TDs (11). The 29-year old has an overall PFF grade of 90.1, which is one of the best in the league.
3.) Bills DL vs. Bengals OL
Buffalo’s defensive line will likely play a key role if the Bills win on Sunday, as the Bengals may be without three offensive linemen. RT La’el Collins tore his ACL on Christmas Eve, RG Alex Cappa injured his ankle Week 18, and now LT Jonah Williams dislocated his kneecap this past Sunday. (Williams and Cappa are both questionable.) With that being the case, DE Greg Rousseau and DT Ed Oliver will have to have big games to put pressure on QB Joe Burrow. Creating pressure on Burrow will be key so he doesn’t have time to get the ball out to his very talented receivers. (The Bengals are tied-11th in sacks allowed this season with 44.) You can try to limit their WRs, but you won’t be able to completely shut them down.
4.) Bills CBs vs. Bengals WRs
CBs Tre White and Kaiir Elam will have to come up big against WRs Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins. The Bills mostly play a zone defense, which is a good thing when going up against the wideouts that the Bengals have. Chase and Higgins are receivers that do really well against man coverage. The zone that Leslie Frazier’s defense plays could possibly be an advantage for Buffalo this week. The Buffalo Bills’ bend-but-don’t-break defense will have to be in full effect on Sunday. Holding the Bengals to FGs rather than TDs would be huge for the second-best scoring defense in the league.
Feature Image: Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images