Saturday, October 12, 2013

Coast's Bills vs. Bengals Preview

HUGE football game tomorrow afternoon. The 2-3 Buffalo Bills will host the 3-2 Cincinnati Bengals, whom many picked to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl (not sure why). The Bungals are laying a TD on the road. I don't care who the opponent (other than maybe the Jags), but the Cincinnati Bungals are not good enough to be laying a touchdown on the road. Yet another slap in the face to the Bills organization. I guess Vegas thinks that Thad Lewis is a significant drop off from EJ Manuel.

Let's take a look at the Bungals body of work so far. First, they have lost each of their road games this year, at Chicago and at Cleveland. They scored only 6 points in Cleveland and have scored a combined 19 in their last two games. They have home wins against New England and Green Bay (although fluky). They have been terrible on offense and good on defense. Because of how bad their division is, they are still probably the favorite to win the division and host a playoff game.

Let's break down the match ups on each side of the ball:

Defensively, the Bungals have been solid. They are 8th in the league in yards per game allowed and they are 7th in points per game allowed. The key to the Bungal defense are its defensive tackles Geno Atkins and Domata Peko. With all of the struggles the Bills have had at guard this season, this could be their toughest match up of all. The Bengals are allowing less than 100 yards per game on the ground this season and whoever is starting at LG is going to have their hands full all day. The Bills on offense will most likely try and run the ball early and often and establishing the run against this tough defense will be imperative to their success on offense. The Bills offense has been surprisingly average this season, ranking 16th in yards per game and 19th in points per game (better than the 32nd and 30th we typically rank). The Bills "strength" this season though has been its running game as they rank 3rd in rush yards per game. I put strength in quotes though because I still definitely do not think they have ran the ball efficiently. They ran for 155 yards against the Browns on 31 attempts. That is good...but 54 came on one run. The remainder of the day they averaged 3.3 ypc and I don't recall them consistently running the ball effectively throughout the game. Against the Ravens, the Bills ran the ball 55 times for 203 yards and only threw 22 passes. We may see even more of a lopsided run/pass ratio this week with Thaddydaddy Thadwick Thaddeus Lewis making his first start as a Buffalo Bill. Until Thad Lewis sucks on the field, I am keeping an open mind. He is allegedly athletic and can make the throws necessary. He is short, which is a downfall. He has started one NFL game and wasn't horrible. Stranger things have happened. Doug Flutie was 5'6" and was why not Thad. The Bills should have their full arsenal of weapons on offense. Robert Woods is emerging. Marquis Goodwin is back. Spiller hopefully will start to find his stride (has been most disappointing Bill and maybe player in the league this year). Let's all give Thad a chance. If he sucks, I am with all of you who want to kill Whaley for entering the season with such horrible back up QBs. Advantage: Bengals

The Bills have been a pleasant surprise on defense. Coming after a historically bad stretch on defense under Chan Gailey, the Bills defense has turned the page completely and is now an attacking, opportunistic unit. Mario Williams 7.5 sacks leads a unit that ranks 7th in the league with 15 sacks. The Bills also have been successful at taking the ball away, ranking 2nd in the AFC with 11 takeaways. Leading the charge in that regard is rookie stud phenom beast Kiko Alonso. The guy is a straight up animal, flying over the line of scrimmage, intercepting passes left and right, the guy is a stud. He also is 10th in the league with 44 tackles. Helping on the defensive side of the ball is the return of Jairus Byrd and the hopeful return of Stephon Gilmore. The thought of Gilmore, McKelvin, Byrd and Williams in the secondary with a full arsenal (except Carrington) of pass rushers is certainly exciting. The Bills defense could carry this team through this stretch of games without Manuel. The Bungals offense on the other hand has been brutal. As mentioned, they have scored 19 points combined in the past two games. They rank worst than the Bills offense in basically all important offensive statistical categories, 22nd in YPC and 25th in PPG. I don't know about any of you, but the law firm and rookie Giovani Bernard don't exactly strike fear into me. Gio's 62 yards vs. the Pats was his best game all year. The law firm is averaging a stellar 2.9 yards per carry, but for some inexplicable reason, actually plays more than Bernard. AJ Green hasn't lived up to his ridiculous standards this year and Andy Dalton is a very marginally better version of Ryan Fitzpatrick. Advantage: Bills.

The two defenses have the advantage over their opposing offenses tomorrow afternoon. That being said, I think the Bills defense will be able to stop the run, pressure Dalton, force some interceptions. Bills 17 Bengals 14 as the Bills move to 3-3 and after the Jets and Patriots lose, the AFC will look like this:

Pats 4-2
Phins 3-2
Jets 3-3
Bills 3-3

The Bills will then head to South Beach for an enormous AFC East ball game. Let's keep the hope alive for one more week as we strive to play meaningful football in November.

Go Bills!!

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