With 18 sacks, the Bills can get after the QB (T-3rd). Mario Williams is a pass rushing stud and appears to be back to himself with 7.5 sacks in just 5 games, however, this defensive line is nothing special as a unit. A team with tied for 3rd with 18 sacks should not be ranked 18th against the pass, and against the run, they are worse 22nd. While the Bengals will have their hands full with Williams, they should be able to throw and run against this Bills front. The Bengals also have studs on their line, but unlike the Bills, the Bengals line is better as a unit than they are individually.
While their sack numbers are down (13; T-14th), this Bengals line has the best rotation in the NFL and excels as a unit. Even if MJ is out again, the Bengals can get after the QB, are ranked 8th against the pass, and they can stop the run (10th). Expect the Bengals to load the box and dare Lewis to beat them.
Sep 15, 2013; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills middle linebacker Kiko Alonso (50) during the first half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
The Bills LB corps is led by an impressive rookie from Oregon, Kiko Alonso, who is 10th in the NFL with 44 tackles and tied for the league lead with 4 INTs. Unfortunately for the Bills, their other two LBs (Manny Lawson and Nigel Bradham) have combined for just 43 tackles – or 1 less than Alonso himself. Bengals fans are all too well aware of Lawson’s ability to stay off the stat sheet and the Bills appear to have an even more invisible LB in Bradham.
The Bengals will need to account for Alsonso, but Lawson and Bradham will likely account for themselves. The Bengals on the other hand have been getting great LB play from 2nd year stud Vontaze Burfict, surprisingly good play from Rey Maualuga, and though Harrison’s numbers may be down, he is still dangerous and requires attention.
The Bills have one of the better young CBs in Stephon Gilmore and a serviceable CB in Leodis McKelvin, however, Gilmore has yet to play in 2013 due to a wrist injury and Gilmore is questionable for Sunday as well. Even if Gilmore does play, one would expect there to be rust and getting stuck on Green, Gresham, Eifert or Sanu would definitely be an advantage for the Bengals.
The Bengals on the other hand look to be getting healthy at CB and have one of the deepest CB groups in the league with Newman, Hall, Jones and Kirkpatrick.