Aug 24, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson (13) catches a pass in front of Washington Redskins safety Jordan Pugh (32) at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
When the Bills Throw the Ball:
Even with EJ Manual and Stevie Johnson, this Bills passing attack is ranked just 28th. The Bills will be without Manual for sure (knee) and possibly without Johnson (funeral). In Manual’s place will be a relatively small QB (6’2” 200lbs) fresh off the practice squad (Thad Lewis) with 32 passes in his NFL career and playing behind a line that has already surrendered 15 sacks. The Bengals pass defense is ranked 11th and possess the best and deepest DL in the NFL. In 2 of the last 3 weeks, Zimmer’s defense has completely shut down 2 of the best QBs the NFL has to offer (Rodgers and Brady). However, while the Bengals defense has a huge advantage in this matchup in terms of talent and experience, they best not overlook Lewis and the Bills, because the QB between their dominance of Rodgers and Brady – the immortal Brian Hoyer – made them look like a very pedestrian defense.
Hopefully, the Bengals have learned their lesson of overlooking lesser named QBs and bring the same intensity against Lewis as they brought against Rodgers and Brady. The Browns got Hoyer comfortable with a lot of quick hits and bubble screens, and I would expect the Bills to look to do the same. Expect to see Zimmer put 8 guys in the box for most of the game and a play his corners tight on the line in an effort to not only shut down the run game, but to take away the quick hits for Lewis. I don’t see Zimmer and this defense messing up 2 times in 3 weeks against a less than NFL caliber QB.