Bengals at Bills: Questions For Michael Straw of BuffaLowDown
Oct 11, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Buffalo Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore (24) celebrates after an interception during the second half against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. The Bills won 14-13. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Stripe Hype: Tyrod Taylor looks like he could miss the matchup against the Bengals on Sunday. How would this change the game plan for the Bills if EJ Manuel is under center?
Michael Straw: First off, I have no idea what’s going on with the QB position. Taylor and Rex Ryan are making it seem like he will play, but who knows. If Manuel does end up getting the start, it changes everything. Taylor is dangerous because of his legs. With Manuel, you don’t really have that threat. Sure, he can avoid pressure better than most pocket passers, but he isn’t a guy that will beat you with his legs. If Manuel starts, the Bengals are going to blitz and make Buffalo beat them with his arm.
SH: Rex Ryan joined the Bills in the offseason as the Head Coach, how has he changed the expectations of this team from Doug Marrone the last two seasons?
Michael: Simple: he actually wants to win. The statement that players take on the mentality of their coach is 100% true. Under Marrone, the Bills played not to lose rather than to win. This regime is different. Ryan, and his players, want to win every game. It shows with the passion they play with on the field.
SH: The Bills defense will have the tough task of stopping Andy Dalton and his offense, what can we expect to see from the Bills to shut down the balanced offense that the Bengals established in every game.
Michael: That’s tough to say. With Aaron Williams out, the secondary takes a big hit though Ronald Darby and Stephon Gilmore have made the case to be considered the top CB tandem in the league this season. I’d expect the Bills to shut down the short passes, and make Dalton beat them with the deep ball. Though, the big question is how the Bills are going to shut down Tyler Eifert, and I’m not sure if they have anyone who can.
SH: The Bills are at 3-2 on the still early season, with the Patriots undefeated heading into week six, is the AFC East still the goal or is the playoff in general the target at this point? Where did the fan base expect the Bills to be at this point in the season?
Michael: I’d have to say the playoffs are the goal. When you’re a team that hasn’t been there since 1999, it’s tough to look any higher than that. As far as fan expectations, I think, with the way the year started against Indianapolis, no worse than 4-1 was expected. Many are still angry about the loss to the Giants, and feel that could become a big game down the stretch.
SH: Who is the player to watch on the Bills team on Sunday against this Bengals team?
Michael: I’m going to say Sammy Watkins simply because we don’t know how much of a factor he could possibly be coming off the calf injury. If he somehow doesn’t play, I’d have to say Charles Clay. If the Bills are going to win, they will have to outscore the Bengals rather than simply try to stop them. Clay will have to have a big day for this to be done.
SH: Finally, what is your prediction for Bengals-Bills matchup on Sunday, will the Bills pull one out or will the Bengals prove to much?
Michael: Though I’d like to say the Bengals will come in sleeping on the Bills leading to a Buffalo win, I just can’t. This is a Cincinnati team that appears to have gotten everything in order to become a serious Super Bowl contender. I don’t think Sunday sees them lose.
Bengals 37 Buffalo 20