The matchup many have been waiting on is finally happening, and there is still a lot of unfinished business between the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills. They will meet up in the Divisional Round of the postseason.
The Bengals will have to go on the road into a very hostile environment to get the job done but this could be a game of fireworks Sunday afternoon.
Joe Burrow vs Josh Allen will pave the way for one of the best quarterback showdowns that we will see this year. We got a taste of it in the Monday night game but it is time to see the entire sample size now with both quarterbacks having Super Bowl aspirations and a trip to the AFC title game on the line. Burrow and Allen are currently tied with four playoff wins each in their early careers.
Here are three advantages the Bengals have over the Bills going into Sunday.
3. Bills have struggling 3rd down pass rush
Since losing Von Miller, the Bills have struggled heavily getting to the quarterback, especially on third down. Dan Orlovsky said on First Take that Skylar Thompson dropped back on third down over 15 times against the Buffalo Bills blitz and was sacked zero times in the process.
Matt Milano will be the player to keep an eye on around the line of scrimmage and in the second level because he is the Logan Wilson of the Buffalo Bills.
Milano leads the team in tackles and he will line up in many different sets and disguises. They will use him in coverage, blitz packages, and the run game. Buffalo was extremely dynamic when they had both Milano and Von Miller but once Miller went down with a season-ending injury it took a key player away from the Bills' pass rush which has led them to struggle in ways.
They are still an effective defense that can force turnovers and make plays, but they are a lot less intimidating without the Super Bowl champion on their side.
2. Elite wide receiver trio
The Buffalo Bills have one of the better wide receivers cores in the NFL led by Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis but they still don't match up to what the Cincinnati Bengals bring to the table with Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd. The Bengals will need all three of them in this matchup if they want to come out on top.
The Bills' secondary has battled injuries all year and is very depleted, somewhat similar to the Bengals who lost their best corner in Chidobe Awuzie earlier in the season. Cincinnati will need to take advantage of the inexperience that Buffalo will have on the field.
In the Monday night matchup on the very first play, the Bengals took a shot down the field to Chase and drew an instant flag. They followed that up with some solid rushing gains by Joe Mixon, a pass down the seam to Hayden Hurst, and then a touchdown to Tyler Boyd. On the next possession, Burrow connected with Higgins on a pass surpassing the sticks.
It's important to not rely on just one singular player. With other players stepping up it sets the tone for the game as a whole and can make it a lot harder on the Buffalo defense to get settled which could very well make this game a shootout.
1. Bengals tend to thrive as underdogs
Since last season when the Bengals have been counted out, it seems like they are always finding ways to win close games and games they are not expected to win. The Bengals were the underdogs of every single playoff game last season outside of the Wild Card round against the Raiders and aside from the Super Bowl, look how that turned out for them.
It seems like the common trend again as they have opened as pretty significant underdogs against the Buffalo Bills on the road. Many anticipated the line to be a lot closer than what it currently is.
Cincinnati does its best work when nobody believes in them and they've shown that on multiple occasions they have created believers in many. The narrative has shifted a lot but this game is set up for the Buffalo Bills. This season has been set up for the Bills to win it all and it's up to the Bengals to ruin that narrative.
The NFL would love to see a scenario where the Bills and the Chiefs play at a neutral site in the AFC Championship and the only teams standing in the way of that are the heavy underdogs in the Jacksonville Jaguars and the defending AFC Champion Cincinnati Bengals.