3 Bengals who need more playing time vs. Bills

  • Hudson at TE, please
  • Why isn't Battle playing more?
  • Give Hendrickson some rest during the games
Cincinnati Bengals v Arizona Cardinals
Cincinnati Bengals v Arizona Cardinals / Cooper Neill/GettyImages
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That's more like it! It took eight weeks, but the Cincinnati Bengals have dug themselves out of their slow start to the season and now sit above .500 after an impressive win over a good 49ers squad. This was not only the return of the title-contending Bengals we were all expecting to see when the season started, but also Joe Burrow finally looking like himself again, having numerous plays that all but solidified that his calf injury is in the rearview mirror now.

The Bengals still sit at the bottom of the AFC North, unfortunately, but this division has been a dogfight the last few years, so I'm positive that will change as the season goes on. For now, they have a date with the Buffalo Bills on the horizon, who are no doubt looking for revenge after being knocked out of the playoffs by the Bengals in the divisional round earlier this year.

While the team looked great against San Francisco, they're obviously not flawless. While complete perfection is near-impossible to achieve (unless you're the 1972 Miami Dolphins), there are still a few lineup changes they could make to get even better ahead of this Sunday night matchup between two of the AFC's best teams.

So, here are three Bengals who need more playing time vs. the Bills.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.

Tanner Hudson

While Cincy did ultimately win by 14 points, it took until late in the fourth quarter for them to really get separated. Joe Mixon capped off a 10-play drive with a five-yard score that put the Stripes up 31-17 with just under three minutes left in the game. This would ultimately be the final score of the affair. However, the Bengals truly could've turned the tides much earlier in the game, before halftime.

Up 14-10 with less than a minute left in the first half, Cincinnati was driving down the field, looking unstoppable as they seemed as if they were going to find the end zone for a third time. That paired with the fact they'd be getting the ball back at half should've been enough to essentially put this game out of reach.

Unfortunately, inside the Niners' five, Irv Smith fumbled and turned the ball over to cap off what has been a very disappointing year for the former Viking.

Predictably, the Bengals didn't do anything at the trade deadline to amend their tight end situation-- which is disappointing but expected-- but they did sign Tanner Hudson to the active roster. Hudson hasn't seen the field much and has spent the majority of the season on the practice squad, but he has had a couple of flashes in the preseason and even in the regular season as well. Most notable was his 26-yard reception against the Rams back in Week 3.

While I doubt Hudson will be a complete game-changer for Cincy, he's a more reliable option at the tight end position than Smith is, so I hope he'll see a decent amount of snaps this weak against the Bills. This team has a deep receiving core that extends beyond their untouchable trio of Boyd, Chase, and Higgins, but it's always important to have a safety valve that your quarterback can rely on to pick up a few yards when you need them.