The Buffalo Bills have been one of the biggest surprises of the first quarter of the NFL season, and they’ll look to continue their strong start when they visit the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. The Bills aim for a third straight win as they try to stay atop the AFC East standings.
While the Bills have stunned the league with their 3-1 start, the Bengals have been one of the biggest disappointments during a 1-3 start, but Buffalo coach Sean McDermott isn’t taking them lightly. ”This is a team that has been in the playoffs the last ‘X’ amount of years,“ McDermott told reporters. ”Anyone who looks at a record at this point in the season is making a huge mistake. This is a good football team.” Cincinnati showed signs of breaking out of its offensive funk in a 27-24 overtime loss at Green Bay in Week 3 and was dominant in a 31-7 win at Cleveland last week. The Bills have won three of the last four meetings, including a 16-12 victory at Cincinnati last season.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Bengals -3. O/U: 39.5
ABOUT THE BILLS (3-1): Buffalo possesses the best scoring defense in the league, and the secondary has been especially good with six interceptions and only one touchdown pass allowed. Oddly, the Bills’ most impressive defensive performance came in their only loss – a 9-3 defeat at Carolina in Week 2. The offense has left something to be desired, but quarterback Tyrod Taylor has been efficient and taken care of the ball, throwing five touchdown passes and just one interception.
ABOUT THE BENGALS (1-3): Cincinnati’s offense has been much better in two games since Bill Lazor took over as offensive coordinator, and quarterback Andy Dalton, in particular, has looked more comfortable. Dalton was 25-of-30 for 286 yards and four touchdowns against the Browns, but the ground game continues to struggle as the Bengals have topped 100 yards rushing only once. The defense has been excellent, though, ranking third in scoring defense and total defense while being especially tough against the pass.
1. Bengals TE Tyler Kroft set career highs for receptions (six), receiving yards (68) and touchdowns (two) last week.
2. Cincinnati’s Geno Atkins leads NFL defensive tackles with three sacks and has recorded 4 1/2 in his last four home games.
3. Bills K Stephen Hauschka has made three field goals of 55 yards or longer this season - tying him for the second-most in NFL history behind Detroit’s Matt Prater, who has made four such kicks this season.
PREDICTION: Bengals 20, Bills 17