Cincinnati Bengals vs. Buffalo Bills
Two team who drafted near the top last season and are looking to turn things around meet as the Cincinnati Bengals host the Buffalo Bills. The Bills are -3 point favorites over the Bengals with an over/under point total set at 44.
In the early going the Cincinnati Bengals are playing hard but they have come up short twice and face a pivotal game in week four. Marvin Lewis’ Bengals may be a little better off than many thought but this is still a team with holes that need filling. At QB rookie Andy Dalton’s on the job training is going better than anyone could have expected as he’s completed 61.4 percent of his passes for 570 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions while being sacked six times. Cedric Benson has been handling the running game averaging 4.2 yards per carry but he faces a possible three game suspension and his status is seemingly always up in the air. First round draft choice A.J. Green has been all he was billed to be with 15 catches and two touchdowns and tight end Jermaine Gresham is emerging as a talent with 12 grabs. Defensively the Bengals have sacked opposing QB’s nine times and they have recovered six fumbles and have one interception for a plus one turnover difference. Reggie Nelson leads Cincinnati is tackles with 23 followed by Rey Maualuga and Thomas Howard with 21. If the Bengals can continue to play hard on defense they will continue to at least stay in games.
The Buffalo Bills are one of the more surprising teams early in the NFL season but they key word here is early as there is still plenty of football to be played. Ryan Fitzpatrick has developed into a solid QB as he has completed 64.9 percent of his passes for 841 yards with nine touchdowns and three interceptions while being sacked seven times. Running back Fred Jackson has been exceptional averaging 6.4 yards per carry and scoring three touchdowns. Steve Johnson and David nelson each have 20 catches with three of Johnson’s going for touchdowns. The biggest difference for the Bills this year has been their defense who has six interceptions and three fumble recoveries for a plus five turnover differential. Nick Barnett leads Buffalo in tackles with 29, Jarius Byrd has 27, and George Wilson has 24. While the Bills are 3-0 and have looked impressive can they maintain this pace all season.
Cincinnati is 5-0 against the spread in their last five games against AFC teams, 7-2 against the spread in their last nine games as a home underdog, and 4-9 in their last 13 home games. Buffalo is 3-0-1 against the spread in their last four games as a road favorite, 8-3 against the spread in their last 11 games against AFC teams, and 7-3-1 against the spread in their last 11 road games against a team with a losing home record. The road team is 4-1 against the spread in the last five meetings of these two.
We have two teams who rely on their defenses and while Buffalo’s offense has put up some numbers, it’s their plus five turnover differential which has been the difference maker for them. The Bengals’ Head Coach Marvin Lewis is a defensive coach and his defense looks better than it has in a few years. I see this one as a grind it out game played primarily between the 20’s and I see it coming in under the total.