Bills vs. Bengals Preview and Prediction

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Bills vs. Bengals Preview and Prediction: Joe Burrow and Josh Allen Battle in Buffalo

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I figured that we would get a Bills vs. Bengals Part II in the postseason. Given the circumstances surrounding Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest in Week 17, Part I was (rightfully) canceled. So, is this really Part II? Either way, it’s Joe Burrow vs. Josh Allen, and it will be a thrilling matchup.

Before Hamlin went down, Joe Burrow was shredding the Bills defense up through the air. Of course, Alex Cappa and Jonah Williams being ruled out for Sunday’s game doesn’t bode well for Burrow.

Still, I think people forget what Burrow did last year with a shoddy offensive line. He took the Bengals to the Super Bowl, on the road twice, and beat Mahomes and the Chiefs at Arrowhead.

The Bengals and Bills both eked out victories in the Wild Card round, so neither set themselves apart from the other heading into this one.

What Time is the Bills vs. Bengals Game?

  • Date: Sunday, January 22, 2023
  • Time: 2:00 PM CT
  • Location: Highmark Stadium, Orchard Park

Who is Favored to Win the Bills vs. Bengals Game?

  • DraftKings Betting Line: Bills -5.5
  • Over-Under: 48.5

How to Watch the Bills vs. Bengals Game

  • TV: CBS (Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson)
  • Streaming: Paramount+ (Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson)
  • National Radio: Westwood One (Ian Eagle, Mike Mayock, Ross Tucker)

Bengals Path to Victory

Jackson Carman, Cordell Volson, Ted Karras, Max Scharping, and Hakeem Adeniji aren’t the ideal group in front of Joe Burrow.

But Joe Burrow is Joe Burrow. Remember that he’s 4-1 β€” and came within a drive of winning the Super Bowl β€” all with an offensive line filled with question marks in front of him. Yet, in last week’s Wild Card game against the Ravens, Burrow was under fire. Baltimore applied pressure on 25 percent of Burrow’s dropbacks.

Burrow adjusted, as he’s done in his short time in Cincinnati. On 16 of Burrow’s 32 attempts on Sunday, he got rid of the ball in less than two seconds. Of those 16 passes. He completed 13 of them for 7.25 yards per attempt. I’m not a mathematician, but that’ll move the chains.

Burrow’s elite ability to read and improvise makes him one of the best. It’s what will give Cincinnati a chance in any game. Look at this play, a completion to Hayden Hurst (originally ruled a touchdown and then overturned). Burrow reads zone coverage by Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen and kills the original play at the line:

Burrow sees Hurst wrapping behind Queen in front of the safety and delivers an anticipation throw on the money. All with Calais Campbell bearing down on him and in his line of sight downfield.

Burrow took it into the end zone himself after the play was overturned. Six points, and that’s why he’s elite.

But let’s rewind to the start of that drive when Burrow used his feet instead of his arm to improvise.

That quick thinking sparked a 12-play, 83-yard touchdown drive. That was also Jackson Carman’s first full series at left tackle in place of the injured Jonah Williams.

Bills Path to Victory

Despite the Bills reluctance to use Josh Allen in the running game these days, they would be wise to borrow from the Ravens. Baltimore gutted Cincinnati with the option last week and nearly beat the Bengals because of it.

With a second-string quarterback and one of the worst receiving corps in football, Baltimore used the option to perfection. They had a 57.6 percent success rate on option runs. Cincinnati wasn’t comfortable with it, and it showed.

Imagine the success Josh Allen and his receivers could have if they could get the Bengals on their heels like they were last week. Against Miami last week, the Bills called two option, or true QB rush plays. The first led to a 12-yard James Cook touchdown.

This is a perfect play call and read. Look at the left side. You’ve two v two with the wideouts going against two Miami corners in man coverage. Notice that Stefon Diggs is lined up on the opposite side.

That’s key because the help goes Diggs’ way, leaving green grass on the left side if they give it to Moss. Which they do after the read (circled in yellow) bites on Allen, giving Moss an easy runway to the end zone.

So, in short: I wouldn’t say I like the Bills matchup against Cincinnati’s defense straight up. But I do like the matchup for Buffalo if they are willing to dial a few more of these up.

Prediction

Despite the critical injuries on the offensive line, I think that the Bengals balanced defense will contain Josh Allen. I also believe that Joe Burrow can dice up the Bills secondary. With Von Miller being out, the Bills pass rush isn’t great. (Narrow) advantage, Bengals for my money.

Final Score: Bengals 31, Bills 27



Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is the Lead NFL Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.