Blake’s Breakdown: Bills vs. Bengals in Week 4

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Updated: September 29, 2011
Spiller Vs Bengals

Alright, let me start off by explaining myself for my ridiculous prediction during Tuesday’s Podcast. I am confident that Buffalo handles the Bengals with ease and beats them by a large margin… but I’ll admit, I may have gotten a little too optimistic there predicting a 41-7 Bill’s victory. So allow me start over, clean slate, and following the end of this week’s breakdown, I’ll have a more “accurate” prediction.

The more I study and analyze this Bengals team, the more confident I am that Buffalo leaves Cincinnati as 4-0.  So let’s get right into this Week’s installment of Blake’s Breakdown and see what the Bills are really up against here in Week 4.

The Bengals Offense:

I’m sure everyone is aware of the current quarterback situation in Cincinnati. Rookie Andy Dalton out of TCU is the leader of the pack there. While he is making his fair share of rookie mistakes, he is turning heads by showing good signs of progress and potential to be a long-term solution and replacement for the M.I.A. Carson Palmer.

However, is this rookie quarterback going to be able to compete with Ryan Fitzpatrick and the #1 scoring offense in the NFL? Not likely. Andy Dalton and the Bengals Offense are averaging a measly 19 points per game (24th in the NFL), and 301 total offensive yards per game (25th in the NFL). Meanwhile, Ryan Fitzpatrick and the high-octane Bills offense is averaging 37.7 points per game (1st in the NFL) and a shocking 431 total offensive yards per game (3rd in the NFL).

Stats aside, let’s quickly review the “stars” of this Bengals offense. Rookie AJ Green is also showing promise, and has made some incredible plays lately. Andy Dalton will be looking to connect with him throughout this game. This will provide a good challenge for the Bill’s top 2 defensive backs in Drayton Florence and Leodis McKelvin.

As for the Bengals running-attack, Cedric Benson is the main ball carrier. With his recent appeal to his current legal issues, it seems that his NFL suspension will be postponed for yet another week and he will indeed suit up in week 4. Cedric is averaging a decent 4.6 yards per carry this season… not quite comparable to Fred Jackson’s 6.4 yards per carry, but certainly not terrible numbers. Benson did have a good game in week one against a sub-par Browns defense. Rushing for an impressive 121 yards on 25 carries and 1 TD, it sure looked like Cedric was going to have a productive season. However, the following weeks he only averaged 3.7 yards per carry against Denver and 3.8 yards per carry against San Francisco, and no touchdowns. Will the recent legal issues with Benson provide a distraction for him in this week’s game? I sure hope not, because one thing is for sure, the Bills defense excels in stopping the run; if they do so early, it’s going to be an ugly day for Bengals fans as they watch their rookie QB try to play catch-up with Ryan Fitzpatrick.

On top of all that, with the Bengals Offensive Line performing poorly and allowing 7 sacks already this season, this could be the week we see a couple sacks from Shawne Merriman and the Bills pass rush. All in all, there’s a strong possibility that this Bengals Offense is worse than the Chiefs offense we witnessed in week 1. Not to mention the Chiefs actually have a veteran quarterback in Matt Cassel who is a proven winner, along with two pro-bowl talents Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe. Where’s the experienced talent in this Bengals Offense? Maybe with Cedric Benson… but I’m not seeing it.

The Bengals Defense:

The Bengals D is exceeding expectations and is currently ranked #3 in the NFL. However, how accurate are these rankings? Obviously it is still quite early in the season, and let’s be honest,  do the offenses of the 49ers, Browns and Broncos (all teams Cincinati have faced so far)  really provide a tough challenge for a Defense? Is it safe to say that if these three teams were the Bills first opponents that they wouldn’t be ranked in the top 5 defenses in the league? Sure, it is early in the season and those teams could turn out to have a decent offense towards midseason… but I wouldn’ t bet my money on it.

I am going to give credit where it’s due, and what stands out to me about this defensive unit is their front seven. My hat goes off to this unit, because unlike the Bills, they have had a consistent pass rush this season. With 9 sacks and allowing an average of only 18 points a game, on paper this Defense looks pretty solid. The argument of their strength of schedule definitely provides question marks with these stats, regardless they are still impressive. Leon hall is a seasoned defensive back with a lot of skill and Ray Maualuga seems to be progressing into a solid middle linebacker and is certainly a good leader for the Bengals Defense.

Ryan Fitzpatrick stated that this may be the best defense they have faced so far, and will provide yet another great challenge for his offense to overcome. I’ll have to agree with that statement.

Some Quick Facts to Consider:

- Last week in the Bengals home opener they had an attendance of a measly 43,000 fans and scored only 8 points.

- Buffalo has beaten Cincinnati in their last 10 meetings.

- Bills head coach Chan Gailey along with many Bills players have stated this week in interviews that in no way is this trap game. There is not a chance they look past the Bengals because of their record and recent performances.

My Prediction: 

Well here it is, my revised prediction. Buffalo Wins 32-13.

It is important for the Bills to score early in this game and force Andy Dalton to play catch-up. In doing so, we will most likely see a few Bengals turnovers. Buffalo must not beat themselves with turnovers or costly penalties, and needs to focus on stopping the Bengals run game early. If they can establish a balanced offensive attack between running Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller, their passing attack should see similar progress like the past 3 weeks. If all this plays out like it should, Buffalo walks away with an easy win, improving their record to 4-0.