Buffalo Bills (3-2-0) vs Cincinnati Bengals (5-0-0)
October 18th, 2015
Ralph Wilson Stadium – Capacity: 71,857
Orchard Park, NY
Kickoff: 1pm EST
Outlook: The undefeated Cincinnati Bengals come into Orchard Park, New York as a three point favorite over the Buffalo Bills. This is not your same Bengals squad we have all seen the past couple of years where they do perform very well during the regular season and then lay an egg in the first round of the playoffs. Just last week, they defeated the Seattle Seahawks at home in overtime, after they were down 17 points heading into the final quarter.
The Bills are forced to start third year quarterback EJ Manuel in place of Tyrod Taylor due to injury. Manuel saw some garbage time against the Dolphins, and handed the ball off one time against Tennessee when Taylor came out for an injury. In the preseason, Manuel showed up throwing the first couple of touchdowns before the other two quarterbacks (Taylor and former Bill Matt Cassel). NFL guru’s say the third season is the pivotal year for a NFL quarterback. In what may be a short sample for EJ, it is time for him to shine.
There are many topics to talk about. EJ getting his first start in over a year, Watkins demanding more targets, and how ready is McCoy to play? As mentioned earlier, Manuel did play well during the preseason, throwing the ball efficiently. Lets not forget either, that Manuel has had some impressive wins in his short career. The one that sticks out the most is their comeback win against the Carolina Panthers at home where he connected with Watkins late for the game winner. In regards to the wide receivers comments, he does need more looks. The Bills traded a first round pick for him and if they are not going to utilize him, then what is the point? Are they just going to use him as a decoy for his teammates? That’s not why management made that move. McCoy has not played since week three down in Miami where he only had 11 carries for 16 yards. The former Pitt Panther made it pretty clear that he would not come back unless he was 100%. Here is to hoping that he is.
Injury report: Out for the Bills today are rookie running back Karlos Williams, and special teams super star Marcus Easley. Tyron Taylor is labeled as questionable, but we already know that EJ has been named the starter. Wide receivers Sammy Watkins and Percy Harvin are also listed as questionable. First year Bills running back LeSean McCoy is listed as a probable. According to NFL Network analyst, Albert Breer reports that McCoy and Watkins will play today.
Shady McCoy and Sammy Watkins are good to go for the Bills today, outlook on Percy Harvin is less optimistic.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) October 18, 2015
The Bengals are a lot healthier than their opponent as corner back Leon Hall is the only player listed as questionable. Adam “Pacman” Jones, Dre Kirkpatrick, and Brandon Tate fully participated in practice and are listed as probable.
Wolf’s Keys To The Game
For the Bills:
- Contain the Bengals running game who are averaging 124 ypg
- EJ needs to make plays when called for
- Put pressure on Andy Dalton who gets the ball out quickly
- Just like last week, discipline
For the Bengals
- Force EJ Manuel to make big plays
- Rush the ball effectively to open up the passing game for AJ Green
- Can Kirkpatrick keep Watkins in lock
Prediction: Bills 27 – Bengals 21