Game 14: Bills vs. Bengals
This is the single biggest of game of the year for the Bills. Every game is a must win to keep their slim playoff hopes alive but this is the toughest one with the exception of the finale against Pittsburgh. The Bengals have been playing very good football and gave the World Champions all they can handle in New England last week. A much better showing than the Bills gave when they went to Foxboro. The Bills are one of the hottest team's in the league with four straight wins, six out of seven, and seven out of nine to climb above the .500 mark. The Bengals playoff hopes are all but gone and will be playing for pride and should give the Bills all they can handle. If the Bills want to be considered a playoff team they must win games like this.
FACTS AND FIGURES
||Buffalo (7-6) vs. Cincinnati (6-7)
||Paul Brown Stadium
||Ian Eagle and Solomon Wilcots
||Bills by 3
||Series tied 11-11 (Bills 0-2 in playoffs)
||Bills 22-16 in Buffalo (2003)
||Rush (16th); Pass (15th); overall (14th)
||Rush (28th); Pass (15th); overall (24th)
||Rush (15th); Pass (26th); overall (25th)
||Rush (4th); Pass (t-3rd); overall (3rd)
The Bills are a banged up unit that will be without Mark Campbell, Tim Euhus and Travis Henry once again. Trey Teague was banged up against Cleveland but should be ready to go. Mike Williams may return after missing last week's game with a knee injury.
The Bengals have one very big question mark. QB Carson Palmer left the Patriots game last week with a sprained knee. An MRI showed it is not that serious and he is day to day. He will likely be questionable for Sunday's game. If he can't go, Jon Kitna will get the start. Rookie RB Chris Perry is battling an abdomen injury. He was active against New England but did not play. DBs Deltha O'Neal and Rogers Beckett missed the Patriots game with ankle and neck injuries respectively.
Bills Daily Injury Page
LB Takeo Spikes vs. QB Carson Palmer:
If Palmer does play he will have to watch out for many players on the Bills defense but none more than Spikes who makes his return to Cincinnati and will be very fired up.
CBs Nate Clements and Terrence McGee vs. WRs Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh:
The Bengals have a formidable duo at wide receiver. This battle could be a classic and could decide the game. If the Bengals get some big pass plays the Bills will be in trouble.
WR Lee Evans vs. CB Deltha O'Neal or Keiwan Ratliff:
With O'Neal out last week, Ratliff got the start. If he does get the start again, it could be a big day for Evans. The rookie will need to exploit him or a banged up O'Neal.
DTs Pat Williams and Sam Adams vs. RB Rudi Johnson:
Johnson is also a huge threat for the Bengals offense. The big guys in the middle need to clog things up to make it harder for Johnson to get his yards and give the linebackers a chance to make plays.
RT Jonas Jennings vs. DE Duane Clemons:
Jennings will need to have another stellar start as Clemons leads the Bengals with 6½ sacks. Jennings has played very well this year and Clemons is another stud for him to face.
LT Mike Williams or Marcus Price vs. DE Justin Smith:
Clemons has help on the other side as Smith has six sacks. If Williams goes, he is banged up and will need help with Smith. Price is a super sub who always performs well, he will have to bring his A game if he plays.
QB Drew Bledsoe vs. CB Tory James:
The Bills need to avoid turnovers to get the win on the road. Bledsoe will have to be aware of James who is a ballhawk and leads the team with seven interceptions.
When The Bills Have The Ball: For the third week in a row the Bills take on a team ranked near the bottom in run defense. Look for the Bills to give a heavy dose of Willis McGahee to eat up clock and keep the high powered Bengals offense off the field. That will open up the play action passing game which could be successful against a pass defense that is in the middle of the pack.
When The Bengals Have The Ball: They will not be quaking in their boots at the prospects of facing the Bills defense. This is a high powered offensive team that is hitting on all cylinders at this point. They will likely mix in the run and pass pretty equally and try to get the ball in the hands of both Johnsons as often as possible.
BILLS DAILY PREDICTION
This should be an exciting game, two offenses that are playing well, two of the hotter teams in the league that are fighting for their playoff lives. It may come down to a big turnover late as these two teams are fairly evenly matched. This is the biggest test the Bills have had since their hot streak began two months ago (besides the trip to New England). For some reason I think the Bills bubble will burst in Cincinnati:
Bengals 28, Bills 24
Season Prediction Record: (10-3)
Season Record Against The Spread: (7-6)
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