Buffalo at Cincinnati
Time: NOON (CT)
Spread: CIN -3
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Cincinnati Bengals managed its first win of the season in Week 4, winning 31-7 over the Cleveland Browns. This week the Bengals find itself favorites as it hosts the Buffalo Bills. NFL oddsmakers set the line 3-points in favor of the Bengals with an over/under of 39.5 points. The game will air at Noon (CT) on CBS.
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Last week, Andy Dalton threw three of his four TD passes in the first half, as the Bengals rushed out to a 21-0 halftime lead. Dalton finished 25 of 30 for 286 yards, though he was sacked three times for 22-lost yards. Dalton rushed four times for a team-tying lead of 29 yards, and Joe Mixon had his struggles with just 29 yards on 17 carries. Tyler Kroft caught 6 of 7 targeted passes for 68 yards and two TD receptions, which was his career high for catches (6) and yardage, and TDs.
Giovani Bernard and A.J. Green caught for 67 and 63 yards, respectively, while also both scoring a TD. The Bengals for one week looked like a pass dominant strong offensive team, though the 86 total rushing yards are still something of a red flag, as well as the fact the Bengals did not muster one single rushing TD. Dalton can have big weeks, but with Mixon being so mediocre and the major contributor in the backfield, is there much hope that the Bengals eke out wins against (other) poor football teams? The Browns, after all, are 0-4 after that defeat.
Cincinnati has been better on offense since Bill Lazor took over as OC, and Dalton has been better large in part due to his play calling. The Bengals have rushed for 100-plus yards just once this season, though, and it will take still more excellent defense to stay in football games. The Bengals rank No. 3 in scoring defense and total defense and the pass coverage has been superb. That will come in handy against Buffalo this week.
Geno Atkins leads NFL defensive tackles with three sacks and has 4.5 in his last four home games. He should be a consistent pressure on both Taylor and McCoy for the Bills this week.
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The Bills have one of the best scoring defenses in the league, and its secondary is top-notch with six interceptions and only one TD-pass allowed. The Bills’ strongest defensive showing this season came in its 3-9 loss to Carolina in Week 2, but the offense really has to pick up for Buffalo. Tyrod Taylor has been good, and he has thrown five TD passes to just one pick.
Taylor has 744 yards on 65.7 percent passing, but he has incurred 3.0 sacks per game for a total loss of 58 yards on the season. LeSean McCoy has steadily declined since his days as an Eagle, but he leads the team in rushing with 216 yards on 68 attempts (3.2 yards-per-carry).
Taylor ranks No. 3 in rushing yardage, but he leads the team in yards-per-carry at 3.8. The Bills manage just 3.4 yards-per-carry as a team, and only McCoy has rushed for 20-yards or more on a play (three times). Charles Clay has been the top receiver with 72 percent of targeted passes caught for 227 yards and two TDs. He leads the team in first downs (10), and has three plays of 20-yards or greater.
McCoy is also functioning as a receiver, ranking No. 2 on the team in yardage with 163 on 21 catches, including eight first downs. He is still a dominant weapon, but just nowhere near the elite back he was during his prime.
Taylor has to be more prolific too in rushing the ball, to balance out the attack some, because his accuracy has been solid. Kicker Stephen Hauschka has made three field goals of 55-plus yards this season, which ties him for No. 2 in the NFL’s history behind only Matt Prater, who has four already this season.