Our old friend T.O. is about to get a visit when the Bills come to the new town he calls home this season, Cincinnati. It's a matchup that has a lot on the line for both teams, mostly in terms of pride. The Bengals will be anxious to break their nine-game losing streak versus the Bills; but the Bills are riding high on last week's first win and will be eager to prove it wasn't a one-time thing.
Both teams have an equal shot (Bills are 1-8, Bengals are 2-7), with weapons in similar corners: Terrell and Ochocinco are reliable receivers for Cincy, while my Lee and Stevie Johnson get the job done for the Bills. Freddy Jackson is our force on the ground, while Cedric Benson is the leading rusher for the Bengals. Ryan Fitzpatrick isn't afraid to throw the ball and has numbers pretty similar to Carson Palmer, considering Fitz wasn't starting QB for the first two weeks. Match ups between WRs and safeties look very much alike on both sides.
So how does it all break down?
-Terrell's season is shaping up to be a career one, with him ranked third in the NFL for receiving yards (834 so far) and tied for fourth in touchdowns (seven). Seems like he's desperate to show everyone that last season's off performance with the Bills was just that--off. He's approaching this meeting of the exes like a stand up guy, just like we talked about, praising Fitz for his work and not spouting off at the mouth about putting on a show. Good manners, buddy. Ochocinco always poses a potential threat, but he hasn't been having the greatest season and with him nursing his shoulder this week, T.Ocho might be a non-issue.
-The Bills have their own dynamic duo at receiver, with Stevie Johnson and my Lee. Stevie is a favorite Fitz target and needs only six receptions to record his first career 50-reception season. Lee will most likely have Leon Hall--Cincy's leader in interceptions--all over him. Don't underestimate him, though. Making the tough catches are his specialty.
-Cedric Benson would have been a scary force for Buffalo's struggling run D. But, the Bengals' powerhouse RB has been limited at practice with a foot injury.
-Our running corps is solid, even without CJ Spiller, who will sit out with a hamstring injury. Freddy J is perfectly capable of handling his ish on the ground and is only 47 yards away from 1,000 career receiving yards. Talk about a Freddy of all trades. Leodis McKelvin will take over return duties for Spiller, which won't be much of a downgrade at all.
-Carson Palmer has been throwing more passes to the opposing team than his own team, of late, shooting three interceptions last week and up to 11 on the season. While it may not seem like it'll be too difficult to handle Buffalo's defense lacking in interceptions this season, the Bills are hungry to recreate the turnover fest from last year, so it might be the game for George Wilson and Donte Whitner to hold on to their batted passes.
-Fitz had a low yardage game last week against Detroit, throwing less than 200 but with no interceptions. But, Cincy has a pass rush rated second to last in the league, so he should have adequate time to set up and get shots off. He's only 251 yards away from 6,000 on his career, and he might have a good chance of reaching and/or breaking that mark with previous games of close to or over 300 passing yards. The O-line better be ready to step up. A good way to get that done is to avoid their favorite activity, false starts/encroachment. You hear me, Bell?