Sunday’s AFC divisional-round game is a near rematch between the Cincinnati Bengals (regular-season 12-4) and the Buffalo Bills (regular-season 13-3). They were playing Week 17 in Cincinnati, but after Bills’ safety Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest during the first quarter, the play was halted, and the game was eventually canceled, too.
Neither was prominent in the wild-card round, but each drew a team in their division, making it a more challenging game. Cincinnati defeated the Baltimore Ravens 24-17, needing a 98-yard fumble recovery/touchdown to ensure a ninth win in a row. Buffalo sloppily held off the Miami Dolphins, 34-31, its eighth consecutive win.
Bengals vs Bills Betting Lines
Bengals Grind it Out
It took a miraculous play by Logan Wilson, to force a fumble by Ravens’ quarterback Tyler Huntley at the goal line. It was corralled by Sam Hubbard, who had wide-open (artificial)
grass in front of him. That was early in the fourth quarter, game-changer and a 14 -point swing.
Cincy’s defense also had an interception on the Ravens’ opening drive that turned into six points. Creating turnovers has been a huge part of the Bengals‘ nine straight wins. Seven of the games featured an opposition turnover, a total of 16. They surrendered 364 yards to Baltimore.
The biggest concern may be the offense after last week, with a line already down two starters in La’el Collins (IR) and Alex Cappa (week-to-week, injured ankle). Against the Ravens, Jonah Williams suffered a dislocated kneecap. He didn’t practice early in the week. Cincinnati’s ground game is not intimidating (95 yards per game, just 51 last week).
The main problem with the offense is protecting quarterback Joe Burrow. In last season’s NFL Divisional Round Playoffs win against the Tennessee Titans, Burrow was sacked nine times. He will be under a lot of pressure again. He struggled last week, needing 32 passing attempts to get 209 yards. He was sacked four times by the Ravens
Bills’ Mistakes Against Miami
Buffalo was seemingly on its way to blowing out the Miami Dolphins last week. Three of their first four drives resulted in points, and the Dolphins had 11 plays on three possessions, including an interception. Then, a kickoff out of bounds led to the first Miami points. It was the first of many mistakes by Buffalo, as the Bills’ next three drives resulted in an interception, three-and-out and interception, while the Dolphins eventually tied the game at 17.
Quarterback Josh Allen has been prone to misguided mistakes this season (14 interceptions, two in a game a half-dozen times). He finished with 352 yards (three touchdowns), improving after halftime. His two primary receivers, Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis had a combined 13 receptions (227 yards).
Buffalo did dominate the basic team stats, with nine more first downs and out-gaining the Dolphins by nearly 200 yards. However, the three turnovers nearly changed the game. One was a fumble (one of seven times Allen was sacked) in which the Dolphins scored a touchdown. Those mistakes allowed the Dolphins to stay in the game with a third-string quarterback. Against the Bengals, Buffalo won’t have that sort of leeway.
The defense did get four sacks, forcing two interceptions. They surrendered 24 points (of Miami’s 31 points) after owning the second-best scoring unit during the regular season. This was against an offense with an understudy quarterback and dropped passes.
Bengals vs Bills Game Injuries
Bengals vs Bills Head-to-Head
Burrow and Allen have never played against one another, the Week 17 game would’ve been the first. The last time the teams played was in 2019 in Buffalo. The Bills won by a score of 21-17.
Bengals vs Bills Game Information
- Game: Bengals vs Bills
- Date/Time: Sunday, Jan. 22nd, 3:00 p.m. ET
- Location: Highmark Stadium, Orchard Park, NY
- How to Watch Bengals vs Bills? CBS
Bengals vs Bills Live stream: NFL Game Pass
Bengals vs Bills Game Weather Conditions
There’s an 80% chance of snow during the day, 70% at night. With the game starting in mid-afternoon, there may be 1-3 inches. Expect a high temperature right around freezing.
Bengals vs Bills Picks and Prediction
Predicted score: Bills 27, Bengals 24
- Worth the Moneyline?
With how the first-round games played out in Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo, this is incredibly challenging to NFL picks. Buffalo is logically favored but must play mistake-free football to beat the Bengals. Cincinnati did show its weaknesses on offense last week, and with the condition of the offensive line, there is cause for alarm here.
- Worth the ATS?
Whichever way this game plays out, there’s little chance of it being lopsided. That’s why the Bengal’s +5 makes sense. Thus, if they prevail outright or lose by a field goal, you’re a winner.
- Worth the Totals?
There are solid defenses on both sides. The Bills are second in scoring, and the Bengals are sixth. The weather may play a factor. However, both teams feature two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. That means sufficient scoring to hit the (49-point) over.
The odds and predictions in the article are based on the time of writing and publication. They may differ as to when the actual event takes place.