There is still a lot on the line for Monday night's Bills vs. Bengals matchup. Each team can still claim the AFC's top seed and a bye in the first round of the playoffs. With a win, the Bengals can also clinch the AFC North division title.
These teams haven’t met with Josh Allen and Joe Burrow under center. Bengals' defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo has the team playing much better in the second half of games. In the first half, they allow 4.6 yards per carry and 7.2 yards per passing attempt, but they allow 3.8 yards per carry and 6.8 yards per attempt in the second half.
The Bills' defense recently put on a show holding three of their four opponents to 13 points or less. These defenses will have a big test ahead of them tonight with two of the top quarterbacks in the league.
If you haven’t already checked it out, we have Rostership Data for FREE, which can be found in the link below!
Vegas Line: Bills -1.5
Over Under: 49.5
IR: DB Christian Benford, WR Jamison Crowder, S Micah Hyde, LB Von Miller.
QUESTIONABLE: S Jordan Poyer
IR: CB Chidobe Aquzie, OT La’el Collins, TE Drew Sample
QUESTIONABLE: DE Sam Hubbard
Data to Know Provided by Sports Info Solutions
Bills Pass Offense vs. Bengals
- The Bengals have mixed up coverages against the AFC's best teams. Against the Chiefs, they ran a lot of Cover 1 and Cover 0. Against the Dolphins, they ran a lot of Cover 2 and Cover 4.
- This season, Allen averages 7.5 yards per attempt, a 5.97% pass touchdown rate and a 2.43% interception rate.
- Allen’s highest interception rate comes from Cover 2 and Cover 1.
- I expect the Bengals to prioritize those coverages while mixing in Cover 4.
- Stefon Diggs against Cover 2, Cover 1 or Cover 4 has 412 more yards receiving than the second-highest total.
- Gabe Davis averages less than a yard per route against those three coverages and gets targeted at a low rate.
- Dawson Knox has had a more than 19% target share in three straight weeks, but the Bengals have only allowed three receiving touchdowns to tight ends this season.
- The Bengals have given up the sixth most fantasy points to wide receivers in the slot position but have been a top-five team at defending out wide receivers.
- Diggs and Isaiah McKenzie are the primary slot receivers for the Bills.
- Vertical routes from the slot have been the primary area where the Bengals coverage gets beat, and Diggs and McKenzie have more than 100 of those routes this season.
- Davis aligns in the slot at less than a 20% rate, but he's been effective when lined up there.
Bills Rush Offense vs. Bengals
- The Bills' backfield features three running backs, with Allen leading the goal line work.
- Nick Chubb is the main player who has found success running against the Bengals, and it was off of a zone-blocking scheme.
- Devin Singletary averages 4.3 yards per carry in a zone-blocking scheme, while James Cook averages 5.9 yards per carry.
- The Bills have a +13 advantage according to our Trenches Tool, but the Bengals have been a stout run defense, only giving up 3.9 yards per carry.
- Nyheim Hines does not see much work, but when he runs routes, he will get targeted.
Bengals Pass Offense vs. Bills
- The Bills' defense wants to run Cover 2, Cover 3 and Cover 4, but with how poorly they have defended the run, they could end up in Cover 1.
- Burrow averages 7.6 yards per attempt, a 6.01% pass touchdown rate and a 2.14% interception rate.
- Burrow’s highest interception rates come against Cover 2 and Cover 4.
- Against Cover 2, Cover 3 or Cover 4, Tee Higgins averages more yards per route than Ja’Marr Chase, but Chase has the higher target share.
- The Bills will want to avoid getting into Cover 1 or Cover 3 coverage because that’s where Chase and Higgins are most explosive.
- Chase and Higgins average more than 2.75 yards per route against those coverages. Among players with 100 routes against them, they are one of two duos in the top 15.
- The Bills have given up the sixth most touchdowns to wide receivers but have yet to give up a touchdown to the tight end position.
- Tyler Boyd hasn’t been a big factor for the offense recently and has lost some work to Trenton Irwin.
- The Bills have given up the eighth most fantasy points to out wide receivers, and Higgins and Chase will play on the outside.
- The key in this game is the Bills' pass rush vs. the Bengals’ offensive line without La’el Collins, who is on injured reserve.
- Burrow is one of the best QBs when pressured, but is not as efficient when he is kept clean.
- The Trenches Tool gives the advantage to the Bills. Even without Von Miller, they rank 13th in the NFL in pressure rate since Week 13.
- Hayden Hurst returns to the lineup, but I think they will need an extra blocker and not the extra pass catcher.
Bengals Rush Offense vs. Bills
- Joe Mixon will be the workhorse in this game with Samaje Perine being the main backup.
- The Bills can get beat on the ground. So, if the Bengals run the ball effectively they will get single high coverage to allow Chase and Higgins to thrive.
- With Burrow, the Bengals have lost one game in which Mixon has had more than 80 yards rushing.
- Since Miller got hurt, the Bills have allowed 4.8 yards per carry and two running backs have had more than 70 yards rushing in a game.
The key for the Bengals' offense will be Mixon and getting the Bills into single-high coverage. If they can run the ball effectively, their outside weapons will have room for explosive plays. If they cannot do that, it will be difficult to have those big plays, and I could see drives stalling out in the red zone.
With the way the Bills get beat outside, this game bodes well for Higgins on the sidelines more than it does for Chase underneath. Boyd hasn’t played to his standards in recent weeks, and I believe he rotates with Irwin in this game. The tight ends need to be kept in to help protect Burrow in the passing game, and I don’t expect the Bills to give up their first touchdown of the year to that position.
The key for the Bills is the second-half adjustments and countering what Anarumo will throw at them. They must be a disciplined group and take what the defense is giving them and not force anything down the field. The slot position will be where attack, and it will be about getting depth in that field to attack their split safeties.
McKenzie is the key for the Bills because if he can make plays as he did against Detroit or the first game against Miami, they will have no problem keeping pace in a shootout. The run game will be difficult to predict, but I like the upside of Cook with the explosive runs and ability as a wide receiver.
- QB Josh Allen
- WR Ja’Marr Chase
- WR Stefon Diggs
- WR Tee Higgins
- RB Joe Mixon
- WR Isaiah McKenzie
- QB Joe Burrow
- RB Devin Singletary
- WR Gabriel Davis
- RB James Cook
- TE Dawson Knox
- WR Trenton Irwin
- K Tyler Bass
- K Evan McPherson
- DST Bills
- DST Bengals
- TE Hayden Hurst