Week 17 NFL: Previewing the Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals matchup

December 27, 2022 04:23 PM

Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals

Three quarterbacks in the AFC are playing at an elite level — Josh Allen, Joe Burrow and Patrick Mahomes — and two will square off Monday night in Cincinnati with the conference’s No. 1 seed still up for grabs. Burrow and the Bengals, 12-1 ATS in their past 13 games, bring in a seven-game winning streak yet are home underdogs to Allen and the Bills. Cincinnati, which beat Mahomes and the Chiefs 27-24 on Dec. 4, is within striking distance of the top seed and also could fall as far as the No. 6 spot in a worst-case scenario.

Buffalo won its sixth straight game and clinched its third consecutive AFC East title by beating the Bears 35-13 in Chicago. In high winds and with a banged-up offensive line, the Bills rushed for a season-high 254 yards, led by Devin Singletary with 106. Cincinnati has the seventh-best run defense (106.4 yards per game) in the league. Allen, who threw two interceptions against the Bears, has not been great on the road with 15 touchdown passes and eight picks. Buffalo can secure the top seed by beating the Bengals and Patriots in its final two games.

The Bengals will probably need Burrow’s arm to carry the offense because the Bills rank No. 4 in run defense (104.4 ypg). Cincinnati also needs to put two good halves together, something that did not happen during its two-game road trip to Tampa Bay and New England. The Bengals fell behind the Buccaneers 17-0 before rallying to win and nearly squandered a 22-0 lead against the Patriots before holding on to win 22-18. Burrow finished 40-for-52 for 375 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions at New England, but the Bengals were limited to 73 rushing yards on 24 attempts and their ground attack figures to stall again in this matchup against Buffalo.

Allen or Burrow? Take your pick. This looks like a pick-’em game. DraftKings lists the Bills as 1.5-point favorites, a small number that’s not a major sign of disrespect to the Bengals, although some handicappers will argue the wrong team is favored. The line does present an attractive teaser opportunity on Cincinnati +7.5.

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