The Bengals were a surprise week one winner at Cleveland, hung tough but lost in week two at Denver, and then laid an egg last week in their home opener vs the 49ers at home.
Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium the team will look to get to 2-2 on the season as they take on the Buffalo Bills. Yes, those Bills, who are 3-0 and riding high after beating the Patriots at home last week.
Andy Dalton and the Bengals offense last week looked terrible vs the Niners, as they were held to just a season-low 228 yards, as they lost 13-8.
The fans also seem to be off the team as well, as it was the Bengals smallest crowd for a home opener in 30 years, showing the low fan support so far in 2011.
Dalton had his first poor performance last week, throwing his first two interceptions in the fourth quarter. He had passer ratings above 100 in his first two starts, but went 17 of 32 for 157 yards and a rating of 40.8 against the 49ers.
Last week the Bills played a lot of takeaway against the Pats, picking off Tom Brady four times, and taking one back for a pick six. If the Bengals are going to hang, they can’t have turnovers or allow the Bills and their offense with Ryan Fitzpatrick to have short fields.
The past two weeks at home the Bills came back from huge deficits, 21-3 and 21-0, only to find a way to win. That means no matter the score if they are ahead, the Bengals have to play four full quarters, as the Bills have shown great comeback ability already in 2011.
The Bills offense has regularly shredded Cincinnati, scoring at least 30 points in each of the last four meetings and in seven of nine.
The Bills are using the same formula for success this year, leading the league in scoring at 37.7 points. Their 113 points are a franchise record over a three-game stretch.
Similar to the norm this season, Buffalo also needed to overcome a significant deficit to beat the Bengals last season. In a 49-31 win at Cincinnati on November 21st, the Bills rallied from 21 down and scored 35 unanswered second-half points.
It will have to be a big day for Cedric Benson and the Bengals ground game if they want to top the Bills. It holds the ball and keeps Fitzpatrick and company off the field.
Dalton also needs to get the ball downfield, look for him to take some early shots to rookie A.J. Green, and also he needs to play it safe if things are covered and not have sloppy turnovers.
This is gonna be a tough game for the Bengals, who seem to have had their confidence shaken after back to back losses. The Niners loss opened some eyes, in showing this team still has a long way to go.
Look for the Bills with Fred Jackson and the passing game of Fitzpatrick, to be able to put up points, and they will try with success to turn this into a shootout. The Bills are the better team, and will show it Sunday with a big win in Cincy. Buffalo 31 Cincinnati 20