The two teams have been rigorously preparing for the contest throughout the past week. Buffalo and Cincinnati will think they know their upcoming opponent inside and out after all the practicing and studying they have put in.
Because of that, despite all the off-field talking, speculation and preparations, it will still be the games, within the game, that will make all the difference when it comes to the final outcome of this upcoming weekend.
With that, here are three key matchups to watch during Sunday’s Bills-Bengals matchup:
OL Dion Dawkins vs. DE Trey Hendrickson
Since the Bengals’ emergence as an elite team in the AFC, it’s really been all about their offense. The defense isn’t that strong… but Hendrickson is not someone to play around with.
He leads Cincinnati with eight sacks, more than double anyone else, and is far-and-away their best defender according to Pro Football Focus. His 90.0 mark so far this season is the eighth best of any edge defender in the NFL.
Dion Dawkins will be tasked with protecting quarterback Josh Allen’s blind side, as usual. He’s PFF’s No. 14 offensive tackle at a grade of 76.2 overall.
CB Rasul Douglas vs. WR Ja'Marr Chase
The Bills hinted at Douglas potentially being tossed right into the fire against the Bengals even though he just joined the team. That’s probably because of how talented their wide receiver group is.
You won’t find many than Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, and Ja’Marr Chase–With Chase being at the top of the depth chart. Any opportunity to slow him down has to be taken, and Buffalo’s best chance of doing so might be with Douglas. He’s PFF’s 17th best cornerback in the league currently.
DT Linval Joseph vs. OL Ted Karras
Likewise, Joseph could be tossed into the deep end of the Bills defense.
However, he’s one to watch for a different reason.
As a nose tackle, he’s going to try and take up space against Karras and the rest of the Bengals offensive line. If Joseph is successful, the already dominating defensive line the Bills have had this season with Ed Oliver, Greg Rousseau & Co. could roll through the Cincy offense.