By the time a team makes it to the Divisional round of the NFL postseason, it’s destined to be a tough test.
As is the case for the Buffalo Bills, particularly their defense. In that playoff matchup for the Bills which is upcoming, their opponent is one of the most talented offenses in the league, the Cincinnati Bengals.
Buffalo and Cincinnati have only briefly played against one another with their current rosters. Since the Josh Allen and Joe Burrow quarterback eras for the Bills and Bengals, respectively, have began, the two haven’t faced off. The only time was the canceled game due to Damar Hamlin’s injury in Week 17.
However, those few snaps Buffalo played in Cincinnati told them what many expected: the Bengals are good.
The Bills defense, players and coaches both included, know they’re going to have a challenge ahead.
“Their skill is off the charts,” Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott said via video conference. “(Burrow) is an elite quarterback for good reason. Then the skill that they have with the receivers, tight ends, the backs, it’s as skilled as there is in this league.”
Jordan Poyer said even in eight snaps played against the Bengals before the contest was called off, it showed their true colors. The Bills safety did acknowledge there were a few things he learned from those plays, namely the trust Cincinnati has on offense between one another.
“I think you can pick some stuff here and there,” Poyer said via video conference. “They’re feeling the same way.”
“I just think (Burrow) has a very good command of that offense,” Poyer added. “He has a lot of trust in his receivers. One of the top receiving cores in the NFL. He has a very good understanding of what he sees.”
The Bills are going to have to rely on Poyer’s experience in the secondary to help guide them past the Bengals. Poyer cannot be everywhere, though.
Buffalo is going to have to lean on some backups and youthful players due to injury, Kaiir Elam’s name is near the top of that list.
“Every week I think there’s a different type of skill set and different type of matchup that different teams bring to the table,” Elam told reporters. “Ja’Marr, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd and the rest of the receivers they have, Hayden Hurst, they are very good at what they do. I think it’s really on us to lock in and execute on all cylinders on defense to get us the win.”
Considering Tre’Davious White is going to be on the field along with Elam, there could be a Sunday ahead where Elam is busy.
Elam does have a bit of a confidence in his pocket, at least.
In his first-career playoff game last week, Elam notched an interception. It was one that was game changing as the Bills scored right after he picked off Miami Dolphins quarterback Skyler Thompson. They never trailed again against Miami.
“Yeah, I think the crowd really erupted and it brought us some life,” Elam said.
That bit of a jolt Elam and the Bills got from his interception could prove to be a push so far in the right direction, it helps them beat the Bengals. Confidence and the mental game will be just as important as the physical one against such a team.
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