Josh Allen to start Sunday's preseason game, but A.J. McCarron should return soon

Yahoo Sports

The Buffalo Bills are going with first-round pick Josh Allen as their starter in the team’s third preseason game which is on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. The team announced the news Monday.

Josh Allen’s preseason start could lead to Week 1 start

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The move sets up Allen to start Week 1 of the regular season for the Bills. The third week of the preseason is often considered a dress rehearsal for the regular season. Starters tend to play at least two quarters. Some teams extend starters into the second half. The fact that the Bills are going with Allen suggests he’s the favorite to open the regular season as their starter, though A.J. McCarron could still factor into that decision.

Josh Allen will start the third preseason game for the Bills. In two preseason games, he has gone 18-for-32 for 176 passing yards and two touchdowns. (AP)
Josh Allen will start the third preseason game for the Bills. In two preseason games, he has gone 18-for-32 for 176 passing yards and two touchdowns. (AP)

Allen could change their mind if he turns in a disastrous outing, but the start indicates he has the inside track for the No. 1 spot on the depth chart.

The Bills don’t have another strong option for Week 1

While Allen is considered a raw prospect, the Bills don’t have many other strong options to start ahead of him. McCarron was expected to give Allen a run for the job, but he injured his collarbone during the team’s second preseason game.

That injury doesn’t appear as serious as expected. McCarron reportedly did not break his collarbone, and could return to practice soon. That could throw a wrench into Allen getting the Week 1 start. ESPN’s Adam Schefter says McCarron will return to practice soon.

Nathan Peterman is the team’s third option. Peterman was a fifth-round pick for the team in 2017, and doesn’t have the same pedigree as Allen. In four games last season, Peterman threw for two touchdowns and five interceptions.

Risky move for Bills

If McCarron struggles upon returning, Allen might be the logical option to start. That decision comes with plenty of risks. As our own Frank Schwab explained, Allen was not considered an NFL-ready quarterback coming out of the draft. Not only that, but the Bills aren’t exactly expected to light up the scoreboard on offense, which could make it harder for Allen to excel.

The third preseason game might be the deciding factor for the team. There will be growing pains with Allen, but if he performs well with extended playing time, the club could opt for his upside even if McCarron proves to be fully healthy.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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