Weekly Feature

2017-10-05 / Sports

Majority sees Buffalo enter bye week on win streak

Bills predictions

Well, this has been unexpected.

Pre-season “tanking” talk has turned to cautious optimism, as the Buffalo Bills have scored back-to-back quality wins versus Denver and Atlanta.

The reigning NFC champions were the latest offense to grind to an unceremonious halt against a Bills defense that still ranks No. 1 in the NFL in points against at 13.5 per game. Cincinnati’s defense has been almost as good as Buffalo’s in the early going, allowing just 16.8 points per game, good for third best in the league. However, neither team has performed consistently on offense, with the Bills averaging 18.3 points per game, good for 23rd in the league, and Cincinnati averaging just 16 per game.

A win in Ohio on Sunday would move the Bills to 4-1 for the first time since 2011, although, as most of us know, the end of that season didn’t turn out too great, with the Bills dropping eight of their last nine contests.

All right, I’m taking a big swig of the Sean McDermott Kool-Aid. The Buffalo Bills appear to have one of the best defensive units in the league and an offense that doesn’t turn the ball over. The Bills pulled one of the biggest upsets in recent memory heading to Atlanta and beating the Falcons. The Bengals have struggled this year and quarterback Andy Dalton has thrown four interceptions through the early going. A tenacious Bills defense gets them another road win. — Buffalo 20, Cincinnati 9. Chris Graham, Orchard Park editor

For the second week in a row, Buffalo beat a more talented team, this time the reigning NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons, and are now perched atop the AFC East standing a quarter of the way through the season.

The Bills must now deal with a Bengals team that appears to be gaining its footing, thanks to a 31-7 drubbing of Cleveland in Week 4.

Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton has put in back-to-back strong performances, combining for six TDs and zero picks. He is 3-1 against the Bills in his career, although the lone loss came last year, with Dalton throwing two interceptions.

Look for this to be a measuring stick game for both teams, who’ve had similar strengths and weaknesses thus far. — Cincinnati 23, Buffalo 17. Bryan Jackson, Cheektowaga editor

• This isn’t the first time the Bills have had an unexpectedly good start. The 2003 team started 2-0 with two blowout wins. 2008 saw the team start 5-1 only to fall to 7-9. The 2011 collapse was even worse — from 5-2 to 6-10. Even the past three years have seen the team create some early-season optimism.

This could easily be like those years. But not until the team gets to 4-1. Buffalo’s defense shuts down Andy Dalton and company, while Tyrod Taylor and LeSean Mc- Coy lead the offense to a solid enough showing to win. — Buffalo 20, Cincinnati 10 Taylor Nigrelli, Sports reporter

• The Bills have won random games in their long playoff drought but nothing like what they pulled off in Atlanta.

The Bills’ defense played well against Atlanta’s high-powered offense, while the Buffalo offense did enough to score points.

While I feel like the Cincinnati contest could be a trap game, I think the Bills’ defense will do enough to rattle Andy Dalton and the Bengals, and enter the bye at a mind-boggling 4-1. — Buffalo 17, Cincinnati 10 Patrick Nagy, Sports reporter

• I know it’s only four games into Sean McDermott’s tenure with Buffalo, but I don’t think it’s a stretch to say he’s had his team exceed the expectations of all but the most loyal of Bills diehards. At the same time, Buffalo has benefited from both unfortunate in-game injuries to key opposing players, as well as questionable calls that went in their favor. They can’t, and shouldn’t, count on those factors to continue on a regular basis.

With that said, it would not surprise me to see Buffalo emerge from Cincinnati victoriously. I think the defense will once again rise to the occasion and help the team squeak out the win, but it’d be nice if LeSean McCoy could further his improvement from the Atlanta game at the same time. — Buffalo 17, Cincinnati 7. Jason Nadolinski, Sports reporter

Bryan Jackson 2-2
Chris Graham 2-2
Taylor Nigrelli 2-2
Patrick Nagy 2-2
Jason Nadolinski 2-2

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