Buffalo Bills vs. Cincinnati Bengals – NFL Week 17 Preview
CINCINNATI, OH (WHEC) – The Buffalo Bills meet the Cincinnati Bengals in a game that could help to decide the race for the 1 seed in the AFC.
Buffalo Bills Gameday Basics
Teams: Buffalo Bills (12-3) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (11-4)
Time: Monday at 8:30 p.m.
Where: Paycor Stadium (Cincinnati, OH)
What’s at stake?
The 1 seed in the AFC.
It can’t be won on Monday night, but the Bills can eliminate the Bengals’ chances with a win.
Last year, when the NFL added a 7th playoff team in each conference, it made the 1 seed that much more important. Previously, the 1 and 2 seeds in each conference both got byes in the wild card round. Now, only the 1 seed gets off for that first week of the playoffs.
Of course, the 1 seed also gets home field advantage in the Divisional Round and Conference Championship, if they are to make it that far.
Needless to say, for two teams with legitimate chances at winning the Super Bowl, getting the 1 seed makes the road to Arizona just a little bit easier.
If Buffalo loses to Cincinnati, they can still mathematically get the 1 seed, but they would need to depend on a few other things to happen:
Bills players OUT:
- Alec Anderson, OL
- Baylon Spector, LB
- Dean Marlowe, S
- Ike Boettger, OL
- Justin Murray, OL
- Tommy Sweeney, TE
- Xavier Rhodes, CB
Bengals players OUT:
- Chris Evans, RB
- Jackson Carman, OL
- Jake Browning, QB
- Jalen Davis, CB
- Jay Tufele, DT
- Sam Hubbard, DE
Last Time Out: Bills – 35, Bears – 13
The Bills’ rushing games took over in a game where Josh Allen didn’t seem his usual self. Allen threw two interceptions and fell short of 200 passing yards. But the Bills gained 254 yards on the ground, with Devin Singletary and James Cook pacing the attack.
The Buffalo defense held Justin Fields in check. The top statistical QB rusher only picked up 11 yards on 7 carries. Through the air, Fields was less impressive, barely passing for over 100 yards.
Despite the cool day from Allen, he did heat up late in the freezing temps in Chicago. Allen rushed for a TD and found Dawson Knox for another, as the Bills put away the Bears late in the fourth quarter.
Bills Player To Watch
It’s always fun to watch Stefon Diggs go to work on the gridiron, but it’s going to be a spectacle this week, given what’s transpired as of late.
In week 15 against the Dolphins, Diggs appeared frustrated on one play after not being targeted by Allen. He has since shut down any rumors at all that he and Allen aren’t on the same page.
But Allen has also offered his take.
“If he’s got an opportunity for the ball, I want to allow him to have that opportunity. So yeah, it is a slippery slope or a very thin line of trying to get him the ball too much and forcing him the ball,” said Allen.
There should be little doubt that QB 1 and WR 1 are on the same page. And it seems very likely that the two could hook up more than usual on Monday night.