The NFL playoffs continue this week with four divisional round games. There’s one total that has me interested in the matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Buffalo Bills.
Buffalo has the fifth-best defense in the league. Data is just a number until you confirm the meat of information. The Bills allowed 31 points to Miami, which featured an offense that was either missing some parts or banged up from injury. More importantly, however, the Bills allowed four different receivers receptions of 19-plus yards with backup Skylar Thompson at quarterback. Buffalo, on paper, has a good defense, but dig a little deeper and you will see that stat may be flawed based on competition faced.
The Buffalo defense in recent weeks has faced Thompson, Mac Jones twice, an injured Justin Fields, Tua Tagovailoa (who led Miami to 29 points) and Mike White. It’s not an impressive run of quarterbacks.
The Bills could be in for a rude awakening. Over the course of the final 11 games of the regular season, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow led the league in touchdown passes, ranked second in completion percentage and was second in passing yards. That includes facing strong defenses such as the Ravens twice, Tampa Bay and a Mike Tomlin Steelers team on the road.
Where else could points come from? Turnovers. Bills quarterback Josh Allen is third in the league in turnover-worthy passes and leads in that category among the final quarterbacks remaining, ahead of even the Cowboys’ Dak Prescott, who was tied for the most interceptions during the regular season. Unfortunately for Buffalo, Cincinnati is top eight in takeaways.
All this is also why I like the Bengals +5.
The bet: Bengals at Bills over 48