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Cincinnati Bengals at Buffalo Bills preview: Predictions, odds and 3 matchups to watch

Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills
Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills will finally play their long-awaited game Sunday afternoon in Western New York after their Week 17 outing was canceled.

It comes in the AFC Divisional Playoffs with a spot in the conference championship game on the line.

For the homestanding Bills, it’s all about proving that they are legitimate conference championship contenders after a stellar regular season. Buffalo heads into this one as winners of eight consecutive games.

The defending AFC champion Bengals have won nine consecutive heading in and are looking to keep their quest for a second consecutive Super Bowl appearance alive. Here, we provide you with a widespread preview of what promises to be an epic NFL Divisional Playoff matchup.

Related: Ranking the four NFL Divisional Playoff games

Cincinnati Bengals at Buffalo Bills odds

The latest odds for the Bengals and Bills matchup are provided by BetMGM.

  • Spread: Buffalo Bills -5.5
  • Point total: 48.5
  • Moneyline: Buffalo Bills (-225), Cincinnati Bengals (+180)

Cincinnati Bengals at Buffalo Bills game info

cincinnati bengals at buffalo bills: nfl divisional playoff preview
Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s everything you need to know before the Bengals and Bills do battle in Western New York Sunday afternoon.

  • Time: 3:00 PM ET
  • TV info: CBS, Paramount+
  • Location: Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, NY
  • Date: Sunday, January 12
  • Broadcasters: Jim Nantz and Tony Romo

Related: NFL Playoff and Super Bowl predictions

Cincinnati Bengals at Buffalo Bills matchups to watch

Ja’Marr Chase vs Tre’Davious White

cincinnati bengals at buffalo bills

The expectation here is that White will follow Chase from his normal left cornerback spot all around the field once Sunday’s playoff game gets going. It’s Buffalo’s best opportunity to contain one of the game’s best cornerbacks.

White was tremendous in returning to action after missing the first 11 regular-season games with a torn ACL. He’s registered seven passes defended over the past four games alone and has yielded a mere 54.5% completion.

It will be key for Buffalo to contain Chase in this one. He caught nine passes for 84 yards and a touchdown in last week’s win over the Baltimore Ravens. In fact, Chase has caught at least seven passes in each of the past nine games. The good news for Buffalo? Burrow was intercepted four times when targeting Chase during the regular season.

Josh Allen vs Joe Burrow

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals
Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

OK. We know that Allen and Burrow are not directly going up against one another. But more so than any game during the NFL Divisional Playoffs, quarterback play will be the difference in this one. We’re talking about two signal caller who are going to be rivals for the better part of the next two decades. That’s not hyperbole.

Both Buffalo and Cincinnati also rely a great deal on their quarterbacks. It’s been somewhat of an issue for Allen recently with a whopping 16 turnovers over the past 11 games, including three in last week’s ugly win over Miami.

Taking on a Bills defense that ranked ninth in the league against the pass during the regular season, the onus is going to be on Burrow to head into Western New York and play to the level of Allen. He threw 22 touchdowns against seven interceptions in nine road starts during the regular season. That’s good news for Cincinnati.

Related: Find out where the San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys defenses rank

Buffalo Bills wide receivers vs Cincinnati Bengals cornerbacks

cincinnati bengals at buffalo bills: nfl divisional playoffs preview
Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

Whether it’s Stefon Diggs or Gabe Davis, Buffalo’s receivers have the major advantage against Bengals cornerbacks in this one. In particular, the Bills have to be salivating at Eli Apple seeing extended action. The veteran has yielded a 96.9 QB rating when targeted this season and didn’t inspire much confidence with last week’s performance against Baltimore.

For his part, Allen was absolutely dominant when targeting Diggs during the regular season. That included a 70.1% completion and 120.3 QB rating. All Davis did was average north of 17 yards per reception. If Buffalo hits big on a couple plays, it could break this one wide open.

Related: Eye-opening stats for the NFL Divisional Playoffs

Cincinnati Bengals at Buffalo Bills prediction

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a reason why Sunday’s game provides such a small point spread. Buffalo is being given the points solely due to the fact that it is playing at home. But as we’ve seen throughout the past couple seasons, playing away from Cincinnati has proven to be a boon for Burrow and Co.

We like Cincinnati as more of a well-rounded team in this matchup. Joe Mixon provides more on the ground than the likes of Devin Singletary.

It also must be noted that Allen’s turnover issues nearly cost Buffalo last week’s game against a third-string quarterback. In what will go down as a minor upset, we’re picking Cincinnati to come out on top and stay alive in its quest for back-to-back AFC championships.

  • Prediction: Bengals 27, Bills 24