A lot of football fans’ minds go to the same place when seeing a matchup between the Bills and Bengals. It’s hard to describe the feeling, a mix of discomfort, relief, and possibly fear of what is possible when these world-class athletes battle on the field.
Damar Hamlin is here today, and we’re grateful for that. He’s still a member of the Buffalo Bills and has appeared in one game this season amid a crowded secondary. Hamlin and his team face the surging Bengals, a group they’ve become increasingly familiar with in the last 12 months, and it’s worth pausing on that before we get into the routine work of handicapping a game.
Cincinnati has won three straight following a 1-3 start and is 4-0 against the NFC West this season after their win in San Francisco last week. The Bills have split their previous four contests dating back to a London loss at the hands of the Jaguars on October 8. They defeated the Bucs on TNF in Week 8 and are 2.5-point underdogs in Cincy after opening as the road favorite.
We cashed easily on Austin Ekeler’s rushing yards going under the total a week ago, but couldn’t hit DJ Moore’s reception number to split our picks from Bears-Chargers. Following a 1-1 result in the Week 8 matchup, our SNF prop plays have a 9-2 record over the last four editions.
The Underdog Fantasy app has an excellent way of condensing each player’s prop offerings into one view, and we’d like to shout them out as the place we got our lines from for Week 9.
The star QB sat out Wednesday’s practice as a preventive plan to rest his injured shoulder, according to ESPN’s Alaina Getzenberg. He did not miss a play in Buffalo’s Thursday night win over Tampa and threw for 324 yards on 40 attempts despite a short trip to the blue tent at one point.
The Bengals allow the 6th-most yards per pass attempt in the NFL this season. They have been outgained in total yards per play in their last three wins, including giving up 10.5 yards per throw to the 49ers last week.
Cincy’s turnover margin in those games is +4, which Joe Burrow has taken advantage of, but the vulnerability of their defense remains. Allen, even playing at less than 100%, should be able to repeat what Geno Smith (326 yards) and Brock Purdy (365) did in the last two weeks against the Bengals.
Where Cincy has struggled to stop the pass, Buffalo has had some difficulty stopping the run. In three weeks, they gave up 330 yards rushing and four touchdowns to the combination of De’Von Achane, Travis Etienne, and Saquon Barkley.
That trio averaged 5.6 yards per rush and proved the viability of running against this Bills D. Mixon is coming off one of his best games of the season, where he rushed for 87 yards and a TD on 16 carries against the 49ers.
He’s averaging 16 carries per game in 2023 and should reach 70 yards if he approaches that amount of volume on Sunday night.
McPherson is still remembered for the perfect stretch he had in the 2021 postseason, where he made 14 of 14 field goals on the path to Cincy’s narrow Super Bowl loss to the Rams.
His made percentage has declined in the following two seasons, primarily due to missed kicks from 40+ yards. This season, his four misses have all come from 50 yards or more.
The Bills’ defense is 6th in stopping opponents from scoring touchdowns in the red zone, and we like McPherson to connect on a couple short tries like he did in the Bengals’ Divisional round playoff victory in January.