2. Wilson, defense look for more takeaways
The Bengals and Bills both have benefited from opportunistic defenses that can flip a game, as Buffalo this season is tied for the third most takeaways leaguewide (14) while Cincinnati is tied for fifth (13). Lou Anarumo’s group forced three turnovers in the second half at San Francisco, highlighted by the underrated linebacker duo of Germaine Pratt and Logan Wilson each coming up with an interception.
It was the third pick of the season for Wilson and the 10th of his career, the most by any linebacker since he entered the league in 2020. He now prepares for a familiar face in Allen, who he spent three years with as teammates at the University of Wyoming. Allen has thrown an interception in each of the Bills’ last four games, and his three fumbles this season have all come during Buffalo losses. If Wilson and his defensive teammates can continue their knack for taking the ball away, the Bengals’ offense could find itself with an advantageous field position.
Cincinnati additionally has a tendency of forcing late-game turnovers that have helped either seal a win or give the offense chances to climb back in. Since the start of the 2022 season, the Bengals in the fourth quarter of games have the fourth most fumble recoveries (seven) and 10th most interceptions (eight) in the NFL. In that same span, Allen has six fourth-quarter interceptions, tied for the fourth most leaguewide.
Part of Cincinnati’s offensive success in recent weeks can be traced back to its fast starts. The Bengals have scored a touchdown on their opening possession in three straight games for the first time since the 2016 season, and Burrow and company have been able to carry that momentum forward following early success.
The Bengals have scored 31 points in the first quarter over their past three contests, the second most in the NFL since Week 5 — even with their Week 7 bye. Cincinnati is 3-0 on the year when leading at halftime, and 4-0 when holding a lead going into the fourth quarter.
Conversely, Buffalo has scored three first-quarter points since Week 5 and is 2-2 this season when its opponent opens the scoring. The Bills have totaled 111 points when leading, good for seventh in the NFL, but their 65 points when trailing a game ranks 21st. If the Bengals can once again get off to a hot start and put points on the board early, the recent trends suggest it would go a long way toward a prime-time win.