The Bills are one of the biggest surprises of the season with first-year head coach Doug Marrone helping lead Buffalo to a 2-3 record while staying competitive in every game. That's despite most people picking the team to be one of the worst in the NFL. They may not be that bad, but an injury to rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel has put their success in danger as they scramble to find a replacement.
Cincinnati is trying to make the playoffs for the third straight year, something it's never done in franchise history. The Bengals' only issue so far is an 0-2 record on the road, something they will look to rectify in Buffalo this week when they try to improve to 4-2 and stay in at least a tie for the AFC North lead. What kind of a test do the Bills provide?
Buffalo has recorded wins over the Ravens and Panthers, and dropped close games against the Patriots and Jets. In Week 5 against the Browns, Manuel helped lead the Bills on a drive that would ultimately give them a lead in the fourth quarter, but an LCL sprain forced him out and Jeff Tuel in as a replacement. The Bills lost the lead against Cleveland, and even worse, they will be without Manuel for four to six weeks. Rather than go with Tuel over that time, Marrone has pegged Thad Lewis as the starter, a player with one career start.
Does any expert think Buffalo can win this one, even at home? Yes, one does.
Four of five writers at SB Nation picked the Bengals to win, but Joel Thorman thinks the Bills will pull this one out at home. Picks are more consistent over at CBSSports, where all eight experts are going with Cincinnati. Every one of them, except for Dave Richard, thinks the Bengals will cover the 7.5-point spread.
All three experts at Yahoo! Sports are going with Cincinnati, as well.