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Week 6 preview: Bengals at Bills

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Cincinnati Bengals (5-0) at Buffalo Bills (3-2)

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati – TV: CBS

*TV announcers: Spero Dedes, Solomon Wilcots

*Keys to the game: The Bills expect to get WR Sammy Watkins back in the lineup, but who will be trying to get the ball to him remains uncertain, as does who that quarterback will be handing off to. QB Tyrod Taylor (knee) remains a longshot to play, with EJ Manuel likely to get his first start since Week 4 of last season. RBs LeSean McCoy (hamstring) and Karlos Williams (concussion) were still not practicing midweek, and the Bills would be severely depleted if Boobie Dixon and Boom Herron are asked to share the load again. Watkins’ return should help open more room for WRs Percy Harvin and Robert Woods, who have been largely unproductive in his absence.

Cincinnati’s ground game has been inconsistent of late and Buffalo’s third-ranked defense must keep it that way because QB Andy Dalton has far too many weapons downfield and the Bills’ pass rush has produced just nine sacks. Dalton has just two interceptions against 11 touchdowns and could pick apart Buffalo’s secondary with or without the help of play-action. The Bills have to find a way to contain TE Tyler Eifert (two TDs last week, five on the season) inside the red zone.

*Matchup to watch – Dalton vs. Bills CB Ronald Darby: Dalton did an excellent job of exploiting mismatches against Seattle last week and will look to test the rookie cornerback out of Florida State early along with nickel back Nickell Robey.

*Player spotlight – Bills WR Chris Hogan: The forgotten man following a 41-catch 2014 season, Hogan contributed two key plays last week and now has 12 catches for 137 yards and two TDs on the season. The return of Watkins could again limit Hogan’s playing time, but the coaching staff will find ways to get one of the Bills’ offensive playmakers onto the field.

*Fast facts: The Bengals are 5-0 for just the third time in franchise history. … Last week, Taylor became the fifth player in NFL history to throw for at least 100 yards, rush for at least 70 and catch a pass in the same game.

WHO WILL WIN AND WHY

Bills coach Rex Ryan has openly called this a test of exactly where they’re at in the AFC. Trouble is, he’s entering a shootout with one of the league’s most explosive offenses.

*Our pick: Bengals 26-16.


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