It’s the final day of Week 3 of the preseason, which for all intent and purposes, is the last day of the NFL Preseason. I am aware there is a Week 4 of the preseason Thursday, but by that point, coaches have their mind made up and they’re already preparing for Week 1 of the regular season. Like I’ve said, I don’t put too much stock in the preseason, so a day we get closer to the start of the season is a good day to me.
What I do like about the preseason is watching the young quarterbacks get a chance to play. Some of them won’t play much or at all in the regular season so it gives us that opportunity. We are likely going to see rookie Josh Allen get some work in the regular season. Barring some unbelievable hot start by AJ McCarron or Nathan Peterman. We’re probably going to see all three and quite possibly all get a start in the regular season. The future is all about Josh Allen, that much is known.
We also know that Allen will be starting this preseason game against the Bengals, and that Week 3 of the preseason is the dress rehearsal. So, the Bills are expecting to start Allen in Week 1 of the regular season, but if he bombs this outing against the Bengals, who knows if they end up going with experience in the season opener. McCarron had a brief scare with a shoulder injury last week, but he was able to return to practice this week and the light appears to be green for him.
Despite this being a preseason game, McCarron might be somewhat motivated to show something against his former team. McCarron waited patiently to get his chance to be a starting quarterback with the Bengals, but it never came. The only time he seen an opportunity was with Andy Dalton injured. Dalton was already established, and he had the big contract, so McCarron can’t really blame the Bengals for the direction they went.
Dalton is expected to hear some cheers from the Buffalo crowd Sunday evening. He threw a touchdown pass in the final week of the regular season to defeat the Ravens. The win prevented the Ravens from going to the playoffs and allowing the Bills to reach the playoffs for the first time in seventeen years. Cincinnati currently have four quarterbacks on the roster, which will likely get cut down to two. Rookie Logan Woodside faces an uphill battle but looks slated for the practice squad. Matt Barkley and Jeff Driskel are battling it up for the backup role. Get our free Bengals vs. Bills pick and the rest of our writeup below.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Buffalo Bills NFL Preseason Betting Odds:
vs. Bills -1.5(-110)
Betting odds provided by Sportsbetting.ag
Bengals vs. Bills Pick:
The Bengals have been a perfect 2-0 in the preseason, which means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things. The Lions went 4-0 in the preseason in 2008 and went on to go 0-16 in the regular season. I like to tune out social media in the preseason, because all it consists of this team sucks or this guy sucks, or Baker Mayfield or Saquon Barkley is a Hall of Famer after making one play.
In any event, they covered a couple of spreads for sports bettors. Conversely, the Bills are 1-1 following a 19-17 win over the Browns last week. The Buffalo defense looked much better after throwing away a lead against the Panthers. Carolina worked the Bills’ backups, but they held their footing a week ago.
Josh Allen will get the start in this one, as he looks to showcase his laser arm in front of the home crowd. That’s the biggest takeaway from Allen. His arm is the strongest you will find among rookies. Allen made a nifty play to find a touchdown in the back of the end zone last week.
He avoided pressure in the pocket, moved up and located Rod Streater. Allen looked like a vet rather than a rookie in that play, and likely is what got him the start this week. During the preseason, Allen has thrown for 176 yards and 2 touchdowns. It could have been more, but his receivers let him down on a few occasions vs the Panthers in Week 1 of the preseason. Everyone will be interested to see what he does against the first-team defense of the Bengals tonight.
We know that Allen should be motivated in this spot. It’s going to the first ever start of his professional career, and while it looks like he has the starting job on lock, he’s still in the midst of a quarterback competition. There’s an ongoing QB competition for the backup job as well. Peterman and McCarron could go from in the mix to start to third-string. McCarron has a bit more upside than Peterman, so Allen and McCarron appear like the probable 1-2 combo. Bills’ fans are still trying to get rid of the nasty taste of Peterman’s 4 interception performance out of their mouths. McCarron did not look great last week so he will be seeking a response at home against the Bengals.
There is a quarterback battle going on in Cincinnati as well. Not for the first-team, as Andy Dalton has that unless he, knock on wood, gets injured this week. Matt Barkley and Jeff Driskel are fighting for the right to be his backup. Driskel replaced Dalton with the first-team offensive line still on the field, so that’s fairly indicative of the direction they’re going. This should be a solid game with some QB quarterbacks happening throughout the contest. Allen is going to be more motivated than Dalton here. He’s getting his first start and just needs to play well to hold off McCarron for the starting role. Also, McCarron gets a shot to redeem himself after looking pedestrian a week ago. Give me the home team on a small play Sunday in Week 3 of the preseason.