The Buffalo Bills (12-3) matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals (11-4) on Monday Night Football has shaped up to be one of the most thrilling showdowns of the regular season as viewers will see two of the most explosive quarterbacks in the league, Josh Allen and Joe Burrow face off for the first time ever while both teams fight for the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
While each team’s defense has their work cut out, Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd is not worried about Burrow and his teammates getting shut down by Buffalo. Thus far this season, Boyd has recorded 53 receptions for 711 yards and five touchdowns. Bengals star Ja’marr Chase has 79 receptions for 960 yards and eight touchdowns, and wide receiver Tee Higgins has tallied 73 receptions for 1,022 yards and seven touchdowns.
In words that may be posted in the Bills’ locker room this week, Boyd called the Buffalo’s defense pretty “kind of basic” while speaking to reporters ahead of their primetime matchup. “They don’t do too much disguising. Ya know, it’s kind of straightforward. They don’t kinda do all the trickery things that we’ve seen a lot from a lot of defenses. But again man, they playing us. So, every team kind of prepares differently towards us.
“I mean, we prepare for everything. However they want to play it, we’re already ready for it,” Boyd continued. “The exotic looks, the regular looks, or you wanna try to hide coverage, we’re already prepared for it.”
As for the Bills’ secondary, Boyd, who was drafted by the Bengals in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, said he’s seen better. “I think they play well together but not the best we’ve seen… But they’re going to play hard because it’s one of the most important games on both sides. We’re going to get their best for sure. I just feel like we can win in our matchup.”
While the 28-year-old receiver isn’t trying to look too far into the future, there’s a strong likelihood that these two teams face off again in the postseason. “We’re just focusing on the now,” Boyd said. “We know we’re going to see them again at some point. They’re a great football team. Going forward, we need to get this win to be placed where we want to be placed, not where they’re going to be placed.”
Higgins is also confident Cincinnati can defeat Buffalo. “At the end of the day, we just got to go out there and be who we are,” he said, per ESPN. “Y’all know what we can do. We know what we can do. We just got to go out there and do it.”
As for Chase, he’s pumped for the high-profile matchup. “This is what the NFL is for — the best of the best to play and give the fans what they want on. Put on a show for the whole world to see,” he said.
The Bills Defense Ranks 2nd In Points Allowed While Bengals Rank 9th
To compare defenses, the Bills outrank the Bengals in two major categories. Heading into Week 17, Buffalo’s defense is allowing an average of 17.53 points per game, which ranks second in the NFL, per Bills reporter Maddy Glab, and 317.7 total yards per game, which ranks 7th overall. The Bengals’ defense is giving up an average of 20.4 points per game (9th place), and has allowed 332.2 total yards per game (13th place).
NFL Network’s Mike Giardi said this Bengals offense will give the Bills’ defense their “sharpest and fiercest test to date.”
Burrow & Allen Have a Similar Mindset Heading Into MNF
While Boyd calls the Bengals/Bills matchup, “Electrifying and by far the best game of the year,” Burrow and Allen aren’t buying into the hype.
Allen said of the game’s importance, “I get there’s a lot of implications for that. That’s in the back of our mind. Trying to control what we can control.”
Burrow has a very similar mindset and doesn’t see this game as the ultimate measuring stick, as reported by Pro Football Talk‘s Josh Alper.
“Yeah, I mean, we’ve beaten everybody,” Burrow said. “We know we can play against everybody. We’ve done it in the biggest moments. So like I said, we’re treating every game the same. We’ve played everyone in the last two years. We haven’t played the Bills yet, so that will be a fun challenge, but they’re good on defense, got a lot of veteran guys, and know how to play within their scheme. They play hard, they play fast, they play schematically sound so it’ll be a fun challenge.”