Bills visit Bengals with top AFC playoff spot in sight

BUFFALO (12-3) at CINCINNATI (11-4)

Monday, 8:30 p.m. EST, ESPN

FANDUEL SPORTSBOOK NFL LINE: Bills by 1 1/2.

AGAINST THE SPREAD: Bills 7-7-1, Bengals 12-3.

SERIES RECORD: Bills lead 17-15.

LAST MEETING: Bills beat Bengals 21-17 on Sept. 22, 2019, in Buffalo.

LAST WEEK: Bills beat Bears 35-13; Bengals beat Patriots 22-18 at Foxborough, Massachusetts.

BILLS OFFENSE: OVERALL (2), RUSH (8), PASS (7), SCORING (4).

BILLS DEFENSE: OVERALL (7), RUSH (4), PASS (15), SCORING (2).

BENGALS OFFENSE: OVERALL (7), RUSH (26), PASS (5), SCORING (6).

BENGALS DEFENSE: OVERALL (13), RUSH (7), PASS (21), SCORING (9).

TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Bills even, Bengals plus-3.

BILLS PLAYER TO WATCH: WR Stefon Diggs. QB Josh Allen says he needs to get his top receiver more involved after Diggs finished with two catches for 26 yards — his second-lowest output in three seasons in Buffalo — against Chicago. After racking up 91 catches for 1,202 yards and 10 TDs in his first 12 games, Diggs has been limited to 10 catches for 123 yards and no scores in his past three.

BENGALS PLAYER TO WATCH: QB Joe Burrow threw for 375 yards and three touchdowns and two interceptions last week against the Patriots. He was selected as the AFC Offensive Player of the Week for the performance. Burrow is second in the league to the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes in passing yards (4,260) and touchdowns (34).

KEY MATCHUP: Bills DBs vs. Bengals WRs. The Bills have allowed 250 or more yards passing just five times this season, and three touchdowns passing just once, in a 31-23 win over Cleveland last month. They face a Burrow-led passing attack that’s topped 250 yards nine times and scored three or more TDs six times, including a combined seven in its past two outings. Look for Bills CB Tre’Davious White to shadow the Bengals top threat, Ja’Marr Chase, for much of the game.

INJURIES: Bengals RT La'el Collins suffered a knee injury last week and is expected to miss the rest of the season. Hakeem Adeniji or Isaiah Prince will likely start in his place. ... Bengals DE Sam Hubbard may return from a calf injury. Cincinnati’s other top edge rusher, Trey Hendrickson, is playing with a broken wrist. ... TE Hayden Hurst (calf) could return. ... Bills starting C Mitch Morse (concussion) was cleared to resume practicing after missing two games. ... WR Diggs' status bears monitoring after he missed practice because of an illness. ... DE Boogie Basham (calf) is still not practicing after missing one game.

SERIES NOTES: The Bengals have won four of the past six in the series going back to 2011. Prior to that, the Bills had won 10 straight between 1989 and 2010. The teams have played twice in the postseason, with Cincinnati winning a divisional playoff game in the 1981 season and the AFC championship game in the 1988 season.

STATS AND STUFF: Since the start of the 2021 season, Allen and Burrow are tied for second with 68 touchdown passes, trailing only Mahomes (74). ... The Bills have already clinched their fourth straight playoff berth and third consecutive AFC East title, marking their best runs since the Jim Kelly-era spanning the late 1980s and early ’90s. ... The Bills are one win short of matching a single-season franchise record for victories (1990, ’91 and 2020). ... The Bills have won six straight to match their longest run since closing the 2020 season with six wins. Buffalo hasn’t won seven in a row in one season since an 8-0 run in 1990. ... The Bills have won six games not played on Sundays this season, matching the most since the 1962 Boston Patriots. The NFL’s most recent team to win seven non-Sunday games in one season was the 1929 Frankfort Yellow Jackets. ... In six career Monday outings, Allen has a 3-3 record and thrown 18 TDs versus two interceptions. ... With 32 TDs passing this season, Allen is two short of holding the top three single-season spots on the franchise list, and five short of matching the team record he set in 2020. ... With 101 catches this season, Diggs already holds the top-three single-season spots on the team list in three seasons in Buffalo. He set the team record in 2020 with 127 catches, and had 103 last season. ... Led by RB Devin Singletary (106 yards) and James Cook (99), the Bills had 254 yards rushing against Chicago, the most in a game ending in regulation since gaining 280 against Cleveland on Dec. 18, 2016. ... Jaquan Johnson’s game-ending interception against Chicago was the second of the fourth-year player’s career and Buffalo’s first in six games. ... The Bills are 11-0 in games that starting safety Jordan Poyer plays in this season. ... Opponents have scored just six points off six turnovers over Buffalo’s past six outings. ... Last week's Bengals win was a tale of two halves as Cincinnati jumped out to a 22-0 halftime lead then had to hold off the New England Patriots to get a 22-18 win. ... The Bengals are still having trouble running the ball against good defensive lines. Their running game is ranked 26th. ... The Bengals are 12-26 playing on Monday nights. The previous time, on Oct. 31, Cincinnati was routed at Cleveland. ... The Bills are 21-29 on Monday night. ...The four largest crowds at Cincinnati's Paycor Stadium (formally known as Paul Brown Stadium) have come in the 2022 calendar year, starting with last season's playoff win over the Raiders on Jan. 15. ... Burrow, Chase and Hendrickson were all voted to the AFC team for the Pro Bowl. ... Chase leads Cincinnati this season in receptions (79) and receiving TDs (eight), while ranking second in receiving yards (960), despite missing four games to a hairline hip fracture. ... Both teams have been effective in the red zone, with the Bengals scoring on 83.3% of their 54 trips inside the opponent's 20, and the Bills scoring on 80.4% of their 56 trips.

FANTASY TIP: Both quarterbacks are must starts for those playing in their respective championship games. Allen has combined to score 14 TDs in his past five outings. The Bills have had difficulty generating a pass rush since, managing just nine sacks in four games since Von Miller sustained a season-ending knee injury.

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