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The Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills will square off on Sunday, Jan. 22 in a playoff matchup.

Bengals vs. Bills predictions

What The Northerner staff expects to see on Sunday

January 20, 2023

The Cincinnati Bengals have proven themselves as potential contenders in the 2023 Super Bowl with their successful season and playoff appearance. The road to a consecutive appearance in Super Bowl LVII will not be easy, however, as the Bengals must play the Buffalo Bills next. The Bills are currently ranked number one in the AFC East. 

Last Sunday, Jan. 15, the Bengals took on the Baltimore Ravens and came out with a 24-17 victory in a scrappy game. 

Ohio-native Sam Hubbard made what many considered the play of the game when he returned the football for 98-yards, the longest fumble return for a touchdown in postseason history according to the NFL. Hubbard credited the play to linebacker Logan Wilson, though, who punched the football away as the Ravens were nearing a touchdown at the one-yard line. 

Even after a victory over the Ravens, the disputed question still remains: can the Bengals beat the Bills?

The Northerner staff provides their predictions on how the Jan. 22 playoff game will end below. 

Blake Lehmann, Sports Editor – Bengals 27, Bills 23

“Offensively, the bad news for the Bengals is this: they’re without three of their starting offensive lineman in La’el Collins, Alex Cappa and Jonah Williams due to injury, with the latter suffering a dislocated right knee against Baltimore Sunday (just three months after dislocating his left knee). The good news: the Ravens defense was, by far, the toughest they’d have to get through in order to make a second consecutive Super Bowl appearance. And before Damar Hamlin’s unfortunate injury during the Week 17 Monday night matchup, the Bengals were driving down the field for what could have been their second scoring drive of the evening that would have put them ahead by two possessions in the first quarter. Buffalo will obviously make adjustments to their defensive gameplan to accommodate for the Bengals’ passing attack they showcased that night, but this instills confidence in me that Burrow and company can get the job done.

As for the defensive side of things, we’ve seen that Lou Anarumo’s defense can hold the line for at least one possession against a Josh Allen-led offense that can beat you in so many ways. Not only that, but the star-studded Bengals defensive line should be able to feast on the Bills’ offensive line – only left tackle Dion Dawkins is graded over a 70 according to Pro Football Focus’ offensive line scale – a vital part of shutting down Allen’s strong arm and forcing him into making tough decisions.

All in all, it’s going to be a war of attrition between the two offensive lines, and maybe this game comes down to who can make another defensive takeaway when it matters most. I think Trenton Irwin will have a huge impact coming off the bench on offense for the Bengals, and Cincinnati folk hero Germaine Pratt makes another vital takeaway in crunch time to set them up for a game-winning drive.”

Emily Sisk, News Editor – Bengals 20, Bills 17 “This long-awaited matchup is going to be down to the wire no doubt. Most of the country is rooting for the success of the Bills, especially after the tragedy with Damar Hamlin. I have faith that we’re going to see a big performance from the duo Ja’Marr Chase and Joe Burrow. I’m also making my prediction on the guarantee that Evan McPherson’s leg won’t let us down. If we can win this game, I think we can go all the way to the Super Bowl.”

Killian Baarlaer, Arts & Life Editor – Bengals 24, Bills 21

“In the short-lived and tragic initial matchup between the Bengals and Bills, the Bengals just looked better. The Bengals defense is a bit thinned out due to injuries, but they’re still a strong unit that can hold up to the test. My bias tells me to believe in the Bengals, and that’s what I’m going to do. Josh Allen is a premier quarterback, but if the Bengals’ defense can force some turnovers, I have faith in Joe Burrow and the dangerous Bengals’ offense to put up the points needed to strain out a win.”

Braden White, Editor-in-Chief – Bengals 24, Bills 17

“I’m interested to see the outcome of this game, as I feel that it could be a very close call. I’m optimistic about the Bengals taking home the win Sunday evening.” 

Ysabel Cordova-Elias, Design Editor – Bills 27, Bengals 30

Emory Davis, Photo Editor – Bengals 49, Bills 21

“With the random decline in performance from Josh Allen, I can see this dog fight turn into an absolute blood bath quickly. What will start as a competitive first half will end in a pitiful second half with Allen giving up the ball twice. Although the ‘script’ would point towards a dominant win for the Bills following the horrific accident happening to Damar Hamlin, I can’t imagine a world where the Bengals lose to anyone other than the Chiefs in the AFC.”

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