Bills vs. Bengals – Buffalo’s Five Key Players


It’s a team game and all that, but who are the five most important players for Buffalo in the coming week’s game? Each week we’ll take a look in a feature called Five Key Players.

After Sunday’s enormous win over the mighty Patriots, the Bills have a different kind of challenge this week in Cincinnati. The young Bengals are going to desperate for a win after last week’s debacle against San Francisco, and you can bet they’ll come ready to play Sunday. Who needs to step up and make sure Buffalo gets out of Cincy 4-0?

CB Leodis McKelvin – I’ll go with McKelvin here even though I could have picked any of the Bills’ corners. With the injury to Aaron Williams and Terrence McGee still out, Buffalo is really thin at corner. The Bengals aren’t exactly the Patriots when it comes to passing the ball well, but rookie WR A.J. Green (15 catches, 194 yards, 2 TD so far) is going to be a star. McKelvin (or whoever is on Green) needs to shut him down and not let the Bengals hit-or-miss offense get on track.

NT Kyle Williams – The 2010 breakout star has been a bit quiet thus far in 2011. If he could find some of his dominating 2011 form and break down the pocket on a consistent basis, it would make life very tough for Bengals rookie QB Andy Dalton. Lord knows the Bills need to find some quarterback pressure from somewhere.

LB Nick Barnett – Barnett and the linebacking corps will have his hands full Sunday thanks the Bengals’ potent Cedric Benson-led rushing attack. Hopefully Barnett will be there to make a lot of tackles instead of S Jairus Byrd being forced to come up and make those plays. Barnett will also probably have to cover dangerous TE Jermaine Gresham on occasion, and Gresham is more than capable of causing some damage.

WR Donald Jones – Stevie Johnson is a star. David Nelson is thriving in this offense. If Jones can consistently step up like he did in the second half against New England, this Bills passing attack is going to be very difficult to stop.

The Offensive Line – Somewhat lost in everything that the Bills have accomplished so far is the fact that this offensive line has been fantastic through the first three games. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been sacked exactly once in three games, and hasn’t really been pressured much either. The very underrated Bengals defense will come with some pressure Sunday. A bad performance from the O-line could bring a quick end to the happy times in Buffalo.