1. Back in the saddle.
With Trent Edwards sidelined, Bills QB J.P. Losman returns to lineup. He has a chance for some success today against a Bengals defense that allows nearly 250 passing yards per game. ... Bengals don't have much of a pass rush and will use blitzes to create pressure. If Bills' offensive line gives Losman time, he might be able to make some plays downfield. ... Bills WRs Lee Evans, Roscoe Parrish and Josh Reed match up well with Bengals CBs Johnathan Joseph, Deltha O'Neal and Leon Hall. Look for Bengals to stay in a Cover-2 shell to help corners, but Bills should use TEs Robert Royal and Michael Gaines on seam routes to challenge safeties in coverage.
2. Lethal Weapon Three.
Bengals QB Carson Palmer, right, is one of NFL's elite passers. He leads a potent passing game that averages 263.9 yards per game. ... Bengals WRs Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh form a dynamic tandem. Johnson is second in NFL with 731 yards and Houshmandzadeh leads NFL with 58 catches and has a team-high nine touchdowns. ... Both have a size advantage on Bills CBs Terrence McGee and Jabari Greer. But Bengals lack a third receiver threat or tight end to hold safeties Donte Whitner and George Wilson in middle of field, so expect Bills to double team Johnson and Houshmandzadeh with McGee and Greer in press coverage to disrupt Bengals' timing passes. ... Bills are getting pressure up middle by blitzing LB Angelo Crowell or John DiGiorgio and playing DE Anthony Hargrove at tackle.
3. Lynch gets his 100 yards.
This time we mean it. RB Marshawn Lynch's seasonlong quest for 100 yards should end today against a Bengals defense that is allowing 139 yards per game. Bengals have allowed five 100-yard rushers this season, including four in last five games. ... Teams have been successful running off tackle against Bengals. Using two-tight end formations, Bills will try to gain a physical advantage and allow Lynch to pick his holes in guard and tackle gaps. ... Lynch doesn't have a run longer than 23 yards, but Bengals have given up a lot of big plays, including a 66-yard touchdown.
4. High-flying Bengals must stay grounded.
RB Kenny Watson has been a solid replacement for injured Rudi Johnson, averaging 85 yards in four starts. Johnson, who rushed for more than 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns in each of the previous three seasons, returns today, giving Cincinnati a good 1-2 punch in backfield. ... While Bills are ranked 24th against run, they have allowed a little more than 90 yards in last four games. DTs Larry Tripplett and John McCargo and NT Kyle Williams are penetrating more while Crowell and DiGiorgio are doing a good job of plugging inside gaps. ... Bengals must show patience with running game. They have some success on stretch plays and counters, particularly with FB Jeremi Johnson as a lead blocker.
5. Battle of field position.
Bengals can score from anywhere on field, but Bills P Brian Moorman and K Rian Lindell can force them into longer drives. Moorman is great at pinning teams deep and Lindell's pooch kickoffs have been effective. ... Bills have big advantage in return game with McGee on kickoffs and Parrish on punts. Glenn Holt has been decent on kickoff returns (23.6-yard average), but Bengals haven't gotten much from punt returner Skyler Green (4.2-yard average).
Prediction: Bengals have lost eight straight to Bills and are winless in last five road games dating to last season. Both trends continue. Buffalo, 22-20.