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[BN] Blitz newsletter: Bills still have much to prove in Cincinnati

The Bills are having a moment, alone atop the AFC East standings, rising in the national power rankings, riding the wave from a victory over one of the NFL’s elite teams into today’s contest in Cincinnati.

The early-season matchup reminded Jerry Sullivan of 2011, when the 3-0 Bills followed up an upset of the Patriots with an overtime loss to the Bengals and rookie quarterback Andy Dalton.  “It’s true that only three players ([Eric] Wood, Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus) remain from that team,” Sullivan wrote . “Still, the 2011 season (not to mention 2008) is a cautionary tale about getting overly excited about a fast start in the NFL.”

Hausch’ Special: “In four games, he has already eased the anxiety of a fan base accustomed to disappointment,” Kimberley A. Martin wrote in her profile of kicker Stephen Hauschka. “Right now, he’s the guy fans are buzzing about.”

Sports Talk Sunday: Sullivan, Martin and Bills beat reporter Vic Carucci will preview today’s game at 10 a.m. on WGRZ. Here are a couple clips from the show.

Scouting report: The Bengals are better than their 1-3 record, but the Bills hold the edge in several key areas, according to beat reporter Jay Skurski.

Matchup watch: Tre’Davious White won’t have to cover Bengals star A.J. Green all of the time, but when he does, it will be a significant test for the rookie and a key factor in the game, Mark Gaughan wrote.

Injury report: Thumb injuries will keep both wide receiver Jordan Matthews and linebacker Ramon Humber out for the Bills. Cornerbacks E.J. Gaines (groin) and Shareece Wright (back), offensive tackle Cordy Glenn (foot/ankle) and safety Micah Hyde (knee) are questionable.

Roster moves: The Bills promoted cornerback Greg Mabin from the practice squad on Saturday and released wide receiver Philly Brown less than a week after re-signing him.

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Staff selections: The Bengals are favored by a field goal. How many News staffers picked the Bills to cover for a fifth straight week?

Inside the NFL: Which Bills made Vic Carucci’s quarter-poll awards ballot?

Advanced stats: Tyrod Taylor was calm in the pocket against the Falcons but took more sacks than he escaped from for the first time all season. How much better has the Bills’ red zone defense been this season? All-time numbers in Bills-Bengals series.

Monkeying around: We’re not sure how many Bengals fans were driving on the I-290 this week, but a billboard taunted them anyway, referencing Cincinnati’s infamous connection to “the meme of 2016.”

In opposing territory: The Bills Backers of N. Kentucky and Cincinnati have been crossing state lines to share their fandom for more than three decades.

Trivia: Which team did the Bills play in Dick Jauron’s final game as coach?

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