Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
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For Bengals-Bills, it comes down to who throws better

The Bills and Bengals get after it on Sunday with a trip to the AFC Championship Game on the line. It comes down to the passing game.

Let’s not waste time. The Bills and Bengals are fighting to be part of the NFL’s final four.

And the matter will be decided by which team can throw the ball more effectively.


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For Buffalo, it’s Josh Allen. Allen has perhaps the league’s best deep ball and a phenomenal connection with Pro Bowl receiver Stefon Diggs. As a result, Diggs amassed more than 1,400 receiving yards this year. He is flanked by big-bodied Gabriel Davis and a quality tight end in Dawson Knox. However, Buffalo has only a single consistent playmaker in Diggs. Everyone else is more of an unknown quantity.

To that point, Diggs notched eight 100-yard games including Buffalo’s 34-31 Wild Card round win over the Miami Dolphins. Davis has only two such games, while Knox has totaled zero.

Facing one of the league’s best defensive coordinators in Lou Anarumo, can Allen and the Bills generate enough offense through the air if Diggs is limited or taken away by double and/or bracket coverage?

Then there’s the Bengals, who need to find a way to attack Buffalo without both starting tackles (La’el Collins and Jonah Williams) and star right guard Alex Cappa.

Cincinnati benefits from Bills star edge rusher Von Miller being out for the season with a torn ACL, but Buffalo still has some talent up front with the trio of defensive tackle Ed Oliver, and edge rushers Greg Rousseau and A.J. Epenesa.


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Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow has a superior group of weapons in receivers Ja’Marr Chase, Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins, along with running backs Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine. Still, that matters little if a line compromised with three backups can’t hold up for more than a couple seconds.

If Cincinnati can protect Burrow, he stands to have a good game against a secondary which struggles slowing down speedy receivers. However, if Burrow is constantly on the run, it could be tough to beat one of the AFC’s best team — if not the best — on the road.

Two great quarterbacks. One game ahead. The winner to play in the AFC Championship Game. The loser to watch, thinking about what could have been.

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