Three VS Three: How Much Do Team Stats Matter?

CINCINNATI - NOVEMBER 21: Cedric Benson #32 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs with the ball during the NFL game against the Buffalo Bills at Paul Brown Stadium on November 21 2010 in Cincinnati Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

On Sunday the Cincinnati Bengals (1-2) will host the Buffalo Bills (3-0). The Bills are favored by three points in the game after coming off a last-second win over the New England Patriots and the Bengals are coming off a 13-8 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

There are a few story lines that make Sunday's matchup exciting. Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Bills starting quarterback, was at one point the Bengals backup quarterback. Bills wide receiver Steve Johnson tore up the Bengals secondary last year for over 130 yards and three second-half touchdowns on the way to a Bills comeback win. And of course there's the fact that the Bengals haven't beat the Bills since they faced off in the 1988 AFC Championship game -- they have lost 10 straight since then.

Another interesting story line is the fact that the Bills third ranked offense will be going up against the Bengals third ranked defense. 

How much does that really matter, though?

The Bengals have the third ranked defense but an argument could be made that their ranking is a result of playing three teams with less than stellar offenses. They played against the Cleveland Browns, who have the 26th ranked offense, the Denver Broncos, who have the 27th ranked offense, and the San Francisco 49ers, who have the last ranked offense.

On the other side, the Bills have the third best offense after facing three less than awesome defenses. They played against the Kansas City Chiefs, who have the 23rd ranked defense, the Oakland Raiders, who have the 28th ranked defense, and the New England Patriots, who have the last ranked defense.

Here's a breakdown of the two teams' stats when it comes to rushing and passing:

The Bengals have the fifth ranked passing defense but the Browns have the 25th ranked passing offense, the Broncos have the 22nd ranked passing offense and the 49ers have the 28th ranked passing offense. The Bengals have the seventh ranked rush defense, but the Browns have the 22nd ranked rushing offense, the Broncos have the 28th ranked rushing offense and the 49ers have the 30th ranked rushing offense.

The Bills have the 11th ranked passing offense but the Chiefs have the 21st ranked passing defense, the Raiders have the 28th ranked passing defense and the Patriots have the last ranked passing defense. The Bills have the fourth ranked rushing offense but that could be a result of playing the Chiefs' 28th ranked rushing defense, the Raiders' 26th ranked rushing defense and the Patriots' 10th ranked rushing defense.

The only time either one of these top-ranked units faced a top-10 opponent in any category, they didn't have a good game. The Patriots rushing defense held Fred Jackson to just 74 yards last week, which was the first week of the season Jackson didn't run over 100 yards (he did only carry the ball 12 times, though, giving him a yards per carry average of 6.2).

So how good is the Bengals defense and the Bills offense really? It's hard to say but I believe both sides will be tested on Sunday and even though the Bills are favored to win the game, I wouldn't be too surprised to see the Bills offense struggle against the Bengals defense. 

Things could go the other way just as easily, though.

Once we're going into week five we'll have a much better idea of where the Bengals defense really stands.

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