The Bengals offensive line had its worst game as a unit during last week's comeback win over the Seahawks.
That line gave up four sacks against a Seahawks defense that hadn't been particularly great at getting to opponents' quarterbacks (they had 6 sacks through first 4 games). That was also double the amount Cincinnati had given up over the first four games combined.
Whatever the issue was, they hopefully got it fixed in practice this week. They'll face one of the best defenses and coaches when it comes to rushing the passer this week in Buffalo. Head coach Rex Ryan annually had one of the league's best pass-rushing defenses when he was the defensive coordinator of the Ravens and head coach of the Jets.
After being fired by New York this offseason, Buffalo was quick to scoop him up knowing he was the perfect fit for a team that's biggest strength was in their defense, specifically the front seven. As good as Seattle's front played last week, this Bills front has the potential to be far better when it comes to pass-rushing.
After all, Buffalo's 54 sacks led the NFL in 2014, but they've taken a step back thus far while adjusting to Ryan's new schemes. They still have the same guys though who racked up many of those 54 takedowns, and they'll be a great test for a Bengals offensive line that prides itself on being the best at protecting their QB.
"They play really hard, and they give you so many different looks, and different things that they do, so they make you prepare for a lot of different things," Andy Dalton said of Rex Ryan's defenses. "They do a really good job in their blitz packages, try to disguise things. For us, we have to be sharp with everything we're doing with the preparation."
For Buffalo, their defense starts with Marcell Dareus, who is one of the best interior rushers in football. He registered 28.5 sacks from 2011-2014, but has just one in four games thus far in 2015 (he didn't play in Week 1). He's still a load to block and will be a great challenge for the interior of Cincinnati's offensive line.
The same is true of fellow defensive tackle Kyle Williams. Another great interior pass-rusher, Williams racked up 16 sacks from 2013-14, but also has just one sack in five games this season. Both he and Dareus are still adjusting to Ryan's new scheme, but history shows those two can wreck an offensive game plan.
That's just as true for the Bills' dynamic duo at defensive end in Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes. Super Mario is one of the best in the business at taking down quarterbacks. He combined for 38.5 sacks from 2011-14 and has 93 in his career since coming to the NFL in 2006.
As for Hughes, he racked up 20 sacks from 2013-14 while playing alongside Williams. However, Willams and the rest of the line has just five combined sacks through five games while the defense as a whole has just nine sacks. That's expected though given they've shifted to Ryan's scheme this season. There's a great piece on Buffalo Rumblings about some of the changes their defense has undergone, and there's no reason to think this unit won't eventually get on track and become one of the better pass-rushing units in the NFL this season.
The good news for the Bengals is they should be all hands on deck this week after facing a physical Seahawks team.