The Bengals currently sit at 3-5-1 on the season, though surprisingly, the team is only a game and a half out of first place in their division. A loss to the Giants on Monday certainly didn’t help their playoff hopes. But, the Bengals will get another chance to right the ship this week as they take on a struggling Bills team. The 5-4 AFC North leading Baltimore Ravens are up against the current best team in the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys. So the Bengals have an opportunity to pull back within half a game out of first place if they win and the Ravens lose.
If there is one team the Bengals have been consistently good against since the Dalton-Green era began, it’s the Bills. That hasn’t always been the case throughout the history of these franchises, but the Bengals are on a three game winning streak against the Bills.
The most recent game between these two teams came just last year as the Bengals were ready to head into their Week 7 bye with a 6-0 record. The Bills, on the other hand, were sitting at a respectable 3-2 record and hoping to build some momentum. The Bengals took care of business with relative ease and the Bills’ season went south from there. In the game, Cincinnati got off to a slower start in the first half, only being up by three points (10-7) at halftime. But, an impressive second half saw the Bengals come away with a convincing 34-21 win.
For the Bengals, the win was just another great game in the first half of the season. An 8-0 start essentially guaranteed an eventual division championship, even though they lost half of their games in the fourth quarter of the season.
In 2013, the Bengals also took care of business against the Bills in Buffalo. The Bengals only won by three points, but it was a big part of a mid-season four game win streak that helped the Bengals secure an eventual division title. The Bengals also played the Bills in 2011, a win that kicked off a five game winning streak after the team started the season 1-2. That winning streak turned out to be crucial to the first instance of a still unbroken streak of making the playoffs every year in the Dalton-Green era.
Unfortunately, things were really bad for a really long time for the Bengals against the Bills before the Dalton-Green era began. The Bengals did take down the Bills in the 1988-89 AFC Championship by a score of 21-10. It allowed the Bengals to secure their second ever Super Bowl berth, while Marv Levy’s Bills were only a year removed from kicking off a four year streak of making it to the Super Bowl, yet losing every time. Between that game and 2011, the Bengals had no wins against the Bills.
You’re probably not particularly surprised to find out that the Bengals didn’t perform well against the Bills throughout the ‘lost decade’. In addition to losing their regular season matchup against the Bills in 1989, they played against the Bills five times from 1991 to 2002 and lost every single game, as you would probably expect. But, the futility didn’t stop there. Marvin Lewis and Carson Palmer arrived in 2003 and turned the franchise around, for the most part. But, the Bengals played the Bills another five times from 2003-2010 and weren’t able to come up with a win once during that span either.
In the 80s, the Bengals won seven of their nine matchups, including two playoff games. The Bengals’ two playoff wins over the Bills are the most wins for the franchise against any NFL team in the postseason.
This Sunday, the Bengals will host the Bills for their 30th all time matchup. The game will take place in Cincinnati, where the Bengals have a 9-6 record against the Bills. The Bengals only have a 12-15 record against the Bills throughout their total history, but they will be hoping that recent history and their historic success against the Bills at home will continue this week. A win would bring about some much-needed hope and improve the team’s record to 4-5-1.