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5 key Bengals to watch against the Bills

In their return home to Paul Brown Stadium, these five Bengals need to make an impact.

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

It’s seems like with each passing week we experience another disappointment from this 2016 Bengals team. They return to Paul Brown Stadium after a disappointing streak of games and will be in a must win situation come Sunday. Rex Ryan and “T-Mobile” Tyrod Taylor will be looking to put the dagger in a so far underwhelming Cincinnati season. The national media will be overlooking this game, but it’s importance for both teams at this stage of the season cannot be underestimated. If these five players perform well, it will go a long way toward a Bengals win over the Bills.

1.) Vontaze Burfict

Vontaze Burfict played the absolute game of his life on Monday night. Pro Football Focus was sure to notice, as they gave him an almost perfect score of 99.1. For anyone watching at home, it was clear Burfict was playing at a level that I might say is the highest of his already impressive career. Obviously the knee surgery and suspension didn’t slow him down. He looks to be back in perfect football shape and form, and the tape absolutely showed it. He’s going to have to play at that high of a level to try and pick up a lackluster supporting cast around him. He’s got playmakers helping him on the defensive line and occasionally in the secondary, but he’s basically a one man band in the linebacking corp.

2.) Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson

Tyrod Taylor is one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks at hurting you with his legs. He’s extremely tough to contain in the pocket, and Cincinnati’s defensive ends have to do their job, not just by getting to the quarterback, but holding the outside edge as well. If they do that, Taylor’s pedestrian arm will allow the defense to capitalize on his mistakes. But if Tyrod can get outside the pocket and extend plays, the coverage will be a nightmare all afternoon.

3.) Tyler Eifert

Eifert is still the playmaker we all hoped he would be after returning from an ankle injury that took all offseason and much of the regular-season to fully heal. His huge gainer off the Bengals’ very first drive just shows how incredibly athletic and talented Eifert is. Those skills are going to be extremely important against a Buffalo Bills team that has talent like Marcell Dareus to cause havoc. Plenty of screen work should be in Eifert’s future on Sunday, in hopes of containing the aggressiveness of a Rex Ryan defense.

4.) Giovani Bernard

The Bengals can’t block anyone in the passing game to save their lives. It’s gotten so bad that I honestly believe Andrew Whitworth notwithstanding, Giovani Bernard is the best pass blocker on this team right now. Bernard should be seeing plenty of work out of the shotgun both as a receiver and a blocking back. His ability to help chip pass rushers to help the lineman, as well as pick up blitzing linebackers on his own, will go a long way in dictating the kind of gameplan Buffalo will run defensively throughout the afternoon.

5.) Anybody that slightly resembles an offensive lineman

I don’t really think we need to rehash this. Everyone knows how bad the offensive line has been this year and almost half the articles on Cincy Jungle this week are reminding you about it. I’ll just leave this here and hope it never, ever, happens again. A guy can dream, right?

So what’s your take on this week’s game? Who do you believe needs to perform best in order to get this do-or-die victory on Sunday? Let us know in the comments!