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Rex Ryan recognizes threat posed by A.J. Green

Bills head coach Rex Ryan isn’t holding back about his thoughts on the Bengals’ star receiver.

NFL: International Series-Washington Redskins at Cincinnati Bengals Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals and their Week 11 opponent, the Buffalo Bills, head into their matchup in Cincinnati in similar positions. Both teams are currently dealing with records below .500, but neither are out of the playoff race just yet. Granted, the Bengals are in a much better position as they play in the AFC North, currently led by the Baltimore Ravens (5-4). The Bills are behind in the race for a wild card spot and aren’t even close to the New England Patriots (7-2), who currently lead the AFC East.

That said, don’t try to tell Bills head coach Rex Ryan that his team can’t pull off the improbable comeback. As a head coach, he is sure to be focused on the playoffs as long as his team still has a mathematical chance. But, he knows he is going to have his hands full this week going up against one of, if not the best wide receiver in the NFL. Often known as one of the most outspoken coaches in the NFL, Ryan doesn’t typically mince words, and certainly didn’t when speaking to reporters this week about playing against Green.

"Oh, god. Please, he's the best receiver we've faced all year," Ryan told ESPN. "It's not even close... What an amazing talent."

The Bills have faced other talented wide receivers this year, but Ryan is convinced that none of those matchups were more difficult than the one his team has to face this Sunday.

“He’s (Green) right there at the top of the list,” Ryan explained on Wednesday. “I know we play (Antonio) Brown from Pittsburgh coming up but I think he’s probably the best receiver we’ve faced all season.”

When Green looked injured in Monday’s game against the Giants, Ryan took the opportunity to, half-jokingly, suggest that the Bengals should not play Green this week. You know, in the interest of his health.

"I saw where he was hobbled a little bit. I think (Bengals coach) Marvin (Lewis) should rest him this week and that would be my advice to Marvin," Ryan said. "He's not really asking me, but just, friend to friend."

That said, it’s not like Ryan’s Bills haven’t played well against Green before. Last year, Green was held to just 36 yards on four catches (seven targets). The Bengals still won by a convincing score of 34-21, but that had very little to do with Green’s direct impact that day. When asked about how his team pulled that off, Ryan was blunt.

“We double-teamed him all game,” Ryan said in a press conference on Monday. Look for more of the same.”

Despite the fact that they shut him down the last time the two teams met, Green’s impact of simply being in the game was undeniable. His measurable production wasn’t much to speak of, but the amount of attention the Bills paid to shutting him down allowed other members of the Bengals’ offense to shine - particularly Marvin Jones who caught nine passes for 95 yards and a touchdown.

Jones is no longer with the team after leaving for Detroit in free agency, but the Bengals have plenty of talent ready to take advantage of a Bills team focusing too much on shutting Green down. Maybe Tyler Boyd will finally get his first touchdown of the year.

“They have good receivers and a good quarterback,” Ryan said. “So you’ve just got to come ready to play.”

Green is having an incredible season (66 catches, 964 yards, four touchdowns), so shutting him down is a good gameplan against the Bengals but it should free up talented players like Tyler Eifert, Brandon LaFell, and Giovani Bernard to make a bigger impact. But, Ryan knows Eifert is a threat, too, and one his defense need to be prepared for.

"He's a real talent," Ryan said, per The Buffalo News. "You know he missed six games. I wish he missed ours. He missed six games and it's hard to replace a guy with that kind of skill set."