Each week, the PFF analysis team will bring you break downs of the most important matchups for each game of the NFL season.
Coverage by: Elliott Rooney
Matchup: Buffalo Bills offense vs. Cincinnati Bengals defense
- QB Tyrod Taylor vs. LB Vincent Rey – Taylor has done a great job of protecting the ball this season with the least amount of turnover worthy throws at 0 percent, which has led to the fifth highest overall PFF grade for a quarterback this season with an overall grade of 85.6. Taylor has been effective all season using play action, holding the second best completion percentage (78.6) and the second best passer rating (149.9) on such plays. Rey has been one of the best coverage linebackers this season with a coverage grade of 82.2, which ranks ninth among linebackers. When targeted Rey is only allowing a passer rating of 77.6, the 16th best rating among linebackers. If the Bengals want to limit Taylor’s success off play action then their linebackers will need to play disciplined football.
- T Dion Dawkins vs. Edge Carl Lawson – The key matchup in the passing game will feature two rookies. Dawkins is the highest graded rookie tackle this season with an overall grade of 74.3, but he has struggled in pass protection with a grade of 67.6 which ranks 33rd overall. Lawson has been having a sensational rookie season, ranking second among edge defenders with 22 total pressures and ranking fourth with a pass-rushing productivity rating (PRP) of 17.6 (PRP measures pressure created on a per snap basis with weighting towards sacks).
- G Richie Incognito vs. DI Geno Atkins – Incognito will go head to head with one of the best pass-rushing interior defenders in the NFL on Sunday. Incognito has been good in pass protection so far this season, ranking 11th with a pass-block grade of 82.1. He has only given up three total pressures on 127 pass-block snaps for a pass-blocking efficiency (PBE) of 98.0 which ranks 13th among guards (PBE measures pressure allowed on a per snap basis with weighting towards sacks). Atkins as usual is one of the highest-graded interior defenders this season, his pass-rush grade of 87.0 ranks fourth among interior defenders. His PRP rating of 13.2 is the third best, as he has created 19 total pressures on his 114 pass-rush snaps.
Coverage by: Lorin Cox
Matchup: Cincinnati Bengals offense vs. Buffalo Bills defense
- T Cedric Ogbuehi vs. Edge Jerry Hughes – Ogbuehi is coming off of his strongest game of the season after a rough first three games. His overall grade for the season is a poor 40.2 overall, good for 57th out of 68 eligible tackles. He’s allowed two sacks and 12 hurries in pass protection, which means he carries the 58th-highest pass blocking efficiency at his position. His pass protection will be challenged by Hughes, who rushes from the right side of the defense 100 percent of the time. This season, he’s generated three sacks, four hits and 13 hurries on 121 pass-rushing snaps, giving him the 10th-highest pass rushing productivity among 4-3 defensive ends.
- WR A.J. Green vs. CB Tre’Davious White – This season has been more of the same story for Green. He’s the second-highest graded wide receiver in the NFL at 87.4 overall, leading his team in every statistical category. His 2.34 yards per route run is seventh at his position, but the other receivers on the team have failed to finish in the top 90 in the same stat. He’ll face plenty of White in this game, the fifth-highest graded cornerback in the league this season. He’s been targeted 26 times so far, allowing 13 catches for 162 yards with no touchdowns, an interception and six passes defensed. Quarterbacks targeting White have just a 53.7 passer rating.
- HB Giovani Bernard vs. Edge Lorenzo Alexander – Bernard has been the Bengals’ second-leading receiver this season, and his 70.9 overall grade ranks 28th among running backs. He’s only had 26 touches this season, but he’s averaging 3.5 yards after contact per carry this season, forcing two missed tackles on 18 carries. He might have a favorable matchup this week with Alexander, who has struggled with running backs this season. He’s missed eight tackles through four games so far, and he’s had some trouble in coverage against players out of the backfield. He’s allowed 11 catches on 12 targets for 119 yards for a 108.0 passer rating, although he does have seven total stops on the season.