Ahead of Monday night’s contest, Cincinnati Bengals coach Zac Taylor issued praised towards Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen, setting the stage for a heavyweight fight between two of the AFC’s top teams.
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen is well-established as one of the top players at his position in the NFL, holding two Pro Bowl nods and a runner-up in the MVP voting to his name.
Now, he’s focused on adding another honor to his résumé – Super Bowl champion. Fresh off clinching their third consecutive AFC East title, the Bills (12-3) are set to take on the red-hot Cincinnati Bengals (11-4) on Monday Night Football in a crucial game for each side’s hopes at getting the No. 1 seed … and a first-round bye in the postseason.
It’s one of the most important games the Bills have played all season, and they’ll be heavily reliant on Allen to carry the load, something Bengals coach Zac Taylor is aware of.
Despite there being some three years between the last time he’s faced Allen, Taylor’s very familiar with his game, as he’s unintentionally been watching from afar throughout the season … and is impressed with what he’s seen from the 26-year-old.
“He’s a great quarterback,” Taylor said. “We’ve seen him all year because of the crossover tape with that division and them playing our opponents. We’ve probably crossed over with Buffalo seven or eight times this year, so we’ve gotten a full dose of what he does. Really exciting player, extends plays, the play’s never dead. He’s got the arm strength to make every throw that he can possibly make.”
Much has changed since the last time Buffalo and Cincinnati played – a Week 3 matchup in 2019, when Allen, then a second-year pro, was just finding his footing and Taylor was in the midst of his first season as a head coach.
Now, Allen’s a premiere quarterback on a perennial playoff team while Taylor’s turned the Bengals into the same, marked by a Super Bowl loss a season ago.
Cincinnati, led by third-year quarterback Joe Burrow, looks to be one of Buffalo’s biggest rivals in the AFC for years to come – and Taylor knows his team is going to have its hands full when it comes to slowing down Allen.
“He’s a big-time playmaker,” said Taylor. “All hands on deck when you’re trying to corral him in the pocket and having to cover downfield, and (he) brings an element to the quarterback run game, so that can be a challenge as well. There’s a lot of things they do offensively that you’ve got to prepare for.”
Given a long week, the Bengals will have additional time to “prepare” for Allen … but considering all they’ve seen throughout the year, they’re likely well aware of what needs to be done – and how difficult it is to execute that plan.
The Bills and Bengals are set to kick off at 8:30 p.m. ET Monday night inside Paycor Stadium.