Thaddeus Lewis is the starting quarterback for the Buffalo Bills.
After EJ Manuel went down with an injury in the game against Cleveland and is still on the mend, the Buffalo Bills, sans Kevin Kolb, sans Manuel, have put their trust in Lewis to get the job down against the upstart Cincinnati Bengals.
Let me give you a second to allow that to sink in.
Sunday’s game will be the 26th regular-season meeting between the two with the Bills having won 10 of their previous 11 matchups.
Can Lewis and the Bills stop a high intensity offense and an aggressive defense that helped out an end to Tom Brady’s 52-game streak of at least one touchdown pass?
This is one of those games where having a no-name signal caller might be beneficial. Cincinnati must be alert of a team that has beaten Baltimore - but had Manuel behind center. Can this team pull off another upset and bring hope back to one of the premier football cities of the 1990s?
The Bengals must also put the foot on the gas a bit and score more points. Andy Dalton and his receiving crew is ready to feast on a secondary that has had its share of injuries.
Here are three bold predictions for Sunday’s game.
Lewis has a Frank Reich-like performance
I am not saying Lewis leads this team to victory. I am saying a starting quarterback for the first time in his career can have novocaine and a stellar performance.
Lewis was acquired in a preseason trade and a five-week member of the practice squad, and now, he is starting a game in the NFL. You cannot write the script better than that. If Lewis throws for 340 yards and three scores, people will start to talk. This is a town that needs success, not a quarterback controversy.
While Adam Jones and Reggie Nelson could intercept a pass or two for the Bengals, the results won’t affect Lewis and a good game.
Both could happen if my prediction is correct.
Action Jackson upstages Spiller
I believe C.J. Spiller could have played on Thursday night. Whether he could or not is not important. Fred Jackson has been solid in his stead. Look for this to continue. If Spiller plays and looks lackluster and Jackson brings the lunch pail and does what he normally does, the Bengals' front line will be exposed to more passing plays. The balance of offense is what has kept the Bills in games and helped pull off the Baltimore upset. Look for that to continue.
Doug Marrone’s game plan has worked so far in New York, but can it work in this situation? Look for Jackson get get the lion’s share of the carries on Sunday. Look for 140 yards and a score in the game.
Tight ends to the rescue
This game has the chance to be higher scoring than the Broncos/Jaguars game. But I also think there will be some tweaking (not twerking) this week of the Bills' defense. That means more coverage on Mohamed Sanu and A.J. Green. Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert are going to play a big part in a Bengals win.
Look for Green and Sanu to have about 70 yards each in receiving yards, but if Dalton looks to the end zone in the game and in short passing downs, the tight ends will control the field.