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The Truth About Cincy D?

Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills will provide a better indication of the quality of the Cincinnati Bengals' defense. Cincinnati ranked 15th in yards allowed last year and 24th in points allowed. They lost their best cornerback (Jonathan Joseph) in free agency but replaced him with a capable veteran in Nate Clements. They don't have their best linebacker (Keith Rivers), who is hurt. They did improve their pass rush with the addition of Manny Lawson in free agency.

Through three games this year, the Bengals rank third in yards allowed and sixth in points allowed.

The caveat: The three offenses the Bengals have faced rank 26th (Cleveland), 27th (Denver) and 32nd (San Francisco) in the league in yards gained. Conversely, the three defenses the Bills have faced rank 23rd, 28th and 32nd (that would be Kansas City, Oakland and New England, respectively).

Whose numbers are more legitimate? We find out Sunday.

Something will have to give when the BIlls try to run the ball. Cincinnati is No. 1 in the league in yards-per-rush allowed, at only 2.9 yards a carry. The Bills' offense is second in the NFL in yards per carry, at 5.6.

---Mark Gaughan

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