Streaking Bills and Bengals to lock horns in NFL playoff first

An emotionally charged encounter is on the cards when the Buffalo Bills host the Cincinnati Bengals in the Divisional round given the events when the two sides met just over two weeks ago.

In the Week 17 contest in Cincinnati, Damar Hamlin's collapse and cardiac arrest brought the NFL to a standstill.

Now, the Bills will continue to be spurred on by news of Hamlin's improving health throughout the playoffs – not that they have needed much help of late.

A 34-31 Wild Card victory against the Miami Dolphins was the third playoff game in a row in which they have scored at least 34 points. Prior to this run, the Bills had tallied 34 or more points in just five of their first 34 playoff games.

Buffalo are 11-2 in the postseason when scoring at least 28 points, compared to a 7-17 record when scoring 27 or fewer.

The Bills will have confidence in Josh Allen to lead them to another big score after his latest impressive playoff showing. His 352 passing yards against the Dolphins last week represented the third-best such performance by a Bills quarterback in the playoffs, behind only Jim Kelly (405 in the 1989 Divisional round) and Doug Flutie (360 in the 1998 Wild Card round).

Bills record
Bills record

It was Allen's fourth playoff game with at least 300 passing yards and multiple touchdown passes, making him one of only 10 players in NFL history to have at least four such games. He has only played seven playoff games in total.

The Bengals might represent a step up, however, with this the first game at the Divisional round or earlier in NFL history to have both teams entering on winning streaks of at least eight games.

Both previous playoff encounters between the sides have gone in the Bengals' favour, although their last postseason meeting was in the 1988 season.

The Bengals reached this stage with a 24-17 victory against the Baltimore Ravens, which made this the first time they have had wins in back-to-back postseasons.

Even so, they have a knack for close playoff games, with their last six all decided by seven or fewer points.

To come out on top in another tight matchup, the Bengals will need to do a better job of protecting Joe Burrow, who was sacked four times against the Ravens and has been sacked 23 times in his five career playoff games, tied with Wade Wilson from 1987 to 1989 for the most through a QB's first five playoff starts since at least 1970.