In this Aug. 26, 2018, file photo, Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard, left, is tackled by Buffalo Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes during the first half of a preseason NFL football game in Orchard Park, N.Y. The Bengals travel to Orchard Park this week for the Bills' home-opener. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus, File)
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) Andy Dalton fondly recalls the warm welcome he received a little over a year ago, when the Bengals traveled to Buffalo for a preseason game.
The Cincinnati quarterback drew several ovations after winning over Bills fans' hearts for his last-minute touchdown to beat Baltimore in the 2017 season finale. The Ravens' 31-27 loss propelled Buffalo into the postseason and snapped the team's 17-year playoff drought.
Dalton knows better than to listen for any cheers in facing the Bills (2-0) in Buffalo's home opener Sunday.
''Ha, ha, no,'' Dalton said with a healthy chuckle. ''I'm not expecting the same kind of ovation I got last time.''
Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes has made a point of personally informing Dalton that won't happen.
''It was such a big moment in our franchise's history and everything the fans did for him, which is really cool,'' Hughes said, recalling watching Dalton hit Tyler Boyd for a 49-yard touchdown pass to convert a fourth-and-12 with 49 seconds left against Baltimore. ''But we understand, and I tell him this every time I see him back in Texas, when we get on the football field, it's go-time.''
And Hughes is speaking as Dalton's long-time friend, after the two grew up in Houston and were college teammates at TCU.
Buffalo is on a roll in opening the season with two road wins, both at the Meadowlands, and in position to enjoy its first 3-0 start since 2011.
The Bills defense has allowed just 22 points - not including an interception returned for a touchdown and safety in a 17-16 season-opening win against the Jets.
And their new-look offense under second-year quarterback Josh Allen is finding its rhythm after engineering four 70-plus-yard touchdown drives in a 28-14 win over the Giants last weekend.
The Bengals (0-2) are still trying to find their identity under rookie coach Zac Taylor.
After a tightly contested 21-20 season-opening loss at Seattle, Cincinnati unraveled in giving up 572 yards - the fifth-most in franchise history - in a 41-17 loss to San Francisco.
''The loss is not something we're going to run from,'' Taylor said. ''We got blown out at home. We could say it was frustrating, but we will not allow our guys to hang their heads.''
Though Dalton leads the NFL with 61 completions and is second with 729 yards passing, the Bengals' running attack has stalled.
An injury depleted offensive line has been the biggest issue. Rookie left tackle Jonah Williams tore a labrum in offseason workouts. Backup Cordy Glenn - a former Bill - missed the first two games with a concussion. And third-string tackle Andre Smith hurt his groin against the 49ers but is expected back this week. Cincinnati is last in the league with 59 yards on 33 carries through two games.
Running back Joe Mixon resorted to posting a message on Twitter, apologizing to his fans.
''I promise I will get it right and we will be better,'' wrote Mixon, averaging 1.8 yards per carry.
Taylor was hired from the Rams to replace Marvin Lewis, who was fired after failing to win a playoff game in 16 seasons. The 0-2 start is ominous. It's the 17th time in franchise history that the Bengals have opened 0-2, and have never managed a winning record after such a start.
''We win this week, and the feeling in this building is a lot different,'' Dalton said.
TAP THE BRAKES
The Bills know better than to take a 2-0 start for granted. After starting 3-0 and eventually getting to 5-2 in 2011, Buffalo unraveled in closing the season 6-10. It was no different in 2008, when Buffalo opened 4-0 and finished 7-9.
''I'm just looking at one game right now, honestly,'' coach Sean McDermott said, when reminded Buffalo plays five of its next six at home.
Buffalo tight end Tyler Kroft is in position to make his season debut and against his former team. The Bills offseason free-agent addition has practiced the past three weeks after missing the entire offseason with a broken right foot.
''Another added threat that you're going to have to worry about in the passing game,'' Allen said of Kroft, who spent his first four seasons in Cincinnati.
Aside from applause, Dalton's win over Baltimore led to Bills fans donating more than $450,000 to the quarterback's charitable foundation. He returned a portion of it back with a donation to Buffalo's Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.
''It shows the game's bigger than just football,'' Dalton said.
Another $100,000 was donated to Boyd's cause of choice, which went to funding a youth sports league in his hometown of Clairton, Pennsylvania.
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles (collarbone) was seen throwing passes before Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals. It appears that Foles' rehab is on schedule, though he's still a few weeks away from returning to the field, and there will be plenty of questions about whether or not Foles will reclaim his starting role from rookie Gardner Minshew. But seeing Foles tossing footballs on the field Sunday is a good sign. He should be stashed in two-quarterback leagues for now.
While Ian Rapoport reported on Sunday morning that Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (knee) will miss three-to-five weeks, ESPN's Chris Mortensen says that Mahomes believes he is "week to week" right now. It's still safe to assume the number Rapoport reported is true and that Mahomes is downplaying things some, but if any quarterback could magically play earlier than that reported number, it might be Mahomes. Either way, the fantasy outcome is the same: he sits on your bench until he returns, and then he's immediately in your lineup.
Seattle Seahawks S Lano Hill (elbow) is expected to be sidelined for several weeks due to an elbow injury, according to head coach Pete Carroll. He was ruled out for Week 7's game against the Baltimore Ravens after being unable to practice during the week.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (knee) will miss three-to-five weeks with a dislocated patellar. He'll either return in Week 11 when the Chiefs play the Chargers on Monday night, or in Week 13 against the Raiders following the bye week. Mahomes is the fantasy QB1 when healthy, so fantasy owners have to hold onto him for now. Matt Moore is expected to start in his place, and while the weapons the Chiefs have make Moore slightly interesting, his track record suggests he's no more than a QB2 at best. Maybe Mahomes owners can grab him to help them get through this stretch, but that's only if better options are already owned.
Dallas Cowboys WR Amari Cooper (quadriceps, ankle) is expected to play in Week 7's game against the Philadelphia Eagles, according to a source.
Fantasy Spin: Cooper was listed as questionable on the injury report after participating in just one of the team's three practice sessions during the week on a limited basis. He makes a somewhat risky starting option in fantasy leagues this week because the Cowboys won't play until Sunday evening and it is unknown if he will see a reduced number of offensive snaps.
Dallas Cowboys CB Byron Jones (hamstring) is expected to play in Week 7's game against the Philadelphia Eagles, according to a source. He was listed as questionable on the injury report after participating in just one of the team's three practice sessions during the week on a limited basis.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (ankle) isn't expected to be ready until after the October 29th trade deadline. While there have been rumors that the Bengals could deal Green to a contender, the team has said multiple times that they have no plans to do so. Green could still be a top fantasy receiver when he returns on an offense that's been playing from behind a ton, but the team could also play it safe and limit his snaps in what's clearly a lost ear from the 0-6 Bengals.
Chicago Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky (shoulder) will play in Week 7's game against the New Orleans Saints, according to multiple sources.
Fantasy Spin: Trubisky had been listed as questionable on the injury report despite fully participating in all three of the team's practice sessions during the week. He should only be used in two-quarterback leagues and as a bye week replacement this afternoon because of the difficult matchup versus the New Orleans defense.
Dallas Cowboys WR Randall Cobb (back) is expected to play in Week 7's game against the Philadelphia Eagles, according to a source.
Fantasy Spin: Cobb was listed as questionable on the injury report after participating in just one of the team's three practice sessions during the week on a limited basis. He has posted decent numbers this season and can be viewed as a WR3 or flex option in most fantasy formats.
The Green Bay Packers could have at least one of their injured wide receivers back for Sunday's meeting with the Oakland Raiders. Marquez Valdes-Scantling (ankle/knee) and Geronimo Allison (concussion/chest) will be tested pregame, with the hopes being that at least one can suit up. With Davante Adams (turf toe) out, the Packers need all the help they can get. It'll be tough to trust either guy if they play as they could be limited, but they'd be better fantasy options than the current crop of Packers receivers who've been getting inserted into DFS lineups this week, Allen Lazard and Jake Kumerow.
Green Bay Packers WR Geronimo Allison (concussion, chest) will be a game-time decision for Week 7's contest against the Oakland Raiders.
Fantasy Spin: Allison was upgraded from doubtful to questionable Saturday, Oct. 19, despite not participating in any of the team's three practice sessions during the week and still being under concussion protocol. He should be viewed as a risky WR3 or flex option this afternoon if he is active.
Green Bay Packers WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling (ankle, knee) hopes to be able to play in Week 7's game against the Oakland Raiders despite being listed as questionable on the injury report, according to a source.
Fantasy Spin: Valdes-Scantling did not practice at all during the week and should be viewed as a risky flex option in fantasy leagues based on his health and recent performance, having posted fewer than 50 receiving yards in each of his last three contests.
Jacksonville Jaguars WR Dede Westbrook (shoulder) will participate in pregame workouts prior to Week 7's contest against the Cincinnati Bengals to determine if he will play. However, early indications are that there is optimism about him being active for the game, according to a source.
Fantasy Spin: Westbrook was listed as questionable on the injury report after missing one of the team's three practice sessions during the week and being limited in another. If he is active, he merits consideration as a WR3 or flex option in most fantasy leagues because of the favorable matchup.
Detroit Lions CB Darius Slay (hamstring) is expected to play in Week 7's game against the Minnesota Vikings, according to a source. He was listed as questionable on the injury report after being a limited practice participant throughout the week.
Arizona Cardinals RB David Johnson (ankle) is expected to play in Week 7's game against the New York Giants, according to a source.
Fantasy Spin: Johnson was listed as questionable on the injury report after participating in two of the team's three practice sessions during the week on a limited basis. He should be viewed as a starting option in all fantasy formats.
Arizona Cardinals WR Christian Kirk (ankle) is unlikely to play in Week 7's game against the New York Giants, according to a source.
Fantasy Spin: Kirk was listed as questionable on the injury report after being a limited practice participant throughout the week but it appears as though he needs additional time for rest and recovery. Fantasy owners should have alternative options available since it looks like Kirk will miss his third game in a row.
Miami Dolphins CB Xavien Howard (knee) is expected to play in Week 7's game against the Buffalo Bills, according to a source. He had been listed as questionable on the injury report after being a limited practice participant throughout the week.
Indianapolis Colts DE Justin Houston (calf) is expected to play in Week 7's game against the Houston Texans, according to a source. He had been listed as questionable on the injury report after missing the team's last two practice sessions during the week.
The Dallas Cowboys will have four important pieces of their offense back for Sunday's meeting with the Eagles, with wide receivers Amari Copper (thigh) and Randall Cobb (back) plus tackles Tyron Smith (ankle) and La'el Collins (knee) expected to play. All four players' statuses have been up in the air this week, but if the four of them play, the Cowboys offense sees a huge boost. Cooper will be a solid start, and both quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott will see a boost to their fantasy stock.
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Dede Westbrook (shoulder) will likely play against the Bengals in Week 7, though he'll test the shoulder out in warmups to be safe. The Bengals Defense is an enticing matchup for Westbrook, but he's fallen from his team's top wideout to the number-two guy for quarterback Gardner Minshew, which limits his value. Play him in 12-team PPR leagues, but feel free to avoid him in shallower leagues and in standard scoring.