Home » Blog » Week 5 Game Preview: Browns vs. Bills

Week 5 Game Preview: Browns vs. Bills


With the Baltimore Ravens stumbling and the Pittsburgh Steelers off to one of their worst starts in team history, the AFC North appears to be completely up for grabs in 2013. And that means that there could be a changing of the guard as the Cleveland Browns – one of the longest suffering sports franchises – battle for a winning record and possibly first place in the division tonight against the Buffalo Bills.

After leading the Browns to two consecutive victories, Brian Hoyer is set to start at quarterback again tonight for the new-look Browns. Tonight’s game marks only his fourth career start – which is one fewer than Bills rookie E.J. Manuel – but he’s already shown improvement from his three-pick week-three outing, as he tossed two touchdowns and no interceptions in last week’s 17-6 win over the Bengals. It’s certainly too early to call him Cleveland’s savior, but it’s clear – at least for the moment – that starting the Cleveland-native over the more experienced Jason Campbell was the right call after all.

And after posting a 2-2 start, it’s safe to say the same is true for Manuel with the Bills. Although his numbers haven’t been mind-blowing (856 yards, 5 TDs, 3 INTS), Manuel has certainly brought a versatile skill set to the position that has Buffalo fans excited and hopeful for the future. And like Hoyer, Manuel has already orchestrated a comeback victory and has demonstrated a calmness under pressure.

Of course, the quarterbacks are getting most of the credit, but for both teams, the main reasons behind their recent successes can be attributed elsewhere.

For the Browns, it’s mostly been the defense, which is ranked third in the NFL in yards allowed with just under 300 per game. Since the Browns’ stout defense kept the high-powered Bengals offense out of the endzone last week, it should find similar success against the Bills tonight.

Meanwhile, for Buffalo to win, it needs to run the ball effectively and it has thus far, piling up 152 yards per game (2nd in NFL) as a team. However, with C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson both dealing with injuries this week, rushing yards may be tougher to come by, especially against a solid Cleveland front seven.

With impassioned home fans cheering in the background, Buffalo should be able to keep this game close, but a with a hotter quarterback, better defense and positive momentum rolling forward, the Browns will likely be too much for the home team to handle.

Look for Cleveland to cover -3 and reach a winning record after five games for the first time since 2001.

  • 100%