Week 15: Bills vs. Browns
"The Battle of Lake Erie" is the biggest game for the Bills since the season finale in 2004. If the Bills win they will greatly improve their playoff chances and be in the driver's seat for the 6th spot. If they lose they are out. Cleveland is currently in that 6th spot, so this game is crucial for both teams The last time these two teams met was in that 2004 season when the Bills continued their late season roll with a rout of a Browns team that isn't nearly as good as this team is. Weather will be a huge factor as a winter storm is expected to move through before and during the game bringing snow, wind, and bitterly cold temperatures.
FACTS AND FIGURES
||Buffalo (7-6) vs. Cleveland (8-5)
||Cleveland Browns Stadium
||Gus Johnson and Steve Tasker
||Browns by 5½
||Browns lead 8-5 (Browns 1-0 in Playoffs)
||Bills Won 3
||Bills 37-7 in Buffalo (2004)
||Rush (17th); Pass (11th); overall (9th)
||Rush (28th); Pass (30th); overall (32nd)
||Rush (16th); Pass (28th); overall (28th)
||Rush (18th); Pass (28th); overall (30th)
The Bills active players are fairly healthy although they have placed their 14th player on injured reserve as George Wilson was added to the list after fracturing two ribs in the win over Miami last week. Chris Kelsay, should play after missing the past two games with an ankle injury and bone bruise. Coy Wire remains out with a neck stinger that cost him last week's game as well. Copeland Bryan is out with a knee injury. Anthony Thomas, Matt Murphy, Kiwaukee Thomas, Derek Schouman, Peerless Price, Ko Simpson, Kevin Everett, Paul Pozluszny, Jason Whittle, and Jason Webster are among the long list on injured reserve.
For the Browns LB Antwan Peek may not be available with knee and ankle ailments, he is doubtful for the game. They should get CB Eric Wright back after missing last week's win over the Jets with a knee injury.
Bills Daily Injury Page
SS Donte Whitner vs. TE Kellen Winslow:
The Bills have struggled against top tight ends and Winslow is having a fantastic season. Whitner needs to be motivated going back home to Cleveland this week to contain Winslow's production or else it could be a long day for the Bills.
LBs Angelo Crowell and John DiGiorgio vs. RB Jamal Lewis:
The Bills biggest tacklers need to contain Lewis who is undergoing a resurgence with the potent Browns offensive attack as he can go over the 1,000 yard mark this week. If they can shutdown the running game they may make the Browns one dimensional.
CB Terrence McGee vs. WR Braylon Edwards:
When QB Derek Anderson passes he looks for Winslow and the former third overall pick in the draft. Edwards has had a breakout year in his third season and has over 1,100 yards receiving. McGee has passed some big tests this year and needs to pass this one in hopes to slow down the Browns.
WR Lee Evans vs. CB Leigh Bodden:
Evans should be fired up for the biggest game he has played since joining the NFL. He is also back in his hometown and should be motivated. There should be opportunities for him against a weak pass defense.
RBs Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson vs. LB D'Qwell Jackson:
The Browns run defense is just as bad as their pass defense which could be good news for the Bills two headed monster in the backfield. Jackson leads the way for the Browns defense with 81 tackles.
LT Jason Peters vs. DE Robaire Smith:
Peters has done well this year against quality pass rushing ends. Smith has four sacks for the Browns and Peters needs to keep him away from QB Trent Edwards' blind side.
When The Bills Have The Ball: The Browns defense is as bad the Dolphins defense is so the Bills should be able to produce points when they are on offense. Look for a similar gameplan to last week with a good mix of the running back duo as they will look to control the ball to keep it away from the Browns offense. The weather conditions may force that anyway.
When The Browns Have The Ball: With a very potent offense Anderson will try to get the ball in the hands of his three big playmakers Lewis, Edwards, and Winslow, the weather may make that difficult. Look for them to try and spread the ball around to keep the Bills defense off balanced.
BILLS DAILY PREDICTION
These two teams are fairly evenly matched as they both have struggled against winning teams but have beaten the teams they should beat. Both teams have had struggles on defense but the Bills have played better overall defensively than Cleveland has. Earlier in the week I went with the Browns, I rarely change predictions but I will this week. The wicked weather will take away much of the passing attack of both teams and that gives the Bills an edge. This will turn it into a low scoring game with the Bills one-two punch at running back giving them an edge that should be able to cancel out the affect of the dawg pound. I now think the fairy tale story will continue in a wild weather affair:
Bills 14, Browns 10
Season Prediction Record: (8-5)
Season Record Against The Spread: (8-5)
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