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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late

Prediction: CLE 23, BUF 20

Update: The Bills could be without James Hardy who was held out on Wednesday and was limited the rest of the week. That would matter too because Josh Reed remains out with his ankle injury but should be back next week. Even Robert Royal has been bothered by an ankle injury and is expected to be limited in this game.

The Browns are only 3-6 on the season and 2-2 on the road. The Bills started the year as if they were the new team to beat in the AFC East and while they are 5-4, they are tied with Miami for last place in the division that is only separated by a single win. The Browns are falling apart in recent games despite a win being in their grasp but the Bills have lost their last three games. There is no reason why this should be an upset which is why I like it to be. The Bills seem to have peaked already.

The Browns beat the Bills 8-0 in Cleveland last year during week 15.

Cleveland Browns (3-6)
Homefield: Cleveland Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 DAL 10-28 +5.5 49
2 PIT 6-10 +6 45
3 @BAL 10-28 +2 38.5
4 @CIN 20-12 -3.5 44
5 BYE - - -
6 NYG 35-14 +8 43
7 @WAS 11-14 +7.5 42.5
8 @JAX 23-17 +6.5 41
9 BAL 27-37 -1.5 36.5
10 DEN 30-34 -3 46
11 @BUF - +4.5 42
12 HOU - - -
13 IND - - -
14 @TEN - - -
15 @PHI - - -
16 CIN - - -
17 @PIT - - -
CLE @ BUF Rush Catch Pass
QB Brady Quinn     200,1
RB Jamal Lewis 70,1 10  
TE Kellen Winslow   70  
WR Braylon Edwards   60,1  
WR Donte Stallworth   30  
WR Josh Cribbs   10  
PK Phil Dawson 3 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Browns were ahead by 14 points over the Ravens and ended up losing 37-27. A change was made to Brad Quinn to ward off the choke demons and yet they blew a 13 point lead over the Broncos last week. For a team that is 3-6, those loses are catastrophic. But this week the Browns could win and then with HOU and CIN visiting in the future, it is not all bleak. Mostly bleak to be sure, but not all. At least they are getting a look at Quinn.

Quarterback: Regardless of the reason or the outcome, the switch to Brady Quinn was the right thing to do. He completed 23 of 35 for 239 yards and two touchdowns with no turnovers and no sacks. Quinn was nearly flawless in his first game out though facing the Broncos made it easier than most games will be. This week will be a better measuring stick but the early returns are favorable for Quinn.

Derek Anderson passed for 137 yards against the Bills last year.

Running Backs: Jamal Lewis rushed for 163 yards on 33 carries against the Bills last year but he has never been above 88 yards in a game this year. He has scored four times in the last six weeks and usually remained above 60 to 80 yards each week though. Lewis has played the same on the road or at home so he will lend some consistency to Quinn's new offense.

Wide Receivers: First game out for Quinn and the measure of most importance is how well he connected with Braylon Edwards - not that well. Not all Quinn's fault either but the six passes thrown only became one catch for Edwards who gained only 15 yards. That's one relationship that Quinn has to exploit in order to expect success in this offense. Donte' Stallworth had a season high game with just four catches for 48 yards but the Broncos were constantly bracketing Edwards with a safety and underneath coverage and Quinn was unable to hook up with him more than once.

Edwards led the team with four catches for 64 yards against the Bill in 2007.

Tight Ends: If the one catch by Edwards was a disappointment, it was more than compensated by Kellen Winslow who had ten catches for 111 yards and two scores in the game - roughly twice as good as any other performance he had this year. If they defense wants to take away Edwards but give back Winslow, Quinn is already good enough to take advantage of it.

Match Against the Defense: The Bills have only allowed one rushing score by a running back in Buffalo and no visitor there has managed more than 69 yards including Tomlinson. Since I like this game as a minor upset, I see Lewis with a shade better performance than most and one score.

Quinn faces a secondary that has only allowed seven passing scores this year and only Rivers and Warner has two against them. But Quinn should score once here and have moderate yardage. The Bills are #2 against tight ends but that is because they have not faced any decent ones other than Gates who has 55 yards. I do like a wideout to score here but it could go anywhere. Buffalo has been victimized by faster receivers so I will credit Edwards if he can hang on to it.

Gaining Fantasy Points CLE 26 26 29 6 17 19
Preventing Fantasy Points    BUF 8 17 16 2 22 25

Buffalo Bills (5-4)
Homefield: Ralph Wilson Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 SEA 34-10 -1 39
2 @JAX 20-16 +6 38
3 OAK 24-23 -9.5 36.5
4 @STL 31-14 -8 41.5
5 @ARZ 17-41 +1 45
6 BYE - - -
7 SD 23-14 +1 46.5
8 @MIA 16-23 -1.5 42.5
9 NYJ 17-26 -5.5 43
10 @NE 10-20 +4 41
11 CLE - -4.5 42
12 @KC - - -
13 SF - - -
14 MIA - - -
15 @NYJ - - -
16 @DEN - - -
17 NE - - -
BUF vs CLE Rush Catch Pass
QB Trent Edwards     210,1
RB Marshawn Lynch 70,1    
TE Robert Royal   30  
WR Lee Evans   90,1  
WR James Hardy   20  
WR Roscoe Parrish   30  
PK Rian Lindell 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: It was bad enough that the Bills are on a three game losing streak but all three happened to be divisional rivals and that really hurts in the tie breaker department. The strong opening by the Bills against a soft schedule went south pretty fast once better teams were mixed in and while the schedule now softens up, the damage has already been done and the Bills are starting to struggle every week as a rule. There just has been no improvement in this team.

Quarterback: Trent Edwards entered the season with promise and now is stuck in a rut where he throws for about 200 yards and one touchdown every week. Never two scores. Always one or twice there were none. He has also thrown five interceptions in the last three weeks. It looked for a time like this team was on the rise but now appears suspiciously like 2007.

Edwards passed for 124 yards in Cleveland last year.

Running Backs: Marshawn Lynch's big year with a toilet paper soft schedule has never materialized. Hew has scored six times but has never had more than 83 rushing yards in any game and has averaged only 3.5 yards per carry. And this against a very soft schedule. One of his saving graces has been catching three or four passes in most games but even with that he has topped 100 total yards just once. The progress is just not here and the production is not either considering the opportunity that Lynch has had.

Lynch gained 82 yards on 21 carries against the Browns last season.

Wide Receivers: The only wide receiver of any note here has always been Lee Evans who was enjoying a banner year as the main target for Edwards (and almost only target no less). He already has six games over 75 yards and three efforts over 100 yards. His production has disappeared for two weeks now but should return with this softer stretch of the schedule.

The rookie James Hardy caught his second NFL touchdown last week but has never had more than 35 yards in any game.

No receiver had more than 36 yards in the 2007 meeting with the Browns.

Tight Ends: Robert Royal hasn't scored since week one but he has turned in games with decent yardage that all had one commonality. The top four games all came at home. Against the Jets he had a season high 70 yards on five catches.

Match Against the Defense: Interestingly enough, the Cleveland defense has been almost exactly as bad as the Buffalo offense. The Bills do the exact same thing every week regardless of the opponent - they score once passing score and usually to Edwards who should have a decent if not big game here. And this should be a nice chance for Lynch to get another touchdown and again fall short in yardage.

Gaining Fantasy Points BUF 21 21 19 16 15 15
Preventing Fantasy Points    CLE 22 21 30 16 6 6

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