Spiller plans to run all over the Browns defense, but he isn't in my five matchups to watch.
The Bills and Browns are no strangers and while their recent games have been sore on the eyes, both teams are coming off of strong performances. Buffalo is feeling confident after thrashing the Chiefs 35-17 and the Browns offense looked potent in a 34-27 loss to the Bengals.
Both teams have favorable matchups in Sunday's Battle of Lake Erie. Here are five that I plan to keep an eye on!
Mario Williams hopes to run around Mitchell Schwartz.
Mario Williams played decently against the Kansas City Chiefs. He finished the game with two tackles, a pass defensed and a fumble recovery. Against the Cleveland Browns, Mario Williams hopes to record his first sack as a Buffalo Bill and remove the monkey from his back.
His opposition? Mitchell Schwartz, a rookie right tackle out of the University of California.
In the first game of the season, Jason Babin was able to record four tackles and a sack against Schwartz.
That said, Schwartz is coming off of a great game against the Bengals. In the game, the Browns often ran to the right, behind Schwartz, with Trent Richardson who rushed for 109 yards. Schwartz knows he is in for a test on Sunday against Williams:
"He's a combination of everything," Schwartz said. "He's a big guy, he has long arms and he's fast. I remember his combine when everyone was shocked at how fast he was for his size. It's definitely going to be a test for myself. You get to see how good you are."
Look for the Browns to try and establish the run to the right to keep Williams at bay. That said, this is a great opportunity for Williams to notch his first sack of the 2012 season.
Advantage: Mario Williams
Mark Anderson probably won't get this close to Brandon Weeden.
Mark Anderson, the Bills' other prized free-agency signing, is also looking for his first sack as a Buffalo Bill. Unfortunately for Anderson, his matchup does not favor him at all. Against the Browns, Anderson will be lined up against Joe Thomas.
Thomas, simply put, is the best left tackle in football. He is a three-time Associated Press first-team All-Pro and has started in every game since being drafted in 2007.
Thomas is excellent against the pass and the run so don't look for Anderson to beat him often. If Anderson is to record his first sack it'll most likely be on a play where Weeden is forced out of the pocket. Anything can happen on any given Sunday in the NFL, but look for Thomas to frustrate Anderson all game long on Sunday.
Advantage: Joe Thomas
Stevie, how many touchdowns do you expect to score on the Browns? Oh, okay.
Stevie Johnson and whomever else the Bills line up outside at wide receiver should have favorable matchups against the Browns. Simply put, the Browns secondary has been terrible and is the biggest reason they lost last week to the Bengals.
On Sunday, the Browns will trot out Dimitri Patterson and Buster Skrine as their starting cornerbacks. Skrine will be starting for the first time this season after the Browns demoted Sheldon Brown. Last week against the Bengals, Patterson and Skrine were thrown upon 20 times. The cornerbacks gave up 15 receptions on said throws.
Stevie Johnson, Donald Jones and T.J. Graham are all licking their chops at the favorable matchups.
Advantage: Bills Wide Receivers
Aaron Williams is the Bills biggest weakness on defense.
Like the Browns, the Bills have some question marks in their secondary. Aaron Williams, the second-year corner out of Texas, has been terribly inconsistent. On Sunday, he matches up against Mohamed Massaquoi, inconsistent in his own right.
Through two games, Massaquoi has been targeted 15 times. The Browns wideout has caught eight of these passes for 131 yards. It's very apparent that Massaquoi has been Brandon Weeden's favorite target through two games. Look for Weeden to throw Massaquoi's way plenty of times against the Bills.
Williams has been picked on by both the Jets and the Chiefs. Last week Dwayne Bowe scored a garbage time touchdown over Williams with ease. Massaquoi is not nearly as talented or as established as Bowe, but this is going to be an interesting matchup.
Bills fans do not miss this man.
The Bills offense has been perfect in the red zone through two weeks. This week the Bills go against a defense that is coached by a familiar face, Dick Jauron.
Jauron was the Bills head coach from 2006 to the middle of 2009. While his time with the Bills isn't remembered fondly by fans, one area where Jauron's teams did well was defensively in the red zone. Per Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News:
Jauron served as the Bills' head coach from 2006 through the middle of the 2009 season. In 2007, his Bills were 31st in yards allowed but fourth best in the red zone. In 2008, Jauron's Bills were 14th in yards allowed but fourth again in the red zone.
The trend has continued in Cleveland. Last season the Browns were 30th in rushing yards allowed. But they were third in the red zone and fifth in points allowed.
The Bills signal-caller knows that the Browns do a great job of preventing teams from scoring in the red zone stating,
"They're getting after the quarterback," Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick said. "They've gotten a lot of sacks, and they've created a lot of pressure. They're feisty up front. . [sic] They're very good one-on-one pass rushers. That's going to be a big point of emphasis going into this week."
The Bills can't stay perfect all season long in the red zone, but it's important that the Bills protect the ball every time they are in the red zone on Sunday. This is the matchup I look forward to watching the most!
Advantage: Bills Red-Zone Offense