Bills vs. Browns: TV Info, Spread, Injury Updates, Game Time and More

Jesse ReedCorrespondent IOctober 1, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 22:  Brian Hoyer #6 of the Cleveland Browns looks to pass against the Minnesota Vikings on September 22, 2013 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

There's a lot at stake for both teams when the Buffalo Bills travel to face the Cleveland Browns on Thursday Night Football.

Fresh off a thrilling victory over the Baltimore Ravens in Week 4, the Bills are showing signs of improvement under rookie head coach Doug Marrone. 

That said, this team is in danger of falling into a hole in the highly competitive AFC East. With a loss on Thursday, Buffalo would own a 2-3 record. Meanwhile, the New England Patriots have already won four games, and the Miami Dolphins have won three. 

When Brandon Weeden went down with a thumb injury, the Browns made a move that surprised many by starting Brian Hoyer over veteran Jason Campbell. Just as shocking was the team's decision to trade running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts for a 2014 first-round draft pick. 

The prevailing thought after Cleveland made these moves was that the franchise was playing for a top draft pick in 2014 so it could select one of next year's top quarterbacks. 

Hoyer and the Browns quickly shut the door on such talk, however. Cleveland won its next two games to move into a tie for first place in the AFC North with a 2-2 record, and the little-known signal-caller has played like a seasoned veteran. 

Every game brings with it new challenges, though.

Here's a look at what you need to know about this upcoming Thursday Night Football clash. 

 

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 30:  A Cleveland Browns fan looks on during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on December 30, 2012 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

When: Thursday, Oct. 3, at 8:25 p.m. ET

Where: FirstEnergy Field, Cleveland

Watch: NFL Network

Live Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket

Betting Lines (via Covers) 

  • Over/Under: 41 points
  • Spread: Cleveland (-4)

 

Bills Injury Report (via BuffaloBills.com

NAMEPOSITIONINJURYMON.TUE.WED.GAME STATUS
Brooks, RonDBFootDNP---
Byrd, JairusSFootLP---
Gilmore, StephonDBWristDNP---
Goodwin, MarquiseWRHandLP---
Hopkins, DustinKRight GroinLP---
Jackson, FredRBKneeLP---
Johnson, StevieWRHamstringLP---
McKelvin , LeodisDBHamstringLP---
Spiller, C.J.RBAnkleDNP---
Urbik, KraigOLKneeLP---
Williams, AaronSLow BackLP---

 

Browns Injury Report (via ClevelandBrowns.com

NAMEPOSITIONINJURYMON.TUE.WED.GAME STATUS
Cousins, OnielOLChestFP---
Cundiff, BillyKRight ThighLP---
Gordon, JoshWRForearmFP---
Groves, QuentinLBAnkleDNP---
Hughes, JohnDTKneeLP---
Lauvao, ShawnOLAnkleLP---
Ogbonnaya, ChrisFBThighFP---
Sheard, JabaalLBKneeDNP---
Weeden, BrandonQBRight ThumbFP---
Winn, BillyDLQuadricepsDNP---

 

Can Buffalo Run Against Cleveland's Defense?

Sep 29, 2013; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback EJ Manuel (3) drops to pass against the Baltimore Ravens during the second half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Ravens 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Bills quarterback EJ Manuel has looked a bit out of his depth the past couple of games, completing just 45.3 percent of his passes for 410 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. 

Things won't get any easier for the rookie this week as he plays in a hostile environment on national television.

As a way to protect Manuel from another bad game, the Bills must be able to run the ball effectively, which hasn't been a problem this season. Buffalo has averaged 152 rushing yards per game this year, ranking No. 2 in the NFL. 

Unfortunately, both of Buffalo's top running backs—C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson—will be playing after getting banged up on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, as noted by Mike Rodak of ESPN:

Making matters worse, Cleveland's defense has been excellent this year at shutting down opponents' running games, allowing just 2.9 yards per carry. 

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 22:  Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings gets tackled by Buster Skrine #22, Barkevious Mingo #51 and T.J. Ward #43 of the Cleveland Browns on September 22, 2013 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert Humphrey Metrodome
Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

Adrian Peterson was held to 3.5 yards per carry in Week 3, while Giovani Bernard and the rest of Cincinnati's running backs managed just 63 yards last weekend.

If the Bills run into similar struggles on offense, then the Browns will move to 3-2 on the season. 

 

Prediction

Sep 22, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Cleveland Browns tight end Jordan Cameron (84) celebrates his touchdown during the second quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport

Since the Browns shocked the league with the Richardson trade, the team has played exceptionally well. 

Cleveland's defense continues to be one of the more underrated units in the league, and its front seven is downright scary.

Hoyer has been getting the ball out of his hands quickly, and suddenly the Browns have an offense that's moving the ball with regularity. Tight end Jordan Cameron is already one of his top targets, and he's quickly becoming one of the top playmakers in the NFL at his position. 

Winning road games is always difficult, but it's even harder when playing on such short rest. 

If Spiller and Jackson were healthy for this contest, then the Bills would have a legitimate shot at winning on the road. But with both of them banged up, Buffalo will likely need to rely on Manuel to win the game with his arm. 

Based on his performances the past couple of weeks, this isn't good news for the Bills.

 

Final Score 

Browns win 24-17.

 

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