This weeks Thursday night matchup should be an interesting one as the Bills go into Cleveland to take on the Browns. Both teams surprisingly sit at 2-2 and could possibly factor into the wildcard picture. For the Bills, they will need a nice performance out of EJ Manuel tonight. Manuel has had typical rookie inconsistencies but for the most part has exceeded the expectations of many these first four weeks. To help Manuel, Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller will have to establish the run against a stout Browns run defense. Spiller is questionable with an ankle injury but Jackson has been very efficient with the carries he has received. In the passing game, don’t be surprised if another rookie Robert Woods has a big night. Woods has already shown to be a favorite of Manuel’s and with Stevie Johnson being shadowed by Joe Haden, Woods should see a fair amount of targets.
While many left the Browns for dead after trading Trent Richardson, they have responded by winning their past two games. A lot of this could be credited to the change at quarterback with Brian Hoyer starting due to Brandon Weeden going down with an injury. Hoyer has done more than enough to keep the job when Weeden is healthy by showing impressive accuracy and giving his playmakers the ability to make things happen. Josh Gordon returning from suspension at receiver has also been a huge spark for the offense. Considering he was suspended for the first two weeks, it’s not coincidental that the Browns improved offense has helped key them to two wins. At 6’3 Gordon is a legitimate big play receiver and his return really allows Norv Turner to run his offense. Another huge beneficiary of Turner’s offense has been tight end Jordan Cameron. Outside of Jimmy Graham, Cameron has been the most productive tight end in the league so far. For those who haven’t seen him, Cameron like Graham is a former college basketball player who has the speed to consistently beat linebackers and the size to go up over defensive backs.
As a whole, this game like so many others on Thursday night could end up being a sloppy, low scoring affair. This is definitely plausible as both of these teams are young and the players could have nerves in for what many is their first night game. Overall, the Browns improving offense and underrated defense should be too much at home for a Bills team coming off a big emotional win against the Ravens. My prediction is Bills 17 Browns(-4.5) 23.