Thursday, October 3, 2013

Week 5 AFC East game picks: Bills at Browns

Publisher Nick St. Denis, associate editor Dan Begnoche and senior contributor Sean Donovan pick the Buffalo Bills' Thursday night bout with the Cleveland Browns.

Dan's take:
Buffalo's banged up running game faces yet another tough contest, as the Browns defense leads the league in yards per carry allowed. After a statement game against Joe Flacco and the Ravens' offense, a Kiko Alonzo-led pass defense grounds rookie quarterback Brian Hoyer and Cleveland's stagnant run game. Buffalo's road road losing streak will end at five if E.J. Manuel can continue to build his chemistry with Robert Woods, and if he can keep the interceptions under wraps like weeks 1 through 3.
Prediction: Bills 20, Browns 13

Sean's take:
Since Hoyer took over the starting quarterback duties, the Browns have been able to pair their talented defense with a potent offense and string together a couple of wins. They'll host a Bills team that just topped the defending champion Ravens and looks to put together a streak of their own. Thursday night games tend to favor the team with the better defense and the one that's playing at home. The Browns are both and will win handily.
Prediction: Browns 24, Bills 13

Nick's take:
Both teams are coming off somewhat surprising wins over AFC North teams, and both are feeling pretty good heading into a national-stage battle. Joe Haden and the rest of Cleveland pass defense will make things very tough for Manuel if it stuffs C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson early the way it has everyone else's running games. However, the Browns' offense is up against no slouch, either. Hoyer will have to play smart football against a ballhawking defense and will lean on tight end Jordan Cameron, who is tied for a league-high 30 receptions at his position.
Prediction: Browns 16, Bills 13