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It's always tough to get back up after another heartbreaking overtime loss, but we're Bills Fans. Returning for more punishment is all we know on Sundays.
On the one hand, we should be proud of the way this team battled, even if the end result was not what anyone wanted. On the other, it's like, why in the world cant the Buffalo Bills win a game in overtime?
The last time Buffalo won an overtime game came back in December of 2017. They've lost four consecutive battles that went to overtime. Not that we needed any reminder, but two of those losses have come in the playoffs.
So how does a team move on from a game that felt like it was won on several occasions? By beating the next team on your schedule, which happens to be a struggling Cleveland Browns squad whose three wins have come against Carolina, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati. Not exactly world-beaters thus far.
But the Browns know who they are at this stage, which is a team that will run, run, and run some more. Only they are quite efficient, averaging 4.9 yards per carry, good for the sixth-best mark in football. They also have scored 16 rushing touchdowns, the second-most in the NFL.
Yet, if this gets into another high-scoring affair, the Browns don't stand much of a chance without breaking a big run. Cleveland allows the second-most points per game, at 26.4, and despite having the 10th-highest scoring offense, Jacoby Brissett hasn't had a 300-yard passing game all season.
We say it every week, but as long as Josh Allen gets good protection, the refs don't screw us, and we don't get any bad decisions in the red zone, going home with a win shouldn't be difficult.
It would also be nice if Buffalo could rip a page out of Cleveland's playbook and try and scheme up some more creative rushing plays, so we don't always have to count on Allen to save the day, but that's just dreaming at this point.
Buffalo Bills vs. Browns game details, where to watch
- Sunday, November 20, 2022
- Start time: 1:00 PM ET
- TV channel - CBS
- Location - Highmark Stadium, Orchard Park, New York
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Matchups to watch
- Buffalo Bills playcalling vs. Cleveland Browns (Ken Dorsey vs. Kevin Stefanski)
As hinted at above, somehow, the Browns are still leading a high-scoring offense despite playing their entire season to this point with a backup quarterback. Brissett isn't terrible, there's a reason he's been wanted by four different teams and made starts in all four locations, but unlike Allen, he's not winning anyone the game.
The Browns have a two-headed monster in the backfield, and sure, Nick Chubb is leading the NFL in rushing touchdowns (11) and is third in rushing yards (904), but the Bills, as a team, actually have a higher yards-per-carry average (5.3 compared to 4.9 YPA). You're telling me they can score just 3.6 fewer points per game, despite their biggest strength being their ground attack, which the Bills actually are better at? And all of this is done with a backup QB?
What is going on here? Needless to say, I'll be paying close attention to how both teams set up their offenses to succeed or fail. Maybe the Bills can learn a thing or two from a coach who may or may not be on the hot seat in Cleveland.
- Dion Dawkins vs. Myles Garrett
Superman, Bigfoot, whatever you want to call him, Myles Garrett is a game-wrecker. Obviously, if the Bills want to get anything going offensively, the game plan starts and ends with stopping Garrett from destroying the game. He's Pro Football Focus's top-graded edge defender, has 7.5 sacks this season, and has recorded a QB takedown in five of his eight games this season.
But left tackle Dion Dawkins is an above-average pass blocker, and he's given up just two sacks across 394 passing snaps this season. We saw one this past week, which hopefully will have Dawkins playing with an edge against one of football's most fearful defenders.
- Stopping Nick Chubb
Ultimately, it all comes down to stopping Nick Chubb. If the Bills can strike early and force the Browns to quick 3-and-outs or even force an early turnover, a quick deficit of something like 10 or 14-0 can help put this game out of reach in a hurry.
Taking on a passing offense that's not built to lead a large comeback, Buffalo could set the tone by being aggressive early on Sunday, knowing Cleveland can't score heaves of points in a short amount of time.
The Browns are never one to give up on their rushing attack, and we've seen the Bills go from holding a lead to letting one slip in a flash, whether it's a Derrick Henry 76-yard blast or a Dalvin Cook 81-yard dash, big plays such as these deflate the defense.
Restricting Chubb should be easier, not having to worry about much of a playmaking threat. There's no Justin Jefferson or Stefon Diggs on the Cleveland sideline. They do have Amari Cooper, but stopping one above-average pass catcher shouldn't be all that difficult for the second-best defense in football.
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Buffalo Bills vs. Browns game prediction
- This season's record: Buffalo Bills 6-3, 2nd in AFC East
- Cleveland Browns: 3-6, 3rd in AFC North
There's much less danger of this being a 'trap game' for Buffalo. Of course, a game script can change in a hurry, but on paper, the Browns don't have the firepower to hang around. Unless Chubb has some magical day, going for over 150 yards and two scores, they just won't be able to put enough points on the board against this defense.
Keeping Garrett in check won't be easy, but the Bills have enough weapons to not have to spend much time in the pocket. We saw Allen operate a quick-strike offense in Week 1 against the LA Rams. Maybe we'll see more of that in Week 11 against another top-pass rusher in Garrett.
Favored by 7.5 points, this feels like a line the Bills can actually hit. Yet, coming off a bad loss always creates questions. How will this team respond? Do they come out of the gate looking like the Super Bowl favorites, or do we see a beaten-up team whose injuries continue to prove too insurmountable to overcome? We won't know until kickoff.
Game prediction: Bills 34, Browns 23 - Bills victory
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