Its week 5 so I am going to use the efficiency rankings I keep to project the winners from this point forward with some tweaks here and there for home field. Last week I finished a terrible 7-8 ATS and just 9-6 without the spread moving the record on the season to 42-21 SU and 32-31 ATS.
Bills (+4.5) over BROWNS– I find this game harder to predict because the Browns have shown new life under Brian Hoyer, but I think it is also fair to question the quality of teams that they have defeated. This early in the year we often get too caught up in records from the prior season, though neither the Bengals nor Vikings have looked good so far.
I’d imagine that this will be a defensive struggle between the two squads. The Bills will bring a far more complex defense to the table and have some genuine playmakers out there including their rookie linebacker. Offensively I would not expect the Bills to do much. Most of the year they have been poor offensively, though, to their credit, they take advantage when an opportunity presents itself. The Browns quietly have assembled a great defense on the season. I dont know if they have showy players, but I do know that they will bottle up the Bills running game and force EJ Manuel to try to beat them.
The Bills being on the road could be difficult. Cleveland is going to be a difficult place to play as long as the Browns are relevant and that could rattle the Bills who had a horrible time in New York two weeks ago. If the Bills fall behind they don’t have the offensive weapons to catch up so I would think you will see a very conservative gameplan to keep things close and hope that the Bills can make a play late to win the game. If Cleveland jumps out quickly to a 10 point lead my guess is the game is over. If not I think this is a game that the Bills can win outright, but the points are certainly an added benefit. Bills 23 Browns 19