A meeting of two squads heading in different directions serves as one of the highlights of the early Sunday portion of the Week 10 NFL slate. The Buffalo Bills are very much alive in the playoff hunt as they hit the road to take on the struggling Cleveland Browns.
Expectations were tempered for the Bills heading into the 2019 campaign. While the team had a busy offseason, they managed to fly under the radar for the most part. The team has gone out and won six of its first eight games to become a big factor in the AFC postseason picture.
It has been the opposite story for the Browns. The most heavily-hyped team of the preseason, there was actually some scuttlebutt about this team being a potential Super Bowl contender. As the record of 2-6 indicates, those expectations were wildly off the mark.
Cleveland is riding a four-game losing streak as they get set for this home contest. The pressure is mounting on first-year head coach Freddie Kitchens as a result, but there are no signs that immediate answers are forthcoming.
As for the Bills, the team has been strong in conference play with a mark of 4-1 thus far. The club will be looking for another notch on the belt, while the Browns are hoping this is the week that sparks a big turnaround. Let’s take a detailed look at the matchup.
Buffalo Bills vs. Cleveland Browns, 1 PM EST, Sun. Nov.10, CBS
Betting odds provided by: Sportsbetting.ag
Bills vs. Browns Pick:
The Bills were home last week playing host to the Washington Redskins. They were 10.5-point favorites at kickoff and controlled the game throughout. After getting out to a 17-6 lead at the half, Buffalo added on another score while continuing to hold Washington in check for a 24-9 win. The defense held the Redskins to 243 total yards of offense and three field goals.
The Browns traveled to Denver on Sunday to square off with the Broncos. They walked on the field as 4-point favorites, mainly because Brandon Allen was getting his first start behind center for the hosts. Denver came to play and held a 17-12 lead at the half. The Broncos maintained control after the break and picked up a 24-19 victory, handing Cleveland its fourth straight loss.
Buffalo burst out of the gates with three straight wins to start the season. The good times came to an in a home loss to the New England Patriots, but the Bills played them tough. Two more victories followed, but the team would suffer its second defeat of the year in a 31-13 home loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Bills managed to bounce back with last week’s win over the Redskins to run the record to 6-2.
The first sign that something was amiss in Cleveland came in Week 1. After an offseason filled with hype and optimism, the Browns came out and laid an egg and got smoked at home by the Tennessee Titans. The club would go on to win two of its next three, but that was followed by the current four-game winning streak. The search for answers continues in Cleveland.
Offense isn’t a strong suit for the Bills, but the team has scored 21 points or more four times this season. The defense has been the clear strength of the team, but they have been exposed against the run a few times in 2019. Buffalo has made shoring up the run defense a priority for the stretch run. Overall, this isn’t a flashy club, but they have been getting the job done.
Josh Allen has had some struggles in his sophomore campaign. To date, he has accounted for 14 total scores versus seven picks. Frank Gore leads the team in rushing at 106/437/2. Free agent acquisition John Brown paces the pass catchers at 42/603/2. Tremaine Edmunds leads the team with 60 tackles, while Jordan Phillips is tops with six sacks.
It was expected that the Browns offense would be quite prolific this season. Instead, the offense has taken a step backwards from the promise it showed last year. The abundance of weapons have yet to gel into a cohesive unit. Problems have been readily apparent on the defensive side of the ball as well. Six of Cleveland’s eight opponents have scored 24 or more points against them.
Baker Mayfield has regressed in year two. He has eight total scores versus 12 picks thus far. Nick Chubb has been a bright spot for the team, leading the Browns in rushing at 154/803/6. Odell Beckham Jr. is the leading receiver at 39/575/1. Joe Schobert leads the team with 77 tackles. Myles Garrett has been another positive for the struggling squad with 10 sacks to date.
Cleveland holds the all-time series lead over Buffalo by a margin of 12-9. The Bills have won the last two meetings in a row. Last time out in 2016, it was a 33-13 home win for Buffalo.
For the season to date, the Bills are 5-3 against the spread and 2-6 on the Over/Under. The Browns are 2-6 ATS and 4-4 on totals.
Since the 2016 season, Buffalo is 8-14 overall as a road underdog and 12-10 ATS. Cleveland is 2-3 straight-up as a home favorite over that span and 1-4 ATS.
The Bills have been one of the early surprises of 2019. While there remain kinks to work out on both sides of the ball, the bottom line is that the team is 6-2 and very much alive in the postseason chase.
The Browns have surprised for different reasons. The club showed promise last season and made some splashy acquisitions in the offseason. The team was expected to take a leap forward as a result, but that has yet to come to fruition.
As the tight spread indicates, oddsmakers are deeming this game as close to a toss-up. We’re rolling with the team that has shown a lot more in 2019.