NFL Picks: Thursday Night Football Bills vs. Browns

Joe Catalano

Thursday, October 3, 2013 2:28 PM GMT

Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013 2:28 PM GMT

In the Thursday Night NFL game of the week, two 2-2 teams meet as the Cleveland Browns host the Buffalo Bills. Both of these teams are coming off of upset victories in Week 4. Who will dominate Thursday night?

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Kickoff for this match is set for 8:25 p.m. ET at FirstEnergy Stadium, in Cleveland, Ohio. This game can be seen on the NFL Network.

Looking at the schedule at the beginning of the season, one might have expected this game to be one in the win column for the Browns but after a trade of running back Trent Richardson and the emergence of Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel, this game is a toss up.

Bills vs. Browns: Opening Odds Report by Doug Upstone

Current NFL odds list the Browns as a 3.5 point football betting favorite and the total for the game Is 40.5 points.


Hoyer To Start

Despite Brandon Weeden being cleared to play, Cleveland head coach, Rob Chudzinski, has named Brian Hoyer as the starting quarterback. Weeden had suffered an early season injury and the Browns have excelled with Hoyer behind center.

In 2 games, Hoyer is 2-0 against the Minnesota Vikings and a very tough Cincinnati Bengals team. He’s thrown for 590 yards with 5 TD and 3 INT. Without a solid running game with an aging Willis McGahee, the Browns have been strictly a passing team. Basically, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it and Chudzinski is sticking with the hot hand in Hoyer.

Weeden still claims that the Browns are his team, but if you ask Alex Smith of the Kansas City Chiefs, a player can lose his spot permanently due to a temporary injury. This is a big game for Hoyer as the Buffalo Bills are coming off of a huge victory at home against the defending Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens.

Hoyer will have one of the up and coming tight ends in the NFL in Jordan Cameron as his primary target. Cameron already has 5 touchdown receptions on the season and is coming off of a 10 reception game for 91 yards. Wide receiver Josh Gordon is listed as probable, but will be ready to go and look for Hoyer to look Gordon’s way often.

Buffalo is 22nd against the pass in the league and Hoyer should have no problem connecting with Cameron and Gordon in Cleveland’s one-sided offensive scheme.

Bills vs. Browns: Betting the Spread by Doug Upstone

Emerging Young Team

The Buffalo Bills are a much improved team with a major upside. Despite a lackluster performance by quarterback E.J. Manuel in week 4, the Bills were still able to defeat Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens, 23-20.

Linebacker Kiko Alonso was the star of the game as he intercepted 2 of Flacco’s 5 interceptions as the turnovers proved to be the difference in the game.

Manuel has proven that he can pass and run the ball efficiently, but favors the run as the Bills rank 2nd in the NFL in rushing as opposed to 28th in passing. Look to see a lot of the two-headed monster in running backs C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson if they ‘re able to play with a little Manuel sprinkled in.

Jackson is listed as probable, but is expected to play and coming off of a respectable 87 yard effort with 1 TD against Baltimore. That said, fumbling is an issue for the veteran. Spiller is listed as a game-time decision. This can have an effect on the outcome of the game.

Manuel is a running quarterback and had his first poor performance of the season last week. He only completed 10 passes, threw for under 50%, and was intercepted 2 times. Manuel is a more effective quarterback when he isn’t forced to throw the football.

Bills vs. Browns: Betting the Total by Doug Upstone


Right now, there is no quarterback controversy in Cleveland. Brian Hoyer is the starting quarterback and is full of confidence, coming off of 2 great victories. Buffalo is also coming off of a big win, but there are too many questions. Buffalo’s defense won’t be able to stop the Browns passing attack. For your sports picks, look for Cleveland to cover the spread against a gamed Bills squad.

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NFL Pick: Bet the Cleveland Browns -3.5 (-110) on the spread, at Bet365

Read David Lawrence's Thursday Night Prediction for this game!

Excited for Thursday Night Football? Discuss Week 4's game at SBRForum's football message boards!

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