Time: 8:30 pm, Monday, November 17, 2008
Location: Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, New York
Network, Announcers: ESPN- Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski, and Tony Kornheiser
Line: Buffalo by five.
Team W/L Records: Cleveland is 3-6; the Bills are 5-4
Coaches: Romeo Crennel is 23-34 in his fourth season with the Browns; Dick Jauron is 19-21 with the Bills, 55-70 overall.
Last Week for the Browns: Frittered away a double-digit second-half lead at home for the second time in five games, this time turning a 23-10 third-quarter lead into a 34-30 loss to the Broncos.
Last Week for the Bills: Suffered their third loss in a row, all against AFC East opponents, 20-10 at New England.
All-Time Series: Browns lead, 8-5.
Last Meeting: December 16, 2007- With blizzard conditions and the roar of snow-blowers in the air, the Browns got a safety and two brilliantly executed field goals by Phil Dawson before halftime, and let the legs of Jamal Lewis (33 carries, 163 yards) carry them the rest of the way to an 8-0 victory over the Bills at CBS.
Out or Questionable for Buffalo: Defensive end Aaron Schobel (foot) is out; wide receiver Josh Reed (ankle) is doubtful; wide receiver James Hardy (hip), tight end Robert Royal (ankle) and safety Donte Whitner (shoulder) are questionable.
Out or Questionable for Cleveland: Fullback Lawrence Vickers (ankle) is doubtful; tight end Darnell Dinkins (ribs), tight end Steve Heiden (back), defensive tackle Shaun Rogers (neck), guard Eric Steinbach (ribs) and defensive end Corey Williams (shoulder) are questionable.
What to watch for the Bills: In Buffalo's first six games, five of them wins, Trent Edwards completed nearly 70 percent of his passes with a 5/2 touchdown-to-interception ratio and an overall rating of 98.8. In the last three games, all losses, Edwards has completed 62 percent, reversed his TD-to-INT ratio to 2/5, and sported an overall rating of 67.3. His three worst games in terms of rating have been the last three. The struggles of the second-year quarterback tie in to the struggles of the running game, which combined for 90 yards in the last two games and is ranked 28th in the NFL overall. Both elements of Buffalo's offense will have a chance to get healthy against a Cleveland defense that has given up nearly 1,000 yards the last two weeks and have held one team to fewer than 100 yards rushing this year.
What to watch for the Browns: Despite getting gashed on the ground on a nearly weekly basis, Cleveland's defense did a pretty reasonable job in limiting points and forcing turnovers for the first seven weeks of the season. But the Browns have done neither the last two weeks, allowing 71 points and forcing just one turnover in the losses to Baltimore and Denver. Cleveland's beleaguered defenders have had a week-and-a-half to rest up, replenish themselves physically and psychologically, and get ready for a Bills team that has scuffled mightily on offense the better part of a month. The Browns can't be expected to, you know, actually shut anyone down- God forbid- but if they can hold the Bills to field goal attempts and force mistakes from Trent Edwards Cleveland will have a chance to win.
Good Past Win over the Bills: November 4, 1984- The 1-8 Browns trailed the 0-9 Bills 10-6 midway through the fourth quarter when Cleveland wide receiver Willis Adams was stripped of the football after making a catch at his own 45. Rookie halfback Earnest Byner scooped up the loose ball on the bounce and dashed 55 yards for the touchdown that ultimately won the game 13-10, the very first victory in the head coaching career of Marty Schottenheimer.
Bad Past Loss to the Bills: December 12, 2004- With Luke McCown making the start at quarterback, the Browns finished with nearly three times as many yards in penalties (70) as in total offense (26.) Meanwhile, the Bills bulldozed for 215 rushing yards and ran 72 offensive plays to Cleveland's 39. The result of this statistical disparity was a 37-7 Bills victory.
Next Week for Both Teams: Cleveland hosts the Texans; the Bills go to Kansas City.
Trivia: Cleveland's 34-30 win over the Bills in the AFC Divisional Playoffs on January 6, 1990 at the Stadium, was the last victory for the franchise in the second round of the postseason. Thank you, Ronnie Harmon.