Browns for real? Bills for real? We'll see

In this photo taken on Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden, right, tackles Cincinnati Bengals A.J. Green during an NFL football game in Cleveland. With impressive performances the past two weeks, Cleveland's defense is establishing itself as one of the NFL's most dominant units. On Sunday, the Browns held the Bengals to just two field goals in a 17-6 win and Haden contained star wide receiver Green. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Browns No. 19, Bills No. 20 (AP Pro32 rankings) - The Browns might be for real.


So might the Bills.

Or neither of them should be believed.

Hard to tell, and regardless of their credentials, Cleveland and Buffalo enter Thursday night’s game with 2-2 records and off impressive victories.

The Browns beat division favorite Cincinnati last Sunday, while the Bills stunned defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore.

Cleveland — which got both of its victories after trading away its best offensive player, running back Trent Richardson — is a 4½-point favorite.

Credit a stingy defense that ranks third overall for the Browns’ turnaround. The Browns are allowing just 2.9 yards per carry, a league low.

“No one is going to be able to run on us this year,” linebacker D’Qwell Jackson said. “As long as we stay healthy and continue to grind the tape out and do what we need to do on Sunday, I don’t think anyone will be able to run on us.”

Buffalo might not be the best test. Starter C.J. Spiller is battling an ankle problem and fellow running back Fred Jackson has a knee injury.

That should be enough to give Cleveland a third straight victory.

BROWNS, 20-17

No. 1 Denver (minus 7) at No. 17 Dallas

Can’t see the Cowboys slowing down Peyton and gang.


No. 4 New England (plus 1½) at No. 15 Cincinnati

Shouldn’t the Patriots be favored?


No. 3 New Orleans (pick’em) at No. 9 Chicago

Great at home, Saints must show they are at least good on road.

SAINTS, 31-26

No. 2 Seattle (minus 2½) at No. 6 Indianapolis

Delicious matchup of Luck vs. Wilson, but defense decides this one.


No. 12 Houston (plus 7) at No. 7 San Francisco

First Seahawks beat Texans, now Niners match it.

49ERS, 23-20

No. 5 Kansas City (minus 3) at No. 13 Tennessee

Chiefs need to be better than in last week’s win.

CHIEFS, 20-19

No. 16 Baltimore (plus 3) at No. 10 Miami

Don’t like how Ravens have played away from Baltimore.


No. 23 New York Jets (plus 9½) at No. 18 Atlanta, Monday night

A loss here makes Falcons an also-ran. They aren’t.

FALCONS, 24-13

No. 8 Detroit (plus 7) at No. 11 Green Bay

Back from bye, time for Pack to assert itself in division.

PACKERS, 37-34

No. 21 Carolina (minus 2) at No. 22 Arizona

Back from bye, Panthers do not assert themselves.


No. 16 Philadelphia (plus 2) at No. 30 New York Giants

Giants have to win at some point ...

GIANTS, 24-21

No. 14 San Diego (minus 4½) at No. 28 Oakland

Baseball playoffs force change in kickoff time. Not in result, though.


No. 32 Jacksonville (plus 11½) at No. 27 St. Louis

Rams were awful last week. Jaguars wish they could get to awful.

RAMS, 27-9


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Tue, 04/24/2018 - 13:07

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