Bills vs. Browns 2013 game preview: Cleveland looks to continue winning streak

Matt Sullivan

The Browns and Bills face off on Thursday Night Football, each team hoping to get to 3-2.

The Cleveland Browns host the Buffalo Bills on Thursday Night Football. Both teams are off to surprising starts and sit at 2-2. The Bills defeated the Baltimore Ravens to get back to .500 this past weekend while the Browns are tied for first place in the AFC North after beating the Bengals for their second win in a row.

How did these two teams get into this position? Let's take a deeper look.

Meet the Cleveland Browns

So much for all that tanking talk. After trading away Trent Richardson and installing Brian Hoyer as the new quarterbacks, the Browns actually started looking better on offense. Hoyer is hardly a world-beater, but he's keeping the chains moving and driving the ball downfield. That is way more than what Brandon Weeden could do. The biggest benefactor of Hoyer has been tight end Jordan Cameron, who caught his fifth touchdown of the season in Week 4.

The real strength of the Browns is on defense. Barkevious Mingo has been a terror in his rookie year, getting three sacks in his three games and looking like a real difference-maker. Joe Haden is one of the best cornerbacks in the league and could have his way with Stevie Johnson on Thursday. If Hoyer keeps up his play, the Browns could make things really interesting in the AFC.

Meet the Buffalo Bills

E.J. Manuel has had his ups-and-downs, like most people expected when the Bills named the raw rookie their starter. He looks poised, if not quite polished yet, and is capable of delivering a pretty deep ball. The Bills could open up their offense if he continues to gain the coaches' trust.

They may have no choice this week if the running game doesn't show up. C.J. Spiller is dealing with an ankle injury and it's unknown if he will play on Thursday. Fred Jackson has an MCL sprain. He's going to play, but will have to wear a knee brace. The big bright star has been on defense where Kiko Alonso is quickly establishing himself as the heart of his unit.

Local Takes: Cleveland Browns

Zach J. Miller from Dawgs By Nature is rather ecstatic about the team's surprising start.

Cleveland now sits in a 3-way tie for 1st place in the AFC North. I would never have guess that after starting 0-2, trading Trent Richardson, and then naming Brian Hoyer the starter, that Cleveland would rip off 2 wins in a row and sit where they sit. It's been a fun past 2 weeks, so I hope we can keep it up.

If the defense can continue it's hot streak, and Brian Hoyer keeps riding this wave, I think Cleveland will be just fine. Crazy how things work out sometimes, but the momentum is now definitely on Cleveland's side. Wednesday there is Playoff baseball in Cleveland (Go Tribe!). And Thursday there's a national broadcast for the Browns. It's going to be a fun week in Cleveland.

Local Takes: Buffalo Bills

Brian Galliford of Buffalo Rumblings makes a case for linebacker Kiko Alonso winning Defensive Rookie of the Year.

In his first four pro games, Alonso has accumulated 32 tackles, the aforementioned four interceptions, a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery (the latter two coming in the team's season-opening loss to New England). He's currently tied for the NFL lead in interceptions with cornerbacks Aqib Talib of New England and Alterraun Verner of Tennessee. Most impressively, he's been able to log his impressive start while playing every single snap on defense for the Bills.

There's a long way to go, to be sure, but Alonso has clearly and effectively stated his case for DROY early in his debut NFL season.

Follow the Fun

Be sure to check out SB Nation's team blogs, Dawgs By Nature and Buffalo Rumblings, for more analysis and highlights from the game.

Add these fine follows to your Twitter timeline:

@DawgsByNature
@BuffRumblings

Odds

The Browns opened as three point favorites and are now favored by four, according to Oddsshark. Cleveland is 2-2 against the spread this season. The over/under is currently set at 41.

Next Week

The Bills go back home to host the Cincinnati Bengals. The Browns take on the Detroit Lions at home.

More from SB Nation NFL:

NFL power rankings: How high can KC climb?

Leaked information & hard lessons | Should Schiano be fired?

Chilton: Welcome to the NFC Least

NFL Debrief: Fading Falcons, Schiano's dilemma & more

Watch: The sad Jets are back

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.