NFL Week 13 Betting – Browns, Bills Battle for Playoff Lives
Zack GarrisonNo comments
Two unlikely playoff contenders go head to head this Sunday as the Cleveland Browns visit the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium (1:00 p.m. Eastern).
Cleveland took the last game in the series at home a year ago, but they will be looking for their first victory in Buffalo since 2009. Sunday’s game will also be the first of five tries for the Browns (7-4) to reach eight wins on the season, something they have not accomplished since 2007, when they finished 10-6 (but still missed out on the post-season).
Of course, at three games over .500, the Browns are hoping for more than just eight wins on the year. They have their eyes firmly set on the playoffs, and hope to reach the second-season for the first time in 11 years. With division rivals Cincinnati (7-3-1), Pittsburgh (7-4), and Baltimore (7-4) all favored this week, the Browns will need a win to keep pace in AFC North and in the Wild Card race.
What makes this matchup so exciting is that Buffalo is also in the fight for a Wild Card spot.
Two weeks ago, the Bills saw their playoff hopes fade slightly when they dropped a game to division-rival Miami (22-9); Buffalo barely showed up for that pivotal game, losing by 13 when they were just 5.5-point road dogs. However, they bounced back nicely last weekend by trouncing the Jets and, at 6-5, sit one game back of the Wild Card in the exceptionally tight AFC.
The game against the Jets was played in Detroit due to inclement weather in Buffalo; this Sunday, the Bills will be back in their true home and should receive a rousing ovation from their hearty fans after keeping their playoff hopes alive in Detroit.
The Bills’ fans are even more playoff-starved than the Browns’, as Buffalo hasn’t reached the post-season in 14 years.
While a loss on Sunday wouldn’t mathematically eliminate either team from playoff contention, it would, de facto, end the season for Buffalo. The Bills are currently 11th in the AFC and need to jump over five teams in order to make the post-season. With games against the Broncos, Packers, and Patriots still to come, Sunday’s game is, in reality, as must win.
Unfortunately for Buffalo, they are facing Cleveland at the wrong time. Stud receiver Josh Gordon came back from a ten-game suspension last weekend and looked like he had not missed a beat. He hauled in eight catches for 120 yards during a back-and-forth, 26-24 win over the Falcons.
In addition, Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer has thrown for 300 yards or more in three of the last four games. But the Bills defense should be able to make life uncomfortable for the former Tom Brady-understudy. Buffalo leads the NFL with 46 sacks, and surrenders just 213.8 passing yards per game.
Although the Browns have improved this season (which has included a two-game road winning streak for the first time since 2008), Buffalo’s defense will get the better of Hoyer and keep the Bills in contention in the AFC.