Buffalo Bills vs. Cleveland Browns
Date and Time: Friday, August 17, 2018, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, OH
Opening NFL Odds: Browns -3.5, 38.5
Bills vs. Browns TV Coverage: NFL Network
AJ McCarron is expected to receive the QB1 honors in the regular season, but after one week of exhibition play, the job looks to be wide open with both Nathan Peterman and rookie Josh Allen giving him a run for his money. The former completed 9 of 10 passes for 119 yards and a 28 yard touchdown strike to Kelvin Benjamin, while the latter went 9 of 19 for 116 yards and a touchdown himself.
Buffalo handled its business in the first half versus the Panthers taking a 17-7 lead into the break, but the offense was only able to muster six points the rest of the way. The defense failed to make it hold up allowing Carolina’s backups to log 21 second half points with 14 of them coming in the fourth quarter. The stop unit’s inability to see it all the way through lets it be known to NFL bettors that the defense just might not have the depth to be a moneymaker in the exhibition season.
For the first time since last preseason, players and fans of the team got to taste the thrill of victory for the first time. That’s what happens when you go 0-16 in the regular season folks! Say what you will about Hue Jackson, the man knows how to get the job done in the preseason. At least recently. He went winless the first two years as the Browns coach, but is in the midst of a perfect 5-0 SU & ATS run.
As exciting the win and cover against the NFL odds was for the team, it still came with some warts. For starters, the ground attack was almost invisible. Nine ball carriers combined for a whopping 50 yards on 33 carries. That’s a 1.5 yard per carry average people! That simply isn’t going to get it done moving forward, and it certainly won’t get the job done when the games really count. After lighting the G-Men up through the air last week, look for the ground game to get some burn in Week 2.
13 – This is the amount of penalties Cleveland accrued last week in the 20-10 win over New York. It cost them 141 yards! How the Giants still managed to lose that game by 10 points is a headscratcher. Regardless, do that against a team with a pulse that wants to win exactly like this hungry Bills team and you’re going to have a tough time building upon the current preseason perfection. The Browns were amongst the league leaders in penalties committed last season. For now, it doesn’t look like anything has changed.
Bills vs. Browns Free Picks
It’s all about figuring out who will be the QB1 for the Bills in the preseason. As for the Browns, Jackson will continue to instill a winning mentality. I liked what I saw from Buffalo through the first 30 minutes of last week’s clash with the Panthers. The offense moved the ball and the defense held up its end of the bargain. It’s always a trip seeing Cleveland installed a favorite. Even more so when the hook is attached to the impost. The Browns weren’t great but still got the job done against a rebuilding Giants team. That isn’t the case with Sean McDermott’s Bills even though Buffalo is also retooling. Having said that, I’ll lean towards the visitors ever so slightly to get the cover though I think Cleveland finds a way to keep its preseason win streak intact.
NFL ATS Pick: Bills + at BookMaker.eu
NFL Score Prediction: Browns 20 – Bills 17