Brian Hoyer has won two straight with the Browns. Image courtesy of cbssports.com/USATSI
Last season a simply phenomenal bunch of rookie quarterbacks came on to the scene. There isn’t anywhere near the depth this year, but the Bills have gone with first-year man EJ Manuel in the playmaking role. It has been a qualified success, so far; the Bills are a respectable 2-2 with a win over Super Bowl champ Baltimore under their belt, but in that victory Manuel completed just 10 of 22 passes and was picked off twice.
There is no doubt Buffalo’s strength lies in its running game with Fred Jackson still putting up good numbers in his twilight years. CJ Spiller is questionable for Friday morning’s (AEST) visit to Cleveland due to an ankle injury, with Tashard Choice likely to replace him. Manuel will find the going tough against the Browns’ quality secondary. It features one of the NFL’s best cornerbacks in the form of Joe Hayden, who will probably be giving star receiver Steve Johnson nightmares by the end of the game.
The Browns provided the NFL world with a major shock a couple of weeks back when last year’s first round draft pick, running back Trent Richardson, was traded to Indianapolis for a 2014 draft pick. Second-year QB Brandon Weeden went down around the same time, but little-used journeyman Brian Hoyer has collected the win in his first two starts.
Hoyer has appeared spasmodically for New England, Pittsburgh and Arizona, but in Week 3 he was named starter due to Weeden’s thumb injury. He threw three touchdowns and three interceptions against the Vikings in a 31-27 victory over the Vikings, then backed that up going 25 of 38 for 269 and two TDs in a 17-6 win over division rival Cincinnati. Tight end Jordan Cameron already has five TD catches this season while wideout Josh Gordon has impressed after coming back from a two-game suspension averaging 15.5 yards per receptions.
Buffalo won the corresponding clash in Cleveland last season 24-14 . It was one of only two road wins for the Bills and they have now lost six straight matches away from Ralph Wilson Stadium, including their ‘home’ game in Toronto against Seattle last campaign. The Browns are 5-3 in their last eight games at their Ohio home.
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