Week 5 Thursday Night Football Preview
Tonight’s game features the Browns and the Bills. Both teams were expected to rebuild this year, but have been surprisingly competitive. Bills rookie QB EJ Manuel has been solid, yet unspectacular. He has gone through the normal rookie growing pains, but has shown flashes of brilliance, such as when he led the Bills to a last-second win over the Panthers. His receivers have been hit or miss so far, as #1 WR Stevie Johnson follows up a great game with one where he is completely invisible. It doesn’t get any easier this week against star Browns CB Joe Haden. He is fresh off of shutting down the much more talented AJ Green. I wouldn’t expect Johnson to have a good game and would certainly bench him if you have better options. Thursday games are usually brutal on the eyes because of the short week, and I don’t expect this week to be any different. Both Bills RBs are battling injuries. Starter CJ Spiller has a sprained ankle and backup Fred Jackson has a sprained MCL. Both are expected to play, but they may be limited. The Bills backfield has been a mess this year anyways, as Spiller was expected to be the star and get most of the work, but it has morphed into the dreaded timeshare with Jackson. Those who drafted Spiller in the first round certainly aren’t happy right now.
The Browns elevated Brian Hoyer to starting QB once Brandon Weeden went down with an injury. Add that to the shocking Trent Richardson trade, and many people expected the Browns to be terrible because it looked like they were tanking this season. So what happens? Hoyer leads the Browns to a 2-0 start. The NFL is so unpredictable at times. The Richardson trade has made a mess of the Browns backfield. Willis McGahee was signed off the street and is the starter, but he had no training camp and is still getting acclimated into the offense. I wouldn’t start anyone from their backfield for at least a few weeks. On the bright side, Jordan Cameron has turned into an absolute stud and is my 2nd ranked TE behind Jimmy Graham. Not bad for someone who was a late round pick in most drafts. Josh Gordon returned from suspension and has provided a nice boost. Thursday night games usually benefit defenses, but because the Bills defense is so banged up, I am going to go out on a limb and say that both Gordon and Cameron have excellent games tonight. On the other hand, I wouldn’t start any Bills players tonight. Both RBs are injured and if they play, won’t be 100%, and the Browns run defense is fairly good. I think the Browns will prevail by a score of 17-10.