Buffalo @ Cleveland: Browns beginning to look the colour of money

Jordan Cameron is Romilly's pick to score the first touchdown
Jordan Cameron is Romilly's pick to score the first touchdown

Romilly Evans reckons breakout star Brian Hoyer can continue his rise through the ranks against the Buffalo Bills...

"Cameron's unique blend of power, height (6 ft 5 in) and mitt-like hands make him virtually unplayable in the end zone, provided Hoyer can continue to put the ball in places other defenders cannot reach."


Buffalo Bills @ Cleveland Browns
Start-time: Friday, 01:30
TV: Live on Sky Sports 1

Resurgent is not an adjective which has been used in close proximity to the Cleveland Browns for many years. But a few seasoned scribes are now daring to employ it again which nurtures the hope that there is hope this term for Cleveland's long-suffering fans.

The reason for the mini-renaissance is the unexpected emergence of Brian Hoyer at quarterback. Theory always suggested that Hoyer would prove little more than a Browns bench-warmer in the shadow of the gifted Brandon Weeden.  He was even rated a third-string to begin with. However, the back-up's collision with reality has been somewhat more exciting, taking over from the injured Weeden (right thumb) to throw for 590 yards and five touchdowns during his first two starts - both victories.

That small sample already makes Hoyer the first Cleveland quarterback to prevail in his opening brace of matches since 1994. It has indeed been a lean spell. And so exciting is coach Rob Chudzinski by this fledgling streak that he has decided to ride the wave with Hoyer again tonight, even though Weeden's status is now active.

Hoyer has been racking up the air miles against some previously tight secondaries, so the odds are good that he can repeat the feat in this evening's primetime showdown with the Buffalo Bills. It's no secret that Buffalo's defense is a leaky bucket downfield (crucial deep concessions cost them against the NY Jets and nearly paved the way to an unlikely Baltimore comeback last week).

Now the Bills D faces an in-form quarterback and one of the most impressive go-to guys in the league, tight end Jordan Cameron. The former basketball player took the eye of collegiate scouts with his athleticism and his physicality has already made him the leading player in his position in the NFL with 30 grabs.

Cameron's unique blend of power, height (6 ft 5 in) and mitt-like hands make him virtually unplayable in the end zone, provided Hoyer can continue to put the ball in places other defenders cannot reach. With Josh Gordon at wide receiver averaging over 15 yards per reception, stretching the porous Buffalo secondary should be a given. 

On the other side of the ball, Cleveland's own defense continue to restrict rival offenses to three yards per carry, so rookie QB EJ Manuel will need to curb his wayward tendencies if his admittedly powerful arm isn't going to do more harm than good. Manuel can definitely makes things happen but has so far benefitted from some helpful balance in the running game. 

Worryingly, star rushers CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson both damaged their left sides last Sunday. And while both should be patched up to take the line tonight, neither will be at full tilt. This will increase the heat on Manuel who has struggled to consistently connect with his skillful receiving corps to date. Although the tools and talent are there, his open mindedness could quickly turn to empty headedness, especially under the national spotlight.

Last week Manuel became the first rookie to beat the reigning Super Bowl champs. This week his performance could reside at the other end of the spectrum. His struggling running backs surely won't provide the 203-yard assistance they managed against the Ravens. And in any case, it's worth remembering that Baltimore aren't what they were last year.

Neither are the Cleveland Browns. But they're trending in the right direction and are worth chancing on the spread with both homefield advantage and all-round solidity in their favour. Whisper it, but this should prove a hat-trick of wins for the resurgent Browns.


Recommended Bets

Back Cleveland Browns to win on the Moneyline @ 1.548/15 or better
Back Cleveland Browns (-4) to win on the Match Points Spread @ 1.981/1 or better
Back Cleveland Browns (-2.5) to win on the First Half Points Spread @ 1.824/5 or better
Back Jordan Cameron to score First Touchdown @ 8.07/1 or better


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