Browns for real? Bills for real? We'll see

BARRY WILNER (AP Pro Football Writer)
The Associated Press
Browns for real? Bills for real? We'll see
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Cleveland Browns strong safety T.J. Ward (43) and cornerback Joe Haden (23) celebrate after a 17-6 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)

The Browns might be for real. So might the Bills.

Or neither of them should be believed.

Hard to tell, and regardless of their credentials, Cleveland and Buffalo enter Thursday night's game with 2-2 records and off impressive victories. The Browns (No. 19 in the AP Pro32) beat division favorite Cincinnati last Sunday, while the Bills (No. 20, AP Pro32) stunned defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore.

Cleveland - which got both of its victories after trading away its best offensive player, running back Trent Richardson - is a 4 1/2-point favorite. Credit a stingy defense that ranks third overall for the Browns' turnaround.

The Browns are allowing just 2.9 yards per carry, a league low.

''No one is going to be able to run on us this year,'' linebacker D'Qwell Jackson said. ''As long as we stay healthy and continue to grind the tape out and do what we need to do on Sunday, I don't think anyone will be able to run on us.''

Buffalo might not be the best test. Starter C.J. Spiller is battling an ankle problem and fellow running back Fred Jackson has a knee injury.

That should be enough to give Cleveland a third straight victory.

BROWNS, 20-17

No. 1 Denver (minus 7) at No. 17 Dallas

Can't see the Cowboys slowing down Peyton and gang.


No. 4 New England (plus 1 1/2) at No. 15 Cincinnati

Shouldn't the Patriots be favored?


No. 3 New Orleans (pick'em) at No. 9 Chicago

Great at home, Saints must show they are at least good on road.

SAINTS, 31-26

No. 2 Seattle (minus 2 1/2) at No. 6 Indianapolis

Delicious matchup of Luck vs. Wilson, but defense decides this one.


No. 12 Houston (plus 7) at No. 7 San Francisco

First Seahawks beat Texans, now Niners match it.

49ERS, 23-20

No. 5 Kansas City (minus 3) at No. 13 Tennessee

Chiefs need to be better than in last week's win.

CHIEFS, 20-19

No. 16 Baltimore (plus 3) at No. 10 Miami

Don't like how Ravens have played away from Baltimore.


No. 23 New York Jets (plus 9 1/2) at No. 18 Atlanta, Monday night

A loss here makes Falcons an also-ran. They aren't.

FALCONS, 24-13

No. 8 Detroit (plus 7) at No. 11 Green Bay

Back from bye, time for Pack to assert itself in division.

PACKERS, 37-34

No. 21 Carolina (minus 2) at No. 22 Arizona

Back from bye, Panthers do not assert themselves.


No. 16 Philadelphia (plus 2) at No. 30 New York Giants

Giants have to win at some point ...

GIANTS, 24-21

No. 14 San Diego (minus 4 1/2) at No. 28 Oakland

Baseball playoffs force change in kickoff time. Not in result, though.


No. 32 Jacksonville (plus 11 1/2) at No. 27 St. Louis

Rams were awful last week. Jaguars wish they could get to awful.

RAMS, 27-9


2013 RECORD:

Against spread: 8-7 (31-29-3). Straight up: 7-8 (40-23).

Best Bet: 3-1 against spread, 4-0 straight up.

Upset special: 1-3 against spread, 1-3 straight up.


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