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 4½-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. BEST BET: BRONCOS, 33-23
No. 4 New England (plus 1½) at No. 15 Cincinnati
Shouldn’t the Patriots be favored? UPSET SPECIAL: PATRIOTS, 27-20
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 2½) at No. 6 Indianapolis
Delicious matchup of Luck vs. Wilson, but defense decides this one. SEAHAWKS, 20-16
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. DOLPHINS, 21-17
No. 12 New York Jets (plus 9½) 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. CARDINALS, 17-13
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 4½) at No. 28 Oakland
Baseball playoffs force change in kickoff time. Not in result, though. CHARGERS, 30-13
No. 32 Jacksonville (plus 11½) at No. 27 St. Louis
Rams were awful last week. Jaguars wish they could get to awful. RAMS, 27-9
The Browns might be for real. So might the Bills.
LIVE updates from PIAA wrestling
The Daily Item will post updates throughout the day from the PIAA Wrestling Championships on Friday
Women's basketball: Bucknell loses in Patriot League quarterfinals to Holy Cross
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Men's basketball: Penn State smothers Northwestern
Penn State coach Pat Chambers struggled to explain why his Nittany Lions have experienced success on the road during Big Ten play.
H.S. wrestling: Shikellamy's Pepper wins opener in Class AAA tourney at Hershey
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H.S. wrestling: Two area wrestlers stay alive with consolation wins in Class AA tourney
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Wrestling: Six Valley grapplers advance to quarterfinals in Class AA
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Bob Garrett's Talking Points column: Time to clean Penn's Creek
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Power lifting: Pfleegor repeats as state champion
In two short years, the Milton High junior has won nine titles and three state power-lifting championships.
H.S. girls basketball: Mifflinburg arrives at district pinnacle early
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Men's basketball: Army ends Bucknell's season in PL quarters
Army had the lead for a only few moments in the second half of Wednesday's Patriot League quarterfinal with Bucknell. But as it turned out, that was enough.
Women's basketball: Bloomsburg wins 17th straight game
The Bloomsburg University women’s basketball team is making another trip to the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Final Four.
Former PSU assistant McQueary admits to ESPN he was sexually abused as a child
Mike McQueary told Penn State players in November 2011 that he was sexually abused when he was a child, ESPN The Magazine reported Tuesday.
H.S. wrestling: Southern cousins take talents to Hershey
They have wrestled all across the state, and the country. This week, cousins Kent and Todd Lane will be together on one stage.
Boys basketball: Tough schedule has Shamokin ready for state playoffs
All year long, Shamokin has had the same mentality: They want to go toe to toe with the best.
Women's basketball: Bucknell's DeBoer named Rookie of the Year
It has been a season of milestones for the Bucknell women’s basketball team, as the squad continues to elevate its level of play under second-year head coach Aaron Roussell, and the release of the Patriot League’s All-League teams and major awards on Tuesday was just one more testament to that fact.
College Basketball: Bucknell's Ayers is PL Player of the Year
Cameron Ayers entered his senior year with the unenviable task of replacing two-time Patriot League Player of the Year Mike Muscala as Bucknell’s go-to scorer.
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