It's not a stretch to say that Buffalo Bills have been among the biggest surprises among AFC teams -- nor is it to acknowledge that the Cleveland Browns have been among the biggest disappointments. The Bills have a chance to all but bury Cleveland's fading playoffs hopes when they visit the Browns on Sunday in a matchup featuring two quarterbacks drafted in the first round in 2018.
Buffalo is holding down the No. 5 spot in the postseason chase and trails first-place New England by 1 1/2 games in the AFC East, although it has not played a string of world-beaters -- the Bills' six wins have come again teams with a 9-42 record. "I don't want to brainwash the fans, but 6-2 is 6-2," safety Micah Hyde said in response to criticism of a soft schedule. "Like Coach (Sean McDermott) has said, 'We don't make the schedule, we just play it.' If we're overlooked, it is what it is, we're just going to continue to compete and find ways to win." Finding ways to win have eluded Cleveland, which has played a considerably tougher schedule than the Bills and is mired in a four-game slide after absorbing a 24-19 setback at Denver last weekend. "Stay the course, I think, no matter what is going on," said quarterback Baker Mayfield, the No. 1 overall pick a year ago. "There are eight games left in the season and we want to have a single-week focus and just do our jobs."
ABOUT THE BILLS (6-2): Josh Allen was drafted six spots behind Mayfield despite concerns that he was not pro-ready due to facing suspect competition at Wyoming, but last week he became the fourth quarterback in history with at least 20 passing touchdowns and 12 rushing scores in his first two seasons. Running back Devin Singletary has endured an injury-plagued rookie campaign but he ran for a season-high 95 yards and a touchdown last week on 20 carries -- matching his number of rushing attempts from his previous four games combined. Buffalo's defense ranks third overall (296.3 yards per game) but was shredded by Philadelphia for 218 rushing yards in Week 8 and gave up more than 100 yards to Washington's Adrian Peterson last week.
ABOUT THE BROWNS (2-6): Cleveland has a fairly soft second-half schedule but needs more production from Mayfield, who has not thrown for more than one scoring pass in a game while tossing a league high-tying 12 interceptions. Odell Beckham Jr. became the third-fastest wideout to 6,000 yards last Sunday but he has not found the end zone since Week 2. Running back Nick Chubb ranks fourth in the NFL with 803 yards rushing but could see his touches diminished with former Kansas City running back Kareem Hunt returning from an eight-game suspension. Myles Garrett ranks second in the league with 10.0 sacks for a defense that has limited teams to 216.3 yards passing, but the Browns have been gouged for 141.3 yards rushing per game.
1. Buffalo is 3-0 on the road while Cleveland has lost all three games at home.
2. Chubb has compiled 852 scrimmage yards and six touchdowns in his last seven home games.
3. The Bills signed DT Corey Liuget, waived by Oakland on Oct. 30, to bolster their rush defense.