Cleveland Browns: 5 toughest road games of 2016
2. Week 15: Buffalo Bills
What most often comes to the average football fan’s mind when the Buffalo Bills are mentioned is all sorts of history. Their infamous four consecutive Super Bowl defeats is what many will think of, in addition to the current longest playoff drought, which was extended to 16 straight seasons in 2015. But all history aside, the Bills rebuilding process is in the rear view mirror. This is a dangerous team, and a group who is ready to contend this season.
With one of the better running backs in all of football, an improving offensive line, and a dominant, complete defense, Buffalo has instituted a winning formula. This is far from good news for the Browns, who travel to Orchard Park, New York in mid-December.
Not only do the Bills have the pieces to win, as the Browns are still going through a lengthy rebuilding process, the Bills will likely gain an extra advantage in this game. The conditions in western New York during mid-December can be brutal, favoring a team like Buffalo who runs the ball effectively and plays solid defense. Depending on how poor the weather becomes, the Browns may be forced out of their comfort zone offensively. If this is the case, expect a long afternoon for Cleveland.
Adapting to conditions like these may be a challenge in itself, but staying in a game against a team like Buffalo will be hard enough even under ideal conditions. They match up well with the Browns, and have won three out of their last four against Cleveland. In addition to all of this, Buffalo is a very difficult place to play, especially for the offense’s communication, which will be paramount for the Browns. The field is buried deep into the ground in Ralph Wilson Stadium, manifesting the sound on the field.
As the season winds down, this Week 15 matchup may have critical playoff implications. If the Browns were to still be in the Wild Card chase, they would quite possibly be in direct conflict with their Week 15 foe, the Buffalo Bills. For a franchise who has endured so much, home-field advantage may make all the difference in a game of this proportion.
Even if the Browns were out of contention though, the Bills would quite possibly be fighting for that elusive postseason spot, energizing their fans and making matters miserable for Cleveland. Due to the implications, the matchup issues, and the raw talent of the Buffalo Bills, the Browns will have a very hard time stealing this late season contest. All of these factors join together, and make Week 15’s game the second most difficult road game for the Browns in 2016.
Next: Week 11