The biggest problem the Browns have in this one is pretty straight forward. The Bills are the top-ranked rushing offense in football, and the Browns are the second-worst rushing defense. Coming off of another game in which Cleveland surrendered more than 200 yards on the ground, they don’t appear to be getting any better.
Stopping LeSean McCoy is always a priority for defenses when playing Buffalo, but should be especially emphasized for Cleveland. Just 24 yards short of the 1,000 mark on the year, he former Philadelphia Eagle is having a very productive second half of the season.
A lot of his success has come from his mentality of being a power runner the past six weeks. Instead of dancing around in the backfield in an effort to elude defenders, McCoy is now going north-south rather than east-west.
The key for the Browns will be to try and keep him under 100 yards on the afternoon. This will be a very difficult task, but an essential goal to accomplish. Given the assumption that Cleveland’s offense won’t light up the scoreboard, it will be necessary to keep the Bills from controlling the clock. Frustrating their rushing attack and forcing them into third-and-long situations is the most effective way to do this.
The Bills also have a capable second running back in Mike Gillislee, a third-year, 26-year-old who has gained 409 yards on the ground thus far this year. Gillislee is also a threat through the air, giving the Browns yet another weapon to prepare for.
Still, Buffalo’s offense begins and ends with McCoy. At 215 pounds, the 28-year-old is the skill positions player Cleveland ought to spend the most time in preparation for.