Home » Browns » Browns -4 over Bills, #CheddarBay essay.

Browns -4 over Bills, #CheddarBay essay.

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The emergence of Joe Haden this year has been pretty awesome.


In our friendly Cheddar Bay Pickstravaganza, we (or at least I) tend to tie ourselves up in knots with research to validate the pick of the week.  In thinking about tonight’s Bills at Browns game, it occurred to me that there’s no team I have more research on than the Browns.  So if I’m thinking the Browns a good bet to beat the Bills by more than four points, I gotta trust my eyes.  It’s unlikely that I’ll be as expert in the BallSt +5.5 @UVA matchup.  I can’t worry that a lot of other guys in this group have the same pick tonight.

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12 out of 17 experts like the Bills to cover… LOAD UP MY FRIENDS!!

So let’s take this on.  Here’s why I like the Browns tonight.

1.  Still an unknown team (nationally).
Jordan Cameron and Josh Gordon might have some cachet in fantasy circles.  But Craig Robertson and Buster Skrine and Mitchell Schwartz are unknowns.  Do you think Phil Taylor or Alex Mack or Jabaal Sheard are known quantities outside of NEO?  No way.  To the rest of the country, the Browns are Joe Thomas and Joe Haden.  Maybe there’s some respect for the FAs Bryant and Kruger but not so much for the talent on the team coming into the season.  As a result, the Browns are good value.  For now.



Mike Mayock is going to act like he’s known Jabaal Sheard all along but in reality, he just learned his name in this morning’s staff meeting.

But while we’re on the subject of Joe Haden…

2.  Joe Haden has moved to elite.
It’s one thing to look at some stats and say shit like ‘Oh wow, AJ Green only had 51 yards on seven catches so Haden must be really good.’  And while that’s true, what I’m seeing is more.  I’m seeing him daring QB just to try to throw his way.  Hell, I’m seeing him daring teams to RUN his way… his tackling has been intimidating this year.  But what I’m REALLY seeing is him inspiring his mates in the secondary.  They’re ALL playing strong; they’re all bringing Haden swag to their games.  The weakest part of the Browns roster is playing great and to my eye, it’s due to Haden’s play and his leadership.

3.  Competent QB play is, in fact, good-to-very-good QB play.
I well remember when Drew Bledsoe was knocked out of the game in 2001 and Tom Brady took his place.  Bledsoe had the gun and the pedigree but was prone to staring down receivers and jamming throws were they shouldn’t go.  Bad turnovers.  Did not inspire confidence in teammates and so not a great leader.  Enter Brady and he didn’t do anything spectacularly well.  Just ran through his progressions quickly and pretty much always found the open receiver.  Got rid of the quickly and accurately.  Poised in the pocket.  There weren’t any Manning-esque line-audible shenanigans then.  Brady was simply a competent practitioner of quarterbacking.   That’s what I’m seeing in Hoyer so far.  Nothing flashy but poised and competent.  Competent QB-ing is vastly underrated in my opinion.


My memory of EJ Manuel at FSU is a lot of this.

4.  Finally.  An opposing QB whose reaction to a big NFL pass rush is unknown.
Bills start rookie QB EJ Manuel… I like how Manuel has looked for the Bills, but I was very anti-Manuel out of FSU because I thought him a turnover machine.  Consensus ‘best guard in NFL’ Andy Levitre has been replaced with ‘now-with-his-third-team’ Colin Brown.*  Manuel’s most talented weapons are out or injured (Spiller, Jackson).  Stevie Johnson is good yes, but see point #2 above.  If ever there was a game for the Ray Horton Aggressive Attacking Defense to show its full flower, this is it.

5. About those RB injuries…
The Bills are second in the league in rushing yards; the Browns are 4th best in rush defense.  The Browns are healthy.  The Bills are not healthy.  That leaves Manuel to honcho a passing attack currently ranked 28th and, again, see point #2 above.

It’s just a horrible matchup for the Bills and it seems likely that the stadium will be very fired up tonight.  I gotta use my essaypick early and on the home team.

The rest.
As long as I’m putting my essaypick here (and will also post in the Cheddar Bay open thread), here’s the rest of this week’s picks.

WKU -7 @ULM.  Kolton Browning out for season and ULM’s been fairly horrendous even with him.  (Beating Wake/Grobe impresses Kanick not.)  WKU’s loss to SALA doesn’t look too too bad either; SALA’s a team to watch this year.


After an animated Paydirt Pete ignites his TNT on the Jumbotron, Mike Price and the Miners bust out of the Mine Shaft.
What could go wrong with that?

@FSU -15 UMD.  Over-reaction line.  FSU sleep walked past BC in Chestnut Hill last week.. but this game is in Tallahassee.  Maybe the gulf heat beats the opposing teams but all I know is FSU scores over 50 in Tallahassee.

@UTEP PK LaTech.  This isn’t last year’s LaTech team.  Dykes left the cupboard bare.  Which LaTech loss is worse.. Tulane at home?  At Kansas?  Neutral field 3 TD loss to Army?  Also.. UTEP can score points.  LaTech not so much.

Panthers -2.5 @Cards.  Panthers have a bye week and everyone forgets them.

@NU +7 OSU.  (All-play.)  Touchdown is just a lot to give NU at home on college gameday in Evanston for the first time in forever.  Fitzgerald has had two weeks.

The rest:  UCLA, USU, Iowa, UBuff, BallSt, Ill, Rut, TTU, PSU, CMU, Troy, UTSA, FAU, Clem, NCST, UNT, Rice, Mich, NIU, ECU, Wazzu, FIU, Mem, OleMiss, UTEP, Titans, Pats, Colts, Lions, Bears, and Texas St. (last team out** of Cheddar picks).


* Bills o-line is not horrible, I especially like their center, Eric Wood.  But it’s not as good as it was last year, that’s all I’m saying.

** Texas St. +11 @ULL.  The ‘is this line right’ game.  Much as I think Terrance Broadway is fun; and beating Akron is good, I guess… …. I mean…. we all saw that Texas State just smashed Wyoming by 3 TDs last week, right?


  1. bobby_slick says:

    Let’s keep fighting back…

    Via Twitter:
    -Browns (Win)
    -Clemson (Win)
    -OSU ?

    -Texans +5.5
    -Eagles +2.5
    -Patriots PK ***

    Patriots in a pick ’em against the Andy Dalton led Bengals? I think I’ll take Tom Brady who just went into a dome against Atlanta, a team that is tough as nails on that turf, and smoked Matty Ryan and his Falcons. Even without the usual stud weapons he has at his disposal, Brady has been on point and should go into Cincy and get a win with no problem. Over the last 2 weeks Brady has 4 TDs to 1 INT, and he has never once lost to the Bengals in his career. Throw in the fact that Brian Hoyer was able to quickly analyze the Bengals D and pick them apart, I see no reason the Pats don’t handle business on the road.

    In other news, go Browns!!

  2. acto says:

    I have noticed a few times in our wonderful world of cheddar that people have been ignoring the “at least one collegiate”, or “at least one professional game” rule. May I play all collegiate games from now on?

  3. CapitalGG says:

    Week 6:

    All-play: Ohio St -7 @ Northwestern. Urban said he made a mistake taking his foot off the gas pedal and playing to run out the clock in the 4th. So, yeah, that won’t happen again.
    1. Seahawks -3 @ Colts: Have to pick an NFL game. Should have been the Browns. @*$&#%
    2. FAU +4 @ UAB: Stanky fish play of the week and simply a bet against UAB and the 3 key.
    3. No. Illinois -10 @ Kent St.: Gotta have a MACtion play so let’s play the conferences best team.
    4. Ole Miss -3 @ Auburn: Old Ole Miss loses this game. Hugh Freeze’s Ole Miss wins easily.

    So last weekend went fairly week for me. 4-2 in #Cheddarbay with a substantial ranking jump, net plus versus my bookie (if gambling were legal, of course), a nomination to the Tailgating Hall of Fame and the Cleveland MF Browns are on a real life winning streak. Life. It is good!

    Do how does one keep the momentum going? Step 1, get in on excellent easy Thursday NFL and CFB action. DAMMIT!

    Ok, plan B…

    The Cleveland (MF) Browns need a new QB. Despite Thursday’s performance in which he out-dueled the always reliable (to bet against) Jeff Tuhl, I’m pretty sure we all see that Brandon Weeden is not the answer and now Brian Hoyer is on the ACL recovery team.

    So I’m watching the college footballs and I know which quarterback I want for my Brownies next season. The 5th year senior from Hampton, Virginia, Tajh Boyd. Yes, he’s listed at 6’1″*, but you know a couple other QBs in that size range? Russell Wilson (5’11”) and Drew Brees (6′).

    But much like Wilson and Brees, what he lacks in size he more than makes up for in leadership factor and athleticism to play at the next level. You can point to weapons in the college game like Sammy Watkins, but Watkins has missed a significant amount of time due to injury during their respective careers and Boyd continues to put up pinball numbers.

    The Cleveland Browns need a QB who can be the forceful voice of the franchise and I believe that man is non other than Tajh Boyd. He’ll grab a facemask if necessary. For these reasons, give me Boyd and Clemson -14 to light up the Carrier Dome and Syracuse this week.

    Other plays:
    MTSU +7.5 v. E. Carolina
    Maimi(FL) -6 v. Georgia Tech
    LSU -10 @ Mississippi St.
    Arizona St. -5.5 @ Notre Dame
    Navy -11 v. Air Force
    Buffalo -13.5 v. E. Michigan
    Ball St. +5.5 @ Virginia
    Florida St. -15 v. Maryland
    Penn St. -4.5 @ Indiana
    Texas Tech -17.5 @ Kansas
    C. Michigan -3 @ Miami(OH)
    UTSA +14.5 @ Marshall
    Ohio -6.5 @ Akron
    Toledo -21 v. W. Michigan
    North Texas -3 @ Tulane
    Minnesota +20.5 @ Michigan
    UTEP pk v. Louisiana Tech
    Washington +7.5 @ Stanford
    Hawaii +5.5 v. San Jose St.

    Broncos -9 @ Cowboys
    Saints pk @ Bears
    Eagles +2.5 @ Giants
    Chargers -5 @ Raiders
    Titans +3 v. Chiefs

  4. pforever says:

    louisville -32 temple
    minnesota +19.5 michigan
    georgia -10.5 tennessee
    northwestern +7 ohio state
    stanford -7 washington***
    new england PK cincinnati

    stanford is quietly having an really good season, and they are a legit BCS title game contender. looking ahead, their biggest games are Washington, UCLA, and Oregon – all home games. this is the first-and easiest-of those tests, and stanford looks set to pass with flying colors. washington, on the other hand, looked very very blah against arizona last week. plus this is a revenge game for stanford, who suffered a disappointing loss at the hands of the huskies last year. I don’t even think this one is going to be close.

  5. Ohio State Buckeyes -5.5
    Ole Miss Rebels -3
    Baltimore Ravens +3.5
    Carolina Panthers -2.5
    Atlanta Falcons -7.5
    ***Dallas Cowboys +7

    Cowboys are such a good week, bad week team, and coming off their collapse last week vs the Bolts, I like them to play really well this week at home against Peyton Manning and the 4-0 Broncos, who have been listening to 16-0 and “will Manning throw an INT this year?” talk all week after pummeling four crap teams. Romo, Murray, Dez, and the Cowboys offense has been fine. I like their defense to play better at home this week, and for them to win outright in this one.

  6. getting them in early this week so i don’t pull a disaster like last week

    ohio state -7
    michigan state +1.5
    rutgers -6
    miami (fl) -6
    chiefs -3
    clemson -14

    there’s something about this year’s clemson team that tells me we’re not in for the rug being pulled out from under the tigers. if it does happen, it certainly won’t be against syracuse, which is a year or two away from being a good team under scott shafer. shafer has the right idea in building the orange, and it’s a model a lot of other teams in the northeast should follow. you’re not going to get top-tier recruits, you won’t win playing smashmouth, and you aren’t going to suddenly be a conference challenger year-in and year-out. it’s not sustainable. that said, if ‘cuse can develop recruits, get depth at critical positions, be bowl-eligible more often than it isn’t and strike gold on one class every few years to maybe have that ‘big’ year, the orange will be fine.

    clemson is a great team, and 14 points seems low. tajh boyd is that good.

  7. mgbode says:

    EJ Manuel, turnover machine? His issue at FSU was that Jimbo’s offense was extremely conservative and many believed that it was due to EJ (either intellect or ability to read defenses or perhaps some bad footwork…unknown, but conservative more there than previous stops).

    He was not really a TO machine. 2012, 23 passing TDs, 4 rushing TDs, 10 INT (certainly not Matt Ryan numbers). Only 1 game with more INT than TDs (a win vs. GaTech where they really shut down everything and let their defense do the job).

    2011 was more of the same. Terrible game vs. OU (and injured), but he then came back and showed flashes of what he would be in 2012 (in this season though, I thought he’d be more of a game-manager. Florida, ND, Miami, and a loss to UVa were all games that Jimbo forced him to sit and try to let the defense win. He finished the year with 18 passing TDs, 4 rushing TDs, and 8 INT

    Now, the real question is if the Browns front-7 generates pressure, then will the Bills allow him to start rolling out and moving the pocket (which was when he was at his best in college). I hope not and they make him sit there and take Mingo’s wrath.

    • jimkanicki says:

      ya know i actually looked up that data too and youre right… not too too bad and middlin passer efficiency (in the teens i think). im just going by what i saw and it might have only been a game or two. but yeah, i thought him not first round material.

      • mgbode says:

        yeah, I liked him as a late-1st / early-2nd round guy (if Browns got him, then I wanted a trade down further than where Bills ended up picking him).

        his positives were that he was accurate both in pocket and on move, that he didn’t make stupid throws, he was good at extending plays (but didn’t just try to run), and that he had a very good arm (so could make all the throws).

        he actually was alot like Hundley now (though Hundley has certainly been putting up better numbers until last night at least).

  8. cscales says:

    as a long sufferer i find it uncomfortable to even feel the least bit confident.

    but as you point out, we should win.

    still hatin on our front office?? just askin.

    • jimkanicki says:

      Oh if the master “Playoffs in 2013 or bust” plan included trading out of the draft and trading the team’s star player and no drafted starters and an guard coming back from heart surgery and the starting QB claimed off the Arizona Cardinals’ cut list all while saving Jimmy Haslam $15M in unspent rollover cap, then I’ll be the first to congratulate and acknowledge Joe Banner as the super genius he must surely be.

      knowwhutimean vern?

      • Holdenbeach1 says:

        Magoo, You’ve done it again!

      • acto says:

        ” trading the team’s star player”
        Did they trade Joe Haden? Willis “please pass the gravy” McGahee is better than the chump they traded.

        • bupalos says:

          Amen times 10.

          The play Spiller made on Mingo’s brain fart has been there for the taking 3 or 4 times in the Richardson carries I’ve looked at going back to last year. Height-weight-speed doesn’t mean that much if you don’t know how to play football.

          Kudos to DQ for pulling Mingo aside and reiterating that this is what happens in this league when you don’t stick to your assignment.

      • mgbode says:

        interesting point brought out during the game by Mayock. he asked Hoyer about the release from the Cardinals and Hoyer told him that he asked Arizona for the release after they traded for Carson Palmer because he wanted to try to land somewhere he might have a better shot at playing.

  9. Petefranklin says:

    Covers experts, LOL! There was a push for the Bills that brought the line down to 3.5. My wife threw away my Cantor every game of the season openers sheet while cleaning up my desk so I’m not sure but I think the Browns opened up at -2.5 if memory serves. I guess I’ll rely on the Dawg Pound to be worth an extra point more than usual tonight to make up the difference. This is the first home prime time game since the “Frozen Hot Chocolate Bowl” vs. the Steelers right? Count me in too! Browns -1 for one Cheddar point.

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