1.?Keep an eye on the backs.?Browns rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden, below, put in a much better performance in Week Two, completing 26-of-37 passes for 322 yards and two touchdowns. Of those 26 completions, 10 of them (38 percent) went to his running backs. Weeden showed solid decision-making, first looking down field, then taking what the defense gave him. The Bills last week dropped defensive end Mark Anderson into coverage at times, helping protect against those underneath routes. They'll have to be diligent in that again this week, because Browns rookie running back Trent Richardson is dangerous in space. On his 23-yard touchdown reception last week, the third overall draft pick made four would-be tacklers miss. Richardson had two touchdowns of 20-plus yards last week. The Browns had just seven all of last season.
2. ?Make them break, not just bend.?The Browns rank 29th in yards allowed (415.5 per game) through two weeks, but 19th in scoring defense (25.5 points per game), continuing a tradition of defensive coordinator Dick Jauron. Last year, the Browns were 10th in yards allowed, but fifth in scoring defense. Jauron's Buffalo defenses had the same "bend, but don't break" philosophy. Buffalo will have to finish drives today. Through two weeks, the Bills have been perfect at this. They are one of three teams (along with Baltimore and San Francisco) in the NFL to have a 100 percent success rate in the red zone, with touchdowns on all five trips.
3. ?Win the battle of strengths.?The Bills have yet to give up a sack this season, while the Browns have eight, which is tied for second in the NFL. The Browns like their depth along the defensive line. They've been able to get a solid push from their four-man front. That depth might be tested today, though, as defensive tackle Billy Winn (concussion) and defensive end Juqua Parker (foot) have been limited in practice this week. Either way, this is a matchup the Bills should win. Buffalo's offensive line is off to a great start this year. Buffalo is averaging almost 200 yards a game rushing (a league-best 198, to be exact). Rookie left tackle Cordy Glenn has the look of a future star. If the Bills can continue to protect Ryan Fitzpatrick, they should put up plenty of points today. That's because ...
4. ?Sans Haden, the Browns' secondary ?is vulnerable.?Cleveland missed shut down cornerback Joe Haden immensely last week against Cincinnati. He'll be out again today as he serves the second game of a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. The Browns also sat Sheldon Brown (shoulder) for all but one play last week. Cleveland's two starters last week, Dimitri Patterson and Buster Skrine, were smoked in coverage. Skrine saw eight passes completed against him in nine attempts by the Bengals' Andy Dalton, including two that went for 20-plus yards. Patterson gave up seven catches on 11 targets, according to Pro Football Focus. The Browns don't have the personnel to match up when the Bills spread it out.
5. ?Play keep away from Cribbs.?Rookie John Potter has kicked off 11 times so far, with seven of them going for touchbacks. That percentage of 63.6 is tied for fourth in the league. Brian Moorman has just a 31.2-yard net average on nine punts because of a long touchdown return by the Jets in the opener. The Bills' kicking game will have to limit the opportunities for Browns returner Josh Cribbs, who has 11 career return touchdowns, but just one since 2010.
Outlook: The Browns are in rebuilding mode. This is another game Buffalo simply has to win if it is to be taken seriously as a playoff contender. As long as the Bills aren't looking ahead to the Patriots in Week Four, they should. Prediction: Bills 30, Browns 20