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3 key matchups to follow for Bills at Browns | Scouting Report

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3 KEY MATCHUPS TO FOLLOW

Dion Dawkins vs. Myles Garrett

Cleveland’s top pass rusher also leads the AFC in sacks with 10 in his team’s first eight games. Dawkins will need to put together one of his best individual performances with this assignment, and figures to get help from the tight ends and backs at times. Garrett will flip sides of the formation, so Cody Ford will need to be prepared as well.

Jordan Philips vs. Wyatt Teller

The former Bills offensive lineman had trouble handling Phillips in training camp this past summer. Teller starts at right guard for the Browns and will have his hands full with Phillips, whose game is on the ascent.

Tre’Davious White vs. Odell Beckham Jr.

Ranked at the top of the league in passer rating allowed, White has made a habit of neutralizing the opponent’s top pass-catching threat. He’ll have a supreme test with his fellow LSU alum.

2 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE OPPONENT

Suspect run defense

Cleveland has a lot of talent on defense, but it’s not getting the job done when it comes to stopping the run. The Browns are giving up more than 140 yards on the ground per game (141.3), which ranks 30th in the NFL. Last week against Denver they surrendered 127 at 6.4 yards per rush.

Kareem Hunt to play Sunday

Browns RB Kareem Hunt is now eligible to play having completed his eight-game suspension. The former Chief has been practicing with the team for the last two weeks, and head coach Freddie Kitchens said Hunt will “definitely have a role” in Sunday’s game against the Bills.

1 THING THAT COULD DECIDE THE GAME

First down gains

Buffalo’s improved production on first down last week was crucial in staking the Bills to an early 10-0 lead. Success on first down could help the Bills offense stay on the field and better solve Cleveland’s top five third-down defense with more manageable down and distance situations.

The Browns defense is giving up an NFL high 6.73 yards per play on first down to their opponents this season. It’s more than a yard higher than the league average (5.56).

UNDERCURRENTS

--The Browns still lead the league in penalties, but they did a good job of cutting back on them in their loss at Denver last week. They committed only five, which is exactly half of what they had averaged per game (10).

--Converting in the red zone has proven to be a problem for the Browns offense. They rank 25th in the league in red zone touchdown efficiency, reaching the end zone just over 46 percent of the time (12-26). Last week against the Broncos they made good on just one of their five red zone trips.

--Baker Mayfield is known as an accurate quarterback, but he’s been the victim of some drops. Cleveland’s receiving corps entered Week 9 tied for the second-most dropped passes in the league. In fact, the Browns have only pulled in 61 percent of their targets this season (60.8%), which ranks 31st in the league. Only Miami (58.7%) has been worse.

--Those poor catch rate statistics are likely a big reason why the Browns also rank 29th in third down conversion percentage. Cleveland is moving the sticks just a hair over 30 percent of the time. Only Denver, the Jets and Washington are less successful on third down than the Browns.

--The Browns released S Jermaine Whitehead after his social media tirade that included racial remarks and death threats. Whitehead had started each of Cleveland’s first eight games. He’s expected to be replaced in the lineup by Morgan Burnett.

As the Bills prepare to play on the road against the Cleveland Browns, scroll through to view photos from previous matchups between the two opponents.

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