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Week 5 Bills-Browns preview

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) -If the Cleveland Browns' decision to trade mercurial receiver Braylon Edwards was one of addition by subtraction, Terrell Owens did the math and came up with a far different answer.

Hey,'' the Buffalo Bills receiver said,maybe we'll have a chance to win this weekend.''

T.O. certainly understands what happens to teams that part ways with their star receivers, considering the 2-2 start Tony Romo and the Cowboys have gotten off to this year. And Owens was happy to discuss Edwards because it allowed him a brief respite from weekly questions about what's wrong with the Bills' offense.

Not that he could escape that topic entirely.

``It's not for me to assess,'' Owens said.

Either way anyone adds it up, Edwards being dealt to the New York Jets provided the latest subplot in what's regarded as an early season Misery Loves Company Bowl on Sunday. Buffalo (1-3) and Cleveland (0-4) are two struggling franchises proving they have far more in common than sharing a Lake Erie shoreline.

It can't be the water, can it?

I'm sure there's some conspiracy theorists out there that would want to tell you that,'' Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas said, laughing.But I'm not one of them.''

``I hope not,'' added Bills receiver Lee Evans, who grew up outside of Cleveland.

And yet the similarities are eerily notable.

The Browns have lost 10 straight since a 29-27 win at Orchard Park last season. Their offense is sputtering - and that was with Edwards in the lineup - their quarterbacks in flux and first-year coach Eric Mangini's decisions being second-guessed.

It's no different in Buffalo for a team that's lost 11 of 14 and, barring a marked turnaround, is in jeopardy of missing the playoffs for the 10th straight year.

Buffalo's offense is anemic, having scored only five touchdowns - and none rushing. Third-year quarterback Trent Edwards' status as starter is being questioned because of a failure to show he's capable of running the no-huddle attack or incorporate Owens and Evans into the mix. And coach Dick Jauron is already on the hot seat in his fourth season.

We've got plenty of incentive,'' defensive end Chris Kelsay said.With everything going on and what everyone's talking about ... it would be nice to hush up some of the naysayers.''

A win would be a start. The Bills' defense is banged-up and worn down because the offense can't stay on the field, losing the time of possession battle by an NFL-worst average of 4:34. As a result, Buffalo's run defense allowed 472 yards and six touchdowns in its past two games, including a 38-10 loss at Miami last weekend.

That was unacceptable,'' defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said.I don't think 470 yards is an embarrassment as much as getting your butts kicked.''

Fewell is making changes by switching veteran outside linebacker Kawika Mitchell to the middle.

That doesn't address the troubles on an offense that's produced 449 yards and 23 first downs in its past two games. Owens has been limited to eight catches for 158 yards and a touchdown so far. By comparison, he had more yards receiving in three single games over his past two seasons in Dallas.

Owens remains upbeat nonetheless, noting a renewed attitude among his teammates this week.

For some reason, I feel a little better about this weekend,'' he said.Everybody is kind of loose, there's no reason to be uptight.''

It's difficult to immediately judge the mood in Cleveland, where numerous players expressed surprise upon learning Edwards had been traded for receiver Chansi Stuckey, linebacker Jason Trusnik and two undisclosed draft choices.

We'll see, I don't know,'' said quarterback Derek Anderson when asked if the move improved the Browns.They made the decision and we roll with it.''

Stuckey and rookies Mohamed Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie are expected to fill the top three receiving roles on an offense that's produced more interceptions (seven) than touchdowns (three), and now features Anderson as its starter.

At least the Browns finally proved competitive in a 23-20 overtime loss to division rival Cincinnati last week - and did so with Edwards failing to make a catch.

I think moving forward we're going to be a better team from the way we played last weekend,'' Thomas said.We really showed ourselves and showed some people outside this building what kind of team we are. We showed the desire that we have to win.''

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