Cleveland run to continue

  • By: David John (Twitter: @SLifeDaveJohn)
  • Last Updated: October 4 2013, 9:02 BST

David John expects Cleveland to keep up their winning form when they host Buffalo on Thursday in the NFL.

Brian Hoyer can lead Cleveland to a third straight win
Brian Hoyer can lead Cleveland to a third straight win

Buffalo at Cleveland (0130 BST)

This is not the most glamorous nationally televised game but an interesting one nonetheless involving two teams that have showed some promise in the opening stages of the season.

Both turn up on the back of victories at the weekend but it is the the hosts who look best equipped to go to 3-2 and actually make it three victories on the bounce.

The early signs had not looked particularly positive in Cleveland once again having slipped to 0-2 and traded their best player in running back Trent Richardson to the Colts.

But a motivational speech in the locker room from team captain D'Qwell Jackson galvanised both his coaches and team-mates as they went on to record an unlikely road win at Minnesota.

That was followed by an even better effort to defeat Cincinnati, where they forced two turnovers, limited the Bengals to just 266 yards total yards on offense and no touchdowns.

Their defense has been impressive all told. They rank third in the league overall with some eyecatching displays from Jackson, cornerback Joe Haden, who kept Bengals wide receiver AJ Green to just 51 yards, and super-aggressive rookie Barkevious Mingo to name but three.

They may just have stumbled on a solution to their quarterback issues as well. Starter Brandon Weedon went down with a thumb injury and third-stringer Brian Hoyer has stepped in to lead the team to those two wins.

Whether he stands the test of time remains to be seen but he makes up his mind quickly, gets the ball out accurately to where it should go and has built up a nice rapport with young tight end Jordan Cameron.

The visitors have something to offer as well on the night and should have a spring in their step after narrowly knocking off reigning Super Bowl champions Baltimore.

Their defense also stepped up as it forced Joe Flacco to throw five interceptions - a commendable effort no doubt but one that speaks volumes about the state of the Ravens offense at the moment.

Rookie quarterback EJ Manuel is gradually getting more comfortable as a starter but is a long way from the finished article. He and some young receivers are growing together and although the playbook has been opened up a little more for him, some of his deep balls are not quite on the money at the moment.

It is an area that Cleveland's defense should capitalise on along with the running game with both Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller dinged up.

That duo will more than likely play but it sounds like Jackson has a torn MCL in his left knee that he says he can "manage" while Spiller admits he will be on the field if his gimpy ankle is "80-85 percent".

I don't expect the pair to get a lot of change out of the fourth best run defense in the league all things being equal.

So it is the Browns for me giving up a start while 41 total points in the game looks on the optimistic side.

Verdict: Buffalo 12 Cleveland 21

  • Posted at 1005 BST on 01/10/2013.