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Bills, Browns prepare for possible Snow Bowl

Sportsnaut
Jan 2, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; General view of snow covered seats at Highmark Stadium prior to the game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Buffalo Bills. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Allen’s tender elbow is improving, but the outlook is deep for Sunday’s game between the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns at Orchard Park, N.Y.

More than five feet of snow is expected to blanket the area later this week, and a blizzard of that nature would surely hinder offense.

The storm comes as the Bills (6-3) look to halt a two-game skid and the Browns (3-6) attempt to ignite fading postseason hopes.

The scene in the Buffalo area could be similar to a Dec. 10, 2017, snow game between the Bills and Indianapolis Colts. Buffalo won that contest 13-7 in overtime.

The Indianapolis quarterback that day was Jacoby Brissett, who will be the starter for Cleveland nearly five years later.

“I don’t want to talk about the results of the game,” Brissett said when reminded of that cold day in which he completed 11 of 22 passes for 69 yards and one touchdown.

Asked how players can deal with so much snow, Brissett said, “I’m from Florida, so no, I wouldn’t know. I’m the wrong person to ask. I really won’t think about it.”

Both coaches are thinking about the many unknowns the conditions could prompt. The game could even be moved.

“We’ve already started to put a plan in place behind the scenes of what happens if we can’t get in Friday, what happens if we can’t get in Saturday or to the hotel Saturday evening (where the team stays the night before games) with that being downtown,” Buffalo coach Sean McDermott said.

Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said Wednesday, “I wouldn’t say (we have) two separate game plans, but when weather is a factor as it might be, you’re always thinking about having plays that you might turn to should it be a major factor.

“Jacoby played in a whiteout in this stadium in 2017, so he’s used to it. Alex Van Pelt is on staff, and he played there for many years. The guys are prepared for it if that’s what it turns out being.”

Meanwhile, Allen was a limited practice participant on Wednesday in a practice switched to individual and position work due to a shortage of available players. Allen is still experiencing soreness in his throwing elbow.

Allen has thrown two interceptions in each of the past three games. He did pass for 330 yards and one touchdown in last week against the Vikings, but his turnovers, including a lost fumble, were key to Minnesota’s comeback for a 33-30 overtime win.

Allen said he has been spending hours daily with trainers and the strength and conditioning staff.

“It’ll get to a point where it’s back to normal and I don’t feel it and don’t have to worry about it,” Allen said. “But until that time comes, just being smart with it and making sure I’m not doing anything stupid in walkthroughs, not throwing it very hard and just staying in the training room and still getting treatment on it.”

Allen has passed for 2,733 yards, 20 touchdowns and 10 interceptions and added 476 yards and four TDs on the ground to help the Bills lead the NFL in total offense (424.1 yards per game) and rank second in scoring (27.8 per game).

Bills wideout Stefon Diggs is 15 yards away from his fifth consecutive 1,000-yard season.

Cleveland running back Nick Chubb ranks third in the NFL with 904 rushing yards and has scored 11 times on the ground. Brissett has passed for 2,074 yards, eight touchdowns and five interceptions.

Browns standout offensive tackle Jack Conklin (foot) was a full practice participant Wednesday and is expected to play.

Buffalo safety Jordan Poyer (elbow) was limited in practice on Wednesday while middle linebacker Tremaine Edmunds (groin, heel) was among those who sat out.

The Bills have won four of their past six meetings with the Browns.

–Field Level Media