ORCHARD PARK, NY – The National Football League has decided to move the game scheduled to be played in Buffalo on Sunday between the Bills and Cleveland Browns to Detroit due to a lake-effect snowstorm that is expected to hit the Buffalo area.
The decision to transfer the game was made before the storm even started.
Weather forecasts call for between one and three feet of snowfall in the area over the weekend.
The decision also means the Bills will play back-to-back games in Detroit. The Bills will visit the Lions next Thursday, as part of the traditional Thanksgiving Day triple program in the United States.
The National Weather Service issued a lake effect storm warning through Saturday morning for southern Erie County, which includes the Bills’ Orchard Park home. The storm is expected to bring gusts of up to 55 kilometers per hour off Lake Erie, which will make travel conditions hazardous and lead to potential power outages.
The Browns have prepared for the possibility of a venue change by having two game plans in place: one for away play and one for inside play.
“We’ll be ready for both eventualities,” said offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt. That’s one thing the years of COVID-19 have done for us. We are very flexible and used to adapting and adjusting to any circumstances that arise. »
With the ability to play in harsh weather conditions, the Browns had to rely on his ground game. Nick Chubb reportedly received the ball enough to even satisfy the team’s fans, who criticize head coach Kevin Stefanski for not giving his star player the ball on every play.
Now that the game will be played inside Lions Stadium, in warmth and comfort, the Browns will be able to use their entire playbook.
The problem is that the Bills will do the same with quarterback Josh Allen. Buffalo’s troops hold a clear advantage over the Browns’ defense, which hasn’t been up to par this season.
The Bills had already had to move one of their games because of a snowstorm in November 2014, and they had taken the measure of the New York Jets 38-3 on the synthetic turf of Ford Field in Detroit.
The meeting, which was to take place on a Sunday, had also been postponed to Monday to allow the two teams to travel.
This time around, the NFL couldn’t push back the game date, as the Bills are already facing a shortened week.
Like the Bills, the Browns have had their share of games in difficult weather conditions. While the players are concerned about everyone’s safety, the prospect of playing a “Snow Bowl” is attractive.
“I would love that,” said star left guard Joel Bitonio. Obviously, we have to think about the safety of the people of the city of Buffalo. But that would be great. I grew up in California and haven’t seen much snow. I was in college in Nevada, where there is snow. »
The Browns and Bills played a memorable game in the snow in Cleveland in 2007. Aiming for the end zone pylons in blizzard-like winds, Browns kicker Phil Dawson still managed two field goals . The Bills also suffered a safety touchdown in an 8-0 loss.
You have to go back to December 2017 to note the last time the Bills played a game during a lake-effect snowstorm. They had defeated the Indianapolis Colts 13-7 in overtime in the snow. The storm kicked in about an hour before kickoff.
“It was surreal. You go into the tunnel and the grass is green, you come back and there’s two feet of snow, Bills safety Jordan Poyer recalled. It was probably one of the funnest matches I’ve played in. »