Here’s the scoop: Too much snow in Buffalo forced the NFL to shovel the Bills and Cleveland Browns to an alternate game site. They’ll square off in Detroit for their scheduled Week 11 game on Sunday.
The Bills are also scheduled to play at Ford Field on Thanksgiving Day, giving them two games in five days at Detroit.
Historical accumulation measured in feet was forecast for western New York before midday Saturday, creating a string of logistics and safety concerns for the team, league and region.
“Due to public safety concerns and out of an abundance of caution in light of the ongoing weather emergency in western New York, Sunday’s Cleveland Browns-Buffalo Bills game will be moved to Ford Field in Detroit at 1 p.m. ET,” the NFL said in a statement Thursday. “The decision to move the game from Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y. was done in consultation with the Buffalo Bills and local and state authorities as the region prepares for the storm.”
When the teams hit the field Sunday, the Bills (6-3) will look to halt a two-game skid and the Browns (3-6) will attempt to ignite fading postseason hopes. But in the mind of Cleveland starting quarterback Jacoby Brissett, the shift to Ford Field should be a positive.
His last snow game in Buffalo, then as quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts, didn’t go so great in a 13-7 loss.
“I don’t want to talk about the results of the game,” Brissett said when reminded of that cold day when 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.”
Coaches began needling their own alternate plans on Tuesday when the NFL and Erie County officials began discussing contingency plans.
“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.”
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