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Recent posts by Mike Wilkening
Here's a matchup to watch in Sunday's Browns-Bills game.
Browns' special teams vs. Bills' special teams
The Browns excelled on special teams in the last meeting between these teams, with seven of P Dave Zastudil's nine punts downed inside the Buffalo 20. The Bills began two drives from their one-yard line and another from the four-yard line.
Cleveland continues to be strong in the kicking game. P Reggie Hodges, who has replaced Zastudil, has had an NFL-best 13 punts downed inside the 10-yard line and earned AFC Special Teams Player of the Week Honors after posting a 43.3-yard net average on nine punts vs. Miami last Sunday.
Hodges has a 39.4-yard net average on 63 punts. His counterpart, Bills P Brian Moorman, has a 36.5-yard net average. The Bills are allowing 9.5 yards per punt return, with the Browns allowing just 6.8 yards.
Both C.J. Spiller and Leodis McKelvin can return punts and kickoffs for the Bills, with Spiller handling punts last week and Spiller and McKelvin returning three kickoffs apiece. Spiller, the Bills' first-round pick in 2010, brought back a kickoff for a touchdown vs. New England and has the ability to be a special-teams standout.
Joshua Cribbs will return kickoffs and punts for Cleveland. He hasn't had quite the impact he's had in past seasons, averaging 21.4 yards on kickoffs and 8.3 yards on punts, but he is still capable of the big play.
Browns PK Phil Dawson has connected on 18-of-23 field goals, with Bills PK Rian Lindell converting 12-of-17. Both are steady kickers accustomed to dealing with tough weather conditions. Lindell averages 65.4 yards on kickoffs, with Dawson averaging 62.2 yards. The Browns have limited opponents to just 17.4 yards on kickoffs, best in the NFL, while the Bills are allowing 23.3 yards per kickoff.