Browns-Bills: Another Possible First

The 2007 Cleveland Browns could be the first in team history to win seven games at home...

As grand a history as the Browns have, dating back to their birth in the All America Conference in 1946, they have never won seven home games in one season.

Ten times they won six games, and since the league did not expand the schedule to 14 games until 1961 it obviously would have been impossible to win seven before then, but in 43 seasons from 1961-2006, taking into account the three seasons without football from 1996-98, the best the Browns have done at home is 6-2.

This season the Browns have a chance to make history. If they beat the Bills Sunday in Cleveland Browns Stadium and then beat the 49ers at home on the final Sunday of the regular season they will finish 2007 with a 7-1 home record.

The Browns were 20-44 at home from 1999-2006. This season started the same way, but since being humiliated by the Steelers, 34-7 in the 2007 opener, the Browns have been invincible at home. Their 5-1 home record is the main reason they can clinch a playoff spot by beating the Bills in their first home game since beating Houston Nov. 25.

"Playing at home this year has been phenomenal," wide receiver Braylon Edwards said. "We feed off the fans. The have given us a lot of energy. A lot of the plays we've made have been off their sparks.

"I'm definitely looking forward to that home-field advantage we've missed for two weeks and definitely using that to give us some force."

The Browns organization is counting on fans to be at their loudest in the most important regular-season game since the Browns beat Atlanta in the final game of 2002. The team has decided to get the fans involved early. Instead of forming the gauntlet for player introductions with players not being introduced, the gauntlet will be formed by fans chosen at random.

"The history goes way back," said running back Jamal Lewis, in his first year with the Browns. "Being on the road, you see a lot of Browns jerseys in the stands. It shows we have that support. We need it.

"It translates on the field. We want to play hard for our fans and get a win. They're backing us up. That's what we owe our home record to."

Two days after the humiliating 27-point loss to the Steelers in the season opener the Browns traded starting quarterback Charlie Frye. Few people would have imagined they would go 8-4 and undefeated at home since then, but they have.

The Bills have had a turn-around equally amazing. They have gone 6-2 since starting the season 1-4. The Browns hold the second and final wild card spot with three games left.

The Browns can all but eliminate the Bills from the playoff race by beating them. But the Bills could be on the playoff doorstep by beating the Browns. The stakes being so high for both teams adds to the intensity.

"We know what that atmosphere is like," Bills leading receiver Lee Evans, who grew up in Bedford, said in a conference call. "We know they play very well at home. They're communicating on defense, flying around and playing hard. That's one of the things you see different from in the past."


--WR Joe Jurevicius missed practice Thursday with a knee injury.

--LB Antwan Peek missed practice for the second straight day Thursday with an ankle injury.

--DE Orpheus Roye practiced on a limited basis Thursday. He has a right knee injury.

--DE Robaire Smith practiced on a limited basis Thursday with a sore back.

--RT Kevin Shaffer practiced on a limited basis Thursday with a knee injury.

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