To avoid what’s predicted to be an insane winter storm hitting New York this weekend, the Buffalo Bills will no longer host the Cleveland Browns at Highmark Stadium in Week 11, both teams will instead face off at Ford Field in Detroit on Sunday, November 20.
With the expectation of five feet of snow to fall around Orchard Park, the NFL announced on Thursday, November 17, “The decision to move the game from Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, NY was done in consultation with the Buffalo Bills and local and state authorities as the region prepares for the storm” and deemed the best plan “due to public safety concerns.” The game will still start at 1 p.m. ET as previously scheduled.
“Our sole concern was the safety of our players, our fans, our community and making sure we did not divert any resources that the community will need coming this weekend,” Bills Chief Operating Officer Ron Raccuia said, per Rochester First.
The Detroit Lions sent a direct message to the Bills after learning their home field would be getting some unexpected visitors this weekend. The team’s official Twitter account wrote, “Important numbers are by the phone, lock up when you leave and please don’t break the tables,” which quickly racked up over 60,000 likes.
Wildly enough, the Lions are the Bills’ upcoming Week 12 opponent, which means Buffalo will once again play in Detroit on Thanksgiving, just four days after facing off against the Browns at Ford Field.
Fans and analysts loved the Lions’ hilarious tweet. WKBW news anchor Jeff Russo responded, “Thanks for hosting again @Lions No guarantees on the tables though,” while NFL Network’s Adam Rank simply tweeted, “Well done.” Bills Mafia Babes tweeted, “Thank you for your continued hospitality!”
It seems the move was a good decision considering the “thundersnow” has already started to hit the Buffalo area. Bills defensive tackle DaQuan Jones tweeted on Thursday evening, “I’ve never seen lighting with snow before 🤯.”
Meteorologists explained to the New York Post that “the thundersnow phenomenon typically occurs early in the season when relatively warmer air rising from the surface of Lake Erie – which is still about 52 degrees – collides with colder air in storm clouds, generating a charge which results in thunder and lightning.”
This is the second time in eight years the Bills game has needed to relocate to Detroit. Back in 2014, Buffalo faced off against their AFC East rival, the New York Jets, due to a snowstorm. The Bills won 38-3.
Bills General Manager Said the Bills Plan to Come Home in Between Games
If the Bills were playing a regular Sunday game in Week 12 instead of in primetime on Thursday, November 24, Bills general manager Brandon Beane said their Week 10 matchup against the Browns could’ve been pushed to Monday and the game could’ve still been played in Orchard Park, per WROC-TV‘s Thad Brown.
With back-to-back games at Ford Field, many people assumed that the Bills would stay in Detroit for the week, but that’s not the plan. “Beane says the team will try to keep a normal schedule and head home from the game on Sunday even though Buffalo will be back in Detroit for Thanksgiving,” Bills reporter Maddy Glab tweeted. Of course, if the Bills are unable to fly back into Buffalo due to the inclement weather, those plans could change.
Despite the location change, Beane said he hopes the Bills’ matchup against the Browns in Detroit will still feel like their playing at Highmark Stadium. “In all seriousness, we are still hoping for this to be a home-field advantage,” Beane said, per 13WHAM‘s Dan Fetes. “We’re hoping it will be a mostly Bills crowd.”
Pre-sale tickets for the Browns vs. Bills game will go on sale at 2 p.m. ET on Friday, November 18, per Syracuse.com‘s Matt Parrino.
Bills vs. Browns Odds Shifted Following the Location Change
At the start of the week, the Bills were deemed 9.5-point favorites to beat the Browns at Highmark Stadium. “The point spread moved from Bills -9.5 to -8, anticipating a low-scoring game and perhaps the run-first Browns being better equipped to play in the snow,” Yahoo! Sports analyst Frank Schwab reported on Thursday. “There were a lot of under bets on the total, which moved from 47.5 to 43 early this week.”
However, the location change has once again affected the game odds. “The Bills are now 7.5-point favorites,” Schwab wrote. “The line is lower because they’re playing on a neutral field instead of a home game. The over/under came back at 48.5. It’s even higher than the original line because the two teams will be in a dome.