The Bears (5-8) soundly defeated the first place Detroit Lions last Sunday at Soldier Field for their second consecutive victory. The win showed growing confidence, especially on the young defense, and even breathed some life into faint NFC Wild Card hopes for the Windy City squad. Next up is a difficult challenge on the road against the rugged Browns.
Cleveland (8-5) is led by its outstanding defensive unit which gives up just 263 yards per game, fewest in the NFL. Myles Garrett, one of the best pass rushers in all of football, is having a terrific year with 13 sacks. They are not quite as dominant of late giving up 26.6 points a game over the last five contests.
The Browns have been ravaged by injuries on the offensive side of the football starting with stud running back Nick Chubb, who tore his ACL early in the season. They are currently starting the recently signed 38-year-old Joe Flacco at quarterback, their fourth different signal caller of 2023.
Not surprisingly, this level of QB turnover has led to inconsistent scoring efforts for head coach Kevin Stefanski’s team. The passing game has shown some flickers of life behind the big-armed veteran Flacco and they are currently holding a playoff spot. The well traveled Amari Cooper is still a significant threat at wide receiver.
The Bears have been competitive in most of their matchups the last few weeks and certainly should be able to hang with a talented but definitely inconsistent Cleveland team. Justin Fields will need to keep avoiding mistakes and make some big plays to keep his squad in a position to win.
Let’s see if Chicago can take home another upset victory and really start to make things interesting the final month of the season. It sure would be a nice change of pace to see some competent football from this group.
Where to Watch/Listen
- Sunday, December 17 at 12:00pm CT on FOX, WBBM Radio (English), and WRTO Radio (Spanish).
Keys to Victory
Here are my keys to Sunday’s game. If these things happen, the Bears should have a shot to win.
- Establish the run game early. The Browns have a great pass defense especially with top cornerback Denzel Ward in the lineup. The Bears will need to produce more on the ground than they have the past two weeks.
- Keep the turnover train rolling. Chicago’s defense has produced 10 turnovers the last three games, which is a huge factor in their improved performance.
- Make a big play on special teams. This figures to be a very close game between two talented defensive units so scoring will come at a premium. A big return or blocked kick could end up being the deciding factor.
Don’t Tell Me the Odds
The Browns are three point favorites in Cleveland Sunday and oddsmakers are anticipating a low-scoring contest with an over/under of just 38.5.
It’s Football Weather
It’s going to be 51 degrees with some showers and a SW wind at 14 miles an hour Sunday afternoon at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
It’s going to be a real slugfest Sunday afternoon and the defenses will dominate from the start. I think the home team will come out on top in the rock-fight and Cleveland will win 16-13.
Official Bears Preview