Sep 26, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) reaches for Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) during the third quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
Justin Fields and the Chicago Bears would rather not recall the last time they traveled to Cleveland for a regular season game.
That was way back in September 2021 when Fields was sacked nine times by Cleveland and managed only 68 yards on 6-of-20 passing in a 26-6 loss that seemed much worse than a 20-point margin.
Now, more than two years later, the 5-8 Bears return with a chance to keep their playoff hopes alive against a 8-5 Browns team that has been stellar at home but is struggling with injury and will be led by 38-year-old quarterback Joe Flacco.
Here’s how we see this one shaking out …
Adam Hoge (7-6) — Browns 16, Bears 13
This has been the toughest game of the season for me to pick. If you’re picking the Bears, I don’t blame you. The Browns’ desire to play man defense and struggles against mobile quarterbacks are reasons to like the Bears in this game. I just can’t ignore the way the Browns have played at home, and the loss of Ngakoue (and maybe Brisker too) has me nervous. The Browns also threw a bunch of incentives Flacco’s way Thursday. If he beats the Bears, he earns an extra $75,000. I expect this to be another close game, but I am reluctantly picking the Browns.
Nicholas Moreano (6-7) — Bears 24, Browns 17
The 8-5 Browns are a way different team at home this season than they are on the road. Cleveland has only lost one game at FirstEnergy Stadium and have scored 144 points while only giving up 88. It’s impressive, but I still like the Bears in this one. Chicago’s defense should give Joe Flacco more problems than Jacksonville did last week, especially since the Jaguars literally gave the Browns three touchdowns with breakdowns in the secondary. As long as the Bears (5-8) can handle the Browns’ pressure, Justin Fields and the offense will be able to put up some points. Let the winning streak continue.
Will DeWitt (6-7) — Bears 20, Browns 16
Three in a row for the first time since 2021? Yes, please! The Browns are beaten and battered. To their credit, they’ve overcome injuries all year, but I am hopeful that the Bears’ positive momentum is enough to put them over the top. As long as Braxton Jones doesn’t allow Myles Garrett to abuse Justin Fields, the Bears will be able to move the ball and score against the Browns’ defense, especially if they continue to lean on Fields’ strengths, DJ Moore and Cole Kmet. Browns lead the league in giveaways. Look for the Bears’ defense to continue their streak of creating turnovers. This week is a perfect week for the Bears to begin an unexpected playoff push. Cheers to meaningful football in December!
Greg Braggs Jr. (8-5) — Bears 26, Browns 17
The Bears are getting hot at the right time. Last week was a big test that they passed. Now they head to Cleveland to take on an injury-riddled Browns team. Justin Fields returns to the same venue of his first career start which resulted in nine sacks. But this time he comes back with more protection and talent around him. The defense lost Yannick Ngakoue for the year but I think they’ll still be able to get to Joe Flacco and force some mistakes. I expect the Bears to continue to stay hot and keep their slim playoff hopes alive. In the hunt in December?! Sounds fun to me!
Corey Wootton (7-6) — Bears 24, Browns 10
Defense continues to play lights out. Offense starting to hit their stride and stack another good performance mixing and matching the run and pass. Bears are in the HUNT baby!
Mark Carman (7-6) — Browns 24, Bears 20
Detroit makes more adjustments than the Bears do and hold the Luke Getsy game plan down. Bears keep it interesting but come up short down the stretch.
Kevin Kaduk (8-5) — Bears 17, Browns 16
Man, there’s so many people on the side of the Bears in this article and it makes me fearful of being a lemming heading over the side of a cliff. I’m also fearful of a Bears letdown because that’s just what happens whenever we get our hopes high about this franchise. That said, ’tis the season to be hopeful and the Bears are bringing the better quarterback to the battle. Here’s hopeful that Justin Fields can do enough against that Browns defense while the Bears defense makes Joe Flacco wish he had remained sitting on his couch at home.
Jake Flannigan (5-8) — Bears 27, Browns 17
Justin Fields returns to the scene of the crime three years after his first career start. This time around he turns the house of horrors into a funhouse for the Bears offense. The defensive line shows out with even more contributors getting involved, including both rookies up front.
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