The Cleveland Browns will look to put together a win streak and move to 2-1 when the Chicago Bears come to town. Cleveland is favored in this game, but nothing will come easy. Even with a rookie quarterback making his first career start the Bears will be capable.
Winning a game in the NFL often means you win the turnover battle. That is a key to winning any matchup. Below we take a look at a couple of other key notes that should help the Browns come out on top.
Make rookie uncomfortable
If you’re a rookie quarterback in your first career start you probably don’t want to go up against Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney off the edge. The two will be tasked with pressuring Justin Fields as often as they can. Fields, a mobile quarterback that will use his legs when there is not a passing option. The first two weeks of the season the Browns allowed opposing quarterbacks to get out of the pocket and make plays. That is something that they can not allow the rookie to do.
Getting pressure on Fields could rattle him as he will be playing in a hostile environment at First Energy Stadium. Last Sunday the stadium was as loud as it has been in a very long time, it may be the same again. If the Browns are able to get after Fields and cause pressure they could force him into rookie mistakes - that should be the plan.
Fields is 10-0 as a starter in the state of Ohio dating back to his college days. If the Browns defense does what they are capable of, he should leave Cleveland 10-1. Through two weeks the defense has only shown flashes and has given up a ton of yardage. Making the rookie uncomfortable on the road could be where the defense puts it together.
Don’t miss a beat without Jarvis Landry
Landry is going to miss at least three weeks with a MCL injury and the Browns will have some production to replace. It’s not that Landry was a big time stat stuffer, he often made timely plays. Cleveland will be without that and need to rely on others to step forward.
Landry runs a lot of intermediate routes and one way to replace those is with tight ends. The Browns already use their three tight ends a bunch and that could go up even more. Three tight end sets won’t be a surprise if the team decides to go that route.
Also, Odell Beckham Jr is returning. Cleveland will need to work him into the game action as he is surely in the game plan. The times of force feeing Beckham the ball are a thing of the past and Cleveland has to let him gel into the offense. Bekcham Jr. can break it wide open and be in the end zone at any given time. If you are losing a receiver and getting a player like Beckham back, maybe it isn’t so bad. 13 very well could be on a snap count, so his play may not be felt drastically for this one.
Anthony Schwartz showed why the Browns were so high on him in his first NFL game and then did nothing last week. Schwartz should be a factor this week as him and Beckham Jr on the field at the same time is a lot of speed. The team obviously has Rashard Higgins who is plenty capable and has the well-known great connection with Baker Mayfield.
Could this be the week that Donovan Peoples-Jones breaks out on the season? Perhaps the second year man out of Michigan can get going with increased snaps.
Take away the running game
Whether it’s Justin Fields running the ball or David Montgomery, the Browns need to immediately show that they will not be run over. This year the Browns defense has done a good job of stopping the run through two weeks. It needs to continue this week as with a rookie quarterback playing, the Bears will want to establish a running game to help him out.
Montgomery is plenty capable of hurting a defense as he has already shown this year by going over the century mark. Interior push from Malik McDowell and Malik Jackson will be important, as will the ends containing. The point of emphasis will be forcing Fields to beat them with his arm, which is best case scenario for Cleveland.