Friday, December 23, 2016

Browns Preview 12.23.16: San Diego Chargers @ Cleveland Browns

By Katelin Marshall, @KatelinKnowsCLE

The Chargers travel to Cleveland this week to play the Browns on Christmas Eve (Saturday). Both teams lost last week. The Chargers lost 19-16 to the Oakland Raiders and now have a record of 5-9. The Browns obviously lost last week to the Bills 33-13. This could mark the last time the "San Diego Chargers" play a game in Cleveland, with the speculation of them moving to LA in the near future.

Browns Offense vs Chargers Defense

The Browns will be starting Robert Griffin III but is apparently on a short leash. The past two weeks the offense struggled passing the ball and keeping drives going. And some of the blame goes on Griffin. He's missed easy check down throws multiple times and has forced unnecessary shots down field. For this week, Griffin needs to correct these problems and not force anything crazy or else Cody Kessler will take some snaps this week.

The most important thing for the Browns to do though is to keep Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa out of the backfield. Ingram has seven sacks on the year and Bosa has 7.5 despite only playing in 10 games this year. The Browns have given up the most sacks this year (53) so whether its RGIII being able to shift the pocket and use his legs to stay upright and extend plays.

The running game seems to be a lost cause. And Hue Jackson said that once the Browns aren't down by a huge margin is when he will give Crowell 15+ carries. So with two weeks left in the season and 0-16 staring them in the face its highly unlikely the running game will be a major part of the game pan. The only way the running game will used is in the read option with RGIII at quarterback, which has worked at points these past two weeks.

Browns Defense vs Chargers Offense

Its unclear if Melvin Gordon will play this week. If he does, the Browns need to keep him contained. He is only 3 yards away from 1000 for the season, has 12 total touchdowns (10 rushing) and has 41 catches. He is a threat in all facets of the game. If he doesn't play Kenneth Farrow will start.

The passing game is lead by Philip Rivers, who is still one of the best quarterbacks in the league. He's prone to force throws at times so the Browns secondary needs to stay alert to potentially pick off a pass. Rivers has thrown 29 touchdowns and 18 interceptions this season and is 205 yards away from 4000 yards this season.

Rivers has many weapons on offense. He has three solid receivers, Tyrell Williams, Dontrelle Inman, and former Brown Travis Benjamin. Those three are his top receivers, totaling 154 catches, 2,242 yards and 14 touchdowns. The Browns corners are going to have a tough day stopping the passing game. And that doesn't count the two tight ends the Chargers throw out there. Rookie Hunter Henry has 32 catches and seven touchdowns this year, and 36 year old Antonio Gates is still out there catching 40 balls this season and five touchdowns.

Five Guys to Watch

Robert Griffin III: His days as an NFL starter seem to be coming towards an end. He might be playing for a job next year at this point so he is going to have to win this game to keep the Browns from going 0-16 and quite possibly his NFL dreams alive.

Terrelle Pryor: Pryor is another guy playing still playing for next year. He's been quiet the past two weeks and is now playing hurt with a torn ligament in his finger. This could be one of those game where he comes out and proves the haters wrong once again.

Jamie Collins Sr: Its unclear what the Browns are going to do with Collins this off-season but he has been a bright spot on this team since joining back in October. Collins vs the Chargers' tight ends should be a fun match-up to watch.

Jamar Taylor: Taylor needs to contain whoever he is matched up with this week. Rivers should be targeting he a lot this weeks.

Emmanual Ogbah: Ogbah has played well since being moved to defensive line. He's grown as a reliable pass rusher the past few weeks and he should get many chances to get to Rivers.

Weather Report:

Injury Report: 
Betting Line: Chargers -6

Predictions: 24-20 Browns

I said the Browns were going to win a game this year and its setting up to be this game. The Chargers have to travel across the county to play the 0-16 Browns on Xmas Eve...yeah ITS HAPPENING...or maybe ITS NOT HAPPENING (as in the 0-16 parade). But seriously this is setting up to be final straw in the Mike McCoy era in San Diego or where ever they are going to play in 2017.

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