Friday, December 22, 2017

Browns Preview 12/22/17: Cleveland Browns @ Chicago Bears

By Katelin Marshall, @KatelinKnowsCLE

The 0-14 Cleveland Browns travel to Chicago to take on the 4-10 Bears on Christmas Eve. This game is likely the Browns final opportunity to pull out a win for the 2017 season. Luck for them Hue Jackson is 2-0 on Christmas Eve and the Bears are 0-7 when they are the favorite.

Browns Offense vs Bears Defense

The key for the Browns this week is for DeShone Kizer to take care of the really is that simple. Kizer needs to step up and play a turnover free game. The Browns are going to move on from Kizer in the off-season. Unfortunately he hasn't progressed this season but Sunday is another game for him to prove he can at the very least be a backup quarterback.

The Browns running game needs to keep them in the game. Since Kizer is unreliable, Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson need to have 125 yards on the ground between them. They also need to be factors in the passing game. But it's also on Kizer and Hue Jackson to get them in space and put the offense in the best position to win.

The passing game is obviously on the shoulders of Kizer. Hue Jackson could have a short leash with Kizer and bring in Kevin Hogan at any moment during the game. That being said who ever is under center Josh Gordon is going to be the number one target. He's done well in three weeks considering who's throwing him the ball. If Gordon can have a game with over 100 yards and a touchdown or two the Browns can without a doubt win this game.

Browns Defense vs Bears Offense

The pride of Mentor, Ohio is under center for the Bears, Mitch Trubisky. The key for the Bears offensively is to run the ball and protect Trubisky. If the Bears can get Jordan Howard going this week against the Browns run defense, which is one of the better run defenses in the league, they will blow out the Browns. Howard is one of the top young running backs in the game and the Bears run him into the ground. He has 267 total carries and over 1100 total yards of offense.

The passing game for the Bears is lead by Kendall Wright and running back Tarik Cohen, who is basically like Duke Johnson out of the backfield. The passing game for the Bears shouldn't be that huge of a factor, unless the Browns get a lead and end up forcing the Bears into passing situations.

Five Guys to Watch

1. Hue Jackson: It's going to be really hard for Jimmy Haslam to bring back Hue for 2018 if he ends up going 0-16. This game is honestly the last realistic game the Browns could win and because of that Jackson could be coaching for his job. Now, whether or not his heart is in it or in Cincinnati is a whole other question.

2. DeShone Kizer: Kizer needs to take care of the football. A Browns win is completely up to him, even if that means he gets benched for Hogan.

3. Josh Gordon: He's the number one weapon of offense for the Browns and the only elite player the Bears should gameplan for. He's exciting to watch and honestly at this point one of the only bright spots of the team.

4. Carl Nassib: Nassib has played the majority of the first team snaps with Ogbah being out. He also plays on the strong side of the run game. Nassib needs to improve a bit in order to keep the Bears running game in check.

5. Jabrill Peppers: Peppers could be playing near the line of scrimmage more with Derrick Kindred being out the last two games. It could be interesting to see Peppers near the more, at a more natural position for him.

Injury Report

Weather Report

Betting Line: (As of 12/22/17) Bears -6.5

Bears 17 Browns 10

The Browns lose a close one and are one step closer to 0-16. It's hard to believe the Browns would go winless in 2017 but unfortunately it is becoming a reality. This game could also be the nail in the coffin for Hue Jackson...1-30 in two season and potentially 1-31...It's all bad bros, it's all bad.

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