After getting back on the winning track last week, Cleveland looks to continue their winning ways this Sunday when the Chicago Bears visit in Week 15. As far as their playoff hopes go, Cleveland still controls their destiny but considering how the NFL is, the team can’t afford any slip-ups for the next couple of weeks.
Cleveland will play their last game on Fox this season with Kevin Kugler, Mark Sanchez and Laura Okmin on the call (another game that will be on mute).
Next Man Up (literally)
I’m getting tired of all these injuries that are happening to this team. My gut feeling is that these injuries will eventually catch up to this team but I don’t want to think about that right now. Offensive tackles Jed Wills and Dawand Jones, safety Grant Delpit, defensive tackle Maurice Hurst, and defensive end Ogbo Okoronkwo (likely but not yet) all went on Injured Reserve this week.
Delpit could be back for the playoffs, if the Browns were to make it but he will be out for the last 4 games of the season. Jones, Wills, and Hurst are all out for the season. It’s next man up.
On the defensive side of the ball, players such as rookies Siaka Ika and Isaiah McGuire will likely see playing time this season considering they have spent most of the season as healthy scratches (mainly due to the depth the team has).
Safety Ronnie Hickman will see his playing time extended with Delpit being out but Hickman has some experience playing this year.
Center Ethan Pocic suffered a stinger on Sunday and didn’t return. Safety Juan Thornhill was a late scratch with a calf injury on Sunday. Both Pocic and Thornhill are out this week but cornerback Denzel Ward is questionable so hopefully the cornerback room can be whole leading up to Sunday.
So tired of the injuries, like enough, please.
Can QB Joe Flacco keep up his play?
The one thing Cleveland has lacked this season is consistent competent quarterback play. Joe Flacco, who was on his couch spending time with his family at one point this year has been providing that. Considering his age, the fact that he is playing this well is surprising but he seems to be rejuvenated while playing in Cleveland.
His mobility might be limited but the arm strength is still there, the way the ball comes out is refreshing and his ability to recognize post-snap is something we haven’t seen consistently.
Not saying Flacco is the best QB to ever play for Cleveland, but he’s provided competent play at the position.
Chicago’s defense is an average, improving unit and they will provide somewhat of a test for Flacco but like every team, there are weaknesses to exploit. Flacco didn’t play well last week by his standards but I believe Flacco will look to play better this week.
Contain #1 and #2
To sum it up, the two dangerous players on the Chicago Bears offense are quarterback Justin Fields and wide receiver D.J. Moore. As for the quarterback, it’s another dual threat to deal with if you are the Browns defense.
Cleveland hasn’t struggled against dual-threats this year but Fields is someone who can cause damage with his arm and his legs. However, Fields has shown his ability to hold onto the ball for too long which can open up the opportunity for sacks to be had.
Cleveland’s defensive line hasn’t been able to get to the quarterback the past few weeks due to the quarterbacks that they played were able to get the ball out quickly.
Browns' sack numbers have been stunted over the last few weeks by QBs who can get the ball out effectively and on time. That should change this week:— Cory (@fakecorykinnan) December 13, 2023
Stafford: 8th fastest time to throw (2.62s)
Lawrence: 4th fastest time to throw (2.53s)
Fields: Dead last time to throw (3.3s)
As for Moore, it’s pretty obvious what he means for the Bears passing attack considering that he is the only one that can cause issues. Chicago doesn’t have a WR2 capable of taking over a game but they have tight end Cole Kmet who can be an issue. If cornerback Denzel Ward is back in the lineup, the Browns have the type of players that can make things difficult for the passing game.
What do you think is the most important key for the Browns against the Bears this week? Join the DBN community in the comment section below to share your thoughts