May 30, 2024

The Chicago Bears (5-8, 4th NFC North) take to the road on Sunday to face the Cleveland Browns (8-5, 2nd AFC North), at Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. Chicago defeated the Detroit Lions 28-13 last Sunday for their second straight victory and third win in the last four but are 13th out of 16 in the race for a playoff berth in the NFC with only the top seven qualifying.

Cleveland defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 31-27 last Sunday snapping a two-game losing streak and the Browns are currently 5th in the AFC race for a playoff berth. If the season ended today Cleveland would qualify as an AFC wildcard. Chicago will play without DE Yannick Ngakoue, while four others are questionable.

Cleveland’s list of injuries list too long to list here but a few of the notables that out include RB Nick Chubb, S Grant Delpit, DE Ogbo Okoronkwo, DT Maurice Hurst II, WR Michael Woods II, QB Deshawn Watson, OT Jack Conklin and others that are out or questionable.

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Chicago continues to struggle scoring and is giving up too much
The Chicago Bears are averaging 20.8 points and 324.2 yards of total offense per game which are 20th and 21st respectively. Chicago has the fourth-best ground game in the NFL, averaging 138 yards per game rushing while the Bears are 26th in passing at 186.2 yards per game. Quarterback Justin Fields has 1,810 yards passing with 13 touchdowns and six interceptions. Fields is the top rusher for Chicago with 458 yards and a pair of touchdowns while D’Onta Foreman has 431 yards rushing with four touchdowns. DJ Moore has caught 76 passes for 1,071 yards and seven touchdowns, to lead all receivers for Chicago

Chicago’s defense is allowing an average of 23.8 points and 314.5 yards per game which are 23rd and 12th respectively. Chicago has the second-best defense against the run, allowing an average of only 83.7 yards per game on the ground but will be without its best defensive lineman end Yannick Ngakoue, who has a broken ankle. Chicago is allowing an average of 230.8 yards passing per game which is 23rd. TJ Edwards is the leading tackler for Chicago with 131. Ngakoue was the leader in quarterback sacks with 4.0 before going down injured and the current leader is Montez Sweat with four.

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Cleveland is slightly above average on both sides of the line of scrimmage
Cleveland averages 22.2 points and 326.4 yards of total offense which are 12th and 19th respectively. Cleveland’s running attack averages 131 yards per game which is 7th best in the NFL and its aerial attack averages 195.4 yards per game which is 23rd. The Browns struggle with turnovers at 27 which is last in the NFL. Veteran, 38-year-old quarterback Joe Flacco has 565 yards passing with five touchdowns and two interceptions. Running back Jerome Ford has 698 yards rushing and three touchdowns and wide receiver Amari Cooper has 876 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
Cleveland’s defense is allowing an average of 20.9 points and 263.0 yards per game which are 14th and 1st in the NFL. Cleveland is allowing an average of 103.3 yards per game on the ground which is 11th and the Browns have the best defense against the pass, allowing 159.7 yards per game. The leading tackler, safety Grant Delpit with 80, is out injured. Linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is second in tackles with 78. Myles Garrett, who is questionable for Sunday, is the leader in quarterback sacks with 13 and cornerback Martin Emerson Jr has a team-best four interceptions.

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Although Cleveland has had several injuries to keep players on both sides of the line of scrimmage and is playing it’s fourth quarterback of the season, the Browns have been able to win eight of 13 games and much of that is thanks to a very strong defense that is first in the NFL against the pass and is 14th against the run. With four games remaining in the regular season, Cleveland has far more incentive in this matchup as they are two games behind first place in the AFC North and our 5th overall in the conference, while Chicago is 13th out of 16 in the NFC and close to being eliminated from postseason contention. Chicago lost its best pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue with a broken ankle and that will affect the Bears defense as they will not be able to pressure 38-year old Joe Flacco as well as if Ngakoue was on the field. Cleveland has covered the spread in four of its last six games and the Browns at home are 6-1 ATS over the last seven at Cleveland Stadium.

Prediction: Cleveland Browns -3

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