The Chicago Bears (4-10) take on the Cleveland Browns (0-14) this Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. Sunday’s matchup will be the 16th meeting between the two teams with the Browns holding the all-time series advantage (9-6). Sunday’s matchup between the Bears and Browns will boast two teams playing for pride alone with just two weeks left in the season. The Browns sit winless on the season at (0-14) and are trying to avoid becoming the fifth team in NFL history to go winless for an entire season. The 2008 Detroit Lions are the last team to finish out an NFL season without a win. The Bears arrive back at Soldier Field after a subpar performance in Detroit last Saturday night against Matthew Stafford’s surging Lions.
Offense– This week’s matchup is between two of the lowest rated units in the NFL. The Bears struggle to score the ball on offense and rank 28th in the NFL at just 16.7 points per game. Cleveland’s defense ranks 30th in the NFL in points given up per game at 25.9. I believe the numbers will most likely even out with both units ending up in the lower 20s. The weather will be around 26 degrees at game time and the Bears will be best suited to run the ball and get Jordan Howard back on track. Trubisky continues to gain confidence as he gets more game experience but the weather doesn’t lend itself to high passing numbers, so the Bears will not be airing it out tomorrow afternoon. EDGE: EVEN
Defense– Statistically, the Bears defense only gives up 21 points per game, ranking 12th overall in the NFL. The Browns are the worst scoring offense in the NFL as they average only 14.8 points per game. There is no question the Bears defense has played better than expected at times this season but they also give up plenty of yards and continue to struggle getting off of the field on third down. Josh Gordon and Corey Coleman are scary wide receivers and can change the game with just one catch. Browns rookie QB DeShone Kizer is the wild card. If the Bears can rattle the rookie, the defense will have success on Sunday. EDGE: EVEN
Special Teams– The Cleveland Browns special teams have been inconsistent at best, especially on punt return coverage. There’s a high likelihood the Browns are punting often on Sunday, which will give Bears punt returner Tarik Cohen plenty of opportunities to break off a big return. EDGE: BEARS
Offense– Mitchell Trubisky– The Chicago Bears have put more on Mitchell’s plate in recent weeks and Sunday is his opportunity to put it all together against the team from his home state of Ohio. As the second overall pick in the draft, Trubisky will want to show the Browns they made a mistake for passing on him for Myles Garrett with the #1 pick. Mitchell is also hoping to outshine fellow rookie QB and second round pick DeShone Kizer in this matchup.
Defense— Kyle Fuller– Fuller has had a breakout 2017 season and has gone from an afterthought to a legitimate candidate to earn a big contract from the Bears or another team next season. He has two more games to show his worth and another solid outing could merit the Bears making a play to resign him in the offseason.
Special Teams– Tarik Cohen– I see the Browns punting often like they have all season this Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field. Tarik Cohen was named a Pro Bowl alternate at returner and he will need to break a few long returns to give the Bears a short field and help provide more opportunities for easy scores for the Bears to win this game.
1) Defense needs to step up. The Bears defense is facing a rookie QB with little confidence and no wins under his belt. Make life tough for Kizer and the Bears defense could help put this one away early.
2) Do your job. At 4-10, it feels like very few players should feel comfortable with their standing on the team. All players need to focus in on their job to help secure the win against an 0-14 team while playing at home.
3) Make a special teams play. Cohen needs to make something happen in the return game to make life easy for the Bears offense.
If I’m being honest, this game absolutely terrifies me as a Chicago Bears fan. I had the opportunity to watch the Browns take on the Ravens last week in person in Cleveland. The Browns were a few awful quarterback decisions away from beating a legitimate playoff contending team in the Ravens. The Browns defense gets put in bad positions a majority of the time because of the offense making key mistakes. There is no question in my mind that the Bears are going to have their hands full on Sunday afternoon, especially with Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon. Ultimately, I believe DeShone Kizer makes another killer mistake that keeps them winless on the season and helps preserve a Bears victory. If the Browns do end up pulling off the upset, nobody should feel safe on Monday morning as they walk into Halas Hall.
BEARS 24 BROWNS 23
(All stats for this post were provided by espn.com)