It was just two years ago that Justin Fields made his first career start against the Cleveland Browns in Cleveland.
It was an ugly game for the Chicago Bears and I’m not going to rehash the details, we all remember the sacks and the fact that was the beginning of the end for Matt Nagy.
Now just a couple of years later, it’s a chance for the team to really make a statement.
Winners of two in a row to sneak back into the “in the hunt” graphics, a third straight win would go a long way towards keeping those (admittedly minuscule) playoff chances alive.
The Browns are a winning team with a very good defense. A win against them would make fans really feel like this team and coaching staff is turning a corner.
Here’s what our staff thinks it’s going to take.
Sam: After winning two in a row, the vibes are good, but this is a real test against a really good defense. We’ve seen Justin Fields play better but still make big mistakes against good defenses (his fumble against Minnesota was minimized because the offense got the ball back and won). Let’s see him keep his mistake-free ball going. Plus, we’re going to see what Darnell Wright is made of as he faces off against Myles Garrett.
The defense just has to keep playing like it has. Joe Flacco is old and throws a lot of interceptable passes and can’t move in the pocket very well. Plus, they’re missing both starting tackles and backups, too.
This game is going to be more about the plays the offense can make and which team avoids the most mistakes.
Josh: The offense needs to stay aggressive for all four quarters. Downfield passes are a thing. The defense needs to keep doing what it’s doing and actually put pressure on the quarterback.
Lester: Defensively, the Bears need to keep doing what they’re doing. Coach Flus has been calling a very good game, and while his front four has been getting some pressure, he’s been dialing up timely blitzes. On offense, I still want to see more of the Chicago running game. Use all three backs, and sprinkle in some QB runs, to keep attacking the Cleveland front. The Browns have a very good defense, but they’re better against the pass, so locate Myles Garrett on every play and be willing to chip help. The Bears need to max protect a lot but have the backs and tight ends check release for Fields to have a quick 1-2 read, then check down.
ECD: This is, by far, the toughest matchup for the Bears during their final stretch for the season. Their offense is loaded with playmakers, and their defense is led by an MVP candidate in Myles Garrett. That being said, their offense will be down to their third stringers at OT due to a terrible slew of injuries, which sets up Montez Sweat for a huge game. Can Justin Fields overcome the horror movie his last appearance in Cleveland turned out to be? If the Bears' offense can methodically drive the ball down the field and score TDs, not FGs, then I think the Bears’ defense will be able to keep the Ghost of Joe Flacco’s Past in check.
Taylor: Fun football is back as the Bears have now won three of their last four (should be four straight) and it’s looking like the defense could be really fun to watch for the foreseeable future. The Browns, as a whole, outside of their quarterback, are one of the best rosters on paper; they have also been playing like it recently. The one thing I will say about Cleveland’s wins is that they do rely heavily on the other team making mistakes. Four turnovers from the Jags last week and multiple penalties for opposing offenses. The Bears have to play like they did last week and limit mistakes, secure the ball, avoid those costly penalties and this is a winnable game. Browns are down multiple O linemen, take advantage of that and get Montez Sweating out there!
Jack R Salo: Offense: Despite injuries, this Browns defense is still pretty formidable. The Bears need to KISS. Keep It Simple, Stupid. This game could likely come down to whether the Bears can establish the run. If they can get chunks on the ground, then that will help the protection. Fields is made for throwing it, baby, Moore is made to catch. But if the runs aren’t there, then Fields will feel that heat, taking him higher, burn my ass, the pockets on fire.
Defense: If the Bears can take away the middle of the field, then in just a few more hours, Flacco will be right home to his wife and kids with one more loss. Jaylon, if you’re feeling good, Jaylon if you’re feeling nice, you know Amari’s working hard, he’s worth a deuce. Lastly, good gap integrity will keep Jerome Ford between the tackles, and the Bears can rock ‘n’ roll all nite, and party every day.
What are your keys to a Bears victory Sunday against the Browns?