The Cleveland Browns play host to the 7-6 Chicago Bears today at 1pm. The Bears enter the contest winners over the Dallas Cowboys in a wild, frigid shootout in Chicago on Monday night. The Bears are now tied for first place in the NFC North with the Detroit Lions.
Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, makes his first start back from a four-game layoff, hoping to lead his Bears down the home stretch and snagging the NFC North title in the process. Not going unnoticed in the fray, is backup Josh McCown’s outstanding play the past four weeks, even winning Offensive Player of the Week for his play against the Cowboys Monday night.
For the Cleveland Browns, it’s another season of what ifs and turmoil, which ultimately leads to a spot in the AFC North cellar. Will they turn their season around starting today and rattle off three in a row to end the season at 7-9, or fizzle the rest of the way? There are many sides of the fence being played in this situation. Do they lose out and secure a top three pick and get their franchise quarterback, or do they try to win out and have something positive to build on for next year?
To learn a little more about what to expect from the Bears this week, we contacted Mike Praser, writer from the Bears fan site Bear Goggles On. Here is what Mike had to say about this year’s Bears team. I hope you all enjoy his insight as much as I did.
MR: After the great quarterback play from Josh McCown the past few weeks(13td 1int), what is the feeling in Chicago amongst the fans going back to Jay Cutler to run the offense, in spite of McCown’s fantastic run?
MP: This Chicago Bears fan is happy to have Jay Cutler back to run the offense. A lot of other Chicago Bears fans are not so happy. Most people, including our editor Boomer, believe that the Bears should ride the hot hand into the playoffs. I personally believe you go with the more talented quarterback. Josh McCown did a great job, but Jay Cutler, I believe, can do a better job. I just see Jay Cutler making better throws in the end zone than Josh McCown and personally think that the Bears have a better chance of winning with Jay Cutler behind center.
MR: With all the injury issues Matt Forte has faced the past couple of years, he has quietly gone under the radar this year putting together a really solid season. As of now, he has rushed for over a 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns for a 4.6 yards per carry average. How much has his play helped the Bears challenge for the divisions this year and more importantly, did his presence help McCown to be successful while Cutler was out?
MP: There is nothing quiet about Matt Forte’s abilities for Chicago Bears fans. He is one of the most versatile running backs in the NFL today. There are not many running backs that can catch a ball over their shoulder while in stride like Matt Forte can. He is a perfect weapon in Marc Trestman’s offense. Matt Forte’s presence helps the whole offense, especially the quarterback behind center. This offence is a nightmare for most defensive coordinators. You can double cover both Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, but then you have Matt Forte coming out of the backfield, or even lined up as a receiver covered by a linebacker. Matt Forte will win that one on one in most situations.
MR: In your opinion, what are the strengths and weaknesses of this Chicago
MP: The strength of this Chicago Bears team is the offense. The offensive line gives the quarterback time to throw the ball and then there are four very good weapons to throw to. Wide Receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, Tight End Martellus Bennett and Running Back Matt Forte. This is an offense that can score a lot of points. The weakness of this Chicago Bears team is the run defense. They are just awful. They make guys who were bagging groceries last week look like Barry Sanders. If I was the offensive coordinator of the Browns, I would run the ball on every down. But, Norv Turner likes to throw the ball too.
MR: Who would you say has been the most productive rookie for the Bears thus
far this year?
MP: I would choose two rookies. Right Tackle Jordan Mills and Right Guard Kyle Long. These guys came to a team who has had a horrible offensive line for years and so far have played outstanding. The statistics don’t always say so, but when you use the eye test, these guys keep getting better every week.
MR: Finally, what are your expectation for the Bears when they step on the field against the Browns on Sunday? Any final thoughts you’d like to leave us with? Prediction?
MP: I think the Browns are finally becoming a good team. My only concern is your General Manager Michael Lombardi. I really don’t know if he is the answer for talent evaluation. He does look like a genius for trading Trent Richardson. The only thing the Browns need to do is to stay healthy and I think they will finally have a chance in the AFC North.
My expectation is for the Browns is to run for 150 yards, throw a few touchdowns to Josh Gordon and to do a good job at stopping the Bears rushing attack. But, I also expect the Browns to be overmatched with Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery and I think the Bears can run away with this game early if they don’t turn the football over. My prediction is a Bears victory.
Bears 36 – Browns 21
I would love to thank Mike for taking the time to answer all of my questions. Please make sure to check back every week for the rest of the season. We will attempt to check in with an editor or staff writer from the Browns opposing team each week until the season is over and get their insight on that week’s matchup.
-MR(@puckelves) instagram: Elves73