Browns vs. Chargers: DPD staff predictions

Dec 18, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) complains about a late hit by the Buffalo Bills defense as tight end Randall Telfer (86) looks on during the second half at New Era Field. Bills beat the Browns 33-13. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 18, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) complains about a late hit by the Buffalo Bills defense as tight end Randall Telfer (86) looks on during the second half at New Era Field. Bills beat the Browns 33-13. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cleveland Browns are once again looking for that first win of the season in today’s home finale against the San Diego Chargers.

The Cleveland Browns have one final chance to pick up a win in front of a home crowd today against the San Diego Chargers. And while they are underdogs once again, some of our writers believe the hometown heroes can pull off the Christmas miracle.

Jonathan Goehring (2016 record: 10-4): Browns 27, Chargers 26

It’s a Christmas miracle! The Browns will win this one because they have more to play for. Also, with San Diego coming to the east coast on a short week, Philip Rivers and company will be in a much less comfortable situation. On paper, the Chargers look much better. But in a game like this, the Browns will at least be in it late. A miraculous ending would be well deserved for the fans who come out, and it is more likely than fans realize. This is the week, Browns fans.

Tom Moore (2016 record: 14-0): Chargers 31, Browns 10

Today is Christmas Eve and as Hans Gruber (played by the late, great Alan Rickman) once told us, “Christmas is a time for miracles.” Unfortunately, Gruber was later dropped from the top of the Nakatomi Building, which is a fitting metaphor for the current Browns season.

The Chargers have an actual NFL offense, including talented tight ends, which is something the Browns defense struggles with. On the other side of the ball, the Browns offense continues to be a mess, especially with a washed-up Robert Griffin III leading the team.

Alas, there will be no Christmas miracles to be found today for the Browns as they close out an 0-8 home record for the 2016 season.

Roger Cohen (2016 record: 12-2): Chargers 20, Browns 13

I’m jumping through every mental hoop to come up with some scenario where the Browns win Saturday — but I’m tapped out. Not even some Xmas “Miracle on West 3rd Street” movie alternate universe.

Philip Rivers connects with his tight ends for two TDs, ex-Brownie Travis Benjamin torches Joe Haden for a couple long gainers. Hue Jackson finally pulls the plug on RG3 after a strip sack and watching multiple passes thrown directly into the FirstEnergy Stadium turf. Cody Kessler‘s last minute comeback attempt fails on back-to-back sacks. Oh, and Parkey’s consecutive FG streak ends as Chargers prevail 20-13.

My Xmas wish: not as much a Browns win as health, happiness and coming together for all DPD readers, their families and our common universe.

Joel Cade (2016 record: 12-2): Chargers 31, Browns 10

The Browns host the San Diego Chargers on Christmas Eve. Browns fans are hoping for a Christmas Miracle. One of two scenarios could play out on Saturday.

First, a Chargers team who has packed it in for the season will travel from the sunny west coast to play the Browns on a cold and windy Cleveland December day. This team will pack it in as soon as the Browns punch them in the mouth.

The second scenario is the Chargers come in ready to play. Their offense lead by Philip Rivers and dynamic tight end Antonio Gates run over the Browns defense. Joey Bosa has a great game and Travis Benjamin uses his speed on crossers to severely damage the Browns defense. In this scenario Browns fans will have to endure a week of why the Browns front office passed on Bosa and could they have let Benjamin go.

Obviously, I believe scenario number two will occur.

Steven Kubitza (2016 record: 9-5): Chargers 24, Browns 13

It is easy to get caught up in the optimism that the Browns must be able to win one game this season. Reasons will be made for why the opposing team will be unprepared, but this is the NFL. The Chargers are going to come to Cleveland with nothing to play for, but that doesn’t mean they are going to lose.

The Browns are the worst team in the NFL and no amount of wishing can change that. They will once again prove this in a snoozer of a home finale in front of some brave fans.

Matt Stevenson (2016 Record: 12-1): Browns 26, Chargers 20

Only two opportunities remain for the Cleveland Browns to win in the 2016 season. This week, the San Diego Chargers come to Cleveland. Philip Rivers is one of the better quarterbacks of this previous decade, however with limited weapons, he has struggled recently. No Keenan AllenDanny Woodhead or Melvin Gordon as they’ve all suffered season-ending injuries.

The Browns have attempted to establish their running game the last two weeks, and have found some success. Duke Johnson is running the ball well and should help RG3 get more comfortable in the pocket. Corey Coleman and Griffin are clearly trying to get on the same page before season’s end and it is starting to click for the first-round rookie.

Despite the Browns’ struggles throughout the season, and telling myself I won’t pick them again in 2016, I think they steal the game from the Chargers. San Diego can’t practice in the weather Cleveland offers and the Browns are used to it. Griffin needs to throw better and notch a few chunk plays and if he and the defense can play a decent game – the Browns avoid a winless season.

Next: Keys to victory against the Chargers

Eric Szczepinski (2016 record: 9-4): Chargers 23, Browns 17

The Browns come close to having a Christmas miracle and winning their first game of the season at FirstEnergy Stadium. However, the Browns defense will have no answer for the veteran quarterback Philip Rivers. Despite San Diego missing key players on offense Rivers will still lead the Chargers aerial attack to a solid day against the Browns weak secondary.

The Browns offense led by Robert Griffin III will look better than it did the previous two weeks but wont be enough to upset a better and more experienced team led by a proven quarterback.