Matchup No. 1: Myles Garrett vs Braxton Jones
The Browns defense goes as Myles Garrett goes. Full Stop. While Cleveland’s defense has plenty of talent, Garrett is the engine that drives their ability to be truly dominant. When Myles is unable to generate pressure and be his normal game-wrecking self the Browns struggle to get off the field consistently.
After suffering a shoulder injury against the Denver Broncos, Garrett struggled the following week against the Los Angeles Rams, as did the Browns defense. However, last week against Jacksonville Garrett looked like his normal self, bullying offensive tackles and running through would-be chip blockers. While Garrett did not record any sacks against the Jaguars, we won’t get into why stats do not count on two-point conversions, the All-Pro edge rusher was once again his normal disruptive self.
This Sunday, Garrett gets to harass Bears quarterback Justin Fields. The last time these two teams met in week three of 2021, Garrett sacked Fields 4.5 times and set a single-game franchise record. While a repeat of that super-human performance is unlikely, it would not be unrealistic to believe that Garrett could get home on Fields multiple times this week.
Standing in Garrett’s way is Chicago left tackle Braxton Jones. The Bears fifth-round pick in the 2022 draft has turned into a solid starter for Chicago. ESPN has Jones as the third best offensive tackle in terms of pass win block rate, winning an impressive 95% of his pass third-best reps.
If Jones wins 75% of his pass-blocking attempts against Garrett, the Bears will have to consider that a win. The problem is, even if Jones wins three-fourths of his reps against Garrett, because of his explosivity and agility, Garrett could still turn in a multiple-sack performance. Then there is the bad news for Justin Fields and the Bears, Myles Garrett is due.