The Browns faced their AFC North rivals Cincinnati Bengals and were soundly beaten once again, 30-16. Isaiah Crowell managed 95 yards on the ground and DeShone Kizer threw for 268 yards, but only one trip to the endzone typified Cleveland’s struggles on offense. Defensively they struggled to slow Joe Mixon on the ground but Myles Garrett picked up a sack and three QB hits in a good performance.
The Chargers took control early in their Thanksgiving game against the Cowboys and won comfortably 28-6. Despite early issues with kicker Nick Novak, the Chargers were able to march up and down the field on the arm of Phil Rivers, who threw for a total of 434 yards and three touchdowns. Keenan Allen was uncoverable and the defense bottled up Dallas’ offense all game.
Can lightning strike twice?
Last season the Cleveland Browns were 0-14 when the Chargers came to town. The Browns won that game 20-17 with a last-gasp field goal and then a miss by the Chargers. This year they are only 0-11 and are on the road, but those memories will linger in the minds of those who played that game. The threat of another miracle will be in the mind of Phil Rivers.
After a 0-4 start to the season, the Chargers have gone 5-2 and are chasing not only an unlikely wildcard spot but also the AFC West title. They are one game back from both the #6 seed Baltimore Ravens and the division-leading Kansas City Chiefs. LA need to win this game, not just because a loss to Cleveland is as embarrassing as they come, but because they make the playoffs if they win-out regardless of what their rivals then do.
The erstwhile receiver is back and will start on Sunday for the Browns. The question is just what condition is he in? Last time we saw Josh Gordon he was a downfield threat like few others. If he can be the same then Cleveland’s offense has just got a lot better, but if not it will be as you were for the Browns. Which isn’t good.
Matchup to Watch: Myles Garrett vs everyone
One of the few reasons to watch Cleveland these days is the play of #1 overall pick Myles Garrett. He has picked up five sacks, six tackles for loss, and 13 QB hits so far this season and is causing problems wherever he lines up. Usually a right defensive end, Garrett has been working inside as well, creating havoc and killing guards. He is a special player, the hope is there is a team around him one day.
Fantasy Tip: Chargers RB Austin Ekeler
The Browns run defense is good, but they struggle against backs in the passing game. Ekeler has become a key part of the Chargers offense and should see a lot of touches this Sunday.
Betting Tip: Chargers (-13.5)
It’s a big line, but the Chargers are on form and the Browns very much aren’t. There is often a let down in LA, but this will be the first time they aren’t surrounded by opposing fans in the StubHub Center.
Prediction: Chargers 31-13 Browns
A simple win that keeps the pressure up on the teams in front of them. The Chargers offense is rolling and their defense should be able to contain and control Cleveland’s offense. Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa have been killing poor tackles, and the Browns have two of them right now. It could get ugly quickly.
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