NFL 2017 Week 16: Cleveland Browns vs Chicago Bears preview and prediction

The Browns race towards Christmas without a win. Can they find a miracle?


The Browns faced the Ravens last week and were swiftly dismissed 27-10. DeShone Kizer threw two interceptions and just 146 yards against the strong Ravens defense, and while Isaiah Crowell was able to rip off one big run there was very little to write home about for Cleveland as they gained just 4.6 yards per play and turned it over four times.

The Bears had a miserable Week 15 as they lost 20-10 in a Saturday game. Mitchell Trubisky threw three interceptions to go along with a desperate 314 yards during the comeback attempt. Jordan Howard couldn’t get rolling against a usually poor Detroit team, and while the Bears defense picked up four sacks, they also allowed Matthew Stafford to connect on 76% of his passes.

Last chance saloon

The Bears are 4-10, and the Browns take on a Pittsburgh team that will have to win next week. That means this Sunday is Cleveland’s last chance to register a win in 2017.

Last year they got their only W on Christmas eve, can lightning strike twice?

Strength vs strength

You’d be forgiven for thinking that there is nothing good about the 0-14 Browns this season, but you would also be wrong. The Browns are allowing just 3.3 yards per carry this year, the best mark in the NFL, and have the #1 rated rush defense by DVOA.

Conversely, the Bears have one of the better running games in the NFL, with Jordan Howard averaging 4.4 yards per carry as the bellcow of the team. The battle on the ground between these two units will go a long way to deciding the fate of this game.

Lame ducks?

John Fox will be gone by Black Monday, that much is clear. He has been a lame duck of a head coach basically since he was hired, and Chicago’s decision to keep him has lost them the talents of Adam Gase. Meanwhile, Hue Jackson comes into this game with a 1-29 record as Browns head coach and yet seems, somehow, to be inline to keep his job, or even get traded to Cincinnati. Both of these coaches should be leaving town after the season, though it could be under very different circumstances.

Matchup to Watch: Myles Garrett vs Charles Leno

Garrett was the prize Cleveland chose over Mitchell Trubisky. This Sunday will be his chance to show why. Charles Leno is not a good tackle, although he is far from bad. Garrett should be able to generate good pressure against Trubisky on Sunday.

Fantasy Tip: Don’t get cute

This is championship weekend, and if you are lucky enough to be playing then don’t try and get cute by figuring out which Bears receiver might take advantage of a good matchup. Start Jordan Howard, forget the rest.

Betting Tip: Bears (-6.5)

It’s less than a touchdown, and the Browns are 3-11 against the spread this year. They specialize in finding ways to not cover football games.

Prediction: Bears 23-13 Browns

Chicago can generate enough offense to score fairly regularly and enough pressure up front to force mistakes from DeShone Kizer. There is a chance that Josh Gordon makes some plays, but outside of him the Browns don’t have anything Chicago can’t handle. Say hello to 0-15 Cleveland.

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Toby Durant

Deputy Editor at RealSport. A life-long gamer, I have been with RealSport since 2016 and spent time covering the world of Formula 1, NFL, and football for the site before expanding into esports.

 

I lead the site's coverage of motorsport titles with a particular focus on Formula 1. I also lead RealSport's Madden content while occasionally dipping my toe into Football Manager and esports coverage of Gfinity Series events.

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