The Bears and Browns both look to build off of their first wins of the season. Both starting QB’s come into the game with injury question marks. The Bears have won 4 of the last 5 meetings between the two teams.
A pair of 1-1 teams square off on Sunday afternoon, fresh off victories in Week 2. The Browns and their high-flying offense enter this matchup as touchdown favorites at home, but the stout Bears defense will hope to power the Bears to an upset victory on the road.
Baker Mayfield may well be without his top 2 wideouts in Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr., but the Browns are optimistic Beckham Jr. will suit up for the first time this season. Meanwhile, Bears fans will be awaiting the status of Andy Dalton’s knee injury, with 2021 1st round pick Justin Fields waiting in the wings if the 11 year veteran cannot go on Sunday.
Bears vs Browns Matchup at a Glance
- Sport: NFL
- Teams: Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns
- Where: Cleveland, OH │FirstEnergy Stadium
- Date: Sunday, September 26th, 2021 at 1:00 PM ET
- Betting Odds: Spread: Browns -7.5, Moneyline: Bears +290 │Browns -380, Over/Under: 46.5 points at Caesars
Bears Preview: The Red Rifle or The Rookie?
Coming off of a 20-17 win in their home opener against the Cincinnati Bengals, the main question on Bears’ fans minds is who will start under center in Week 3. Andy Dalton exited Sunday’s victory with a knee injury, but an MRI showed the injury was not season ending. Still, the former TCU QB’s status is well in doubt for this coming Sunday’s game in Cleveland.
Dalton’s injury could pave the way for rookie QB Justin Fields to make his 1st career NFL start. The Ohio State product struggled in relief of Dalton against the Bengals, going just 6/13 for 60 yards and 1 INT. While Fields will certainly need to perform better this week to give the Bears a chance, it’s up to playmakers David Montgomery and Allen Robinson to help the 22 year old ease his way into life in the NFL.
The good news for Fields and Bears fans is that they will not have to rely on their QB to win a shootout in his first career start. The stout Bears defense is coming off a week where they held the Bengals to just 248 total yards and forced 4 turnovers. The star of the show was LB Roquan Smith, who returned an interception 53 yards for a touchdown while also recording one of four sacks against Joe Burrow.
Through two weeks of the NFL season, the Bears defense ranks 5th in the NFL in rush yards allowed per game. With the Browns top two pass catchers hampered by injury and the dynamic backfield that the Browns possess, the Bears success defending the run will be critical in their hopes of keeping this game close down the stretch. If the defense allows the Browns to get a big early lead, it could get ugly for the Bears, who don’t have the offensive firepower to play from behind.
Browns Preview: Can the Ground Game Keep Rolling?
Coming off of a victory in their home opener against the upstart Houston Texans, the Browns hope to make it back to back wins at FirstEnergy Stadium. As with their opponents this week, the Browns also have an injury question mark surrounding QB1. Baker Mayfield injured his non-throwing shoulder in the 31-21 win last week, but an MRI showed no structural damage, meaning the 2017 Heisman Trophy award winner is in line to start against the Bears.
Mayfield may be without his top two targets in Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr., but Beckham Jr. seems to be in line to make his season debut. No matter who lines up at WR for the Browns, they will still trot out arguably the best RB tandem in the NFL. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt have powered the Browns to 29 and 31 point outputs in their opening two games.
The duo has combined for 262 yards rushing to go along with 4 rushing touchdowns thus far. They have led a Browns ground attack that ranks 3rd in the NFL in yards per game.
The difference this week for the Browns running game is that they will face a much tougher defensive front than they had the first two weeks of the season. The Browns offensive line vs the Bears defensive line should help to decide most of this game. If the Browns can carry over their dominance on the ground from Weeks 1 and 2, then it will allow Baker Mayfield to sit back and pick apart the Bears secondary.
The other side of the ball for the Browns is still very much a work in progress. While there is vast potential on the defensive side of the ball, led by former #1 overall picks Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney, they have yet to gel through two weeks of play. Facing a weak Bears offense may certainly help to jump start this defense’s playmaking ability, but they will have to be wary of Justin Fields’ ability to use his legs to extend plays.
If the Browns defense can force the young QB into 3rd and longs, they should be able to make some big plays and put this game to bed early.
Odds & Free Betting Analysis for This NFL Game
The Browns are 7.5 point favorites in this one at home. This Browns team could easily be 2-0 if not for a big special teams gaffe in Week 1 against the Kansas City Chiefs. Points have been easy to come by thus far by the Browns, averaging 30 points a game. Both teams are 1-1 against the spread this season.
The over has hit in both of Cleveland’s games this year. Meanwhile for the Bears, their Week 1 game against the Rams hit the over, while their game last week against the Bengals hit the under. With the O/U set at 46.5 points in this one, a lot will depend on whether or not the Bears offense can put up enough points in Fields’ likely 1st NFL start.
I like the Browns to continue their hot start offensively, with Chubb and Hunt combining for over 150 yards on the ground. Fields will struggle and turn the ball over twice against an aggressive Browns defensive front.
Bears vs Browns Pick
- KnupSports.com Free Betting Pick: The Browns have enough offensively to keep the ball rolling at home, while their defense will benefit from playing against an inexperienced rookie QB.
- Browns Win 27-17. Browns -7.5, U46.5 Points, Browns ML -380 at Caesars