If my memory serves me, the last two times the Browns and Bears met up in the regular season involved the home team rallying for two touchdowns to change the outcome of the games: the Browns blew a 14 point lead with less than two minutes to go (including a Hail Mary by the Bears) followed by a Tim Couch pick-six to lose in overtime in 2001, and the Browns’ Trent Dilfer (woah) threw two TDs to Antonio Bryant (remember, we had him?) in 38 seconds in the fourth quarter to beat the Bears in 2005. Just sayin’.
The Bears, frankly, looked AWFUL last week. So did the Browns. So, where does that leave us for today? Both teams are reeling. The Bears started off winning three of four, but have dropped the last two after their bye week by a combined 66-24. Chicago’s offense is 25th in the league in yards, whereas the Browns’ is 31st. The Bears’ defense surrendered almost 450 yards to the Bengals last weekend. In other words, this could be quite a matchup. Without further ado…
The Browns Will Win If…
Craig: …they can somehow manage to win the turnover battle like the Bengals did last week against the Bears. The Bears turned the ball over four times. Then again, it comes back to the same thing I said last week. The Browns will have to find some offensive rhythm. We all know that it isn’t likely. Carson Palmer managed to go 20-24 passing against the Bears last week with five (5!!!) touchdown passes. Then again, he was passing the ball to Ochocinco, Henry, Coles, and Caldwell. I don’t know if Derek Anderson completes that high a percentage playing catch one on one on the sidelines. I know the Browns would never actually use it as an excuse, but I have heard rumblings that maybe the flu affected the team more than they were letting on last week. I guess we will find out on Sunday if there is anything to that at all.
Scott: …If the Browns can just hold the Bears to a dozen field goals or so. If Josh Cribbs (PAY HIM!) gets 10-12 chances to return kickoffs, you have to just assume he takes a few of them to the house. Based on math, if he breaks five of the 12 for paydirt, and we somehow convert two two-point conversions, we win 37-36. Bonus points can then be added to the equation if we somehow force the Bears to punt the football. This happens when the defense does not allow the opposing offense to march the entire length of the field – which has typically been done in one or two plays as of late. With that said, I would wear these to work if given the chance…
DP: …the Bears decided to continue sucking like they did last week against Cincinnati. In short, I don’t know that there’s anything the Browns can do to win the game so much as they are dependent upon their opponents making enough mistakes to lose it on their own. For example, in the Browns’ one win this year, the Buffalo Bills committed enough penalties and offensive gaffes that the Browns were able to outlast them and steal the win. That’s exactly what they have to hope for this week. I have no faith in the offense to win the game, and the defense has regressed each of the past two weeks. But, the Bears were just bad enough themselves last week to give me a little hope that they can gift wrap this game for the Browns.
RockKing: …Oh, I dunno, the Bears play like they did last week against the Bengals? I mean, I could give you a laundry list of things the Browns need to do to win this game, but they won’t do any of them anyway, so I really feel like the Browns best chance of winning is solely for the other team to play so poorly that the Browns have no choice but to win the game.
Rick: …they create some turnovers and breaks. This team just isn’t good enough to win a game outright. It will take a key turnover in a couple spots, plus excellent special teams play. They have a shot at moving the ball if they just accept the wildcat as a serious weapon in the arsenal. Chicago isn’t the Bears of old, they can be beaten. I just don’t know if WE can beat them. Any given Sunday right?
TD: …A miracle happens. No, in all honestly, the Bears D was just shredded by the Bengals both through the air and on the ground. The formula should be simple: pound the ball with Jamal Lewis and Jerome Harrison to set up the pass. DA has to stay away from turning the ball over.
Defensively, they must bring the heat on Jay Cutler and force him into his trademark bad mistakes. The truth is, the Bears will come in angry and the Browns probably don’t stand much of a chance.
Denny: …the defense manages to pitch a shutout. At this point it’s clear enough that the offense is entirely inept. For the Browns to have a chance to win I think a shutout is almost needed at this point. Also if I run a 3:10 marathon Sunday it won’t hurt the Browns’ chances.
Now, for the other side of the coin. If only Da SuperFans were still on Saturday Night Live. The predictions would be stellar: “Bearssssss seventy-two ta tree!” But, since we couldn’t get Da SuperFans, we got quite literally the next best thing. Meet Sarah Spain. Sarah hosts the “Fantasy Players Minute” and does freelance reporting, writing and radio work for a variety of outlets, including The Big Ten Network and SportsIllustrated.com. Her Chicago-based work can be found at her own blog No Spain, No Gain. Many thanks to her for contributing this week.
The Bears Will Win If…
…The Earth remains on its axis and the sun rises Sunday morning and sets Sunday night. As long as the oceans don’t overflow, the mountains don’t crumble and the sky doesn’t fall, the Bears will be victorious.
There’s a chance, albeit slight, that the Browns could win if the fundamental principles of nature were somehow disrupted. But assuming gravity still dictates that what goes up must come down, E still = mc², and the speed of light is still approximately 300,000 kilometers per second, the Bears will win.
The last time the Browns defeated the Bears at Soldier Field was in 1969. The Browns haven’t beaten a team at or above .500 all season. Josh Cribbs will never be Devin Hester circa 2006, Joe Thomas would always rather be fishing and Derek Anderson is still the starting quarterback.
The Bears, their pathetic o-line and their sieve-like secondary, will be just fine.
What say, there, fuzzy britches?