Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#483 Chicago Bears vs.
#484 Cleveland Browns
Sunday, September 26, 2021 at 1:00pm EDT
FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland
Written by Chris Kubala

There's an interconference clash on the gridiron on the shores of Lake Erie in a Week 3 NFL matchup. The Chicago Bears are on the road as they make the trip east to face the Cleveland Browns Sunday afternoon. Chicago comes in off a 20-17 home victory over Cincinnati last Sunday in their previous contest. Cleveland picked up a 31-21 home victory over Houston last Sunday in their most recent game. In the all-time series between the teams, the Browns own a 9-7 advantage but the Bears have taken the last three meetings. That includes a 20-3 home triumph in the most recent matchup on December 24, 2017.

Chicago Bears Get Earlier Than Expected Look at Fields

Chicago managed to pick up a home victory over Cincinnati in a game where Andy Dalton got a chance to face the team that drafted him. He didn’t manage to finish the game, getting knocked out with a knee injury in the first half and turning things over to rookie first-round pick Justin Fields. Chicago led 7-0 after the opening quarter and 7-3 at the half. The lead remained 7-3 after three quarters before the Bears scored 13 points in the opening eight-plus minutes of the fourth quarter to take a 20-3 lead. Chicago gave up a pair of touchdowns late but managed to run out the final 3:39 after the Bengals made it a three-point game. The Bears were outgained 248-206 in total offense, though they held a 16-14 edge in first downs, controlled the clock by a 31:51 to 28:09 margin and forced four turnovers while committing only one. Roquan Smith had a pick-six early in the fourth quarter to help the Bears come up with the victory.

On the season, the Bears are 31st in the league in passing offense with 135.5 yards per game while they are 8th in rushing by averaging 125.5 yards per contest. Chicago is 28th in the league in scoring offense with an average of 17 points per game while they are 19th in scoring defense by allowing 25.5 points per contest. Andy Dalton is 36 of 49 passing for 262 yards with one touchdown and one interception on the year. He’s second on the team with 38 yards on the ground. Justin Fields is eight of 15 for 70 yards with an interception while adding 34 yards and a score on the ground. Dalton is out with a knee injury sustained against the Bengals last week, so Fields will make his first NFL start here. In the run game, David Montgomery is the feature back with 36 carries for 169 yards plus a score. Damien Williams (eight carries, 18 yards) is the secondary back on the ground. Darnell Mooney leads the team with 11 catches for 92 yards. Allen Robinson II (eight catches, 59 yards, TD), tight end Cole Kmet (six grabs, 42 yards) and Marquise Goodwin (five catches, 55 yards) are solid secondary options. Cairo Santos has hit all four extra point attempts and two of two field goal tries with a long of 28 this season.

Cleveland Browns Seek Second Straight Win

Cleveland managed to even their record on the season as they took down Houston at home last week. The Browns now seek a second straight victory at home as they prepare for this contest. Against Houston, Cleveland led 7-0 in the first quarter only to trail 14-7 late in the first half. The Browns tied the game on a Baker Mayfield touchdown run with 1:14 to play in the half, starting a run of 17 unanswered points to go up 24-14 after three quarters. The Browns didn’t let the Texans closer than three the rest of the way en route to the victory. Cleveland held a 355-302 edge in total offense, picked up 22 first downs while allowing 17 and owned a commanding 35:55 to 24:05 edge in time of possession. Both teams turned the ball over twice.

On the year, the Browns are 13th in the league in passing offense as they average 251.5 yards per contest while they are a stellar third on the ground with 154.5 yards per contest. The Browns lead the league with seven rushing scores in the first two weeks. To date, Cleveland is sixth in the league in scoring offense with 30 points per contest while they are 21st in scoring defense by allowing 27 points per game. Baker Mayfield is 40 of 49 passing for 534 yards with one touchdown against two interceptions while adding 17 yards plus a score on the ground. Nick Chubb leads the ground game with 26 carries for 178 yards and three scores. Kareem Hunt is the second back with 19 carries for 84 yards and a touchdown on the year. Tight end Austin Hooper leads the team with eight catches for 67 yards. Jarvis Landry (six receptions, 80 yards), tight ends Harrison Bryant (five grabs, 66 yards) and David Njoku (five catches, 94 yards) are all valuable targets. Landry is week-to-week with a knee sprain and was placed on IR this week. Odell Beckham Jr. hopes to make his season debut in this contest. Chase McLaughlin has hit all seven extra point attempts and hit his lone field goal attempt, which came from 30 yards, this season.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

Insiders Status:

Rating:

This one is going to be a challenge for the Bears as they have struggled to do much of anything through the air in the first two weeks of the season. With Fields making his first career start here, it could prove to be problematic for the Bears to move the ball as the Browns are 9th in the league in rush defense by allowing 77.5 yards per game and tied for third by allowing only three yards per carry. On the flip side, the Browns have been very good with the run but the Bears have been stout against the run as well. Chicago is fifth in the league by allowing 3.3 yards per carry and by allowing 71.5 yards per contest. The return of OBJ could be a boost for the Browns offensively and that should help the passing game. Until we see Fields have some success with the passing game at this level, you have to temper expectations a bit. Look for the Browns to come up with the victory at home here.

Prediction: Cleveland Browns -7

Full-Game Total Pick

Insiders Status:

Rating:

Chicago has seen totals of 48 and 37 points in their two games this season. The Bears went over the mark (46 points) in the loss to the Rams to open the year while they fell under the total (44.5) against the Bengals. Chicago has seen the over go 4-0 in their last four after a straight up win and 4-1 in their last five games on the road. Cleveland saw totals of 62 and 52 points in their first two games this season. The Browns blew past the total against both Kansas City (55 points) and Houston (49) in their games. Cleveland has seen the over go 4-0 in their last four games in September, 7-1 in their last eight games on grass and 6-1 in their last seven games after running for at least 150 yards in their previous contest. It could be a bit of a struggle but this one winds up edging over the total thanks to some late action.

Prediction: Over 45.5
Loading...

Written By Chris Kubala , "Chris Kubala"

Chris Kubala has been immersed in the world of professional and collegiate sports for more than three decades. Whether it's playing pickup games or being involved in organized sports to being a fan, he's checked all the boxes. From the NFL to arena football, the NHL to the KHL, the NBA to the WNBA to college hoops, and even MLB to the KBO.  If it's out there, he's covered it and bet on it as well. as Chris has been an expert bettor in his career.  Before joining Winners and Whiners back in 2015, his work appeared around the internet and in print. He's written books for Ruckus Books about college basketball, the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, golf, and the World Cup. If you're looking for the inside track on hitting a winner, do yourself a favor and read what Chris has to say.