Heading back to First Energy Stadium for their final home game of the 2013 campaign, the Cleveland Browns faceoff against the Chicago Bears this Sunday. After a devastating and horribly refereed loss to the New England Patriots on the road, the orange-and-brown are still trying to find their fifth win of the year. Here is what it they will have to do in order to accomplish just that.
Dawg Bone #1
Back in the saddle, Bears field general, Jay Cutler has not played since week 10. In his absence, Bears journeyman quarterback, Josh McCown (brother to former Brown, Luke McCown) threw 13 touchdowns to just one interception. The 34-year-old signal caller played lights out and virtually mistake-free football. But, Bears have elected to not go with the hot hand and Cutler is back now. I have got to believe he going to be a tad rusty. Cutler likes to try and squeeze the ball in tight windows and the Browns defense must be ready to pounce on those opportunities. The eighth ranked Browns pass defense has allowed opposing quarterbacks to pass for 34 touchdowns this season. The Bears are have found a nice complement in Alshon Jeffery too. Most improved defensive and corner, Buster Skrine will have his hands full with Jeffery. Both Brandon Marshall and Jeffery have helped the Bears become the fifth ranked passing offense in the league. Browns defensive coordinator, Ray Horton must dial up the pressure on Cutler.
Dawg Bone #2
Focus on Forte
One of my favorite players in the NFL, Matt Forte has already surpassed the 1,000 yard rushing mark this season. The sixth year player from Tulane University is averaging just about five yards per carry. Forte is versatile out of the backfield and has 65 receptions this season with nine total touchdowns. The Bears star running back has over 1,500 all-purpose yards. At 6’2″ and 200 pounds, Forte also has an extra gear with a full head of steam. Browns linebackers especially, must be completely aware of where Forte is on the field at all times on Sunday.
Dawg Bone #3
No Fly Zone for the Bears
Ranked number two in the NFL in points per game (28.3), the Bears thrive off of passing touchdowns. Between Cutler and McCown, the Bears have 26 passing touchdowns this season. They have two receivers with over 74 catches and 1,000 yards in 2013 and two more players with over 500 yards receiving. The Bears spread the ball around very well and have six players with at least one receiving touchdown. Cleveland must make the Bears beat them on the ground. The Browns cannot afford to allow three or more passing touchdowns on Sunday. It is imperative for defensive coordinator, Horton to dial up the pressure like he did a week ago.
Ryan Ruiz is the Cleveland Browns Beat Writer for The Inscriber: Digital Magazine. You can follow him on Facebook: Ryan (BrownsWriter) Ruiz and Twitter @ryanpruiz24. Ryan is also a Browns correspondent for The Sportsfix. Tune in every Friday at noon on www.thesportsfix.net. Have a question or comment for the “ASK Ryan” column on Fridays? Email Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org