SAN DIEGO- The Cleveland Browns (1-2) looked confused in their first three games. The New York Jets easily defeated the Browns. Then the Browns defense put on a show against Marcus Mariota’s Titans for their first win. Last week Josh McCown never really settled in for the first half against Oakland after returning from the concussion he suffered in week one. McCown nearly provided the comeback spark but it was too little, too late.
Chargers offensive line faces injuries
The Browns are in San Diego to face the injury plagued Chargers (1-2). The Chargers offensive line looks like it is in ruins right now which in something the Browns defense can take advantage of. Tackle King Dunlap and Guard Orlando Franklin are officially out for today’s game. Center Chris Watt is doubtful. Guard D.J. Fluker is questionable. Guard/Tackle Chris Hairston is probable despite knee and ankle injuries. Receiver Jacoby Jones is also out for today’s game. How will the third best passing offense perform against these odds?
The main problem is Chargers running back Melvin Gordon. The Chargers need to get their rookie runner more involved in the offense. San Diego will likely feature a heavy dose of the ground attack which is something the Browns are still struggling to defend against.
This will likely be a game decided by the offenses as McCown should be able to pass for over 300 yards. McCown passed for 341 yards against the Raiders. He will have to settle in early or history will repeat itself.
The Browns must not be down by 10 or more points. The team doesn’t seem capable of coming back from any double-digit deficit. The key for the Browns is to start hot out of the gates and finish just as strong. It is imperative that Cleveland’s defense punishes the weakened Chargers offensive lien early on.
Cleveland needs to improve their open field tackling. The Browns need to occasionally deliver big hits in this game. The Browns were physical in week 2 against the Titans and that needs to be the case in San Diego.
Prediction- Normally this is an easy pick in favor of San Diego. The Chargers offense will still test the Browns defense but San Diego’s injuries will show early on. San Diego will attempt a comeback but it will be too late. Browns 24 Chargers 21.