So, how many of you asked for this matchup on Christmas Eve? Yes, this is the NFL equivalent of getting coal in your stockings as we have two teams with a combined 4-24 record playing the most insignificant game of Week 16. The winless Cleveland Browns travel to the Windy City to take on the Chicago Bears in a matchup of 2 rookie QB’s, a cast of soon to be fired coaches, underperforming players, and a partridge in a pear tree. Kickoff inside Soldier Field is at 1 PM ET.
Cleveland and Chicago last squared off in 2013 with the Bears taking that game 38-31. Chicago hasn’t hosted Cleveland since 2009, and they won that contest 30-6. Since 2001, the Bears hold a 3-1 record against the Browns.
Cleveland (0-14) is winless on the road and on the season. They have 2 chances left to try and prevent from becoming the 2nd team in NFL history to go 0-16 on the season. If they fail at this quest then they will join the Detroit Lions as the only 2 teams to accomplish this pitiful honor. This weekend, Cleveland hopes to take advantage of an inconsistent Bears offense and try to put up more than 14 points in a game.
Chicago (4-10) is 2-5 at home and has lost 4 of their last 5 overall games. They return home this weekend after playing their last 2 games on the road. Their last game at home was a 15-14 loss to the 49ers. The Bears have enough talent to beat Cleveland, but they also have enough reasons to struggle against the Browns this weekend. Will Chicago be Cleveland’s first victim of the year?
The spread opened with Chicago favored by a touchdown, but it has come down slightly to 6.5 points. The Over/Under opened at 38.5 points and has come down to 38 total points.
Last year, the Browns won their only game of the season on Christmas Eve and they hope to do that again this year. However, I don’t see it happening this weekend, but I do see them keeping this game within a touchdown.
I will give the Browns some hope in this game because Cleveland is strong against the run as they only allow 96.1 ypg. The Bears are primarily a rushing offense at 118.6 ypg. They have one of the worst passing attacks in the league as they haven’t taken the training wheels off of rookie QB Mitch Trubisky yet. Trubisky has thrown for just 1,822 yards, 7 TDs and 7 picks on the season. The offense has been relying heavily on Jordan Howard to move the chains as the team’s top running back has 1,069 rushing yards on the season with 2 games left. But, will he be able to break 100 yards against a tough Cleveland team this weekend?
If the Browns can shut down the Bears running game then they have a shot against Trubisky throwing the ball. Unfortunately, they also have a rookie QB who has struggled mightily in the passing game. DeShone Kizer has thrown 19 interceptions on the year compared to just 9 TD passes. In other words, Chicago’s defense is salivating at this opportunity. You could even say that the Bears defense has visions of picks and sacks dancing in their heads.
Both offenses struggle to put points on the board and I see no reason for that to change this weekend. The Browns have the worst scoring offense at just 14.8 ppg and the Bears aren’t much better as they only score 16.7 ppg.
With two struggling passing games, two rookie QBs, and 2 offenses that combine for just 31 ppg, you can expect this game to be an ugly contest that perfectly displays why both franchises are stuck at the bottom of the league.
Chicago is 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 games and 0-7 ATS as a favorite over the last 3 years. Other than Cleveland being the more desperate of the 2 teams, I can’t find a single betting stat to support my prediction of the Browns +6.5 points.
Ultimately, I believe Cleveland has more to play for and is more desperate than Chicago. That gives them a small chance at winning this game. Even if they don’t come out victorious, I do see them keeping this game close. Look for the Browns to run the ball effectively against the Bears and pass when needed. But, when that happens, the Bears will capitalize on a bad passing game. I believe Chicago will pressure Kizer all game long and make his Christmas Eve a miserable one. However, I also see the Browns making Trubisky’s day miserable.
This game will come down to which team makes the least amount of mistakes at the QB position. With that in mind, Chicago has been perfecting the training wheel approach with Trubisky and that gives them the slight edge in this contest. Chicago wins 17-13.