It seems that the Browns are playing purely for pride at this point, but that is something they have no shortage of. Remember, this team is one drop away from a two-game winning streak and has hung around in every matchup.
Should the Chargers overlook them, this one is going to get ugly. Will the Bolts let that happen? Or will Philip Rivers and the rest of his team take care of business?
Keep reading to find out our prediction and much more.
Where: Cleveland Browns Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio
When: Sunday, Oct. 28 at 1:00 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket
Listen: Online at NFL Audio Pass
Betting Line: San Diego -3, Over/Under 44 (via ScoresAndOdds.com)
What’s at Stake?
The Chargers are attempting to get back over .500, a record they now stand at after losing their last two games before the Week 7 bye.
It certainly won’t be easy, especially on the road against this feisty Browns team. While Cleveland may have just one victory, the organization has been competitive in every contest it has participated in during the 2012 campaign.
Don’t think for one minute that the Browns will roll over when San Diego comes to town.
G Jason Pinkson, OUT, Lungs
CB Dimitri Patterson, QST, Ankle
WR Mohamed Massaquoi, OUT, Hamstring
RB Trent Richardson, QST, Ribs
LB Scott Fujita, OUT, Shoulder/Neck
San Diego Chargers
PK Nate Kaeding, OUT, Groin
Chargers Player to Watch: Philip Rivers
Rivers is having a bit of a down year, completing a solid 139-of-209 passes, but garnering just 1,492 yards and has an awful TD/INT ratio with 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
The Bolts' signal-caller is certainly looking vulnerable, especially with his former top target Vincent Jackson now lighting it up for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Will he break that slump in Week 8 against Cleveland?
We expect the Browns to do their best to take away Rivers’ already-limited passing options and force the Chargers to win this one on the ground.
Browns Player to Watch: Josh Gordon
Gordon is a highly exciting, but equally frustrating, playmaker to watch. He’s put together four touchdowns in the past three games, but dropped a surefire TD that would have won the game against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 8.
His catch percentage certainly leaves something to be desired, as he’s hauled in just 14 of 36 targets on the year—a number severely impacted by his two-catch, 10-target performance against Indy.
Regardless, he’s Brandon Weeden’s new favorite target and it’s clear that the rookie QB trusts Gordon—especially deep down field. He’s going to keep throwing his way, regardless of whether the former Baylor star hauls them in or not.
Prediction: Browns 21 – Chargers 17
Which team will win?
It’s finally time for the Browns to pick up another W, which will be their second in the past three weeks—and could just as easily have been their third in a row if not for Gordon’s mishap.
The Bolts are a perplexing team that brings inconsistent performances to the table on a weekly basis. Expect Cleveland to capitalize on this and stun the Southern California-based franchise in front of the Dawg Pound.