Bears vs. Browns: 5 things to watch in Week 3 matchup

Eyes are on Chicago's secondary and the return of Cleveland's Odell Beckham Jr.

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield is likely to test the Bears' secondary more than Joe Burrow did last week in the Bears' win over Cincinnati.

    Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield is likely to test the Bears' secondary more than Joe Burrow did last week in the Bears' win over Cincinnati. Associated Press

 
By Sean Hammond
shammond@shawmedia.com
Updated 9/25/2021 9:47 PM

The Cleveland Browns have not beaten the Bears since Oct. 9, 2005.

Much has changed, though, since they last met in 2017. Cleveland drafted quarterback Baker Mayfield with the No. 1 pick the following spring. The biggest change might be this: The Browns are good now.

 

Cleveland made its first playoff appearance in nearly two decades last season. If ever there was a time for the Browns to beat the Bears, this might be it.

Here are five things to watch Sunday.

1. Baker Mayfield vs. the Bears' secondary

Matthew Stafford and the Rams showed that a good quarterback can make plays against this Bears secondary. Baker Mayfield is blossoming into a good quarterback.

The Browns are scoring 30 points per game, but so far it has been more because they boast the No. 3 rushing attack in the league (154.5 yards per game) than because of the quarterback play.

They were already without receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who is still recovering from a torn ACL last year, and now Jarvis Landry has gone down with a knee injury in Week 2.

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Mayfield can be a dangerous quarterback. He will test the secondary more than Joe Burrow did in Week 2.

2. Odell Beckham's return

While Landry went on injured reserve this week, Beckham is back. He tore his ACL in Week 7 last season and didn't play in the first two games in 2021.

Beckham is expected to play, but we don't know how much we'll see him. Cleveland's receiving corp is particularly thin.

Our best guess is Beckham won't see a full complement of snaps this weekend.

3. Nick Chubb vs. Bears' front

Nick Chubb is the top reason the run game is so strong. His 178 rushing yards ranks fifth in the NFL through two weeks, and his three rushing touchdowns are tied with Derrick Henry for the league lead.

Neither the Rams nor the Bengals ran the ball well against the Bears. Cleveland is likely to try it at a heavier clip. If Chubb finds holes and keeps the chains moving, it could be a long afternoon for the Bears.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

4. The Justin Fields playbook

Justin Fields is a different quarterback than Andy Dalton. His ability to use his legs makes him harder to defend.

The Bears need to use that to their advantage. The plan of attack last week against the Bengals looked the same once Fields went into the game. But with more time to prepare for Fields playing, there's no reason the coaching staff couldn't adjust the plan of attack to play into Fields' strengths. That could mean more run-pass options and more rolling him out of the pocket.

5. Myles Garrett vs. the Bears' offensive tackles

The Bears' 39-year-old left tackle Jason Peters has acquitted himself well. Browns defensive end Myles Garrett is a different cat, though.

The 2017 No. 1 overall draft pick was a first-team All-Pro performer in 2020.

He has 10 or more sacks in each of the past three seasons. He has a unique ability to wreak havoc on quarterbacks. Peters and right tackle Germain Ifedi need to know where Garrett is at all times.

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