COMMENTARY | Let's see what hometown pride means to the 2013 Cleveland Browns.
It's yet another December that features Cleveland football fans wondering if it wouldn't be better for the Browns to lose out and thus get as high a draft pick as possible. How fun. The Browns didn't play like a team looking to lose at the New England Patriots last Sunday. Cleveland was actually the better side for about 57 minutes of that contest.
A lot of good that did the Browns.
Nobody could blame the Cleveland players for being dejected heading into the final home game of the season, a match-up against the Chicago Bears. The Browns have lost seven of their last eight, and their last two defeats were especially heartbreaking. Losing seven consecutive contests is no way to close out a season.
There is more than just pride on the line for the hosts.
Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns preview: Jay
Chicago quarterback Josh McCown completed 27 of 36 attempts for 348 yards and four touchdowns in his team's Monday Night Football victory over the Dallas Cowboys. McCown has been a revelation in relief, keeping the Bears in the playoff hunt over the past month. More than a few analysts have suggested that he is the best QB on the current Chicago roster.
Coach Marc Trestman apparently does not agree with those individuals. He has announced that he'll be starting Jay Cutler on Sunday.
Cutler, who is returning from an injured ankle, hasn't played since November 10. There's bound to be some rust, if only for the first half of the game. McCown has the hot hand, one that could carve up a Cleveland defense that has folded in the fourth quarter in back-to-back weeks.
Trestman may be regretting this decision come Sunday evening.
Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns preview: Earn that contract
Bears cornerback Tim Jennings is looking to ink a new long-term deal with Chicago. Jennings is having a solid season with the Bears, and he was a handful for Dallas WR Dez Bryant on Monday. Bryant did have a touchdown in that contest, but that two-yard grab was one of two catches he had on the evening.
Jennings can earn his money and career stability on Sunday.
No wide receiver in the NFL has been better over the past month than has Cleveland's Josh Gordon. The Patriots did what the Pittsburgh Steelers and Jacksonville Jaguars couldn't, and that's keep Gordon from going for over 200 receiving yards. Gordon was "held" to seven catches for 151 yards and a touchdown versus the Patriots.
I'm under the impression that no one player can stop Gordon, at least not right now. I'll need to see it happen before I think otherwise. Best of luck, Mr. Jennings.
Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns preview: Prediction
Jason Campbell was better than Tom Brady last Sunday. Gordon is unstoppable. Jordan Cameron returned to All-Pro form at New England. There is no reason to believe Cleveland won't win this game;
except for that they are the Browns, and they just find ways to lose. It's not a cliché, nor is it an attempt at humor. Cleveland has, by my count, snatched defeat from the jaws of victory on no fewer than three occasions in 2013.
That won't happen this time around.
The situation involving Cutler's status with the Bears is likely not going to end well. What happens if Cutler throws a pick in the first quarter, or if he struggles to get into a rhythm? How short will the leash on the QB actually be, if one will exist at all?
Cleveland has one more win in the tank. It happens this Sunday.
Browns win 31-26
Zac has been following Cleveland sports since a little before his birth, and thus his heart breaks a little more with every year. He has been covering the Cleveland Browns, New York Giants and the NFL for Yahoo Sports since 2010.
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