Game Scout: Bears at Browns

Jeff Reynolds, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

Chicago Bears (7-6) at Cleveland Browns (4-9)
Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland - TV: FOX
*TV announcers: Thom Brennaman, Brian Billick, Laura Okmin
*Keys to the game: Chicago clicked on all cylinders in hogtying the Cowboys on Monday night. RB Matt Forte has consecutive games with 20-plus carries for the first time since Week 5 and 6 2012, and the approach jelled an offensive line preparing to deal with the Browns' half-ton three-man front. New England's offense began clicking in the second half last week when QB Tom Brady sped up the pace and his delivery. The Bears, who return QB Jay Cutler to the lineup, are equipped to spread the field with TE Martellus Bennett flexed to the slot and Earl Bennett as the third receiver, a formation they'll also run out of with Bennett motioning in to block. QB Jason Campbell practiced against some of the personnel he'll face Sunday while with the Bears last season. Campbell is succeeding without the benefit of a complementary running game because he's thriving on third downs. TE Jordan Cameron and WR Josh Gordon are big-play threats the Bears can't contain in single coverage. One issue on the back end is tackling and poor pursuit angles of FS Chris Conte, which opens the door wide for the Browns to hatch a few big plays.
*Matchup to watch - Bears WR Alshon Jeffery vs. Browns WR Josh Gordon: They entered the NFL as second-round picks (Gordon via the supplemental draft) last year and are showing superstar potential as sophomores. Jeffery has 17 receptions for 333 yards the past two games. Gordon's 31 catches for 649 yards and four touchdowns the past three games might lead to some short or sleepless nights for Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker.
*Player spotlight - Browns RB Chris Ogbonnaya: A better receiver than runner, Ogbonnaya and Fozzy Whitaker will split the workload against the Bears. Chicago has allowed 123 rushing yards or more in eight straight games, including 702 rushing yards in the past three games (234 per game). Willis McGahee (knee, concussion), averaging 2.7 yards per carry, was ruled out Wednesday.
*Fast facts: The Browns have allowed 87 fourth-quarter points in the past eight games (10.9). ... Bears CB Tim Jennings is tied for the NFL lead with 12 interceptions over the past two seasons.
Cleveland has an 11-point win over the Bengals and a four-point loss to Jacksonville, proving its ability to play up or down to the competition. Josh Gordon gives the Browns a home-run threat -- and a puncher's chance against a wobbly Bears defense.
*Our pick: Bears 24-20