Chicago Bears vs. Cleveland Browns (-7, 46)
The Chicago Bears travel to Cleveland this weekend to take on the Browns, scheduled for a 1 PM Kickoff on Sunday. Chicago will be rolling out rookie QB Justin Fields to make his first NFL start after ruling Andy Dalton out with a knee injury. Cleveland is also dealing with some uncertainty; Jarvis Landry will miss at least 3 games with a knee injury while Odell Beckham Jr. is expected to make his season debut for the Browns. Both teams are coming off wins after dropping their week 1 matchup. Which 1-1 team will come out on top this weekend?
The model is predicting a score of 25.73 to 19.72 with the Browns winning. This gives an implied spread of Cleveland -6.01, a point less than what current posted odds suggest. The model point total was determined to be 45.45 points, just a half point shy of the current number 46. Will Justin Fields state his case to be the guy in Chicago? Or will Cleveland take care of business at home and cover this touchdown spread?
As we all know by now, the Justin Fields era is set to begin in Chicago. Fields entered the game for Dalton in the 2Q and finished 6/13 with 80 yards with an INT. This doesn’t exactly jump off the page, but Fields also ran the ball 10 times for 31 yards, illustrating that he is a legitimate dual-threat.
The Bears defense was susceptible to the pass including allowing Ja’marr Chase to break open a 42 yard TD. Despite this, Chicago limited Joe Burrow to 207 yards passing and racked up 3 INTs and 5 sacks. Joe Mixon was held to 70 yards rushing on 20 carries as well. After getting routed by the Rams in week one, the bounce-back for Chicago is certainly encouraging moving forward. With a lot of moving pieces for the Browns offense this week, the Bears defense will look to have another statement game.
On the other side of the ball, Cleveland managed to put away the Houston Texans last week by a final score of 31-21. However, the scoreboard isn’t entirely reflective of how the game played out. Before exiting with a hamstring injury, Tyrod Taylor was 10/11 with 125 yards and a TD against the Browns Defense. It should not be looked over that Cleveland struggled early with another dual-threat QB and we expect Bears HC Matt Nagy to take note of that. Cleveland was able to run the ball very effectively, with Nick Chubb going for 95 yards and a TD on 11 carries.
As a team, the Browns ran for 156 yards and compiled 355 yards of total offense. After Tyrod’s injury, Cleveland was able to control the ball and racked up over 35 minutes of time of possession. Even still, they allowed an inconsistent Davis Mills to throw for 108 yards and a TD on 8/18 passing with an INT. With so many question marks between trying to get OBJ up to speed and how they’ll fill the absence of Jarvis Landry, we expect a heavy dose of Nick Chubb out of the backfield. The problem? Chicago wasn’t letting Joe Mixon get going at all last week, and forced Burrow to put the ball in the air and generated three turnovers. Despite their week 1 woes, Chicago held Darrell Henderson to only 70 yards rushing as well. The Bears currently rank 5th in the NFL with 3.3 rush yds/attempt allowed.
The CapWize player prop simulations predict Justin Fields to throw for 249.8 yards on 25.6 completions with 37.4 attempts, good for 1.89 TDs and 0.42 INTs. While we have yet to see him really let loose, Fields has the speed to break away from almost anyone on the field and will also be a threat with his legs. On the other side, the model foresees Baker going 23.86 for 35.23 for 250.15 yards and 2.28 TD passes, with 0.4 INTs. Browns RB Nick Chubb is projected to run for 69.4 yards on 14 attempts with 0.53 TDs. Chicago is hoping for a breakout game from WR Allen Robinson, who is projected for 69.95 yards on 6.29 receptions in 9.48 targets with 0.54 TD. Brandin Cooks had himself a game last week prior to Tyrod’s departure, and the flood gates could be open for Robinson if fellow WR Darnell Mooney is playing hurt. As aforementioned, OBJ is expected to come back this week – the model predicts 59.52 yards on 5.25 receptions and 0.54 TDs. To see more props for Week 3, head to the CapWize NFL Dashboard.
All things considered, we are leaning on Chicago +7 to cover the spread on the road this weekend. The Bears are coming off a great defensive week and should apply the same game plan – force Baker to beat them through the air. If Cleveland struggles to move the ball on the ground, Baker and co. might run into some issues. Chicago’s secondary gave Joe Burrow fits last weekend, and the argument can be made for their WR corps is superior to the Browns. The model provides evidence to this as well- suggesting only 70 rush yds from Nick Chubb, which aligns with what Chicago has allowed in its first two previous games. Chubb ranks 5th through 2 games with 89 yards/game, so the model is predicting some regression here in week 3 for the bell cow.
On the other side of the ball, you have a dual-threat QB in Justin Fields who is set out to prove why he is the future in Chicago. Storylines aside, we have highlighted the struggles Cleveland showed against another mobile QB in Tyrod Taylor and those same issues could arise this weekend. If Tyrod doesn’t go down with an injury, we could be singing a very different tune here to an 0-2 Browns team. While it is hard to hold it against them, the Browns defense also let Patrick Mahomes go wild in week 1 with 337 yards passing and an additional 5 rushes for 18 yards, including a rushing TD. If Fields can find some success, we predict this game to stay within a touchdown. One prop bet we lean on is Allen Robinson o5.5 receptions. Fields should feed the trusted veteran to build confidence, and our model projects 6.29 receptions compared to the 5.5 listed on most sportsbooks. The model projects CLE -6, so we will take the extra point here and back the Chicago Bears.