The Bears and Browns haven’t faced each other often, playing just 16 times dating back to 1951. But this 20th matchup will leave one team with a winning record and one with a losing record.
Here are 9 things to know ahead of the Bears’ Week 3 game against the Browns:
Justin Fields will make first NFL start — in Ohio, no less
Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports
While we all expected it, Justin Fields will make his first NFL start against the Browns on Sunday, where the Bears rookie quarterback has a chance to make a case for assuming the starting job on a permanent basis. With Andy Dalton sidelined with a bone bruise in his knee that will keep him out for at least a couple of weeks, it’s Fields’ time to shine. And how perfect is it that Fields’ first NFL start comes in Ohio, where Fields made a name for himself at Ohio State. Perhaps Fields’ former college coach Ryan Day and some former teammates will be in attendance at the game in Cleveland.
Bears are 9-0 against AFC North since 2013
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The Bears have been pretty impressive against the AFC North dating back to 2013. In fact, they haven’t lost a game going 9-0, including last Sunday’s win against the Bengals. Chicago will be looking to make it 10-0 against a talented Browns team in Cleveland.
Browns lead series 9-7
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
For a pair of teams that have been around for as long as they have, the Bears and Browns have only played 16 times. And it’s been Cleveland who’s had a leg up in the series, leading 9-7 dating back to 1951. The Browns won five of the six first meetings between the two squads. But it’s the Bears who have recent success on their side.
Bears have won the last three meetings
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While the Browns have the edge in the series, the Bears have history on their side, as Chicago has won the last three meetings between these two games. In their last game, the Bears won 20-3 in 2017, a matchup that featured the top two picks of the 2017 NFL draft in Myles Garrett and Mitch Trubisky. The Bears haven’t lost to the Browns since 2005.
Browns will be without WR Jarvis Landry
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The Browns placed wide receiver Jarvis Landry on injured reserve this week after he suffered a MCL injury in Sunday’s win against the Texans. Landry will be out at least three weeks, leaving an already-thin receiving corp. more vulnerable. But it sounds like the Browns could be getting back receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who missed the first two games of the season as he recovers from an ACL injury that held him out for most of last year. If Beckham does return, look for him to be on a snap count. Still, Cleveland’s receiving corp. appears to wearing a little thin.
Browns are tied for 2nd most turnovers in NFL
AP Photo/David Richard
The Browns are tied for the second-most turnovers in the NFL through the first two weeks with four. Only the Jets, Buccaneers and Jaguars have more, with five apiece. Baker Mayfield has thrown an interception in each game this season, which should bode well for Chicago. Cleveland also has a -2 turnover differential. To be fair, the Bears aren’t far behind them. They’re tied for the third-most turnovers in the NFL with three, which include an Andy Dalton interception and fumble and a Justin Fields interception. But Chicago does have a +1 turnover differential, as their defense recorded four takeaways in Week 2.
Browns QB Baker Mayfield has been near flawless with accuracy through two weeks
AP Photo/Ron Schwane
Baker Mayfield has been insanely accurate through two weeks. How accurate? He has a completion percentage of 81.6, which not only leads the NFL but is the highest through two weeks in NFL history. Mayfield hasn’t missed many throws, and Chicago’s defense should be on notice. While the Browns run the ball 53% of the time, look for Cleveland to take advantage of an inexperienced secondary, outside of Jaylon Johnson. But Mayfield has also thrown an interception in each game this season, which means there will be opportunities for takeaways. Perhaps Johnson can make it two in a row? Still, the Bears defense will be tested by Mayfield.
Bears had 3 takeaways in last meeting vs. Browns
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While there are still some familiar faces, this Bears defense has changed a lot since the last time they played the Browns in 2017. That year marked the start of the ascent of Chicago’s defense, which became the league’s best the following season. The last time the Bears played the Browns, Chicago’s defense had three takeaways — two interceptions of quarterback DeShone Kizer and a fumble recovery. Former Bears Kyle Fuller and Bryce Callahan had the picks. Chicago is coming off a four-takeaway performance against the Bengals, where they’ll be looking to replicate their success against a talented Browns offense.
Chris Tabor served as Browns special teams coordinator before joining Bears
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Before special teams coordinator Chris Tabor joined Matt Nagy’s coaching staff in 2018, Tabor served as special teams coordinator with the Browns from 2011-17. Tabor has been part of the Browns’ last two losses to Chicago. But the Bears are hoping their special teams will step up in a game where there is no room for error. [listicle id=481889] [listicle id=481827]