TV Schedule: Sunday, Dec. 15, 1 p.m. ET, Fox
Stadium: FirstEnergy Stadium
Weather: High 28, Low 17
Line: Cleveland (-1)
The Chicago Bears are fighting for a playoff spot in 2013 after a 7-6 start to the year. However, losing two games to the Detroit Lions this season puts them in second place in the NFC North behind Detroit due to tie-breakers in head-to-head matchups. Jay Cutler has been out with an injury for over a month now and it’s starting to look like Josh McCown should win the starting job for the remainder of the year. McCown has passed for 1,809 yards and 13 touchdowns while completing 67 percent of his passes and throwing just one interceptions. Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall are quickly becoming the best wide receiving duo in the league, combining for 2,283 yards and 15 touchdowns — both as elite receivers now. Matt Forte continues to excel in the run game, rushing for 1,073 yards and seven touchdowns while catching 65 passes out of the backfield for 518 yards and two scores.
The Cleveland Browns have had an up-and-down season in 2013. After trading Trent Richardson and looking like they would be tanking the 2013 season in order to land a top pick in the upcoming draft, the Browns responded by winning three straight games to push their record to 3-2. However, that didn’t last as they have since lost seven of eight games, dropping their record to 4-9 on the year with no playoff hopes in sight. After shuffling through a handful of quarterbacks, the Browns have settled on Jason Campbell to finish the season and he has been the best choice thus far, passing for 1,324 yards and nine touchdowns. Josh Gordon has become an elite wide receiver this season, racking up 71 catches for 1,400 yards and eight touchdowns. Tight end Jordan Cameron is second in receiving with 72 catches for 825 yards and seven scores.
Defensively, the Bears have struggled this season — mightily. Chicago ranks 27th in total yards allowed per game while ranking dead-last in points allowed per contest on the year. Cleveland has been surprisingly impressive this season on defense, ranking just 19th in points allowed per game, but ranking a stellar seventh in total yards allowed, ninth in passing yards allowed and fourth in rushing yards allowed per contest.
PREDICTION: Bears 30, Browns 20
Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.