Game Overview ::
By mjohnson86 >>
- Excitement in the Windy City for the debut start of Justin Fields against a talented but underachieving defense
- Both defenses have shown some promising things but also have deficiencies that may be exploited
- The game flow here will likely depend on how Cleveland decides to attack early and if their personnel allows them to attack downfield
How chicago Will Try To Win ::
The Bears got off to a rough start in Week 1 being dominated in almost all phases of the game by a superior across-the-board team in the Rams. While that game was only a six point game at halftime, the reality is that from the 4:39 mark in the first quarter on, the Bears never had the ball and the game within one score. They followed that up by winning an ugly game at home against the Bengals in Week 2. Both game plans were very conservative by nature and did not inspire confidence or excitement in this team being able to take part in explosive scoring games the rest of the season.
Enter Week 3. Andy Dalton is out for a few weeks, thrusting Justin Fields into the starting QB role for the Bears. Fields had some situational work in Week 1 and then played the last two and a half quarters against the Bengals, but this will be the first time he enters a game after taking a full week’s worth of reps with the starters, where Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy has the opportunity to devise a game plan specifically designed around Fields’ strengths. Nagy has taken a lot of heat over the years for lack of creative concepts and usage of his best players, after coming to Chicago with high expectations of doing those things due to his association with the Andy Reid coaching tree in Kansas City. While much of that criticism is justified, this is his chance to change the narrative. Fields is a dynamic weapon who can and should change the environment for everyone around him. If Nagy is unable to leverage Fields’ abilities into a more exciting uptempo offense over the next few weeks, his seat may (and should) get very hot.
The Bears will likely try to win this game by controlling it. While there is a lot of excitement around Fields’ debut start, the reality is that for whatever reason the Bears staff did not think he was ready to start in Week 1. While it is easy for us to look at his athletic and production profile and think it should have been a clear decision, there are a lot more factors behind the scenes that NFL coaches consider when making those decisions. Usually, when a decision is made that is head scratching to the outside (like how in the world can they think Andy Dalton is better than Justin Fields?!?!), things like film study, control of the line of scrimmage (audibles), blitz and protection recognitions, and understanding of the playbook and verbiage of the offense are the real issues. Assuming that to be the case and the Bears staff thinks Fields is not there yet in some or all of those areas, it is likely the Bears will simplify things and try to keep the game in front of them. They aren’t fools, however, and will strategically create chances for Fields to use his legs and take shots with his all-world arm. The Browns play primarily zone coverage and have carried one of the lowest blitz rates in the league over the last two seasons. The Bears have a below-average offensive line but without many blitzes, Fields should have time to go through his reads and take off running in this game. Tyrod Taylor and Patrick Mahomes each ran for a TD against this Browns team in the first two weeks.
How cleveland Will Try To Win ::
Cleveland has a top notch offensive line, a great RB duo, an underrated QB, and a terrific scheme. Unfortunately, they are limited with playmakers on the outside due to the injury of Jarvis Landry. While their receiving corps will get a boost with the expected return of Odell Beckham, Jr., it is hard to project him to play a full complement of snaps or expect that he will have his normal explosive, game-changing abilities just 11 months after tearing his ACL. This is unfortunate for the Browns, as the Bears secondary is by far their weakest position group. At full strength, this would set up as a game for the Browns to use play-action early and attack the weakness of the Bears through the air; and then pound them into submission with their top notch running game once they have built a lead. It will be interesting to see if the Browns still use that approach while undermanned in their receiving corps. If they do not have trust in that approach, they will lean on their strength of running the ball early and often to maintain control of the game and hopefully find some explosive passing games later on if OBJ is healthy or there is a coverage breakdown by the Bears.
Likeliest Game Flow ::
The likeliest game flow is a disappointing one for scoring and fantasy purposes, as it entails the Browns running their strength, into the strength of the Bears defense, rather than attacking a clear weakness through the air. The Bears are unlikely to volunteer to spike this game environment either, as they will try to keep Justin Fields upright and not cause him to take any more hits than his playing style already opens itself up to.
DFS+ Interpretation ::
By Dwprix >>
- The total has been bet down to 45.5 from 47 and is the eighth highest on the 13 game slate
- These teams haven’t played since 2017. Neither of these HCs were with their current teams
- Through two weeks these teams rank 7th (CLE) & 8th (CHI) in rush atts/g
- Last season, CLE ranked 5th & CHI ranked 28th
- 11th overall pick Justin Fields will make his first NFL start
- He played five series (42 snaps) after Dalton left with a knee injury going 6:13 60 yds:1 int
- Fields avg 10 rush atts/game his soph & jr years at OSU (left for NFL early).
- In 34 college games, Fields had 19 rush TDs
- He threw for 67 TDs to 9 INTs
- Montgomery has 40 total touches through two weeks
- He’s been given 60% of the rush attempts
- Montgomery DK pts last eight regular season games: 10.9 // 21.8 // 28.2 // 20.1 // 32.2 // 27.5 // 27.1 // 28.3
- Fields and Dalton makeup for 25% of CHI rush atts
- Damien Williams has just 8 atts
- Allen Robinson (15) & Darnell Mooney (15) makeup up 47% of CHI tgts
- Last season Mooney saw 98 tgts to Robinson’s 151
- Marquise Goodwin (7) & Damiere Byrd (3) make up the rest of CHI WR tgts
- Cole Kmet saw seven targets Week 1 but just one last week.
- Kmets tgts in final five gms last season: 8 // 6 // 2 // 7 // 7
- In 18 career games, Kmet has yet to top 50 rec yds & has just two TDs
- Jimmy Graham was 3rd on the team in tgts and first in rec TDs last season
- He’s only played 22 snaps & has just 2 tgts
- Over two weeks CLE is the second lowest in pass att/g (24.5)
- Mayfield has seen just 13 pressures on the season.
- He’s seen pressure on just 22% of his throws which ranks third lowest.
- His adot ranks 25th at 3.3 yds
- CHI D had three INTs last week against Joe Burrow.
- CLE has seven rushing TDs (one passing TD)
- Snap %: Nick Chubb-54% // Kareem Hunt: 51%
- Rush att %: Chubb-43% // Hunt 32% (Mayfield: 18%)
- In 12 games last season, Chub had 12 rushing TDs & went 100+ yds six times
- He has at least one TD in eight straight regular season games
- Hunt had 11 total TDs in 16 games
- CHI allowed one 100+ yd rusher all last season (Ronald Jones Week 5: 106 yds)
- Through two weeks, CHI has given up the 5th least rushing yds while allowing the 8th most atts.
- CHI ranks 5th best in yards/att (3.3).
- Jarvis Landry (IR) played two snaps last week before spraining his MCL
- Odell Beckham hasn’t played this season but could be in action Week 3
- Without OBJ & Landry, the Browns WRs only saw five of Mayfield’s 21 tgts last week
- CLE has utilized three WRs sets at the third lowest rate in the league
- BAL high rec last four gms (including playoffs): Brown-113 yds // Watkins-96 // Brown-109 // Brown-87
- Stefankis used 2+ TEs on 49% of the Browns plays this season & 3 TE sets at the highest rate in the league (14%)
- TE Routes Run (of 62): Austin Hooper-34 // David Njoku-31 // Harrison Bryant-21
- TE Tgts this season: Hooper- 8 // Njoku-8 // Bryant-6