Chicago visits the Cleveland Browns Sunday with a rookie quarterback in former Ohio State passer Justin Fields.
That might create some mixed feelings for fans of the Buckeyes and the Browns.
But it shouldn’t as Fields is dead set on beating the home team in his first NFL start.
He’ll have plenty of weeks to look like the 2-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year Chicago moved up to draft.
Chicago Bears Coach Matt Nagy just announced Justin Fields QB1
~ The Bears on the road this weekend to take on the Cleveland Browns pic.twitter.com/T5wLSwlEfR
— DEE SPORTS GUY (@DSports75727469) September 22, 2021
So, he can take some lumps this week in Cleveland, even if he thinks he can exploit this defense a bit.
Myles Garrett, Jadeveon Clowney, and the rest of the Browns’ defense are just as desperate for a strong showing.
And that, along with Odell Beckham Jr’s expected return, could create some interesting battles Sunday.
Here are 3 matchups to watch in the Browns versus Bears game.
1. Odell Beckham Jr. vs. CB Kindle Vildor
Chicago cornerback Kindle Vildor had a pretty rough rookie season.
And nothing he’s done so far in 2021 makes us think his second season will end much better.
Vildor gave up a near-perfect passer rating of 157.6 over his first 2 games.
Receivers grabbed 7 of 9 targets with 2 touchdowns against the struggling corner.
Odell Beckham Jr. will play this weekend barring any setbacks, per @Schultz_Report
He’s back 😈 pic.twitter.com/7Q6g2VKWXr
— PFF (@PFF) September 23, 2021
But he is a solid tackler and by the eye test, he looked better in Week 2.
Will that be good enough to go against a savvy veteran like Odell Beckham Jr?
Beckham is anxious to get off to a good start and worked with Baker Mayfield a lot in the offseason.
Beckham could be on a limited snap count, but Vildor could struggle against Rashard Higgins or Anthony Schwartz, too.
2. Myles Garrett, Jadeveon Clowney vs. Jason Peters
Jason Peters may go down as one of the best and toughest tackles in NFL history.
But he is 39 years old and already suffered a quad injury and dislocated finger in the first two weeks.
Facing the Cleveland Browns’ collection of defensive ends is a difficult task in any week.
But Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney are hungrier than usual with just 1 sack between them so far.
Good for Justin Fields: he gets first NFL start.
Bad for Justin Fields: He has to play behind his OL against Myles Garrett and Jadaveon Clowney.
— Jeremy Birmingham (@Birm) September 22, 2021
Each has had moments, with Garrett among the leaders in QB pressures.
But they want sacks and hits and turnovers and Justin Fields might just play onto their hands.
Patrick Mahomes and Tyrod Taylor stepped up as the edge rush passed them, allowing the passers to escape.
But Fields’ first instinct is to move laterally away from pressure, and that might play right into the edge rushers’ hands.
3. Greg Newsome vs. WR Allen Robinson
Similar to Garrett and Clowney, Chicago’s Allen Robinson is hungry and maybe a little ticked off.
Robinson dropped a long touchdown pass that could have made last week’s win over Cincinnati less of a nail-biter.
And while 8 catches over 2 games is acceptable for most wide receivers, for Robinson it is underperforming.
With a full week of preparation, the Browns should expect to see a more settled Justin Fields.
#Browns CB, Greg Newsome II, is off to a strong start. 🔥
In 2 Games Newsome II has recorded:
🔸78 Coverage Snaps
🔸2 Receptions Allowed 🔐
🔸6 Yards 🤯#NFL @gnewsii pic.twitter.com/mcCgJruI8B
— The Hottest Take (@Hottest_TakePod) September 20, 2021
Meanwhile, Houston and Kansas City only targeted Greg Newsome 6 times in the rookie’s first 2 games.
Brandin Cooks helped Denzel Ward to a career-worst passer rating of 99.1 over 2 games.
But the rookie Newsome should still be the corner most teams go after.
Especially if Joe Woods uses more man coverage against Fields, Newsome could be in for a real test in Week 3.
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