The (2-2) Cleveland Browns matchup with the (2-2) Los Angeles Chargers in week 5 of the NFL season.
The Browns enter this matchup coming off a disappointing loss to the Atlanta Falcons 23-20.
Who will prevail?
Let’s take a look at our writer’s bold predictions for this Sunday’s matchup.
Writer: Wendi Oliveros
Week 5 brings us a battle of 2-2 teams that many thought would be over .500 at this point in the season.
The Browns host the Chargers this year; hopefully, we do not have a replay of this game held on October 10, 2021.
It was an offensive shootout that the Browns dropped in the fourth quarter by the score of 47-42.
That is a familiar theme this year also, but I think the Browns turn the page on fourth-quarter letdowns this week.
Maybe it will be due to better play calling, clock management, and red zone scoring, but I think the Browns jump out to a lead in this game and then let Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt grind out the yards and the play clock.
A vulnerable Chargers’ defense will have a hard time containing Chubb and Hunt.
The Chargers will use their star quarterback Justin Herbert to lengthen the field and make big plays, and after seeing how the Falcons ran on the Browns in Week 4, they will try to get a sputtering Austin Eckeler going.
This will be a tough battle, but my optimism stems from the fact that this team in the Kevin Stefanski era rarely goes on a multiple-game losing streak.
Now is a good time to remind everyone that following a loss #Browns Coach Kevin Stefanski has a 12-3 record since taking over as head coach in 2020.
— MoreForYouCleveland (@MoreForYou_CLE) October 6, 2022
In fact, they are 12-3 after losing a game.
That encouraging statistic plus home-field advantage are the reasons I pick the Browns to win by the score of 31-28.
My Prediction: Browns 31, Chargers 28
Writer: Ben Donahue
In Week 5 of 2021, the Cleveland Browns traveled to LA to take on the Chargers.
The game was a shootout before LA prevailed 47-42.
Both teams face each other once again in Week 5 of 2022 only this time they will play in FirstEnergy Stadium.
Based on what we’ve seen through the first four weeks, it’s safe to assume that the Browns will not repeat their offensive output against LA.
In fact, after last week’s loss to Atlanta, we have seen what Cleveland needs to address in next year’s draft and free agency, defensive depth.
Without Myles Garrett, there was rarely any push from the Browns’ front four.
Then, there were huge, gaping holes in the Cleveland secondary for Marcus Mariota to complete all seven of his passes (not a typo).
To the uninitiated, Marcus Mariota should not be picking apart the Browns’ secondary.
Justin Herbert is head and shoulders above Mariota.
Even if he does not have Keenan Allen, who has been battling a hamstring injury, Herbert still has Mike Williams and Austin Ekeler at his disposal.
Because of the Chargers’ up-and-down season, neither player has been lights out every game.
However, they have had flashes of brilliance here and there which makes them dangerous.
The defense for both organizations has been suspect this year.
Cleveland gives up almost 24 points per game, ranking them 19th in the NFL.
The Chargers are even worse, giving up 27 points per game, which ranks 30th in the league.
Since Garrett returns this week, the hope is that he will provide more QB pressure for the Browns and disrupt Herbert’s timing.
If not, it will be another long day for the Cleveland defense.
My Prediction: Chargers 30 Browns 20
Writer: Pat Opperman
Woulda, coulda, shoulda…
If only… and the excuses and explanations roll off our tongues.
For sure Cleveland could be 4-0 right now if not for 2 disastrous minutes against the Jets and a blown coverage in Atlanta.
Of course, they could also be 0-4 with a missed field goal and a better quarterback in Pittsburgh.
But… the Cleveland Browns are a well-deserved 2-2 heading into a Week 5 matchup against the LA Chargers.
Austin Ekeler salivates at the thought of racing through and around Joe Woods’ run defense.
And Justin Herbert’s ribs feel better thinking about Cleveland’s soft zone.
Browns fans dread watching what the first “good offense” will do to their flawed defense.
But you know what?
The Chargers rank behind the Browns in offensive yardage and points per game.
And Cleveland’s running backs are as happy to see LA come into town as Ekeler is to face Cleveland.
But LA doesn’t have 3 returning starters on the defensive line and didn’t add a solid corner to their secondary.
Health is one key to the Browns’ upset in Week 5.
The other is keeping Jacoby Brissett out of must-score situations in the final minute.
My Prediction: Browns 27, Chargers 23
Writer: Rocco Nuosci
The issues last week with Cleveland resided mostly on the defensive side of the ball.
With the Chargers boasting the league’s top passing attack, Cleveland’s secondary must bring their best performance of the season on Sunday.
They’ve been carved up at times this season in addition to a handful of inexplicable breakdowns on plays deep down the field.
That bit the Browns last season in a 47-42 loss in Los Angeles. Justin Herbert threw for 398 yards and 4 touchdowns that game.
So, why not minimize how long Herbert and their offense even have the football?
This is the perfect situation for Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt to go win a tough one for Cleveland.
They combined for over 220 yards on the ground in last year’s contest.
Getting them the football and controlling the clock is the best way to help a defense that’s been reeling.
Some pressure on Herbert wouldn’t hurt, either.
Myles Garrett returning should help in that department.
I look for Cleveland to step up and respond.
Kevin Stefanski’s team has typically found a way to do that.
My Prediction: Browns 31, Chargers 30