Chargers (2-2) AT Browns (2-2)
When: Sunday, 10 a.m.
Where: FirstEnergy Stadium
TV/Radio: CBS2; 98.7 FM; 105.5 FM/94.3 FM (Spanish)
Line: Chargers by 1.5 points
Notable injury designations: Chargers: WR Keenan Allen (hamstring) is out. WR Josh Palmer (ankle) and K Dustin Hopkins (quad) are both questionable.
Browns: DE Jadeveon Clowney (ankle) and DT Taven Bryan (hamstring) are questionable.
What’s at stake? For the Chargers it is a chance to stay one game behind Kansas City and separate itself by one game with Denver, who lost to Indianapolis on Thursday Night. For the Browns, their division is tough especially with Cincinnati starting to put wins together, so they need a victory to stay even with the AFC North.
Who’s better? This is a hard question because there is talent on both teams but give the edge to the Chargers because they have Justin Herbert at quarterback while the Browns have Jacoby Brissett. Even though Brissett has been a backup don’t be fooled he can get the job done.
Matchup to watch: Chargers left tackle Jamaree Salyer against Cleveland Browns edge rusher Myles Garrett. Salyer is coming off a strong first career start against the Houston Texans, but this is a different beast. Garrett is one of the better pass rushers in the NFL and will be all over the rookie all game long. Expect the Chargers coaching staff to give him some tight end or running back help but it could be a long day for the rookie left tackle.
Chargers win if: they don’t have a third quarter lapse the way they have had on both sides of the football in their first few games. They are going to be on the road in a loud environment, so they will need to keep their foot on the gas all game long. There can’t be mistakes made against a defense that will make them pay. Also, there can’t be 50+ yard Nick Chubb or Kareem Hunt runs. The defense must slow them down. That third quarter has been the enemy of the Chargers on both sides of the football.
Fantasy sleeper: Mike Williams. Continue feeding the hot hand. Williams has 100 yards in his last four away games in a row dating back to last season. The last time they played Cleveland, he went for 165 yards and two touchdowns.
Prediction: After what happened to Denver on Thursday, the Chargers really need this victory. I don’t think they will stop Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt but I think they will slow them down. Chargers win 31-23 and prepare for a Monday night showdown against Russ and the Broncos.