Cleveland Browns: Week 13 predictions against the LA Chargers


A new month’s worth of games is here for the Cleveland Browns. Could we expect new results this month?

The Cleveland Browns are on the road in Los Angeles to take on the Chargers at 4:05 PM on Sunday. Cleveland is sitting at 0-11 after last week’s 30-16 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Meanwhile, the Chargers are coming off a 28-6 win on Thanksgiving against the Dallas Cowboys.

Last week, the Browns were within a score late in the game, but a costly, questionable penalty killed any chance of a victory. The Chargers dominated the Cowboys, with quarterback Phillip Rivers throwing for 434 yards and three touchdowns.

Without further ado, here are this week’s predictions.

1. Wide receiver Josh Gordon dominates the Chargers’ secondary in season debut.

Flash is back. For the first time in 1,078 days, Gordon will suit up in a regular season game for the Browns. Here is a little refresher on what the uber-talented wide receiver can do on the field.

Back in 2013 – his last “full” season – Gordon led the NFL with 1,646 yards despite missing two games. He also chipped in 87 catches and nine touchdowns, earning Pro Bowl and First-Team All-Pro honors.

What has happened since then has been well-documented, but it appears Gordon is finally in control of his life.

While most players would be eased back into the lineup after a lengthy absence, that is not the case with Gordon. In a recent press conference, head coach Hue Jackson said Gordon will start and will not be on a pitch count. Jackson also said he has “big plans” for Flash.

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The Browns are going to need a tremendous performance for Gordon to stay in the game on Sunday. It is understandable to think he will be a little rusty, but the man is a stud.

When on the field, there are few cornerbacks that can keep Gordon in check. Heck, in last year’s preseason, after a long layoff, Gordon caught a touchdown pass.

He has gotten rave reviews from teammates and coaches, but Sunday is all that matters. In a game the Browns are likely to be trailing in, Gordon is going to have plenty of opportunities to make plays.

It is just too tough to overlook how dominant Gordon was before his indefinite suspension. Do not be surprised to see a throwback performance with over 100 yards and a score this weekend.

2. The offensive line struggles, allowing two sacks apiece to pass rushers Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram.

It is no surprise that the Chargers are tied for fourth in the NFL in sacks this season. They pose perhaps the best pass-rushing duo in the league with Bosa and Ingram. In his second season, Bosa has already tied his rookie total with 10.5 sacks this year. Ingram is well on his way to setting a career-high in sacks with 8.5 sacks in 11 games thus far.

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Both of these players are game-changing edge rushers. They are tough tests for anyone. However, they are poised for success this weekend especially. The Browns have allowed the third-most sacks in the league this year. Injuries have played a role, along with quarterback DeShone Kizer‘s sub-optimal pocket presence.

Left tackle Spencer Drango is no Joe Thomas, and Shon Coleman has been far from perfect. Both are going to have their hands full with Bosa and Ingram.

The Chargers are the worst team in the NFL against the run, so the Browns will have to run the ball effectively to keep Bosa and Ingram from pinning their ears back and coming after Kizer. Ultimately, those two will be far too much for the Browns to handle, and it would not be surprising to see five sacks between the two of them.

3. Rivers and wide receiver Keenan Allen connect often, shredding the Browns secondary.

Since the game in London, the Browns have done a good job of shutting down top outside receivers.

However, they have really struggled against receivers that run the majority of their routes out of the slot.

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They also allowed a touchdown reception to Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd last week – another inside receiver.

This week, Cleveland gets one of the best inside receivers in the NFL in Allen. He moves all over the formation, as LA looks to exploit various matchups across the field.

Allen is rolling lately, totaling 23 catches for 331 yards and three touchdowns the last two weeks. With how dialed in he and Rivers are, there is no reason to think the success will not continue this week.

Even with some poor efforts the last two weeks, the Browns still allow less than 100 yards rushing per game. If they slow down running back Melvin Gordon early, it should signal big days for Rivers and Allen. The two should be able to hook-up for at least 100 yards on Sunday.

4. Gordon is the only bright spot, as the Browns fall to 0-12 in a blowout loss.

The Browns beat the Chargers last year for their only win of the season. Does history repeat itself this weekend in Los Angeles? The answer is no.

Head coach Anthony Lynn has the Chargers playing great football, as they have won five of their last seven games. Rivers and Allen are dominating opposing defenses, while Bosa and Ingram constantly are harassing quarterbacks.

Even with Gordon back, the Browns offense will not be able to put up enough points in this one. Plus, the Chargers should be looking to avenge the brutal loss from last year. East coast teams typically struggle on their trips out west. That trend should continue for the Browns on Sunday.

Next: Getting to Sunday is Gordon's win

Only five games left, Browns fans. Keep hanging in there. Prediction: 34-10 Chargers