The Chicago Bears (7-6) travel to chilly Cleveland (4-9) to battle the Browns on Sunday.
The game marks the first of two straight road matchups for the Bears, who will face Philadelphia on Sunday Night Football next week.
With three weeks left, the Bears season is on the line. They have to play each week like it is a playoff caliber game no matter who the opponent.
Cleveland has dropped four straight, including two at home, but they're a very tough team especially on the defensive side of the ball.
Cornerback Joe Haden leads the way for the Browns with four interceptions and an impressive 17 pass deflections.
Plenty of talent resides on Cleveland's side, they just haven't been able to put it all together yet.
The Bears need to be on top of their game. The offense has been on fire as of late under Josh McCown.
More bigger plays should come about with Jay Cutler now back under center. If the Bears can win the time of possession battle that should make things easier.
The NFC North is a three-way race with the Lions, Bears and Packers all vying for likely one spot in the playoffs through the division.
The next three weeks are must win games for the Bears, starting with the Browns on Sunday. This is a big game. Time for Trestman and Co. to put the pieces in place.
Here are five players you should pay attention to on Sunday on the road in Cleveland.
Since his return from a hamstring injury in Week 12, the second-year Boise State product has racked up only four tackles (one solo). With Corey Wootton kicked out to his natural end position and Jeremiah Ratliff starting at defensive tackle it has forced McClellin to the bench more often than not. He's still a crucial part of the Bears' defense success. The pass rush is very important, so look for McClellin to be active on Sunday. He needs to be a factor on plenty of his snaps over the next three weeks, especially right now.
The fourth-year Northwestern product has been active since moving back to defensive end in Week 13. He has six tackles (four solo), a half-sack and two pass deflections over the last two games. A free agent at season's end, Wootton has been the most powerful lineman on the team this season. His stats don't prove that, but he has been versatile and he has come up with big plays, especially late. This is a big week for Wootton, who will be matched up with right tackle Mitchell Schwartz for most of the afternoon.
It's rare for a special teams player to make this list, but the 31-year old Hester has come very close to breaking a long return as of late. He has one punt return touchdown on the season, which came in a Week Seven loss to the Redskins. It was an 81-yard return. Since then he's only fielded seven punts, which included longs of 19 and 23. He returned a kickoff 57 yards two weeks ago against Minnesota. He's averaging 28.1 yards per kick return and 11.6 yards per punt return on the year. Look for Hester to be pumped up. He is playing for another contract this off-season. Watch out for #23 on Sunday.
This kid is just flat out ridiculous. The second-year man out of South Carolina has proven to everyone that he is a legitimate threat , maybe even a number one option on an offense. He caught five balls for 84 yards and one touchdown last week. The 26-yard touchdown grab came at the very end of the first half and was one of the prettiest catches you will see all year if not ever. He's posted only two bad receiving games (Week 2- 11 yards, Week 6 - 27 yards), other than that he's reeled in 40 or more yards per game. He has two 200 plus yard games, three 100 plus yard games and two 80 plus yard games. Playing opposite Brandon Marshall surely makes it tough for any opposing defense. Jeffery will be matched up with corner Buster Skrine on Sunday.
The fourth-year Florida product returned last week after missing the Week 13 loss to Minnesota with a hamstring injury. He was quiet for much of the night, adding four tackles (three solo). For him to be quiet is probably a better thing for the Bears. This week he doesn't face a tough matchup in the run game, but he faces a tough one in the pass. Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron are two very talented pass catchers. Wright needs to stay in his gaps and make sure he helps cornerbacks Tim Jennings and Zackary Bowman over the top. This is a big game for Wright, who is also playing for a lucrative contract this off-season.
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