Charg­ers (3-2) at Browns (2-2-1)

USA TODAY Sports Weekly - - NEWS - Jeff Ris­don

Sun­day, 1 p.m. ET, FirstEn­ergy Sta­dium, Cleve­land


Danny Sheri­dan’s line: by 1

Charg­ers’ keys to vic­tory: Los An­ge­les has done a great job of bal­anc­ing its of­fense. QB Philip Rivers re­mains one of the league’s most ef­fec­tive passers, but part of the rea­son is be­cause RBs Melvin Gor­don and Austin Ekeler are so ver­sa­tile and ef­fi­cient. Keep­ing the at­tack­ing Browns de­fense off bal­ance and mak­ing them pay for their as­sign­ment break­downs should give the Charg­ers a chance to put up a lot of points if the line gives Rivers time. De­fen­sively, the Charg­ers need to im­prove at get­ting off the field on third down.

Browns’ keys to vic­tory: Start with a bet­ter start — Cleve­land has scored the fewest first-quar­ter points (six) in the league. The Browns can­not af­ford to fall be­hind and lose the abil­ity to dic­tate game pace. Get­ting an early lead also would help un­leash the de­fense to be even more ag­gres­sive with DE Myles Gar­rett, who is av­er­ag­ing one sack a game. That, in turn, could cre­ate more take­away op­por­tu­ni­ties for sen­sa­tional rookie CB Den­zel Ward and ball-hawk­ing S Da­mar­i­ous Ran­dall. Cleve­land’s spe­cial teams must im­prove. The re­turn and cov­er­age units and missed kicks have con­sis­tently hurt the Browns. K Greg Joseph missed an ex­tra-point at­tempt against the Ravens be­fore hit­ting the win­ning field goal.

Matchup to watch: Charg­ers LT Rus­sell Okung vs. Browns DE Myles Gar­rett. Okung has been de­cent in pass pro­tec­tion, but Gar­rett is a dif­fer­ent level of pass rusher.

Who wins? Cleve­land fig­ured out how to win in Week 5. The mo­men­tum car­ries on.

Browns, 19-16 Charg­ers

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