Chargers (3-2) at Browns (2-2-1)
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