When the Chicago Bears take on the Cleveland Browns, it will be the biggest challenge of the year for the Bears offense. Not only are the Browns the best defense in the NFL, they are a lot better when they play at home. The Browns have talent advantages in almost all areas, and it will be a grind for Chicago to do much of anything on offense.
The Chicago Bears will feed D.J. Moore against the Cleveland Browns
However, if they do get a spark, it will be from D.J. Moore. This is obvious, considering the best player every week is Moore. Still, even with the tough matchup, the Bears star has some advantages.
The Browns play man coverage and cover-1 more than almost any team in the NFL. They can get away with this because they press their cornerbacks, and the pressure comes from the front so fast that quarterbacks are in a tough spot. The issue for the Browns is that Moore excels against man.
He averages 4.23 yards per route run against man coverage compared to 1.97 against the zone. Moore also averages 4.21 against single-high safety looks and 1.74 yards per route run against other looks. He is clearly better here.
Some of this is impacted by the Washington Commanders going heavy on man coverage and getting burnt by it. Still, this also has to do with Justin Fields.
It is easier for him to read man coverage and know where defenders will be. So, it is easier for him to lead D.J. Moore into spots, knowing that another zone defender will not jump the route. Also, it helps Fields get the ball out quicker, knowing he has someone to get the ball to.
Beyond that, the Browns are equipped to play man, but they are not at their best. Their top man-cornerback is Denzel Ward, and he is injured. This brings Greg Newsome from a role where he played the slot into a role where he will be playing outside. This has been a step up. Beyond that, their other outside cornerback, Martin Emerson, is better in zone.
Considering Moore and Fields are better against man, and the Browns cornerbacks are more equipped to play zone right now, it will be interesting to see if the Browns switch up their scheme for a week or if they continue to press with a man-heavy look.