Herbert, Chargers set to test Browns' surging defense

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CLEVELAND (3-1) at LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (3-1)

Sunday, 4:05 p.m. EDT, CBS

OPENING LINE: Browns by 1, according to FanDuel SportsBook.

AGAINST THE SPREAD: Cleveland 3-1; Los Angeles 3-1.

SERIES RECORD: Chargers lead 17-9-1.

LAST MEETING: Chargers beat Browns 38-14 on Oct. 14, 2018, in Cleveland.

LAST WEEK: Browns beat Vikings 14-7; Chargers beat Raiders 28-14.

BROWNS OFFENSE: OVERALL (11), RUSH (1), PASS (26), SCORING (12).

BROWNS DEFENSE: OVERALL (2), RUSH (3), PASS (3), SCORING (4).

CHARGERS OFFENSE: OVERALL (10), RUSH (T-16), PASS (6), SCORING (T-14).

CHARGERS DEFENSE: OVERALL (9), RUSH (29), PASS (5), SCORING (7).

TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Browns minus-1; Chargers plus-3.

BROWNS PLAYER TO WATCH: Rookie LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. The second-round pick from Notre Dame has gotten more playing time the past two weeks and made the most of it. The Browns have been impressed at how he’s handled a heavier workload. Also, any worries about Owusu-Koramoah being undersized have so far been eased as he’s shown he can fill a hole or take on a pulling lineman.

CHARGERS PLAYER TO WATCH: TE Jared Cook had six receptions for 70 yards and a touchdowns against Las Vegas, none bigger than his catch for 13 yards on fourth-and-2 at midfield in the fourth quarter after the Chargers’ lead had been cut to 21-14. Los Angeles is 4 of 4 on fourth downs, keeping its offense on the field, with Cook moving the chains on both attempts against the Raiders.

KEY MATCHUP: Rams rookie LT Rashawn Slater vs. Browns DE Myles Garrett. His explosiveness and strength has led some teams to double- or triple-teaming Garrett, or at the minimum, using a tight end to “chip” him coming off the line. Slater has played exceptionally well, but this will be his stiffest test to date against Garrett and his league-leading six sacks.

KEY INJURIES: Browns rookie CB Greg Newsome II (calf) will miss his second straight game. … Cleveland had six defensive contributors sit out practice earlier this week with several expected to be game-time decisions. … Browns WR Jarvis Landry remains sidelined with a knee sprain suffered in Week 2. … Browns starting LT Jedrick Wills Jr. has been playing despite a sprained ankle sustained in the season opener.

SERIES NOTES: The Chargers have won the last two meetings and three of the past four against the Browns. … Los Angeles is 12-0 in the series when scoring at least 25 points. … The Browns are 3-8 against the Chargers since returning to the league in 1999. … Cleveland QB Baker Mayfield was 22 of 46 passing for 238 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in a loss to the Chargers in 2018.

STATS AND STUFF: The Browns have allowed 266 yards rushing through four games, the fewest in franchise history. … The Browns' defense continues to improve after a slow start. Cleveland has given up just 20 points in the last 10 quarters. … Chargers QB Justin Herbert has 10 300-yard passing games through his first 19 starts. He is tied with Patrick Mahomes and Dan Marino for most 300-yard games through two seasons. … Herbert has thrown a league-leading 13 touchdown passes in October since last season. … Chargers OLB Joey Bosa has five tackles for loss and three sacks in two games against the Browns. … Chargers WR Mike Williams has five explosive receptions of at least 20 yards this season, but just one of those plays resulted in a touchdown. Williams had four scores covering 20-plus yards last season.

FANTASY TIP: Browns RB Nick Chubb got his first 100-yard rushing performance of the season against the Vikings, hitting the century mark on 21 carries, and ranks second in the NFL with 362 yards. But the Chargers showed significant improvement in defending the run on Monday, limiting the Raiders to 2.7 yards per carry, so Chubb might need another heavy workload to justify RB1 status this week.

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The Associated Press

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