WHEN: 1 p.m., today TV: CBS; RADIO:?93.3 WBBG
RECORDS: Chargers (3-3); Browns (1-6)
SERIES: Chargers lead, 14-7-1.
BROWNS ON OFFENSE: The development of quarterback Brandon Weeden continues on a steady path. He had his best performance of the season last week in a loss to the Colts. For the season Weeden is 154-of-272 for 1,783 yards, nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The line has done a great job of protecting Weeden, allowing just 11 sacks (none in the last two games). Running back Trent Richardson didn't appear to be 100 percent healthy against the Colts because of a rib injury. He's had trouble getting untracked. It could be a combination of poor blocking and Richardson not being healthy. Receiver Josh Gordon has become a big-play threat (23.8 yards per catch) and one of Weeden's go-to guys. Greg Little had his best day of the season against the Colts. Weeden is also developing chemistry with Josh Cooper.
CHARGERS ON OFFENSE: Quarterback Philip Rivers still has impressive statistics despite a four-interception performance in a meltdown against the Denver Broncos. He's completed 66.5 percent of his passes for 1,482 yards, 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Rivers is an emotional, streaky quarterback. The Browns won't know what to expect from him. Running back Ryan Mathews can look like LaDainian Tomlinson at times, with the exception that he fumbles too much. Jackie Battle shares carries with Mathews and has three touchdowns. Receiver Malcolm Floyd has 25 receptions for 418 yards. Tight end Antonio Gates is a future Hall of Famer. He's slowing down but is still a player the Browns must to target.
BROWNS ON DEFENSE: Defensive tackle Phil Taylor practiced for the first time this season. He's close to being activated off the physically-unable-to-perform list. His arrival can't come soon enough as the run defense has been awful. Opponents are averaging 134 yards a game on the ground. Defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin re-injured a calf muscle and could be out again. The pass rush has generated 18 sacks. Cornerback Buster Skrine has a team-leading 49 tackles. It's not good when a cornerback leads in stops.
CHARGERS ON DEFENSE: The defense won't make it any easier on the Browns' struggling ground game. Opponents are averaging just 71.2 rushing yards a game, second best in the NFL. That's not because opponents are having a field day through the air. The defense is yielding 229 passing yards a game. Strong safety Atari Bigby leads in tackles with 49. Ageless linebacker Takeo Spikes has 41 stops. End Shaun Phillips has a team-high 4.5 sacks.
BROWNS ON SPECIAL TEAMS: Kicker Phil Dawson is perfect on 12 field-goal attempts, including 4-of-4 from 50-plus yards. Punter Reggie Hodges is struggling with distance and accuracy. He has a net 37.7 average. Return specialist Joshua Cribbs is averaging 14.3 yards on punts and 30.9 on kicks. The numbers would be even better if not for a couple of holding penalties last week against Ray Ventrone.
CHARGERS ON SPECIAL TEAMS: Kicker Nick Novak replaced Nate Kaeding, who's on injured reserve. Novak has made 5-of-6 field-goal attempts. Punter Mike Scifres is averaging a net 42.7 yards. Richard Goodman has a 28-yard average on kick returns. Eddie Royal is averaging 5.2 yards on punt returns.
BROWNS MUST: Get something out of the ground game. Weeden has carried the offensive load, but at some point he needs more help. On defense they must rattle Rivers, who's an emotional player.
CHARGERS MUST: Keep Rivers upright and try to get Mathews going against a weak run defense. The Chargers will blitz frequently. They have to get home on some of them.
PREDICTION: Chargers, 24-17.