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Bears set to battle Browns in Cleveland

CLEVELAND — The Bears will look to win their second straight game and at least maintain a share of first place in the NFC North Sunday when they battle the Browns in Cleveland.

The Bears (7-6) are tied for the division lead with the Lions (7-6), who host the Ravens Monday night. The Packers (6-6-1), who are a half-game back, visit the Cowboys Sunday. The Browns (4-9) have lost four straight and seven of eight and are in last place in the AFC North.

Quarterback Jay Cutler will start Sunday after missing the last four games with a high ankle sprain. In eight games this season he has completed 63.0 percent of his passes for 1,908 yards with 13 touchdowns, eight interceptions and an 88.4 passer rating. He missed one contest earlier in the season with a torn groin muscle and hasn't started and finished a game since Oct. 10.


Quarterback Jay Cutler returns to action Sunday when the Bears visit the Browns.
Josh McCown returns to the bench after excelling in relief of Cutler. Appearing in the last seven games with five starts, the 11-year veteran has completed 66.8 percent of his passes for 1,809 yards with 13 touchdowns, one interception and a 109.8 passer rating.

McCown was named NFC offensive player of the week for his performance in last Monday night's 45-28 win over the Cowboys. He became the first Bears player to account for five touchdowns in a game since 1972, passing for a career-high four scores and running for another. He also threw for 348 yards and posted a personal-best 141.9 passer rating.

The Bears offense features two 1,000-yard receivers and one 1,000-yard rusher for only the second time in franchise history. Brandon Marshall has 84 receptions for 1,090 yards and nine touchdowns, while Alshon Jeffery has caught 75 passes for 1,193 yards and six TDs. They have combined for 2,283 yards, the most by any two teammates in the NFL.

Matt Forte ranks fourth in the NFL in rushing with 1,073 yards and seven touchdowns on 234 carries and is third in the league with 1,581 yards from scrimmage, having caught 65 passes for 518 yards and 2 TDs. The 65 receptions are the most ever by a Bears running back.

They will face a Browns defense that ranks seventh in the NFL in total yards, fourth against the run and tied for eighth versus the pass. Cleveland is led by inside linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, cornerback Joe Haden and safety T.J. Ward.

On the other side of the ball, Browns receiver Josh Gordon leads the NFL with 1,400 yards even though he was suspended for the first two games of the season for violating the league's substance abuse policy. Gordon has compiled 774 yards in his last four games, an NFL record.

Browns quarterback Jason Campbell, who spent last season with the Bears backing up Jay Cutler, will make his sixth start of the year Sunday against his former team. In last weekend's 27-26 loss in New England, Campbell completed 29 of 44 passes for a career-high 391 yards with three touchdowns, no interceptions and a 116.6 passer rating.

The Bears defense, which ranks last in the NFL against the run, will again play without linebacker Lance Briggs, who will miss his seventh straight game with a fractured shoulder.

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