TV: CBS, Gus Johnson, Steve Tasker
*2006 RANKINGS: Browns: offense 31st (31st rush, 27th pass); defense 17th (28th rush, 5th pass). Chargers: offense 3rd (2nd rush, 15th pass); defense 2nd (6th rush, 6th pass)
PREDICTION: Chargers 33-17
KEYS TO THE GAME:
The Chargers finally got RB LaDainian Tomlinson untracked on the ground last weekend and figure to feature the run heavily again against a Browns defense allowing 136.1 rushing yards per game.
San Diego simply wants to avoid turnovers because its defense should dominate the game even without suspended OLB Shawne Merriman.
The issue for Cleveland will be in running the ball well enough to set up shots against San Diego's weaker secondary. Chargers DT Jamal Williams has a 50-pound advantage on Browns C Hank Fraley and should be able to clog up the middle, meaning Browns RB Reuben Droughns will have a difficult time running between the tackles.
With or without help from the ground game, Browns QB Charlie Frye must avoid turnovers because Cleveland has to do just about everything right to keep the game close into the fourth quarter.
FAST FACTS: Browns: Have won eight of their past 10 game when scoring at least 20 points. Defense is second in NFL allowing just 5.42 net yards per pass play. Chargers: Will wear throwback uniforms in honor of Alumni Weekend. Have won seven consecutive November games. Seek first 4-0 home record since 2001.
--DE Igor Olshansky practiced for the first time since injuring his knee Oct. 15 in San Francisco. But he had to shut it down before the workout was completed, and it looks as if he is down again Sunday. Jacques Cesaire would replace him.
--S Clinton Hart (hip) didn't work out Thursday, and he's somewhat surprised at his inability to practice. He could be down Sunday.
--S Bhawoh Jue (knee) was able to practice Thursday. His presence would lessen the impact of S Clinton Hart (hip) potentially missing Sunday's game.
--RB LaDainian Tomlinson could be in for a big game Sunday. In three career games against the Browns, he has rushed for 100 yards in each contest, including going for 200 in one outing. He averages nearly 6 yards per carry and 137 yards per game. The Browns run defense is ranked 28th, giving up 136 rushing yards per game.
--WR Dennis Northcutt returned to practice for the first time since hurting his ribs Oct. 8. Northcutt has a good chance to return to the field and play the role as the third receiver.
--CB Daven Holly spent the better part of two days in the hospital having an illness investigated. The Browns would not reveal the nature of the illness, but it appears doubtful that Holly will play Sunday.
--C Hank Fraley will have his hands full with San Diego DT Jamal Williams. Williams should be able to handle Fraley and plug the middle of the line, slowing Reuben Droughns' running.
--OT Ryan Tucker remains on an excused absence from the team. It appears Kelly Butler will step in for the second week in a row. Butler acquitted himself fairly well in his first start against the Jets, but faces a much tougher challenge against the Chargers defense.
--QB Charlie Frye may see his attempts drop as the Browns turn to a more ball-control style of offense. The switch to Jeff Davidson as offensive coordinator has bolstered the running game, which could affect Frye's attempts.
--LB Willie McGinest has been slowed by calf and ankle injuries and may not face the Chargers. The last thing the Browns need is a hobbling linebacker as they try to stop RB LaDainian Tomlinson.