Eagles-Browns Pregame Thoughts

A fast start is essential.

A solid formula for an upset in the NFL is for a superior team to allow their inferior opponent to hang around and stay within striking distance early in the game. As the game goes on, the inferior team gains confidence, and the superior team can’t get into a groove and plays down to the level of their opposition.

The most important thing the Eagles need to do on Sunday is get out to an early lead. They need to assert themselves from the opening kickoff, and send the Browns an early message to let them know they won’t be starting their season with a win. The offense must be in a no-nonsense mood, and get out to a quick 14-0 lead in the first quarter. It would completely demoralize Cleveland, and set the stage for an afternoon of smooth sailing.

If the Eagles come out flat, and manage only 10 points in the first half, they’re going to be inviting a disaster. Regardless of their level of talent, any NFL team can become dangerous if they’re playing in a close game that they think they can win. Andy Reid’s teams have been guilty of unacceptable let downs against some of the league’s worst teams, such as the infamous tie in Cincinnati during the 2008 season and the loss to the lowly Oakland Raiders during the 2009 campaign.

It’s a cliche, but in the NFL any team can win on any given Sunday. This element of the game is what makes this league the best in professional sports, and it’s a lesson that arrogant, unprepared teams are forced to relearn from time to time.

How could the Browns beat the Eagles?

For the next few paragraphs, I’m going to try and put myself in the mindset of the most diehard (and delusional) Cleveland Browns fans, and try to rationalize a scenario in which this team can upset the Eagles.

For such an upset to occur, it’s going to have to start with the Cleveland defense. The Browns aren’t all bad on defense. They’ve got a defensive line anchored by defensive tackle Phil Taylor, who led all interior lineman in the league with 83 tackles last season. They have a couple of veteran leaders in playmaking middle linebacker D’Qwell Jackson and former Eagle Sheldon Brown. They also have some talented young players, like cornerback Joe Haden. Even on their best day, this unit won’t be able to shut the Eagles down, but they could make a difference in the game if they’re able to play a smart and opportunistic brand of football; they need to cover Michael Vick’s receivers well, and force the mistake-prone quarterback into at least a couple of turnovers.

On offense, the Browns will need to set rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden up for success by establishing a solid running game. They’ll have to exploit the Eagles’ Wide-Nine defensive line fronts, and try to gash the defense for large gains with running backs Trent Richardson and Monterio Hardesty. After establishing the run, they can turn to Weeden for some short and intermediate passes. They can try to pick on Nnamdi Asomugha, who has struggled throughout the preseason, or the suspect Philadelphia safeties.

The Browns also have an X-factor in return man Josh Cribbs. Cribbs is one of the most dynamic kick/punt returners in football, and his big-play ability has been responsible for a number of Cleveland victories in the last few seasons. The wide receiver has the potential to make a difference in any game.

It’s also worth noting that the Eagles have had a nasty habit for slow starts under Andy Reid, and the team has come out completely flat and unprepared on several opening days in the Reid era. The Browns could hold out some hope that Philadelphia won’t be ready to go, especially when they consider that the starting quarterback has only taken 12 snaps in the preseason.

Why the Browns won’t beat the Eagles.

And now we’ll step back into reality.

Although I think the Cleveland defense is decent, they just can’t account for all of the Eagles’ offensive talent. Even though quality play from Vick is far from a sure thing in my eyes, I have to believe that this offense should be able to move the ball at will in this game. LeSean McCoy will miss Jason Peters, but he’s still one of the best running backs in football, and the speedy Philadelphia receivers should be able to take advantage of the lack of speed in the Browns’ secondary and routinely get themselves open for big plays.

The Browns are leaning too heavily on unproven players on the offensive side of the ball. Even though Trent Richardson is a great talent, he hasn’t played through most of the preseason, and may need time to jell with his teammates and get a feel for the game at the NFL level before he becomes a serious threat. Brandon Weeden will have a hard enough time establishing himself while dealing with deep and talented Philadelphia pass rush, but he may not get a lot of help from his receivers. Mohamed Massaquoi and Greg Little don’t scare anyone on paper.

While Josh Cribbs in the one legitimate scoring threat on the Cleveland roster, I can’t imagine that his talents alone could swing this game in the Browns’ favor.

Final Thoughts

If the Eagles don’t win this game going away, many things will have had to go horribly wrong. We’re talking about a team that is in a major rebuilding mode, and will in all likelihood finish with one of the five worst records in the league. Even though they’ve improved their offensive talent through the draft, the unit is still in the infancy of their development, and can’t possibly compete with a team that many (myself not included) expect to win at least 10 games and win their division. I expect the Eagles to win with ease, and hopefully get Michael Vick and the offense in sync as they prepare for a legitimate opponent next week when the Baltimore Ravens come to town.

26 thoughts on “Eagles-Browns Pregame Thoughts

  1. We all know the Eagles never do anything easy and This game will probably be closer than it should early inthe 3Rd Quarter and then the Eagles get their legs under them and win going away 27-13. If Vick and Co Protect the Ball, and the defense stays away from Defenseive Penalties that allow the Browns to extend Drivers then yest this game should be over by the 1st half but we all know tthat most NFL Games don’t work out this way..
    The only chance the Browns have is to pound,pound and pound the rock and if they don’t Rush the Ball 4-50 Times, they have no chance, but don’t fall asleep on WR Greg Little who is probably their #1 WR and Cribbs in the Return Game.. They should blitz Weeden every chance they can early in the game to get him rattled..

  2. Agreed…….

    Vick is a master at keeping both teams in the game. One big run followed by one big sack.

    I can easily see an early sack-fumble leaging to a Cleveland 3, then a VickPick for another 3 and Birds get out of the half 10-6……

    Into the second…..and its some close 17-13 into the late 3rd. Vick will pull off some escapee Savardian spin-o-rama for 30yrds…..Leads to a TD.

    All the Vickpologists will say, “see – he’s amazing!! He won the game!!” Forgetting that Cleveland was only competitive due to his early foibles…

    Remember that this Cleveland team has a new owner. Everyone and his dog (pardon the pun) knows there will be wholesale changes next year at GM and every coaching position….along with players….this is dead team walking.

    Should be 35-10….I figure it’ll be 24-13.

  3. Paulman’s list of Players who will probably not be dressed to play in today’s Game
    Colt Anderson,Riley Cooper, C Polk, V Curry and the new OL they picked up last week to get to the 48 Players Allowed to Dress for the Game

  4. Do I have this don as an easy win? sure. I also had the Cards and Seahawks down as easy wins last year as well tho…The Birds should blow this team out easily..the Browns are probably the worst team in the league along with the Dolphins this year. They have no business winning 3 games this season.

    However, If Vicks basically gets breathed upon we have seen all him get injured and put out of the game…If the Defense still hasn’t learned fundamentals such as tackling Richardson could easily bring back nightmares of Marshawn Lynch for us…

    I just want the W every week. I don’t need Vick to pass for 300 plus yards a week..I don’t need our D to hold a team to under 10 points a game..or for DJax to have an 80 catch season..Just give me a W every week and thats all I care about…Just saying this team cant take any team in the league for granted because they don’t deserve that based upon the disaster they put out on the field last year. They are not good enough to take anybody for granted in this league.

  5. If anything this Birds team should have a huge chip on their shoulder every week. They should play angry and more motivated than any other team in the league, week in and week out, if they have any heart at all. They were the laughing stock of the NFL last year with Dream Team BS. The division rival won another Superbowl in the past 5 years. Their Coach’s son just passed away weeks ago. As a team they have more to play for than anybody in the league this year. They have all the incentive in the world to not just win but to beat the hell out of the opponent every time their on the field this year. Im looking forward to seeing what this team is truly made out of. Go Birds.

  6. Same old sucky Eagles

    McCoy touches the ball 1 time time in the first 14 plays..Assanine Game plan and the Eagles Deserve to lose this Game… Vick, D-Jax are some of the most Over-rated players in the entire NFL… CB Asmo is right up there with them,,,
    Bring QB Foles in for Vick sucks and will never stop playing street-ball for that’s what he is..

  7. A qb is not to ever make the back across your body into the center of the field throw. That is Pee-Wee league gospel. Never, ever, don’t do it. He did it.

  8. Same old Shit 8 Penalties for 70 Yards and the BRowns even declined a couple.. This is one othe NFL’s most undisciplined Teams which is a poor reflection on the entire Coaching Staff and specifically HC AR.. This is every years too many penalties, poor clock managment, terrible game plans
    (33 out of the 44 Total plays the Eagles have called have been Pass Plays nad you have one of the NFL’s premeir RB’s in L MCCOy with 8 Carries averaging 5.5 Yards per Carry.. It’s like this Game Plan was designed in making VIck look good today with fluff stats instead of simply beating and dominating your inferior opponent) and this my friends is exactly why the Eagles will never Win any Chapionship or even be a legitimate Super Bowl Contendor.. They will win 8-9-10 Games nad get dumped in the 1st Round in the Playoffs against a Team with better Coaching and a better Philolosphy

  9. M Vick is a joke of a QB.. There will be 6 QB in their 1st and 2nd Year that can read defenses and protect the ball better them him already… Bench his ass..and now ..

  10. Skins with RGIII leading the way, are spanking the Saints in the Superdome by a score of 30-14, looks like it’s basement time for the Eagles for 2012..

  11. Its the coaches ,, Vick won run because of the coaches,, Its retarded Cam Newton runs RG3 runs .. Aaron rodgers runs…. Let the mutha F’er Run

  12. Y the coaches. For sure

    6 terrible decisions (at least) for 2 picks (could have been more)

    a bad throw (high and ahead) for pick 3

    21 of 40 (52%)

    Y. Coaches for sure

    Com’on Larrwd….wake up

  13. Special Teams- Rturn Game still sucks.. Boykin/D Johnson but same results .. Eagles Special Teams OCach Bobby April is one of the highest paid SPecial Teams Coachined in the entire NFL and I have seen much improvement in the return game since his arrival as Coach.. D-Jax has had great Punt Returns but was mostly on his own, not the blocking scheme or any wall set up for him..

  14. Will they now bench that Bum-Ass QB Vick, he has litterally thrown away this game to one of the worst Teams in the NFL.. Bench his Ass and bring in FOles or even Edwards.. Who cares how big his contract is, or if his feelings are hurt, the Eagles have to win this game or their Season is probably over as far as making Playoffs.. Redskins and COwboys already won Games that they were not expected too.. We all know the Giants will rebound and be there at the end, but Now I have Eagles at best only getting a 3-3 SPlit within the NFC East Games meaning they need to win most of their non-division games

  15. Why the coaches? because the eagles have the lead and wont run the ball.. The whole cleveland defense isnt even worried about the run ..

  16. Complete Meltdown by the Eagles.. Vick, now the Kicker Henery..
    They deserve to lose this game, They deserve to be 0-1 and one of the bottom feeders of the NFC.. Cowboys won, the Bears, Redskins,Falcons,are all winning and Eagles are already behind the Wild-Card Spot chase after probably playing their easiest opponenet on their schedule.. You Fans keep drinking all that bs Hype about Vick, d-Jax and Co being unstoppable.. They stop themselves with Turnoves and Penalties just like last year..

  17. Yeah, Yeah, they won 17-16, but to me, this was a Loss and they will be ranked accordingly in Paulman’s NFC Rankings after all games are played this weekend.. Right now, I have at least 8 teams ahead of the Eagles in the NFC ..

  18. Paulman’s NFC Rankings ?????

    Lol lol lol lol lol lol lol
    Where’s Thongs at with his failed Offensive Line Coach ?
    Where’s Thongs at with his DRC is ass comments
    Mike Vick kept the game close with his TO’s
    Yeah yeah yeah by 1 or 21 they won
    Where’s all the Demeco can’t play comments
    How many times did he make a big play
    Imma call Regular Season Ryan’s from now on…lol

    1. DUDE, you are an idiot! How the F^#@ are you pumping your chest out, after a performance like that?!?!? You gotta be kidding?!?!?

  19. Easy with the name calling playboy
    Not pumping my chest I’m just busting balls on the dudes
    Who can’t even enjoy a win cause that’s all we can do
    Did he play like shit ? ABSO-PHUCKIN-LUTELY
    Am I happy he threw 4 shoulda been 5 picks..NO
    Did he drive 91 yds in the 4th to get a win ? YES

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