The Browns travel to Philadelphia for their first road game to take on the Eagles tonight. This would normally be the week that the starters play the longest and coaches even start to do some game planning. However key injuries and the weather could change those plans.
As many as six Browns could be forced to sit out the game with injuries including some key performers on the offensive side. Receiver Mohamed Massaquoi, guard Eric Stienbach and running back Brandon Jackson are out and receiver Josh Cribbs and running back Peyton Hillis might not play. Additionally, both starting safeties will sit this one out.
The Browns split their first two exhibition games. QB Colt McCoy has put up an impressive 132.6 passer rating through the first two weeks and can be expected to challenge a Philadelphia defense that has had problems so far, especially with its linebackers. McCoy has not thrown an interception in the first two games and has four TD passes.
The Eagles are also 1-1 in the preseason. Last week the Steelers blitzed and harassed Michael Vick continuously. That has raised a lot of questions this week about Vick’s ability to read defenses and anticipate the blitz. He is looking for a chance to prove himself against the Browns. Look for running backs Dion Lewis and Ronnie Brown to carry more of the load tonight.
The weather could also dictate how this game is played. Rain has been falling in Philadelphia throughout the day and more is expected during the game. A slick field could make it difficult for Browns’ defenders to corral Vick and the speedy Philadelphia receivers. However, coaches may be reluctant to play the starters as long if the conditions deteriorate.
One of the more interesting positional battles tonight should be for the Eagles’ back-up QB position. Free agent signee Vince Young was thought to be the heavy favorite but former Northwestern QB Mike Kafka has outplayed Young through the first two games so that spot is up for grabs. Expect both to try to impress Coach Andy Reid.
Browns vs Eagles Betting Odds
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Browns vs Redskins Pick
Don’t expect the Browns to be able to put nearly as much pressure on Vick and the Eagles offense tonight as the Steelers did last week plus Vick is out to prove last year was not a fluke. Add that to the significant number of injuries to key Cleveland offensive players and that the two Eagle back-up QBs have something to prove and it looks like an Eagles’ win.