Eagles-Browns Scouting Report

Posted: September 07, 2012

Recent history: The Eagles defeated the Browns, 27-10, in their third preseason game of the season. Their last regular-season matchup was on Dec. 15, 2008, a game the Eagles won, 30-10. The Browns lead the all-time series, dating back to 1950, 31-15-1.

OFFENSE

EAGLES: 399.1 yards per game (4th)

BROWNS: 288.8 yards per game (29th)

QUARTERBACK

Eagles: Michael Vick played just 12 snaps in the preseason, and it remains to be seen how rusty he'll be in Week 1. Vick needs to be more efficient on third down than he was last year when he finished 26th in the league with a 71.1 rating and six interceptions in 103 third-down attempts.

Browns: Rookie Brandon Weeden had a rough preseason, completing just 49 percent of his passes and failing to throw a TD pass. He's got a strong arm and good short-to-intermediate accuracy, but is slow in reloading when he has to adjust to a pass rush like the one he'll be facing Sunday.

ADVANTAGE: EAGLES

RUNNING BACK

Eagles: LeSean McCoy finishing fourth in the league in rushing and fifth in yards from scrimmage. He was one of the league's most effective short-yardage runners, converting 39 of 51 situations of 2 yards or less. But it remains to be seen what impact the loss of All-Pro LT Jason Peters will have on his production.

Browns: The Browns want to run the ball as much as possible to take the pressure off Brandon Weeden. But their stud rookie, Trent Richardson, missed all of the preseason due to arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. He likely will play Sunday, but will probably be on a pitch count.

ADVANTAGE: EAGLES

RECEIVING

Eagles: DeSean Jackson, has had just three 100-yard receiving performances in his last 23 games. Will a new contract transform him from a sulker to a producer? Look for the Eagles to utilize both of their tight ends - Brent Celek and Clay Harbor - in the passing game against Browns LBs and safeties.

Browns: Rookie Josh Gordon is the Browns' only blue-chip wide receiver. He made Nnamdi Asomugha look like just another corner on that go-route in the preseason. But he still is learning and isn't ready for an every-down role. Greg Little and Mohamed Massaquoi combined for four TD passes last year.

ADVANTAGE: EAGLES

OFFENSIVE LINE

Eagles: The Eagles return four of five starters from a line that was playing as well as any in the league at the end of last season. But it's the missing fifth starter that could be a problem. All-Pro LT Jason Peters was the best blocker in football last year. There's a big drop-off from him to King Dunlap.

Browns: With a rookie quarterback and rookie running back, the Browns badly need this unit to be a strength. They've got four returning starters, along with highly touted second-round rookie, Mitchell Schwartz, at right tackle. But Gs Jason Pinkston and Shawn Lauvao both struggled mightily with the Eagles' quickness in the preseason.

ADVANTAGE: EAGLES

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DEFENSE

EAGLES: 324.9 yards per game (8th)

BROWNS; 332.4 yards per game (10th)

DEFENSIVE LINE

Eagles: The Eagles led the league with 50 sacks last year, and the line had 46 of them. This year, Jim Washburn's unit is deeper and more versatile, with inside players who can slide outside (Cullen Jenkins, Fletcher Cox) and outside players who can slide inside (Brandon Graham, Darryl Tapp).

Browns: Browns finished 30th against the run last season. With their best run-stuffer, DT Phil Taylor, on PUP with a torn pec muscle, the prospects for improvement there aren't good. Taylor's absence is going to put a lot of pressure on rookies John Hughes and Billy Winn to help out veteran Ahtyba Rubin inside.

ADVANTAGE: EAGLES

LINEBACKER

Eagles: Rookie SLB Mychal Kendricks had an outstanding camp and preseason and looks to be the real deal. WLB Akeem Jordan is a solid player who might not wow you, but also won't make a lot of mistakes. The key with this unit will be MLB DeMeco Ryans, who didn't make a lot of plays in the preseason.

Browns: With Chris Gocong out with a ruptured Achilles tendon and Scott Fujita serving his Bountygate suspension, the Browns are missing two-thirds of their LB corps. Further complicating matters, Gocong's replacement, James-Michael Johnson, is out with an oblique strain.

ADVANTAGE: EAGLES

SECONDARY

Eagles: Eagles need to pray that starting safeties Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman stay healthy, because there's little depth behind them. Departure of Asante Samuel has allowed Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to move back outside where he belongs. He and Nnamdi Asomugha will play a lot of press coverage this season.

Browns: The Browns finished second in the league in pass defense in 2011. The delay in Joe Haden's suspension means the Browns will have their top cover corner for the game. Ex-Eagle CB Sheldon Brown is getting up in age. Eagles rookie WR Damaris Johnson made him look even older in the preseason meeting.

ADVANTAGE: EAGLES

SPECIAL TEAMS

Eagles: Punter Chas Henry has a strong leg, but the Eagles need more consistency from him than they got as a rookie. He put eight of 12 preseason punts inside the 20. Their return game was near the bottom of the league last year, but rookies Damaris Johnson (PR) and Brandon Boykin (KR) both looked impressive in the preseason.

Browns: Placekicker Phil Dawson had eight field goals beyond 50 yards last season. P Reggie Hodges is coming off a ruptured Achilles' tendon, but averaged 43.9 yards per attempt in 2010. PR/KR Joshua Cribbs is a dangerous return man who averaged 11.4 yards per PR and 25.0 per KR last year.

ADVANTAGE: BROWNS

DOMOWITCH'S PREDICTION: Eagles 30, Browns 16

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KEY MATCHUPS

1. Eagles LDE Jason Babin vs. Browns RT Mitchell Schwartz: Babin is coming off an 18-sack season. Schwartz is a rookie. ADVANTAGE: EAGLES

2. Eagles MLB DeMeco Ryans vs. Browns RB Trent Richardson: Richardson missed all of the preseason after needing knee surgery. Ryans is a 2-time Pro Bowler, but still is getting acclimated to a new system. ADVANTAGE: EVEN

3. Eagles WR DeSean Jackson vs. Browns CB Sheldon Brown: Jackson is coming off a subpar season. Brown is 33 and got burned by rookie Damaris Johnson a couple of times in the preseason. ADVANTAGE: EAGLES

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