The regular season is finally here. The final cuts have been made and speculation about who the back-up quarterback is have been put to rest. (For those who don’t know, it’s Nick Foles) Now it’s time for some serious football. You can pretty much throw out everything you saw in the preseason games because those games are nothing more than a smokescreen. Our first real look at the Philadelphia Eagles will come this Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. The Browns provide the Eagles a perfect opportunity to start the season with a bang.
Eagles Offense vs. Browns Defense
Can Michael Vick stay healthy? That is the number one question for all Eagles fans heading into this season. In fact, Michael Vick’s health is probably the key to the Eagles entire season. As I’ve said before, I don’t trust the rookie Nick Foles to lead this team. It has to
be Michael Vick.
If it wasn’t for the defense, the Browns probably would not have won four games last year. That being said, Cleveland’s starting secondary for this season combined for a grand total of two interceptions last season. The Eagles speedy receivers should shred this Browns secondary. Versatile running back LeSean McCoy should also have a field day against a young front seven for the Browns. One player to keep an eye on is defensive end Jabaal Sheard, who forced five fumbles and recorded 8.5 sacks last season. If the Eagles offensive line can keep him contained, Michael Vick will have his way against this Browns defense.
Eagles Defense vs. Browns Offense
There is only one word to describe the Cleveland Browns offense last year: horrible. The Colt McCoy era is over, and the Browns will rely on the 28 year old rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden this season. Weeden may turn out to be a nice QB, but this is still his first regular season game in the NFL. I expect some growing pains from him. The same thing can be said about rookie running back Trent Richardson. However, he might not even play this Sunday due to a knee injury. He is listed as questionable. If Richardson cannot play, the burden will be put on Montario Hardesty, who rushed for a meager 266 yards on 88 carries last season.
With all that said, the Eagles defense wasn’t much to brag about either last year. The run defense was a disaster for the first 12 games, and than finally showed improvement over the last four games. Now, they were not dealt an easy hand. The Eagles had the second most turnovers in the league last season which put most of the pressure on new defensive coordinator Juan Castillo and his young set of linebackers and safeties.
The Eagles added veteran middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans from the Houston Texans to help with the run defense. In the preseason, Ryans looked like an average linebacker stopping the run. But again, it was just the preseason. Meanwhile, rookie outside linebacker Mychal Kendricks has looked solid in his three preseason game appearances.
Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman will start at the two safety positions this week. Both of these players have something to prove after an underwhelming, injury-ridden 2011 season.
Eagles 27 Browns 10
The Eagles have a bunch of question marks on the defensive side of the ball. It’s a good thing that they are starting the season against the lowly Cleveland Browns