Philadelphia Eagles(0-0SU, 0-0 ATS) vs.Cleveland Browns(0-0SU, 0-0 ATS)
NFL Week 1
Date/Time:Sunday September 9th, 1:00 p.m. EST
Where:Cleveland Browns Stadium, Cleveland Ohio
by JH-Sportsline,ProfessionalSports Handicapper, JHSportsline.com
Point Spread:Philly -8.5/Clev +8.5
The PhiladelphiaEagles and ClevelandBrowns played in the preseason, but now it counts as week one of the NFL campaignis here. Both teams are likely going down the road as advertised this season. The Browns are near the bottom of most power rankings, while the Eagles enter the season as a legit contender.The Eagles kick-off their regular season looking to stay red hot. This team has won 8 straight including 4-0 this preseason. Philadelphia is not winning these gamesby accident either. They have out-gained theiropponentin 8 straight games and are 11-1 ITS (in the stats)lasttwelve. The Cleveland Browns are just hoping for something positive to happen at homeafter a 2-2 performance in the preseason. Cleveland went 2-0 on the road, but 0-2 in front of the home folks.I watched both of these teams in the preseason and they played to win,as if it was the regular season.
Philadelphia looks like a team on a mission this year. Last season,the Eagles had high hopes of competing for a Super Bowlwith several notableoff-seasonacquisitions, however, theyfailed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2007. Last season’s 8-8 recordwas such adisappointmentalthough injuries had something to do with that. Andy Reid is one of the best head coaches in all of football and he will have this team focused in 2012. I have a lot of respect for Andy Reid, even though he coaches against my favorite team twice a year. The Owner, JeffreyLurierecently made comments that an 8-8 record this season would cost Andy Reid his job. You just don’t need to say that publicly. Why put extra pressure on your team right before the season starts. Dumb! The Eagles need to stay healthy at the QB position(like every team), but with the way Michael Vick runs the ball that will always be a real concern. Philadelphia should run the ball more this season asLeSeanMcCoy reaches the next level this year. The Eagles offensive line is ranked No. 7,but could have been higher if not for the Jason Peters injury. Still, returning four starters in Mathis,Kelce, Watkins, andHerremans should help the chemistry.
The Browns will start rookie QB BrandonWeeden, one of five first-year quarterbacks this season. There has never been more than two in any given year. Cleveland is already dealing with a lot of nagging injuries. LinebackerScottFujitais not hurt but won’t be on the field in this game.Fujitahas been suspended three games for his involvement in the Saints bounty scandal. Also, first round pick Trent Richardson has undergone arthroscopic surgery on his left knee to remove a “hang nail particle” of loose cartilage. His status remains uncertain for this game but I think he will play. For a team that lacks depth at the skillpositionsthey can’t afford any moreinjuries. When you have a guy like BrandonWeeden, who is coming from a shotgun college offense and trying to assimilate him into an NFLWest Coast offense, there will be some growing pains. Against largely base personnel and vanilla schemes in the preseason,Weedenlooked shaky.Wide-outsGreg Little and MohamedMassaquoiclearly have the ability to play in this league, but neither of them arespeedsters who are going to consistently beat man-to-man coverage. The Eagles defense will stack the line and try to maketherookie QB beat them.NnamdiAsomugha& Dominique Rogers-Cromartieboth have a year of Juan Castillo’s system under their belts, and should be a lot more comfortable this season covering one on one.
In Week three of this preseason the Eagles defeated the Browns 27-10 as 4.5-point road underdogs. They out-gained the Browns by 79 yards. The last regular season game between these twoteams was in 2008. A 30-10 Eagles home win as 16-point favorites.Philadelphiais 3-0SUagainst the Browns since 2000. Home has not been kind to Cleveland as they are just 6-10SUand 4-11 ATS over the last three seasons at the “Dawg”Pound.
Two things to look for in this game and every NFLgame early in the season. Special Teams play and tackling. With very few practices teams just don’t practice these phases enough. The Eagles are ranked No. 4 in Special Teams and the Browns check in at No. 27. Look for the Eagles tackling and special teams compared to the Browns. You should notice aMajordifference in this week onematch-up.
Jeff’sPick to Cover the Point Spread:Philadelphia Eagles-8.5.
While I’m not a fan of laying anything more than a TD in the NFL, I will lean to the road chalk.The Browns simply have too many young pieces at key positions and not enough quality depth to pull off the upset. Early money has been coming in strong for the Eagles. This line opened at 7 and is up to 8.5. You might see 9 and 9.5 close to kick-off, so if you like the Eagles get your bet downASAP.
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