Week 1: Cleveland Browns Vs. Philadelphia Eagles
- QuarterbackBrandon Weeden gets the No. 1 quarterback position for the Browns and he has passed all his preseason tests. That won’t matter a bit when he’s facing a live defense like Philadelphia’s. He’s going to struggle badly.Michael Vick suffered bruised ribs in the preseason, but the expectation is that he will be back in the starting lineup for this game. His is big season for Vick because his window is starting to close. He’s still a brilliant athlete with great arm strength, but he makes too many mistakes.
- OffenseThe Browns are hoping Trent Richardson’s knee will allow him to play but the Browns may have to turn to Montario Hardesty, a decent backup. The receivers are not good enough to help out an older rookie quarterback like Weeden, but the presence of Joe Thomas at left tackle is a big boost for this team.The Eagles have the ability to put one of the most explosive offenses on the field. LeSean McCoy is one of the shiftiest runners in the league, but don’t ask him to pound out short-yardage plays. DeSean Jackson is a diva at receiver but he is a game breaker while Jeremy Maclin works the middle.
- DefenseIf the Browns have any chance of showing significant improvement this year, it will be the result of a defense that has the ability to shut down good offensive teams. Middle linebacker D’Qwell Jackson is a tackling machine who registered 158 stops a year ago.The talent level on the defense is quite high, but the production didn’t match because defensive coordinator Juan Castillo didn’t seem to know what he was doing. Defensive ends Jason Babin and Trent Cole are capable of taking over a game and middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans has an opportunity to become a star as he returns to a 4-3 defense.
- Special TeamsWhile he has only returned one kick for a touchdown in the last two years, Joshua Cribbs could explode at any time and make a spectacular return. Placekicker Phil Dawson is dependable when the game is on the line and does well in bad-weather situations.After years of depending on David Akers, the Eagles moved on to Alex Henery last year at the placekicker position. He struggled early but did much better at the end of the season. His sound-alike at punter Alex Henry struggled quite a bit last year.
The Eagles were perhaps the most disappointing team in the NFL last year after loading up with talent and failing to make the postseason. Vick needs to get off to a good start and avoid turnovers. Cleveland lacks talent at the skill positions and will struggle to score points.