Eagles Start Redemption Tour in Cleveland
Coming off a most disappointing 2011 campaign the highly regarded Philadelphia Eagles begin their 2012 NFL season this Sunday when they pay an inter-conference visit on the Cleveland Browns (1 pm Eastern, Fox).
What might we expect out of this year’s version of the Birds this week?
Philly began last year as a very chic pick to click on NFC championship and Super Bowl NFL odds boards. But ultimate success was nowhere to be found. The Eagles started 1-4 and eventually fell to 4-8, before rallying to win their last four to finish at 8-8.
But that late run was no moral victory for this outfit, which with all its talent is expected to contend for a Super Bowl berth, not scramble to finish .500.
This year it’s the same story for Philly, times two. The Eagles fell on their faces last year; now they’re expected to bounce back.
As for Philly’s Week foe, Cleveland has won four, five, five and four games over its last four seasons. Now the Browns turn their offense over to a guy (rookie QB Brandon Weeden) who was throwing against the Swiss cheese-like defenses of the Big 12 Conference last year.
Cleveland ranked 29th in the league in offense last year at 289 YPG, 28th in rushing at 96 YPG and 30th vs. the run, allowing 147 YPG on the ground. How much will those numbers improve this season?
Well, they could improve at least a little, if first-round draft choice Trent Richardson can provide a boost to the running game, and if free agents Frostee Rucker and Juqua Parker can beef-up the defensive line.
But those are big ‘ifs,’ as is going with a rookie at QB, even if he is 28 years old.
Eagles-Browns Recent History
These two teams last met four seasons ago, when the Eagles, quarterbacked by Donovan McNabb, beat the Browns, quarterbacked by somebody named Ken Dorsey, 30-10 in Philly.
Place Your Bets
As of Monday afternoon most NFL betting outlets were listing the Eagles at -9 for Sunday’s game, but Philly could be found at -8 at a couple of shops.
And the total on Sunday’s game could be found at 41, 41.5 and 42, depending upon where you’re looking.
Philly’s Long-Term Prospects
As the season-opener approaches Bookmaker is listing the Eagles at +108 to win the NFC East this season +640 to win the NFC and +1200 to win Super Bowl 47.