Cleveland Browns vs. Philadelphia Eagles: DPD staff predictions

Aug 26, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) runs with the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 26, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) runs with the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dawg Pound Daily staff got together to give their thoughts on how the Cleveland Browns will perform in today’s season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Cleveland Browns will finally play a meaningful football game in just a few hours when they take on the Philadelphia Eagles to open the season.

There are questions surrounding both teams, but the biggest question is Carson Wentz, who is starting for the Eagles after limited playing time in the preseason. The rookie was the team’s third-string quarterback until starter Sam Bradford was traded to the Minnesota Vikings.

Wentz has the advantage of going up against a young Browns defense, but the pressure should be on early and often.

We here are Dawg Pound Daily could not be more excited about the season finally getting underway, so we got together to share our thoughts on how today’s game will go.

Jonathan Goehring: Browns 19, Eagles 14

The Browns will finally get the ever elusive season opening win, a very ugly game which will come down to the wire. Cleveland’s offense will struggle with turnovers, but the defense will force an equal amount off of a rookie quarterback making his first career start.

Philadelphia’s defense is average at best, and while the Browns offense will struggle on Sunday, they will score enough with just one touchdown to emerge victorious. Rookie receivers will still have trouble running complex routes and lining up in a timely manner, and the offensive line will struggle. The Browns won’t do much on the ground, but Griffin will lead the team down the field through the air, throwing a touchdown pass to Gary Barnidge in the second quarter.

The Browns will then have troubles in the red zone, but an accurate Patrick Murray will get them off to a 16-0 lead by halftime. In the second half, Wentz will finally connect with Nelson Agholor on a long touchdown pass in the third, and running back Ryan Matthews will follow with a rushing touchdown.

After Cleveland adds a field goal, the Eagles will have one final opportunity late in the fourth quarter, a drive ending in the fifth turnover of the game which seals the win for Cleveland. The Browns will win a close one, an ugly game which changes few opinions on the Browns, but gets them their first season opening victory since 2004.

Tom Moore: Eagles 14, Browns 10

By now, we all know the story behind the Cleveland Browns and Week 1 of the NFL season.  Eleven consecutive losses, a 1-16 record, and enough strange endings that even Stephen King would reject them as too implausible.

One of these years you would think that somehow, someway the Browns would be able to pull out a win, and if it were ever to happen today would seem to be the day as Philadelphia is turning the offense over to Carson Wentz, a not-ready-for-the NFL rookie quarterback.

The Browns have their own questions, of course, as the offense is still struggling to find its way and the defense is inexperienced. A better tomorrow is coming, it just won’t arrive today at Lincoln Financial Field.

The Browns will keep the game close, more because of Wentz, but ultimately come up short in a 14-10 loss.

Steven Kubitza: Browns 20, Eagles 10

The Week 1 optimism returns as most of the DPD staff believes the Browns have a legitimate chance to win this game. Sign me up as part of that bunch.

The main reason for this prediction is because of Carson Wentz. The rookie quarterback is nowhere near ready to be a starter in the NFL and will be harassed by the Cleveland defense for all four quarters, if he can even stay healthy that long.

The Eagles are pulling a Browns move by putting a rookie quarterback on the field when he is not ready to be a starter. This will lead to several Eagles turnovers, including one brought back for a touchdown by the Browns.

Griffin will hold his own in the pocket and will connect with Gary Barnidge to get the offense on track to start the season. It will not be a pretty game, but the Browns will come out on top.

Joel Cade: Browns 24, Eagles 17

Nobody knows what either team in this game can do. Both teams have new coaches implementing new schemes while trying to figure out their personnel. As there is no baseline on either team, the game and score is almost impossible to predict.

On defense, the Browns strategy will be to stop the run in order to force rookie Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz to beat them by throwing the ball. On offense, the Browns need to run the ball to take pressure off their unproven wide receiver crew and reclamation quarterback project. If things go their way, the Browns can pull off a victory.

Given that neither team has played a game this season under their new head coach, anything could happen. Whichever team has their coaching take hold quicker will win the game. Advantage Browns with their experienced coaching staff.

Eric Sczcepinski: Browns 20, Eagles 16

Browns offense has solid first impression in the team’s first season opening win since 2004. Robert Griffin takes steps proving he can be a capable solution to the long-lasting quarterback puzzle. The Browns defense rattles rookie quarterback Carson Wentz which sets the tempo for the victory.

Next: How many games will Browns win in 2016

Roger Cohen: Browns 15, Eagles 13

For some crazy reason I think the Browns may steal this one 15-13 with the Browns scoring two touchdowns, two missed “go for two” pats and a third quarter field goal that holds up after several misses. The game will come down to the last play, but the Browns will hold on to win.