This Sunday is crucial as the Cleveland Browns and Eagles battle
The Cleveland Browns will play their third straight home game as they host the 3-5-1 Philadelphia Eagles and they can only hope for better luck with the weather. Cleveland has scored a combined 16 points the last two games as they have been hammered with rain and blistering winds.
They have another subpar defense coming in this week and if the conditions play their part this could be a break out week for the offense. We saw Nick Chubb return with a bang last week and he says he is feeling good coming off of his knee injury. Philadelphia doesn’t have a lot of talent in the secondary so Cleveland should be able to apply pressure with the run and make big plays in the pass.
On the other side of the ball is Carson Wentz who everybody seems to have a different opinion of but what cannot be debated is that Wentz leads the league with 14 turnovers including 12 interceptions.
This could be a big game for the Browns on offense and defense if they execute but they sometimes play down to their competition which can get you beat by a team with the heart of a champion like the Eagles.
3. Myles Garrett vs. Eagles offensive line
This guy is the first name on every offenses gameplan and will try to strengthen his defensive player of the year candidacy. This week Garrett goes up against two very well know tackles in Jason Peters and Lane Johnson.
But Garrett has been all over the line this year and there is no telling how many snaps he will get at a certain spot in the game and the Eagles have been one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL this year, Wentz has been sacked a league-leading 35 times.
Those numbers aren’t all on Peters and Johnson as each one has missed multiple games with injury but they certainly aren’t the same players they were in 2016 when they won the Super Bowl. Now they get to face Garrett who has lined up all over the field which has helped him get a league leading nine and a half sacks.
The interior of Philadelphia’s offensive line is also weakened by the loss of pro bowl guard Brandon Brooks who tore his achillies during a workout before the start of the season. Don’t be surprised to see Garrett move to the interior on passing downs.
He will be coming after the ball and Wentz has well documented problems holding onto the pigskin. Garrett will win some of these matchups and wreck havoc once he gets into the backfield.
2. Browns run offense vs. Eagles run defense
There should be no change in Cleveland’s gameplan this week because they are facing the 26th ranked run defense, the Eagles have given up more than 150 yards rushing four time this season. They have dealt with injuries and a lack of talent in their front seven.
Fletcher Cox is a former all-pro on the defensive line but he hasn’t been the same force this year as he has played hurt. Brandon Graham has played well but he has been the only bright spot on this defensive line. They get blown off the ball and the linebackers don’t get off blocks well.
That is problematic when facing the Browns who may have the best rushing attack in the NFL, they rank fourth and would probably still be first if not for games missed by Nick Chubb and guard Wyatt Teller.
Chubb returned to the lineup last Sunday with a bang as him and Kareem Hunt both rushed for over 100 yards. This doesn’t seem like the defense that is going to slow down the freight train that is the Browns running game.
Cleveland doesn’t have the most potent passing attack and they get openings because of the threat of the run. Those two big playmakers on the Eagles defensive line will have to be accounted for, if they are the Browns backfield tandum will have another big day.
1. Carson Wentz vs. Joe Woods
The most important matchup of the day for the Browns doesn’t even involve a player instead the focus is on defensive coordinator Joe Woods. It will be up him to call blitz’ and coverages to confuse Carson Wentz and bait him into some mistakes.
Wentz has been a turnover machine so far in his career and that hasn’t changed this season as he’s thrown 12 interceptions, just as many touchdown he’s thrown. The Browns need to show more exotic looks so Wentz doesn’t know what to expect.
Cleveland also has the clear advantage on the outside which allows Woods to take more chances. Denzel Ward has been excellent as expected but Terrence Mitchell has played really well on the other side as he ranks second on the team with eight pass break-ups. They also recently got Kevin Johnson back from injury to take over in the slot.
The Eagles receiving core is not good, there is no other way to put it. Their leading pass catcher is Greg Ward, a converted quarterback, has 37 catches for just 282. Travis Fulgham burst onto the scene to lead the team with 443 yards and four touchdowns but he tends to disappear for stretches. They got Alshon Jeffery back last week but he played 18 snaps and was targeted just once. Him and Wentz have never had a good on-field connection.
With the lack of playmaking on the outside and the history of poor decisions by Wentz this is the game for Woods to get creative with the defense. They have improved every week and now is the time to showcase it.