Eagles vs Browns Game Preview
The NFL’s best team takes on the NFL’s worst as the Philadelphia Eagles invade the “Factory of Sadness”, the FirstEnergy Field in Cleveland, Ohio. The Eagles are fresh off their first Super Bowl while the Browns went winless in 2017.
Last season, the Eagles won more Super Bowls than the Browns won games and won more games (13) than the Browns did their last four seasons. But it’s the preseason, so none of this should matter. Too much.
The rich get richer! The Eagles followed up their Super Bowl with a strong offseason by killing it in the draft and adding low-risk high-reward free agent signings that boost their offence and defence.
Quarterback Carson Wentz returns with a chip on his shoulder hungry to continue where he left off. Doug Pederson and his coaching staff are yet to unleash the full potential of their offence and now they have more tools to use.
New general manager John Dorsey made his presence felt by reshuffling the Browns roster. He acquired quarterback Tyrod Taylor from the Bills and added several solid veterans on offence. Dorsey also had a great draft despite some questionable moves.
Unfortunately, All-Pro tackle Joe Thomas retired and the timing couldn’t be worse as Cleveland is sporting its best team in over a decade. The chances are great the Browns win more than one game this season. But playoffs?! Let’s not talk about that yet.
Cleveland may have been winless in the regular season but they were undefeated in the 2017 preseason. The Eagles have a deep team but this is also a different Browns team and one that is here to play. They should defend home soil and win this one.
Eagles vs Browns Head-to-Head Records
If talking about the overall series including the old Browns franchise, Cleveland has dominated Philadelphia. In 49 games, the Browns have won 31 including their first five games. Philly won its first game in 1952 and wouldn’t win more than two straight games against the original team.
There is a stretch from 1956 to 1979 where the Browns won 21 of 28 meetings against the Eagles. From 1963 to 1979, they only lost two games in 13 meetings. Unfortunately, the new Browns teams weren’t quite as successful and are winless (0-5) against Philadelphia.
During these five meetings, the Eagles defeated the Browns by double-digits three times. Cleveland almost beat them in 2012 losing 16-17. Three of these meetings came in Cleveland’s own stadium and the two times it didn’t, the Eagles outscored Cleveland 59-20.
The two franchises couldn’t be more lopsided at this juncture although the Browns retooled during the 2017 offseason. Still, theyère a seemingly cursed franchise and even though they look better on paper they could still finish near the bottom of the league. Don’t expect the losing streak to end anytime soon.
Philadelphia Eagles Recent History
The Eagles won a trio of NFL Championships pre-Super Bowl era but they always came up short until 2017. They had their first elite team in the late ’70s to early ’80s where they lost to the Raiders in Super Bowl XV. A quarter of a century later, they returned to the big dance to fall short yet again in Super Bowl XXXIX.
The early 2000’s was Philadelphia’s golden era before 2017. Coached by Andy Reid, the Eagles had superstars like Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens and they were a fixture in the NFC winning five division titles in six years. It would stretch until 2012 when they would experiment with Chip Kelly.
It would only last three seasons with a division title and a quick playoff exit before they turned to Pederson. Despite initial criticism for the hire, the Eagles made a startling turnaround in 2017 winning 13 games and the Super Bowl with their starting QB injured. It’s a tough act to follow but a repeat isn’t out of the question.
Cleveland Browns Recent History
The Browns are a tale of two franchises. The original franchise, the original that began in 1946 during the AAFC years was one of the NFL’s first dynasties. With legends like Otto Graham and Jim Brown, the Browns won four NFL Championships in 11 championship game appearances during the ’50s and ’60s.
After futility in the ’70s, the Browns were once again contenders in the ’80s when they would win several AFC Central titles before falling short in the AFC Championship games. By the mid-’90s, the Browns were beginning to assemble an elite defence. And then they relocated to Baltimore to become the Super Bowl-winning Ravens.
The new Browns team that “returned” in 1999 was a joke. They would make one playoff appearance in 18 seasons and would become the first team to go 1-31 in two seasons. From 2008 to 2017, the Browns lost double-digit games in all but one year. But 2018 figures to be a little better with a revamped offence.
Philadelphia Eagles Outlook
This team has the makings of a dynasty, or at least, a perennial contender for at least five more years. Their franchise quarterback is still a pup and both of their lines are stellar. They improved during the offseason taking a chance on low-cost veterans like Mike Wallace (WR) and Haloti Ngata (DT) to add depth.
During the draft, they took highly-touted tight end Dallas Goedert to replace Trey Burton and/or Brent Celek. The losses of Mychal Kendrick (LB) and LeGarrette Blount (RB) could hurt the most but even if Philly’s running game regresses on both sides of the ball, it still wouldn’t be a major flaw.
Even if injuries pile up, the Eagles have a lot of depth on both lines. A team that is this deep in the trenches will be a contender on any given year.
Cleveland Browns Outlook
The losing has to end sometime and Browns fans hope it’s 2018. Nobody expects them to make the playoffs but the Browns have significantly bolstered the offence and defence. They added Taylor from the Bills to stabilize their quarterback position as their first-overall pick Baker Mayfield takes time to develop on the sidelines.
They also added offensive pieces in Carlos Hyde (RB) and Jarvis Landry (WR). And on defence, they drafted highly-touted corner Denzel Ward to play across E.J. Gaines immediately forming one of the best cornerback tandems. Last year’s first-overall pick, Myles Garrett should also continue to terrorize quarterbacks as their lead pass rusher.
The Browns are significantly improved and won’t just beat their record but could be a winning team if they continue making positive additions.
If this were the regular season, the Browns would be a massive underdog but it’s the preseason hence any prediction should be taken with a grain of salt. The Eagles are still the superior team even when talking about backups. Nick Foles will be better than Mayfield.
The linesmen favour the Eagles’ on both sides and so do the coaching, the special teams, you get the picture. But the Browns went undefeated in preseason last year for a reason: nobody plays preseason all too seriously.
The Eagles will use this opportunity to try out new schemes and get their new acquisitions acclimatized. The Browns are also still just gelling together and learning the playbook. But a new air is around Cleveland and this new and inspired Browns team will play just a bit harder than Philly. And that’s why they win.