Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 9/3/12

Philadelphia at Cleveland

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at Cleveland Browns Stadium, Cleveland - TV: FOX; DirecTV: 704

*TV announcers: Dick Stockton, John Lynch, Jennifer Hale

*Keys to the game: This isn't the week for the Eagles to ease off RB LeSean McCoy's workload. The Browns ranked 30th against the run last season and DT Phil Taylor (pectoral) is on the shelf. Head coach Andy Reid denied QB Michael Vick would be limited by bruised ribs -- an injury suffered at Cleveland on Aug. 24 -- after more than 10 days of very light work aided his recovery. Vick's offensive line hasn't fully jelled, and he'll likely need to use his feet to extend plays after being sacked once and hit on another throw in just eight preseason dropbacks. The Browns have their work cut out for them offensively. The Eagles' pass rush comes in waves, led by Jason Babin and Trent Cole off the edge -- 29 combined sacks in 2011 -- often in the "wide nine" alignment a full step outside the offensive tackle's outside shoulder. The Browns are hopeful rookie third overall pick Trent Richardson (knee) is ready to take 20-25 carries and test Philadelphia's run defense.

*Matchup to watch - Browns TE Benjamin Watson vs. Eagles SLB Mychal Kendricks: The Browns will try to chip away at the Eagles underneath and isolate backs and tight ends on Philadelphia's linebacker corps and safeties. Watson is an inviting target for rookie QB Brandon Weeden, who didn't throw a preseason touchdown pass. Kendricks was a second-round pick because of excellent speed and instincts.

*Player spotlight - Eagles MLB DeMeco Ryans: If he's the savior Philadelphia envisioned when it acquired the former Pro Bowler from the Texans in the offseason, he'll have to sharpen his production to prove he's all the way back from a 2010 injury that slowed him with Houston last season.

*Fast facts: Weeden is the 11th quarterback in 14 years to start a season opener for the Browns. ... Reid is 3-1 in season openers on the road since 2006.


While neither team might be the picture of cohesiveness offensively, the Eagles are miles ahead on defense and coordinator Juan Castillo has the liberty to take chances against a Browns attack with no proven skill-position talent.

*Our pick: Eagles 30-15

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