GAME: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Cleveland Browns
WHERE: Cleveland Browns Stadium.
RADIO: WNCD 93.3-FM
RECORDS: Eagles (0-0); Browns (0-0).
SERIES: Browns lead, 31-15-1.
BROWNS ON OFFENSE: There will be shortage of youth on the field. Rookies starting will be quarterback Brandon Weeden, possibly running back Trent Richardson and right tackle Mitchell Schwartz. Richardson is healthy after missing all four preseason games following minor knee surgery. When healthy he will be the focal point. Weeden brings a strong throwing arm and a gunslinger mentality that could play into the hands of an opportunistic Eagles' defense. Greg Little was the leading receiver last season as a rookie but dropped passes were a problem. Rookie receivers Josh Gordon and Travis Benjamin will play a lot. The Browns hope that Schwartz will solve the problem at the weakest area up front.
EAGLES ON OFFENSE: Quarterback Michael Vick missed the final two preseason games with a rib injury but will be good to go. There's no faster more elusive quarterback in the NFL. LeSean McCoy is fast and powerful and worthy of being considered one of the top five backs in the league. Vick has speedy receivers in Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson at his disposal and a dependable tight end in Brent Celek. The Eagles run a West Coast attack that features speed and plenty of short, crossing routes that confuse the defense.
BROWNS ON DEFENSE: Coach Pat Shurmur has to be crossing his fingers that it doesn't all fall apart. The unit will be without linebackers Chris Gocong (Achilles' injury) and rookie James-Michael Johnson (oblique). Some good news arrived Friday when the three-game suspension levied on Scott Fujita by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was overturned by an arbitration panel. Fujita might start ahead of rookie free agent L.J. Fort, who moved in after Johnson's injury. D'Qwell Jackson will try to keep it all together in the middle. Tackle Phil Taylor is gone for at least half the season with a pectoral injury, but there are plenty of additions up front. Tackles Billy Winn and John Hughes arrived in the draft. Free agency brought ends Frostee Rucker and Juqua Parker. Second-year left end Jabaal Sheard played well as a rookie. He needs to be even better this season. Cornerback Joe Haden has temporarily avoided a four-game suspension for failing a drug test and will start. Eric Hagg moves in as a starter at free safety next to steady strong safety T.J. Ward.
EAGLES ON DEFENSE: The wide-nine look from the ends Jason Babin and Trent Cole presented problems for the Browns' offensive line in a preseason game and it could be a problem again today. Middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans arrived in an offseason trade with the Houston Texans. He earned two Pro Bowl berths with the Texans. He gets plenty of tackles but isn't an impact player. The strength of the defense is cornerbacks Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha. They will be tough matchups for Little and Mohamed Massaquoi.
BROWNS ON SPECIAL TEAMS: Phil Dawson is back as one of the league's best kickers. Punter Reggie Hodges returns after missing last season with a torn Achilles' tendon. The coverage units were a problem last season for special teams coach Chris Tabor. There will be several new faces this season. Joshua Cribbs returns punts and kicks. He's shown signs of slowing down.
EAGLES ON SPECIAL TEAMS: Second-year kicker Alex Henery set a franchise record and a rookie NFL mark with an 88.9 field-goal percentage in 2011. Punter Chas Henry won the Ray Guy Award at Florida two years ago. Rookies Brandon Boykin (kicks) and Damaris Johnson (punts) handle the return duties.
BROWNS MUST: Protect Weeden and keep him upright as much as possible. Weeden needs to be pick and choose when throwing down the field. With Richardson likely being limited, Montario Hardesty could get more carries. He must be more careful with the ball. Defensively they must limit Vick's rushing total and get after McCoy.
EAGLES MUST: Rattle Weeden and keep Richardson from breaking any big runs in his NFL debut. On offense they need to take advantage of aging cornerback Sheldon Brown and pound the ball at Fort.
PREDICTION: Eagles, 24-7.