If you were to show a football fan the records of both the Philadelphia Eagles and the Cleveland Browns, most would think it’s the other way around. The Eagles will travel to FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland and face off against the Browns on Sunday afternoon. The Eagles are coming off a 27-21 loss to the New York Giants last week, the first time they lost to the Giants in the last four years. The Browns beat the Texans 10-7 last week with an incredible storm going on affecting the entire game and forced the game to be delayed before the opening kickoff. Carson Wentz had his best game in a while by not turning the ball over as he went 21-of-37 for 208 yards against the Giants. Baker Mayfield hasn’t needed to be what you expect from a former number one overall pick and hasn’t thrown 30 times in their last four games.
These two teams will probably end up in the playoffs but the Eagles aren’t playing well while the Browns are shockingly still being great without Odell Beckham Jr for the remainder of the season. The defenses are similar in terms of points allowed and yardage but the offenses are completely different. What will be the key factors for this game? Let’s dive into what you need to know before placing your bet.
Who Will Be At Running Back?So we knew that this season would be weird with COVID-19 affecting this season. However, wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside tested positive and a handful of players were placed on the COVID IR for being close contacts, including running back Corey Clement. The Eagles will have Miles Sanders as their starting running back, but have lost some depth at the position. Sanders returned from injury last week and had 15 carries for 85 yards against the Giants. Boston Scott lost a ton of action as he only had three carries but recorded 63 yards and a touchdown in the loss.
The Cleveland Browns have been solid at defending an opposing offense’s running game as they give up 104.9 yards on the ground. If the Eagles can figure out how to have a respectable rushing attack to compliment Wentz, it could be huge for the Eagles. The Browns have allowed nine touchdowns on the ground, or one per game, this season and this should be an important factor. The battle of the trenches are always important but this is more than usual.
Chubb + Hunt = SuccessIf the Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski could write down his game plan for his offense, he would want to run the ball. Kareem Hunt has been a solid running back as he is ninth in attempts (134) and seventh in rushing yards (633) this season. Nick Chubb returned from a knee injury that has kept him sidelined since Week 4 last week and had a solid game. He ran the ball 19 times for 126 yards and a touchdown against the Texans. Combined, the Browns have one of, if not the, best running back depth charts in the entire league.
The Philadelphia Eagles have been decent at stopping the rushing attack from their opponents as they have given up 133 yards on the ground. The Browns are averaging 159 rushing yards per game and are coming off a game where they ran for 231 yards on 41 attempts. They also ran for nine touchdowns this season but the return of Chubb should be the cherry on top of the sundae for the Browns. Can the Browns offense control the running attack or will the Eagles be able to shut them down?
- Cleveland: 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games as favorite
- Cleveland: 1-5 ATS vs a team with a losing record
- Philadelphia: 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games after accumulating more than 150 yards rushing in their previous game
- Philadelphia: 21-19-1 in last 41 regular season games