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Vick said he will be ready to go for the opener, having suffered left-thumb and rib injuries during the preseason. He will wear a flak jacket to protect the ribs, so there might be an adjustment. Vick’s preseason consisted of seven passes, but the Eagles aren’t worried about rust. Vick was superb in the final three games last year, earning passer ratings of 107.0, 107.9 and 104.1 while throwing for an average of 300 yards. The Eagles are difficult to defend because they have a quarterback who can pass and run; playmakers at receiver (DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin) and tight end (Brent Celek); and a dynamic running back (LeSean McCoy). For what it’s worth, Philadelphia went 4-0 this preseason, including a beatdown of the Browns on Aug. 24 in Cleveland.
McCoy is one of the most versatile, productive backs in the league and accounted for approximately 25 percent of the Eagles’ offense in 2011. Cleveland allowed 147 rushing yards per game last season, and with Vick banged up, look for Philadelphia to feed McCoy early and often to control the tempo of the game on the road.
The Browns need to control the ball early and limit the opportunities they give the potentially explosive Philadelphia offense. Rookie running back Trent Richardson is expected to play after missing time in the preseason with a knee injury, so look for offensive coordinator Brad Childress to be creative. Browns rookie QB Brandon Weeden also makes his debut. He was inconsistent in terms of accuracy during the preseason, but he has the arm to make all the necessary NFL throws.
The Browns lead all-time series, 31-16-1 (0-1-0 in playoffs). Eagles coach Andy Reid is 3-0 against Cleveland. The teams haven’t played in the regular season since 2008.
EAGLES NOTES: Under head coach Andy Reid, Eagles are 102-17 (.857) when leading at half … Offense gained 6,386 total net yards, most in franchise history… Vick is 1 of 2 QBs in NFL history with 3,000+ pass & 500+ rush yards in consecutive seasons (Randall Cunningham)…RB McCoy led NFL with 20 TDs (17 rush, 3 rec.) & passed HOFer Steve Van Buren (18 in 1945) for most total TDs in season by Eagle. Led NFL with 102 1st downs & 84 rush 1st downs. Had 14 runs of 20+ yards, most in NFL. Only NFC player with 1,000+ rush yards & 45+ rec. in each of past 2 seasons…Incl. playoffs,WR-PR DeSean Jackson has 30 TDs (23 rec., 4 PR, 3 rush) in career & averages 45.4 yards per TD (1,361 yards). Jackson (961), WR Jeremy Maclin (859) & TE Brent Celek (811) were 1st trio in team history with 800+ rec. yards each…Eagles had 50 sacks, tied for most in NFL. DE Jason Babin ranked 3rd in NFL with career-high 18 sacks. Since 2006, DE Trent Cole has 63 sacks, 3rd most in NFL. Has 10+ sacks in each of past 3 seasons. 2-time Pro Bowl LB DeMeco Ryans makes Eagles debut. Is Texans’ all-time leading tackler (637)
BROWNS NOTES: Club has won 2 of past 3 at home vs. NFC … Weeden (No. 22 overall) will be 1st Browns rookie QB to start season opener in SB era … Rookie RB Richardson (No. 3 overall) set single-season records at Alabama in rush yards (1,679) & rush TDs (21) last season …WR Greg Little recorded 61 catches in ’11, 2nd-most by rookie in club history (Kevin Johnson, 66 in ’99). KR-WR Joshua Cribbs (8) needs 2 KR-TDs to become 1st player in NFL history with 10. Posted career-best in rec. (41), rec. yards (518) & TD rec. (4) last year …TE Evan Moore has career-best 4 TD catches in ’11, tied for team-high (Cribbs) …T Joe Thomas will make 81st consecutive start since entering NFL in ’07… Defense allowed 184.9 passing yds. per game in ‘11, 2nd-fewest in NFL … LB D’Qwell Jackson led team with 158 tackles last season … DE Jabaal Sheard ranked 3rd among NFL rookies with 8.5 sacks in ’11 … CB Joe Haden led club with 19 passes def. last year. CB Sheldon Brown spent 8 seasons w/ Phi. (2002-09).
WAGERWEB.COM TRENDS: Eagles are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall. Eagles are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games. Browns are 2-8-2 ATS in their last 12 home games. Browns are 1-11-1 ATS in their last 13 games in Week 1.
INJURY REPORT: EAGLES: OUT: S Colt Anderson (knee), WR Riley Cooper (collarbone). FULL: S Nate Allen (hamstring), DE Jason Babin (calf), LB Jamar Chaney (hamstring), RB Dion Lewis (hamstring), LB Casey Matthews (ankle), T Nathan Menkin (shoulder), DT Cedric Thornton (knee). BROWNS: DNP: T Oniel Cousins (ankle), G John Greco (calf), LB James-Michael Johnson (ribs/oblique). LIMITED: TE Jordan Cameron (groin), S Eric Hagg (illness), QB Thaddeus Lewis (right thumb), RB Chris Ogbonnaya (ankle), CB Dimitri Patterson (knee), RB Trent Richardson (knee), S Ray Ventrone (hamstring), TE Benjamin Watson (thigh), S Usama Young (thigh).