The Eagles are in Cleveland for a showdown with the 6-3 Browns on Sunday. Game time is set for 1 PM on FOX, but our live coverage begins with The Kickoff Show presented by Axalta at 12:15 PM.
Here's the thing to watch with the Eagles. Can the offense, which struggled last Sunday against the New York Giants, get out to a fast start? The Eagles are averaging five first-quarter points and just a shade under 10 first-half points in 2020.
The Cleveland Browns employ a physical rushing attack under first-year Head Coach Kevin Stefanski. The Browns want nothing more than to have an early lead or keep the game close to unleash Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Quarterback Baker Mayfield, the former No. 1 overall pick, is dangerous because the Browns do a great job of getting him outside of the pocket to make plays.
The Browns are one of the most improved teams in 2020, but would not be in the playoffs if the season ended today. They still have a lot to play for, while the Eagles - even at 3-5-1 - are in first place in the NFC East.
Here's a look deeper inside the numbers in our Game Preview, presented by Unibet.
By the Numbers
• The Eagles have won five straight in the series against the Browns. Bill Belichick was the head coach in Cleveland the last time the Browns won (1994).
• Quarterback Carson Wentz made his first career start and Doug Pederson made his head coaching debut the last time these two teams played in 2016. Wentz passed for 278 yards and two touchdowns in a 29-10 win. Wentz remains the last top-2 pick at quarterback to win his first start, according to NFL Media Research.
• Sunday's loss to the Giants was only the second of Wentz's career in which he didn't turn the ball over. The Eagles are 13-2 with Wentz as the starter when they don't turn the ball over, according to NFL Media Research.
• Defensive Player of the Year candidate Myles Garrett is out for the Browns as he was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list this week. Garrett leads the NFL with 9.5 sacks. He is the NFL's all-time leader in sacks per game with 0.87, according to NFL Media Research. Eagles legend Reggie White is second with 0.85 sacks per contest. Garrett's absence will be something to watch on Sunday.
• The Eagles are tied for third in the league with 31 sacks, while the Browns are fourth in fewest sacks allowed with 12.
• A key to the Browns' offensive line? Guard Wyatt Teller. He was the highest-graded player in the league by Pro Football Focus in Week 10. He is one of only five NFL players to earn a PFF grade of 90 or higher at least three times in 2020.
• Quarterback Baker Mayfield has not thrown a touchdown pass in back-to-back games for the first time in his career.
• The Browns are fourth in the NFL with 159 rushing yards per game in 2020.
• Running back Nick Chubb returned to the lineup after a knee injury and gained 126 yards and scored the only touchdown of the game in last week's win over Houston. He is third in the NFL with 92.2 rushing yards per game in 2020.
• How important is Chubb to the Browns' lineup? According to NFL Media Research, the Browns failed to score a rushing touchdown in the four games without him. The Browns have nine rushing touchdowns in the five games with Chubb.
• Don't forget about running back Kareem Hunt. The Browns are the only team with two players who average at least 70 rushing yards per game (70.3 for Hunt), according to NFL Media Research.
• What about Miles Sanders? He's fourth in the NFL averaging 86.5 rushing yards per game in 2020. However, he's 15th with 14.3 carries per game. According to NFL Media Research, Sanders is the first NFL running back with at least 80 rushing yards on 15 or fewer carries in three straight games since Brandon Jacobs in 2010. No running back since 1950 has done it in four straight games.
Behind Enemy Lines
Nathan Zegura, senior media broadcaster for the Cleveland Browns, explains why this isn't a typical Browns team.
Former No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield is in his third NFL season. What has he done to turn the corner?
"He's done a very good job of doing what Kevin Stefanski is asking him to do in this offense. It's an offense in that Shanahan/Kubiak mold that is built off the ground game and then play-action off of that, the keepers and some of the boots. Baker has been tremendous out of the pocket. (Stefanski) said that Baker is ready to ascend. It's throwing the football from the pocket in obvious passing situations.
"He's cut down his interceptions. His touchdown-to-interception ratio is 2-to-1. Last year, he threw over 20 interceptions, so to cut that number down to 2-to-1, that's been huge."
What has worked against this Browns offense this season?
"Not much. In terms of their ground game, nobody has done that when Nick Chubb, Wyatt Teller, and Austin Hooper are all on the field together. Nobody. This whole season. They do stick with (the run). Kevin Stefanski is committed to it. Even against Indianapolis, where they did a good job containing it in the first half, but allowed Baker to throw for two touchdowns in that first half, they were able to pick up the yards when they needed to."
How are the Browns adjusting to being one of the hunted teams in the league?
"Last year was humbling, being on the cover of Sports Illustrated and there all of the talk about this was a Super Bowl team, and it fell flat on its face. A lot of those guys are still here. That team won six games a year ago. They've already won six games this year. They also know that right now, if the playoffs started today, at 6-3 they're on the outside looking in. They know they have a lot of work to do.
"I think when you see the Browns, you're going to see a completely different Browns team. It is a vastly different team and franchise. It has to do with General Manager Andrew Berry, who was with the Eagles, and had what he called the most important year of his career, and the leadership that he has and the synergy that he has with Kevin Stefanski. Kevin Stefanski has brought to the Browns an air of calm. He is a smooth operator, even-keeled, never too emotional, a Philly guy in his own right, so he's got that fire that burns but doesn't let it show. He has what I call the three Ps. He is prepared. He has a plan. And he always has a process to implement that plan. That preparation, that focus on the process has really resonated with this team.
"The Browns are a team that haven't made it to the playoffs in far too long. When they would get in situations where things would get tight or tense, or a game where they had to control and you would feel it slipping away, you'd say, 'Ah, here we go again.' And the Browns would often became a self-fulfilling prophecy and lose games like that. Not anymore. We've been tested in a lot of these wins and we've answered the call time after time again. I think it is the demeanor, the preparation, the focus on the process that comes from Kevin Stefanski that has really changed this team. I don't think that they're even aware - hunter, hunted. They're focused on going 1-0 each week and this week the opponent that they hope to go 1-0 against just so happens to be the Philadelphia Eagles."
Final Injury Report
• S Rudy Ford (hamstring)
• WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside
• RB Corey Clement
• DE Vinny Curry
• G Wyatt Teller (calf)
• LB Mack Wilson (hip)
• DE Myles Garrett
• T Chris Hubbard
• FB Andy Janovich