Just like the last time the Philadelphia Eagles kicked off a new football season, Andy Reid and his players step into an opponents stadium today with the expectations of not only winning, but winning big.
It's easy to understand why- the Cleveland Browns are arguably the worst franchise in the NFL, going 68-140 since they football returned to Cleveland. That gives the Browns an average of 5 wins per season. But it's football, and anything can happen on any given Sunday.
Will the Browns shock the Eagles and get 1 of their average 5 wins per season today? Here are some key numbers about the Browns as we wait for kickoff.
10: In the Browns 13 seasons since they arrived back in Cleveland, the team has had 10 different opening day starting quarterbacks. Today the QB that gets the nod is Brandon Weeden, the 28-year old rookie from Oklahoma State. The Eagles got their first look at Weeden during the regular season when they sacked him 3 times, forced 2 fumbles, and kept him to 9 of 20 on passing attempts. They did all of this with their 2nd string defensive line, and expect to have the starters back today.
60/40: Despite having so many questions at quarterback, the Browns still throw the ball more than they do run it- which makes sense in today's pass happy NFL. Last season the Browns tried to establish the run early, as they ran the ball on close to 50% of their first half snaps. It's safe to say that will be the Browns game plan today against the Eagles, especially with Trent Richardson back on the field. Of course, if the Eagles jump ahead big, the plan to run the ball will be abandoned quick- the Browns ran the ball only 26% of the time in the 2nd half last season when they were behind. Which means the Eagles can take Richardson out of the game by building a lead.
52: The Browns went with 3+ wide recievers on over half of their plays last season (52%), which is also very common in today's NFL. What does that mean for the Eagles? That rookie Brandon Boykin will see plenty of action today in his first NFL game. The Eagles knew they were taking a risk when they cut Joselio Hanson in favor of Boykin, and will get to see today if the rookie is ready. If Boykin struggles today against this quarterback and this wide receiver, it will not be a good sign of things to come.
1/4: The Browns got over a fourth of their sacks last season by the linebackers, which shows how much this team had to blitz last season to get pressure on the quarterback. Only 6 teams in the NFL last season got more sacks from the linebacking core. Overall the Browns brought at least one extra defender on close to 40% of their defense plays last season, and brought 6 or more on close to 10% of their plays. The Browns aggressive style of defense will be a good first test for Michael Vick and Jason Kelce, who have not gotten a lot of live-work in this preseason on their blitz pickup.
31: The Browns attempted a larger percentage of their passes to the right last season than the left- 48% to the right, 31% to the left. That was the largest differential between the sides in the NFL. What does that mean for the Eagles? Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie should see plenty of action today, which is a good thing for Philadelphia. DRC is the teams best cornerback and the Eagles would rather have the Browns attack him than Nnamdi Asomugha. However, when the 2 teams faced off in the preason, the Browns went after Asomugha multiple times. It will be interesting to see if the Browns break the trend from last season and go after the Asomugha.
Follow Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks