Pre-season continues for the NFL teams this week as last season’s Super Bowl losers the Philadelphia Eagles host the Cleveland Browns in week 2.
The Eagles had a memorable campaign with a stunning regular season before making it to the final, where they suffered defeat to the Kansas City Chiefs in one of the best Super Bowl’s we’ve seen, while the Browns had a year to forget going 7-10 and not reaching the playoffs.
We’ll take a look at the match-up and what we can expect, while providing you with our best free NFL betting picks to see if we can earn you some extra cash while you watch the action.
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Pre-season began last week for the Eagles and we saw them suffer defeat in their opening game in preparation for the new season.
Philadelphia travelled to Baltimore to face off against the Ravens and came home with a 19-20 defeat after a poor third-quarter saw them struggle, and they weren’t able to bring it back in the fourth.
As for the Browns, they started pre-season a week early when they took on the New York Jets and claimed a 21-16 win as they shut out the Jets offense in the second-half and scored 14 unanswered points.
Their second pre-season game last weekend saw them take on the Washington Commanders in the capital, but they fell to a 15-17 defeat after getting thumped 14-0 in the second quarter – a gap they couldn’t close in the second half.
We’ve gotten to see the Cleveland Browns in action twice this preseason, and my first impression is that there may be a controversy as to who will back up Deshaun Watson, who won’t play on Thursday.
Josh Dobbs is currently considered as the back-up option to the point where he was trusted enough to not see action in the Hall of Fame Game, but he struggled in Week 1. He completed only 50% of his passes and recorded only 3.8 net yards per attempt. Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who was the fourth option in the Hall of Fame Game, entered before Kellen Mond in Week 1. He completed 90% of his throws for 10.2 NY/A and could get the nod again.
The Philadelphia Eagles do not have an ongoing quarterback controversy. The backup is clearly Marcus Mariota, and the reserves, Tanner McKee and Ian Book, failed to impress and don’t have a legitimate shot at earning the backup job. Mariota’s job security isn’t in serious question.
The Browns also have a number of wide receivers with something to prove. Several former Day 2 picks, including rookie Cedric Tillman, Jets castoff Elijah Moore, David Bell and Anthony Schwartz — along with veterans Marquise Goodwin and Jakeem Grant — have to make some plays to secure their spot in a receiving room that already features two clear-cut top options in Donovan Peoples-Jones and Amari Cooper.
Because Cleveland’s offensive reserves have so much to prove and will be hungry and a little bit more match sharp, especially when compared to what Philadelphia’s reserves have to do to keep their jobs, it’s hard to foresee head coach Kevin Stefanski not featuring his second unit for a considerable chunk of Week 2.
Cleveland’s offense has looked above average on offense in the preseason, averaging 366.5 yards per game and 5.4 yards per play. Go for them to get the upset win.
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First and foremost, Cleveland will finally have Deshaun Watson under center for a full season, as he had to serve his lengthy suspension before making his team debut last year. He won’t feature, but this is a chance for the Browns to work out any issues they think they have.
They’ll be preserving RB Nick Chubb, but with Kareem Hunt no longer in the fold, the rest of the backfield will be as motivated as ever to shore up that backup role. Similarly, WR Amari Cooper solidified himself as a #1 last year and The Browns acquired former-Jet WR Elijah Moore to improve their depth on the outside.
Building good chemistry is a must for Moore and the rest of Cleveland and this game will be a great chance for him to start doing just that.
The Eagles know plenty about their roster after making the Super Bowl last year, while the Browns have plenty to experiment with and they want to build a winning mentality. Even if they don’t win, back them against the spread at +3.5 as they’ll likely come close.
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