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Friday, 14 September 2012

NFL Week 1 Review - Eagles @ Browns

My preview:
Eagles -9.5 @ Cleveland: My initial reaction was that I do not want to back against either of these teams. I thought the Eagle's situation was a mess last year but they have a history of strong coaching before that. I see the Eagles as being similar to a team that have massively upgraded their coach  Also the Cleveland situation has been over hyped with a strong overreaction to the Brandon Weeden pick. Then I remembered there that we have a rookie QB going against a strong defensive line. This is a positive when taking large points as you are as likely to increase your lead in the fourth quarter as give away a garbage time score because the opposition must now play into your strength and their weakness. I was wary because 10-point defeats at home do not feel that common to me but the Browns gave up two of them in their first three home games last year. This was an aberration as they finished fourth in PA last season but they are without Phil Taylor and All-World Joe Haden for this one.

Take the Eagles but back Cleveland's defence when Taylor and Haden return.One interesting note is that you have one of the worst at coach's challenges in Reid and replacement refs.
This feels like a win to me - how good was Joe Haden? I missed that Haden had received a stay of execution on his suspension for taking Adderall. If I had known that I would have been taking the Browns. Haden had a better rookie season than Darrell Revis before having a relative sophmore slump. I feel that a corner who can take away half the field has always been valued but as the game has become more pass-oriented that this value has not been re-evaluated. I am going against the Cleveland defence now that Haden's defence has kicked in.

What of the Eagle's offence? There can be no excuse for Vick's performance in this game. It also felt like it added to a ye\r of poor work for him. Having checked his pro-football-refernce stats I am not so sure. He will never hit the heights of two years ago but nobody had ever hit those peaks. I don't think the Eagles expected the Cleveland defence to be so good.

What I like for the Eagles is that they are less likely to under-utilise LeSean McCoy against the Ravens. Most people think of Terrell Suggs as a pass rusher but what made him special was that he was not a specialist, he also excelled against the run. I felt this was noticeable against Cincinnati where BJGE looked as good as he ever did in a Pats' uniform. This should not have been the case considering the soft fronts he was used to going up against.

There may be an opportunity here to take advantage of an Eagle's offence that underperformed against a tough defence against a Raven's team that has switched to offensively-powered from defensively-powered - hopefully without the the betting public noticing.

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