Browns look to cage Eagles without NFL’s sack leader


CLEVELAND, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – The Browns will be without their best player Sunday afternoon as they welcome Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles to town.

Myles Garrett, who leads the NFL with 9 1/2 sacks and tested positive Friday for COVID-19 and is out so Cleveland’s defense will have to get creative to generate some pressure on Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz.

Cleveland wraps up a three-game homestand and is 4-1 at FirstEnergy Stadium this season.

Following wins over Washington and Dallas, the Browns are trying to improve to 3-0 against the NFC East while the Eagles, who play their next five against teams above .500 including the Browns, are 0-2-1 against the AFC North this season.

What to watch for – More rain is in the forecast Sunday, but it may hold off until later in the afternoon. It is expected to be much less windy than the previous two games for Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, who is completing 61.3% of his passes for 1,646 yards with 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions this season. The last two games Mayfield has been limited to 24 of 45 passing for 254 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions due to poor weather and a couple of dropped passes from receivers.

Browns running back Nick Chubb returned last week after missing four games with a sprained right knee and rushed for 126 yards and a score in last week’s win over the Texans. Chubb capped his performance with a 59-yard run he ended by stepping out short of the goal line, preventing the Texans from getting the ball back. Kareem Hunt added 104 yards last week and picked up two big first downs as the Browns ran out the clock making the duo the first Cleveland backs to run for 100 yards in the same game since Hall of Famer Leroy Kelly and Ernie Green in 1966. Chubb, who is leading the league with seven runs of 20 yards or more, is averaging 6.1 yards per carry while Hunt has scored seven touchdowns: three rushing, four receiving.

Chubb and Hunt will have to run without fullback Andy Janovich clearing the way after he was placed on the COVID-19 list on Monday.
Right tackle Jack Conklin and kicker Cody Parkey were activated from reserve/COVID-19 Saturday and will play.

Receiver Jarvis Landry has caught at least two passes in 104 straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL and fifth-longest in league history. He became the seventh player in history, and third since 2014, to record 600 catches in his first seven seasons last week.

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz made his NFL debut against Cleveland in 2016, passing for 278 yards and two touchdowns in a 29-10 win that also was coach Doug Pederson’s debut. Pederson played quarterback for the Browns in 2000 and went 1-7 as a starter after Tim Couch was injured. Wentz has a career-low 73.1 passer rating and 58.2 completion percentage in 2020.

Eagles running back Miles Sanders has at least 75 scrimmage yards in six straight games. Sanders is averaging 6.0 yards per carry in 2020 and 5.0 in his two seasons. Running back Boston Scott had a 56-yard TD run last week in the loss to New York.

Philadelphia receiver Travis Fulgham was held to one catch by the Giants after 29 receptions in his first five games. Fellow wideout Alshon Jeffery made his season debut last week, playing 18 snaps with no catches on one target.

Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham has seven of the team’s 31 sacks — tied for third most in the league. The Browns have surrendered just 12 sacks this season, fourth fewest in the NFL this season.

The Eagles’ top corner Darius Slay leads the NFL with 103 passes defended since 2014.

Last Week – Eagles lost to the Giants 27-17; Browns beat the Texans 10-7

The last time – Sept. 11, 2016: Eagles 29, Browns 10

Series history – Browns lead the all-time series 31-17-1; Eagles lead 5-0 since 1999

Rankings – AP PRO32 Ranking: Eagles No. 21, Browns No. 15

Points per game: Eagles 24 (22.6), Browns 18T (24.0)

Total yards per game: Eagles 27 (331.8), Browns 23 (347.8)

Rushing yards per game: Eagles 10 (122.8), Browns 4 (159.0)

Passing yards per game: Eagles 27 (209.0), Browns 30 (188.8)

Points allowed per game: Eagles 16 (25.8), Browns 20 (27.1)

Total defensive yards allowed per game: Eagles 11 (344.8), Browns 15 (357.1)

Rushing yards allowed per game: Eagles 26 (133.0), Browns 8 (104.9)

Passing yards allowed per game: Eagles 6 (211.8), Browns 21 (252.2)

Turnover ratio: Eagles 29T (-7), Browns 6T (+4)

Probable starters for Browns – Offense: WR Jarvis Landry, LT Jedrick Wills Jr., LG Joel Bitonio, C JC Tretter, RG Wyatt Teller, RT Jack Conklin, TE Austin Hooper, WR Rashard Higgins., QB Baker Mayfield, RB Nick Chubb, FB Johnny Stanton

Defense: DE Porter Gustin, DT Sheldon Richardson, DT Larry Ogunjobi, DE Olivier Vernon, MIKE B.J. Goodson, WILL Malcolm Smith, CB Denzel Ward, CB Terrance Mitchell, SS Ronnie Harrison, FS Andrew Sendejo, DB Kevin Johnson

Injury report – QUESTIONABLE: LB Mack Wilson (hip), RG Wyatt Teller (calf); EXPECTED TO PLAY: C JC Tretter (knee/not injury related), LG Joel Bitonio (elbow), DT Sheldon Richardson (knee),WR Jarvis Landry (hip), LB Jacob Phillips (knee), LB Sione Takitaki (hand)

Uniforms – Brown jerseys, white pants

Broadcast – Radio: 92.3 The Fan, 98.5 WNCX and the University Hospitals Cleveland Browns radio network. TV: WJW-TV 8 (FOX)

Kickoff – 1:03 p.m. FirstEnergy Stadium – Cleveland, Ohio

Our prediction – Browns 27, Eagles 23

Our prediction record – 6-3