The Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles made a huge trade before the NFL Draft as the Eagles landed the No. 2 overall pick from the Browns and plucked quarterback Carson Wentz out of North Dakota State. But the Browns don’t have worry about Wentz torching them in Week 1 this season as the Eagles don’t plan on using Wentz at all in 2016. The Eagles are 6.5-point favorites on NFL odds.
Analysis on the Browns at Eagles Week 1 Free Pick, Lines & TV Info
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Cleveland at Philadelphia Historic Betting Trends
The Eagles sent five draft picks to the Browns: the No. 8 pick in the first round, a third-round pick (77th overall) and a fourth-round pick (100th overall) in the 2016 draft, first-round pick in 2017 and a second-round pick in 2018. Cleveland also sent a fourth-round pick in 2017 to the Eagles. Eagles GM Howie Roseman acquired the No. 8 pick from Miami in exchange for cornerback Byron Maxwell and linebacker Kiko Alonso. He obtained the 100th pick, the second selection in the fourth round, from Tennessee in exchange for running back DeMarco Murray. The Browns then would trade down again to No. 15 and took Baylor receiver Corey Coleman. All signs point to Coleman opening the season as the Browns’ No. 1 receiver.
Why Bet on Cleveland?
This will be the Browns debut of quarterback Robert Griffin III. Griffin, who made the decision to sign with Cleveland after meeting with Browns coach Hue Jackson and associate head coach Pep Hamilton, is guaranteed $6.75 million and can make up to $11 million with incentives in 2016 as part of the two-year, $15 million deal. The Browns have started a league-high 24 quarterbacks since returning to the NFL in 1999. Brian Hoyer is the only one to finish with a winning record in games he started (10-6).
The Heisman Trophy winner hasn’t lived up to the success he enjoyed as a rookie, when he guided the Redskins to an NFC East title and was named the offensive rookie of the year after setting an NFL record for rookies with a 102.4 passer rating. Griffin had his ups and downs in offseason practices as he came up the learning curve, but he made enough good plays for the Browns to be encouraged heading into training camp. He’s learning a whole new offense and Jackson and Hamilton are riding him hard after every rep.
Why Bet on Philadelphia?
This will be the Eagles debut of new coach Doug Pederson. Pederson started the first nine games of the 1999 season at QB for the Eagles until rookie Donovan McNabb, selected second overall the previous April, took over the position for the next 10 seasons. After Andy Reid was fired by Philly following the 2012 season and was hired by the Chiefs shortly thereafter, he enlisted Pederson as his offensive coordinator.
Pederson’s offense, which uses some West Coast principles while incorporating a spread-offense concept, may give all of the current players the opportunities they need to be effective. Tight end Zach Ertz could put up the kind of numbers Travis Kelce has posted in Kansas City. Mathews could get the kind of work Jamaal Charles has with the Chiefs. Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor could emerge as featured receivers, the way Jackson and Terrell Owens once did under Reid in Philadelphia.
Projected No. 3 receiver Chris Givens said he signed with the Eagles in part because he wanted to reunite with Sam Bradford. Givens had the best season of his career as a rookie with Bradford, catching 42 passes for 698 yards and three scores in 2012. Givens was never able to regain his form after injuries ended Bradford’s time with the Rams, and he was terribly inefficient (36 percent catch rate) in 12 games with the Ravens last year.
My Free Pick
The Browns are quite simply the worst team in the NFL on paper this season. This one’s an easy call for the Eagles.