The Cleveland Browns get the fortune of playing against another NFC East opponent this week in the form of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Fresh off a loss to the lowly New York Giants, the Eagles look as beatable as ever.
Still, teams sometimes play their best football the week after hitting a low point.
What kind of Eagles team the Browns get on Sunday, however, isn’t really up to them.
The only thing they can control, as every youth football-level coach and up across America will tell you, is yourself.
For the Browns, that means having guys step up and make the necessary plays to win.
Let’s take a look at a couple guys who will need to be at their best against Philadelphia.
1. Kareem Hunt
The Browns rushing attack works best when both Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt have things going.
Nick Chubb No. 3 in NFL, Kareem Hunt No. 12
in rushing yards per game.
And there's a sense they're only getting started.
— Steve Doerschuk (@sdoerschukREP) November 16, 2020
Hunt really had not broken 100 yards in a single game this season until this past Sunday against Houston.
While not a major issue, it was a slight concern while Chubb was sidelined with his injury.
It was great to see Hunt back in top form against the Texans, and the offense would like to see more of the same against the Eagles.
Week 10 RB usage (PFF):
Nick Chubb: 28 snaps, 19 carries, 1 target
Kareem Hunt: 38 snaps, 19 carries, 4 targets
Upcoming schedule: PHI, JAX, TEN, BAL, NYG, NYJ
*Both* Chubb and Hunt looking like legit fantasy RB1s moving forward.
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) November 15, 2020
The early forecast for Sunday in Cleveland calls for temperatures in the mid to high 50’s along with rain.
The inclement weather could once again thrust Cleveland’s running back duo into the spotlight, and the offense would gladly take another big afternoon from Hunt.
2. Jack Conklin
Jack Conklin has the misfortune of lining up against Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham this week.
Brandon Graham is deserving of a Pro-Bowl selection this season. https://t.co/PKSrTeHE6B
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 11, 2020
Despite a down season in Philadelphia, Graham continues to be a bright spot.
He is the longest-tenured Eagle on the roster and is the team’s fifth all-time sack leader with 51 in that department.
His Super Bowl strip sack of Tom Brady is also a favorite of many in Philadelphia.
In their first matchup with the Giants this season, Graham had a similar play that helped the Eagles secure the win.
Brandon Graham pulls off the game-ending strip-sack on Daniel Jones 😤pic.twitter.com/I28rrTVkjt
— PFF (@PFF) October 23, 2020
Conklin, along with the rest of the Browns offensive line, are having a solid season.
This matchup with the Eagles defensive front, which also features Fletcher Cox, will test that unit.
Conklin will have the toughest assignment though as he battles with Graham all afternoon.
3. Olivier Vernon
Playing on the opposite side of Myles Garrett is almost guaranteeing you will get opportunities to sack the quarterback.
The ability to do that has been hit or miss thus far for Olivier Vernon’s Browns career, however, his outing against the Raiders before the bye week was impressive.
#Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said seeing DE Olivier Vernon get 2 sacks against Raiders before bye was "huge." D-line knows it needs to continue to get better, help Myles Garrett with pass rush.
— Scott Petrak ct (@ScottPetrak) November 12, 2020
The Eagles offensive line, particularly against the pass rush, has been atrocious this season.
They rank last in the league in sacks allowed per game and continue to let opposing defensive lines deal punishment to Carson Wentz.
Carson Wentz stripped sacked.
Took 8 sacks on the daypic.twitter.com/Nwh1hZvWoA
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) September 13, 2020
I go back to the start of this, however.
The best thing the Browns can do is focus on themselves and not the Eagles.
Vernon has had chances just about every week he has been healthy to have big outings.
Sometimes he has done so, other times he has gone quiet.
It can’t just be Myles Garrett and Denzel Ward as the only consistent defenders on this team.
They need help, especially if they have hopes of a deeper postseason run.
Vernon is someone who not only needs to step up this week, but the rest of this season as well.