PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 21: Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs for a touchdown against Kenny Phillips #21 of the New York Giants in the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field on November 21 2010 in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. (Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images)
Cleveland has been the league's worst Week 1 bet with a single covered point spread in their history. Is 9 points enough of an edge at home to do it against the Eagles?
Rarely is a team ever a 9-point home underdog in Week 1 and rarer still is when it happens to the same team three times.
But these are the Cleveland Browns and as they sit as 9-point home dogs against the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday, they look for a better result than the previous two times they were in this position.
In 1999 and 2000, the fledgling franchise was a double-digit dog at home in its season opener. They got clobbbered each time.
And their Week 1 perfomance hasn't gotten better over time. They own the NFL's worst against-the-spread record in season openers at 1-11-1 ATS.
"There's been so much money on the Eagles that the spread is actually -11 at one shop we track, so bettors aren't being scared off by the heavy chalk in this game," said Jack Randall of OddsShark.com, SB Nation's lines partner.
Philly will look to play to its potential and kick off the season right going up against the Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium. With Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin on offense and a loaded defense including elite corners Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles were supposed to compete for the NFC's top seed and the Super Bowl.
Instead, they went just 8-8 straight up and ATS, missing the playoffs in one of the most disappointing regular seasons in recent memory. One year after all of the hype, the talent still remains; will the execution be there in 2012?
Yet another new era begins in Cleveland. Colt McCoy and Peyton Hillis led the team to a 4-12 straight up (8-7-1 ATS) campaign in 2011. Hillis has been shown the door, and McCoy is now backing up rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden.
Coming off of a knee injury, rookie running back Trent Richardson is currently considered questionable for Sunday's game, but is expected to play against the Eagles.
No disrespect to the Cleveland Browns, but this game comes down to how the Philadelphia Eagles perform. Philadelphia finished last year with a perfect 4-0 record SU and ATS, and also enters this game with momentum after going 4-0 (3-1 ATS) this preseason.
On paper, nothing is preventing this Eagles team from being among the NFL's elite and blowing out teams like Cleveland.
So what version of the Philadelphia Eagles will we see this season, and more specifically this week? Our gut tells us that after last year's wakeup call, the Eagles are ready to come into this season on a mission and put together a strong push for the NFC East title. In the process, they roll over Cleveland this week.