TV: FOX, Sam Rosen, Bill Maas, Chris Myers
SERIES: 46th meeting. Browns lead the series, 31-13-1. The two teams haven't played since the 2000 season. The Eagles won that game, 35-24, as Donovan McNabb, in his first season as the club's starting quarterback, completed 23 of 36 passes for 390 yards and four touchdowns.
2004 RANKINGS: Eagles: offense 6th (19th rush, 4th pass); defense 17th (9th rush, 23rd pass). Browns: offense 23rd (16th rush, 23rd pass); defense 13th (13th rush, 18th pass)
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Eagles want to re-establish their short passing game. Five receivers have at least 10 catches, but TEs L.J. Smith and Chad Lewis have combined for three receptions the past two games and RB Brian Westbrook has just seven catches in the past six quarters. The opportunities should be there because the Browns play mostly Cover-2, which is intended to limit big pass plays, and they will focus a lot of attention on WR Terrell Owens. Cleveland needs to keep the game close so they can keep feeding the ball to RBs William Green and Lee Suggs. Their passing game was sputtering before WR Andre Davis sprained his toe and Quincy Morgan was dealt to Dallas, and it will take at least a few weeks for newcomer Antonio Bryant to become comfortable in the offense.
FAST FACTS: Eagles: QB Donovan McNabb has completed just 47.6 percent of his passes and has no touchdowns the past six quarters. ... Only the second team in 35 years to open a season with five consecutive double-digit victories. Browns: Are 3-0 at home for the first time since 1973. ... Suggs, who caught 15 career passes at Virginia Tech, has nine receptions in three games. ... K Phil Dawson has converted 23 consecutive field-goal opportunities.
PREDICTION: Eagles 30-17
- MLB Mark Simoneau sat out practice for the second straight day and remained questionable for Sunday's game against Cleveland.
- LB Jeremiah Trotter took all of the snaps at middle linebacker with the Eagles' No. 1 unit for the second straight day and may make his first start since re-signing with the Eagles this summer. Starting middle linebacker Mark Simoneau is nursing a sprained foot.
- CB Dexter Wynn was downgraded from probable to questionable Thursday. Wynn has a hamstring injury and didn't practice Thursday and probably will miss his second straight game Sunday. Wynn is the Eagles' fourth corner and plays in their dime package.
- LB Jason Short, one of the Eagles' top special teams players, was downgraded from probable to questionable Thursday. He has a sprained ankle. Short's injury provides a double-whammy for the Eagles' special teams since Jeremiah Trotter, who has been another top special teams player this season, is expected to start at middle linebacker in place of injured Mark Simoneau. If he starts, he likely won't play on special teams.
- CB Matt Ware likely will play for the second straight week because of Dexter Wynn's hamstring injury. Ware replaced Wynn as the fourth corner in the Eagles' dime coverage last week. He played eight snaps.
- RG Kelvin Garmon took a full turn at practice Thursday. He was held from team drills Wednesday because of a pulled quadriceps. He is listed as questionable.
- WR Andre Davis missed practice for the second straight day. He is wearing a hard cast on his left foot because of a sprained big toe. He is listed as questionable.
- LB Barry Gardner won't play against his former team Sunday. Gardner is out with a pulled groin muscle. Gardner's main contribution is on special teams.
- WR Antonio Bryant had his practice load increased Thursday, his second day of practice with the Browns after being acquired for WR Quincy Morgan in a trade with Dallas Tuesday. Coach Butch Davis would not commit to how long Bryant will play against the Eagles.
- WR Frisman Jackson was activated from the practice squad. KR Dee Brown was waived from the 53-man roster.
INSIDE THE CAMPS
Middle linebacker Mark Simoneau's sprained foot kept him out of practice for the second straight day, increasing the likelihood that he won't play Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.
Simoneau is listed as questionable on the Eagles' injury report. Head coach Andy Reid said on Wednesday that he felt his starting middle linebacker would be able to play this week.
But defensive coordinator Jim Johnson wasn't nearly as optimistic Thursday. "There's a chance he might not play," he said. "I think you have to (expect that he won't) right now. And we have to proceed as if he's not going to. If he comes around tomorrow and all of a sudden he's able to practice, then there's a good chance he'll start."
Simoneau's backup, former Pro Bowler Jeremiah Trotter, took the snaps with No. 1 defensive unit for the second straight day. He will start in the middle if Simoneau can't play.
"He'll be our first- and second-down (middle) linebacker if Mark can't go," Johnson said.
Except for two games ago when the Steelers' Plaxico Burress got the best of him, Browns cornerback Anthony Henry has shut down some of the best receivers in the league. Last week he held the Bengals' Chad Johnson to three catches for 37 yards. He held former Browns receiver Kevin Johnson to 43 yards and no touchdowns in the opener and in the second game helped keep Cowboys receiver Terry Glenn out of the end zone.
Sunday he has his toughest assignment of the season so far - Terrell Owens. The Eagles have scored 13 touchdowns and Owens has six of them. At his current pace Owens will make 96 catches and score 19 touchdowns this season.
"No matter who I play, I look at the challenge each week as if the receiver were T.O.," Henry said. "Every receiver has the talent to beat you. He has a love for the game. I'm not saying other receivers don't, but he loves being in the spotlight and he's doing just what it takes to be in the spotlight."
Henry won't have to guard Owens alone for four quarters, but when the Browns are in man to man Henry will be on him regardless which side of the field Owens lines up on. It was the same defense they used against the Bengals last week - where Johnson went, Henry went.
Owens was Henry's assignment last year when the Browns beat the 49ers 13-12. Owens caught eight passes for 90 yards, but he did not score a touchdown and his longest reception was 27 yards. The Browns played some zone defense against the 49ers, but they are more of a man-to-man defense this season than they were a year ago.
Henry has worked overtime studying tape of Owens playing with the Eagles. He said he did not review tape of the Browns game against the 49ers because Owens has a different supporting cast. The Eagles throw downfield more than the 49ers did. But Henry did say playing against Owens once is an education in itself.
"You get a bead on what kind of release he has and what kind of routes he's going to run against you," Henry said. "If I go back and study what I did wrong against him I'll understand what he might try to do against me."