Eagles-Browns: It's Gameday!

The Cleveland Browns take on the Eagles in Philadelphia at 8:30 tonight. Join us this evening for live blogs, chat, and forum craziness as the Browns try to stay perfect on national prime time TV!


KICKOFF: Monday, 8:30 ET

GAMEDATE: 12/15/08


TV: ESPN (Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski, Tony Kornheiser, Suzy Kolber, Michele Tafoya)

SERIES: 47th regular-season meeting. The Browns lead the series, 31-14-1. The Eagles have won the past two meetings, most recently a 34-31 overtime win at Cleveland in 2004. Donovan McNabb threw for 376 yards and four touchdowns in that game, which was won by a David Akers 50-yard field goal with 5:02 left in OT.

PREDICTION: Eagles 27-13

KEYS TO THE GAME: The Browns haven't scored an offensive touchdown in three games and are in a bind with soft-armed QB Ken Dorsey making his second consecutive start. Cleveland needs to focus on the ground game, but it managed just 35 rushing yards last week and the Eagles no doubt will dare Dorsey to beat them. For RB Jamal Lewis to be the focal point, the Browns must keep the score within reach. Look for RS Josh Cribbs, a collegiate quarterback, to get a few more snaps running the Wildcat formation. ... The Eagles have 81 rushing attempts the past two weeks, and Westbrook's speed and elusiveness will test the edges of the Browns' defense. Cleveland is strong in the interior with NT Shaun Rodgers, but the Browns are still giving up 148.5 yards per carry. The ground game will help QB Donovan McNabb pick apart Cleveland's secondary without the Browns' linebackers sitting back in the passing lanes.

KEY INJURIES: Browns -- RB Jerome Harrison (ribs) and TE Kellen Winslow (ankle) are uncertain; Eagles -- RB Correll Buckhalter (knee) and WR Kevin Curtis (concussion) are uncertain.

FAST FACTS: The Browns are 0-3 this season when Winslow doesn't play. ... CB Joselio Hanson has replaced former Pro Bowler Lito Sheppard as the Eagles' nickel back.


--RB Allen Patrick was promoted from the practice squad to the active roster on Thursday. TE Jed Collins was waived to clear a roster spot.

--RB Jerome Harrison (ribs) did not practice Thursday.

--DL Louis Leonard (toe) did not practice.

--DL Shaun Smith rested Thursday because of a nagging calf injury. He played with the injury the last two weeks.

--KR Josh Cribbs was limited in practice because of back stiffness.

--RB Brian Westbrook didn't practice Thursday as the Eagles began preparations for Monday night's game against Cleveland. But he is expected to play. He had a career-high 39 touches last week.

--RB Correll Buckhalter practiced on a limited basis Thursday. He has missed the last two games with a knee sprain. He'll probably be listed as questionable for Monday night.

--WR Kevin Curtis, who suffered a concussion in Sunday's win over the Giants, didn't practice Thursday. But coach Andy Reid said he is getting better and is hopeful he'll play Monday night against Cleveland.

--TE L.J. Smith didn't practice Thursday. He suffered a knee contusion in Sunday's win over the Giants. Smith had a season-high six catches in the game. He is expected to play this week.

--RT Jon Runyan practiced Thursday with a sore knee. Runyan will play Monday night against Cleveland.


Among the many decisions facing the Browns in the upcoming offseason is whether to bring back Kellen Winslow Jr. for the 2009 season. Winslow is signed through 2010.

Winslow says he wants to return to the Browns in 2009. Whether that happens could hinge on who shapes the roster next season.

Winslow will not play against the Eagles Monday night because his sprained left ankle hasn't healed. He said even if the Browns were playing in the Super Bowl on Monday, he would not be able to suit up, as much as he would like to.

"I love being a Cleveland Brown," Winslow said. "The guys here, we don't know who's going to be here next year. You just have to focus on this year. That's all you can do."

Winslow and general manager Phil Savage butted heads in October after Winslow said the Browns were not doing enough to protect their players from staph infection. Winslow said the Browns told him to keep his staph infection from earlier in the month a secret.

Browns owner Randy Lerner, Savage and coach Romeo Crennel decided to suspend Winslow for a week, which included the game in Jacksonville. The suspension was rescinded the day before the game (Winslow did not play) and his fine was reduced from a game check exceeding $235,000 to $25,000.

If Savage is still in charge of the football team after Lerner evaluates Savage and Crennel following the season, Winslow might be traded for draft picks. Recurring offensive interference penalties, his demand for a new contract and his general health are among other reasons the Browns might choose to part ways.

If Lerner decides to strip some power from Savage and puts someone else in command while hiring a different coach, the new regime might look at what Winslow can do on a football field and give him another chance.

"Mr. Lerner and I have a very good relationship," Winslow said. "I'm very happy with him."

Savage met with the media last week. He has chosen not to address any subjects beyond this season. Asked the day after lifting the suspension about Winslow's future beyond 2008, Savage would not answer.

"I will say since that whole ordeal I've seen Kellen a number of times," Savage said last week. "Prior to that week, he and I had always gotten along well and we have gotten along well since. For whatever reason, during that two-week period, we got put in a situation where it looked like we were at total odds. Obviously there were a lot of other factors involved but there is only going to be two names in it publicly."

Winslow caught 89 passes in 2006 after playing just two of 32 games his first two years. He caught 82 passes and scored five touchdowns last season when the Browns won 10 games.

Rookie Martin Rucker, drafted with the idea of teaming him with Winslow, has one catch.

Tight end Steve Heiden has 23 catches, third most on the team. Heiden caught 12 passes last season.

Running back Brian Westbrook didn't practice Thursday, which wasn't surprising considering his career-high 39 touches in Sunday's 20-14 win over the New York Giants.

"We were going inside (on artificial turf) and he had a couple of carries the other day," coach Andy Reid. "So we decided to give him the day off."

Westbrook has been hobbled by knee and ankle injuries much of the season, as well as a couple of fractured ribs. But he felt better the last couple of weeks and is coming off back-to-back 100-yard rushing performances.

It remains to be seen how heavy a workload he'll get Monday night against 4-9 Cleveland with critical season-ending division tilts against Washington and Dallas coming up after that.

"As long as we manage it right, he'll be fine," Reid said. "We listen to what his situation is. Rick (Burkholder, the team's trainer) does a great job with him in the rehab part of it, keeping things under control and letting me know what's going on with it."

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