Eagles DE Trent Cole vs. Browns LT Joe Thomas
Bio: A fifth-round pick, No. 146 overall, in the 2005 draft ... 6-3, 270 pounds ... 26 years old ... played for the University of Cincinnati ... moved into the starting lineup in Game 10 of the 2005 season and has started all but two games since ... picked for Pro Bowl last season after setting career highs with 12.5 sacks and 103 tackles ... had 32.5 sacks his first four seasons, most on the team ... an avid hunter.
Update: The Eagles' top defensive player this season, Cole has seven sacks, 83 tackles, including a team-high nine for losses, 14 quarterback hurries and three forced fumbles.
Bio: A first-round pick, No. 3 overall, in the 2007 draft ... 6-6, 305 pounds ... 24 years old ... at the University of Wisconsin, named first-team all-American and won the Outland Trophy in 2006 as the nation's top lineman ... started every game his rookie season and was named to the Pro Bowl ... played on an offensive line that allowed only 19 sacks last season, tied for third fewest in the NFL ... Rather than be in New York on draft day, Thomas turned down the NFL's invitation so he could go fishing with a group of family and friends.
Update: There has been speculation that Thomas is not playing at 100 percent because he hasn't been as dominant as he was last season. Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney said earlier this season Thomas is vulnerable to the bull rush because his stance is too upright. Dennis Manoloff, a reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer who does a video review of Browns games, this week wrote, "Having watched Thomas on tape all season, it is obvious something is missing."
An Inviting Target
Ken Dorsey last week became the third starting quarterback for the Browns in three weeks because Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn are out for the season with injuries.
Dorsey, who hadn't started since 2005, didn't inspire confidence - except for the opposing defense. He completed 22 of 43 passes for 150 yards and an interception in a 28-9 loss to Tennessee. His passer rating was a dismal 49.6. He was sacked once and hit 11 times. Dorsey's not mobile and his arm is suspect, reasons why he's been a backup to a backup most of his six seasons. Other than that, he was terrific at the University of Miami in the days when the Hurricanes were relevant.
The Eagles defense should be looking forward to tonight. The Browns are No. 27 in points scored, No. 28 in total yards, and No. 29 in scoring TDs from the red zone. They've earned every one of those grim numbers. They've played seven games in which they've scored one or zero TDs and the offense hasn't found the end zone in a month.
The Last Time
It's worth mentioning the last time the Eagles and Browns played because it provided the kind of drama that's not likely to happen tonight.
On Oct. 24, 2004, the Eagles won in overtime, 34-31, on a 50-yard field goal by David Akers. Browns quarterback Jeff Garcia ran 4 yards for a TD with 30 seconds to go to send the game into OT. He led Cleveland to 394 yards of total offense.
Monday Night Numbers
Under Andy Reid, the Eagles are 10-7 on Monday Night Football, 4-4 at home. ... Donovan McNabb is 1-5 in his last six Monday night starts, but 8-6 for his career. He has thrown 15 TD passes and been intercepted five times on MNF. ... In 15 Monday night games, Brian Westbrook has run for more than 80 yards three times. ... Dawkins' five Monday night interceptions trail only Darren Sharper (6) among active players. ... Half the Browns' four wins have come on Monday night, including one over the Giants.
A Big Slide
A year ago, the Browns' Braylon Edwards was among the league's top receivers with career highs in catches (80), yards (1,289) and TDs (16). Edwards entered the weekend ranked No. 31 in receiving with 45 catches, 735 yards and three TDs. He has dropped 16 passes. ... Browns running back Jamal Lewis is averaging 3.5 yards a carry after averaging 4.4 last season.
What It Means
For the Eagles, it's obvious - a win will keep them in the playoff chase. They also go into the game knowing how their main competitors for the second wild-card spot - Atlanta and Dallas - did.
For the Browns, this game means only two more weeks of misery remain in a season that began with so much promise.
After tonight, no player in the 76-year history of the Eagles can say he's played more games than Brian Dawkins. The Eagles' 35-year-old safety will break Harold Carmichael's record with his 181st game. Carmichael is the team's director of player development who helps run practice.
"To know that, out of all the people, out of all the people who have played for this organization, I've been here long enough, for one thing, healthy, for another thing, to have played the most games and to pass someone I really respect in Harold," Dawkins said. Dawkins, who has 34 career interceptions, will set the team record with his next pick.
The Eagles have allowed one sack every 27.4 pass plays, best in team history. The total of 19 sacks they've allowed is tied for seventh-lowest in the NFL. ... DeSean Jackson needs five catches to tie Don Looney (1940) for most receptions by an Eagles rookie wide receiver. ... Browns LB D'Qwell Jackson had two interceptions against Tennessee last week, two more than the Eagles linebackers combined for the season.