The Dallas Cowboys are coming off an impressive win against the Philadelphia Eagles last week, keeping their slim playoff hopes alive. After taking out Mike Vick, the Cowboys were able to shut down his rookie backup and control the second half. This week, the Cowboys face another rookie quarterback when they host the Cleveland Browns. I expect Dallas to control this one from start to finish.
Offensively, the Dallas Cowboys simply have too many weapons for the Cleveland Browns. The Cowboys have three legitimate receiving options in Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, and Jason Witten. Tony Romo, when protected, is a very capable quarterback. When the abysmal Cowboys line fails to protect him, he can buy time and make plays that most quarterbacks can’t. Even with a sub-par running game without DeMarco Murray, I don’t see the Browns being able to contain the Cowboys this week.
The Dallas Cowboys defense is one of the best in the NFL in terms of yards allowed. They’ve allowed points, but that’s largely because of the shortcomings of the Dallas Cowboys offense earlier and a myriad of turnovers earlier this year. DeMarcus Ware will run wild for a second-consecutive week, keeping constant pressure on rookie Brandon Weeden. The secondary played well against a rookie quarterback last week, save for a rainmaker touchdown pass on a blown coverage. Rob Ryan will build a scheme that takes advantage of Cleveland’s weak receiving corps and young quarterback while isolating Trent Richardson.
If the Cleveland Browns can find a way to establish the run against this mighty Cowboys defense, they may be able to hang around long enough to let the Cowboys beat themselves. Cleveland has been playing better lately, and the Cowboys are sloppy. Dallas struggles at home and is still just 4-5 on the year. The Browns could give them a game.
Additionally, I”m still not sold on Jason Garrett. His playcalling is suspect and he lacks the ability to make in-game adjustments. If not for an injury to Michael Vick, it’s possible the Cowboys season would be all but over in Week 11. Instead, the Cowboys host the lowly Browns with a chance to get back to .500. Still, if there’s a way to lose this game, Garrett might be able to find it. If he keeps it simple and balanced, while allowing his talented roster to dominate this game, nothing the Browns do will stop the Cowboys.
Against the Cleveland Browns, the Dallas Cowboys have clear advantages on each side of the ball. The only way these teams are close is when you sort the NFL alphabetically. If Dallas fails to cover a meager seven points, the season could be in jeopardy. Building off the momentum of a convincing victory against the Philadelphia Eagles, I expect the Cowboys to blow the Browns away.
Dallas Cowboys 35 – Cleveland Browns 10