Dallas Cowboys at Cleveland Browns: Noon Showdown!

Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott will be fired up in his first NFL game in Ohio since being drafted. Photo Courtesy: Keith Allison
Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott will be fired up for his first NFL game in Ohio since being drafted.
Photo Courtesy: Keith Allison
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By Zach Walker

Game Info
Dallas Cowboys vs Cleveland Browns
Sunday – November 6 – 12:00 p.m.
FirstEnergy Stadium – Cleveland – Ohio

Records Before the Game
Dallas Cowboys (6-1, 3-0 Away)
Cleveland Browns (0-8, 0-3 Home)

Who do the Cowboys need to shut down?
LB Jamie Collins – People out there might feel bad for Jamie Collins, going from a top-three organization in the NFL to a bottom level organization. Screw that, he gets to be a top-four player, in terms of established success, on his new team. Collins was traded for slipping performance, I truly don’t believe it had contract implications, because they could just as easily have not resigned him. I remember watching his final college game in person, watching him go through the process, then watching him flourish under Belichick. Collins is an upper level defender, he can cover tight ends and he can stuff the run. He really is a three down player. I’d hate the idea of him sliding and become a Rolando McClain type of wasted or withering talent. Collins is going to be a player to look out for on Sunday.

Who on the Cowboys, needs to step up?
CB Anthony Brown and SS JJ Wilcox – The injury bug finally stung the Cowboys. The Cowboys are going to be without safety Barry Church and the re-energized Morris Claiborne for about a month. Losing starters for any stretch is a task to overcome, but replacing Mo Claiborne is going to be a very large task. The pass rush must step up and become more of a force to aid the back-end. Barry Church was never known for his coverage, but my favorite JJ Wilcox plays like a desperation rocket, not taking good angles but if he connects, its full speed to a dead stop in the blink of an eye. I can’t help but smile when I write about Wilcox, the way he plays, it’s just crazy fun to watch. Filling in for Mo, the rookie Anthony Brown, who in spot duty hasn’t been bad. But, it isn’t the normal guys, and the depth in the secondary has been a concern all year.

Which group will give the Cowboys fits?
The Browns’ desire – This is generic, and a slight cop-out, but it’s true. The Browns need a win. They’ve been close in a few games, overtime against the Dolphins and last week they had a big lead on the Jets before losing it all. These players are really better than their record. I’ll tell you this honestly, there are more Browns’ players I’d like to have than Bears, Colts, or 49ers. Danny Shelton, Carl Nassib, Emmanuel Ogbah, and Terrelle Pryor. That’s just a few of their top tier players they are going to build around. They are playing hard, and what a win over these young and upstart Cowboys would go a long way for Hue Jackson.

Which group will give the Browns fits?
The Cowboys’ defensive line – These guys are going to need to feast on the Browns’ offensive line, to help the defensive backs. The Browns have Joe Thomas, the shining beacon of consistency and strength, like almost the most ironic characteristics of a Cleveland Brown. Beyond Joe, the Browns are young and beyond beatable along the offensive line. First rounder Cameron Erving has been underwhelming to say the least, and he’ll be lined up against Tyrone Crawford or Terrell McClain, and that’s a one-sided matchup without the True-Blue tinted spectacles. This game could be taken over by DeMarcus Lawrence, if he’s matched up against right tackle Austin Pasztor, though I’d love to see Lawrence test his mettle against Joe Thomas, to gauge where Lawrence is. Without Joel Bitonio to aid Cam Erving inside, it could be a feasting of (INSERT QUARTERBACK HERE). <- “Kind of doesn’t matter, it’s not going to be good for him.” – Me.

What will it take for the Cowboys to win?
This is a “Don’t mess this up, take this serious game”. In other terms, the classic trap game. I don’t think that this team is in danger of that sort of trip up, being so young, but if ever a trap game were to present itself, this is the one.

Prediction: Dallas 35 – Cleveland 20