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With both of these defenses totally banged up, this comes down to an offensive shootout, and this early in the season the Prescott and the Cowboys seem to have that side of the ball more in place than Mayfield and his Browns do.
Cowboys -4.5 -110
|Browns vs Cowboys Information
|Cleveland Browns vs Dallas Cowboys
|AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX
|Sunday, October 4, 2020; 1:00 PM ET
|How to watch
For the first time since the 2014 season, the Cleveland Browns have a winning record, and that is mainly because head coach Kevin Stefanski’s use of the team’s killer rushing attack is proving to be tough to stop, especially if QB Baker Mayfield keeps clicking, too.
The Cowboys look a bit clueless in Dallas, their only win coming from a mixup by the Atlanta Falcons on an onside kick, but QB Dak Prescott is on fire like never before (pay the man!) and an offensive shootout seems likely to come out in his favor.
These two cross-conference rivals have played each other 31 times (including 3 postseason games), with the Dallas Cowboys winning 14 of those matchups and the Cleveland Browns winning 17 of the games.
There are too many injured Browns defensive players to list them all here, but the major ones play cornerback – Denzel Ward (groin), Greedy Williams (shoulder) – and without them playing on Sunday it will be tough to shut Dak Prescott’s passing attack down.
And then add linebacker injuries (Jacob Phillips – knee, Tae Davis – elbow) and defensive end (Olivier Vernon – abdomen) and suddenly stopping the Cowboys powerful rushing attack also seems like a daunting feat to accomplish.
Next man up is the only way to get the job done, but this Cleveland Browns D squad is young, new, and undeveloped, so having the backups fill-in could be a recipe for disaster against this Cowboys team ready to prove themselves in 2020.
Speaking of banged up, the Dallas Cowboys have a defense that has been riddled with injuries, the two main ones being to star linebackers, Sean Lee, who is on the IR with a sports hernia, and Leighton Vander Esch, who looks to be out for the year with a broken collarbone.
The Cowboys are also missing key cornerbacks (Chidobe Awuzie – hamstring, Anthony Brown -ribs) so stopping the Browns’ Baker Mayfield through the air could be just as challenging as neutralizing their powerful rushing attack.
The key will be for the Cowboys to dominate the line and put Mayfield on his heels where he often struggles, otherwise, he could slowly pick them apart from the way Russell Wilson just did in Week 3.
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By this time of the 2020 season, everyone in pro football knows that the Cleveland Browns can run the ball down your throat the entire game, their two RBs – Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt – both capable of the ground and air attack that is nearly impossible to stop.
But it is wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. who has yet to shine in Cleveland, the former superstar battling injuries last season that made the football community forget just how dangerous he can be.
Beckham has caught four passes in each of the last two games with a touchdown and 133 total yards to show for it, but for the Browns to outscore this fiery Cowboys offense, OBJ will have to step up and become the go-to the playmaker he has always been known to be.
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One of the reasons the Cowboys came up short in Week 3 was because one of their major offensive weapons, RB Zeke Elliott, was somehow neutralized by the Seahawks defense, held to just 14 carries for 34 yards and a touchdown.
No way can the Cowboys win if Zeke only averages 2.4 yards per carrying as he did in that loss, so one of the keys to a Dallas victory over the Browns injured defense is to hit them hard with Elliott and exhaust them by the end of the game.
In the first two games of the season, Elliott averaged 4.21 yards per carrying, and if he can manage at least that against Cleveland it could help QB Prescott find a more balanced attack than only through the air.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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