Cleveland Browns must stop Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott - Jeff Schudel, The News-Herald & The Morning Journal
That may be a tall order.
The Browns have statistically the worst defense in the league. The Cowboys have the league’s leading rusher (799 yards) in rookie Ezekiel Elliott from Ohio State.
The Browns can hope the Cowboys are looking past them to their next game. One week after playing in Cleveland the Cowboys face the AFC North-leading Steelers in Pittsburgh.
The best way for the Browns to keep Elliott and Cowboys rookie quarterback Dak Prescott off the field is by "feeding the Crow," Isaiah Crowell, on long, sustained drives. Crowell has five rushing touchdowns — one more than he had all last year.
Controlling the clock with a strong running game will not be easy
Cleveland Browns vs. Dallas Cowboys: Who will win? We think we know - Scott Patsko, cleveland.com
Five reporters and columnists at cleveland.com have made their picks, and all have the Cowboys winning. Here are some of their reasons.
- The Cowboys run the ball. The Browns don't stop the run. Period.
- The Browns play a ton of rookies. The Cowboys go for a quality over quantity approach.
- Dallas' offensive line and running game are too much, even with the Browns taking advantage of a banged up secondary.
Cowboys at Browns: Scouting report and prediction - Jeff Schudel, The News-Herald & The Morning Journal
The Browns haven’t beaten the Cowboys since Dec. 10, 1994, in Dallas, which prompts Schudel to make this prediction:
Browns hold Zeke Elliott under 300 yards rushing, but it’s not enough — Cowboys 27, Browns 13
Cowboys’ Elliott, Prescott, Bryant likely to run up big numbers against Browns - Alan Satterlee, The Charlotte Observer
A look at today's game from a fantasy perspective.
Ezekiel Elliott (Dallas) should be in store for a huge game against a Cleveland defense allowing the second-most rushing yards per game (143.8).
Cleveland has also been very fantasy-friendly to opposing quarterbacks (allowing the third-most fantasy points to quarterback per game) making Dak Prescott (Dallas) a strong play. Likewise, Dez Bryant is a good bet to score again as well – it’s a crazy statistic, but Bryant has scored a touchdown in 14 straight games against AFC opponents.
Public loves Cowboys, professionals backing Browns - Micah Roberts, SportsLine.com
The public is pouring its money on the Cowboys against the winless Browns. Former Vegas book director Micah Roberts explains how professional bettors are reacting to the avalanche.
Since spreads were posted Monday, there's been a steady steam of cash flow on the Cowboys laying up to 7.5-points at Cleveland. Despite sharp money taking the Browns early in the week at +7.5, pushing the books back down to 7, the amount of small straight bets and parlay on Dallas is making the risk far exceed the early seed money.
"We don't have any big bets on the Cowboys," Golden Nugget sports book director Tony Miller said, "but the accumulation of small wagers is adding up fast."
Miller said he knows he can balance things out by moving to +8, which the sharps should jump at. But at the same time the sharps know they can probably get +8.5 or +9 if they wait it out close to kickoff.
The public beat up the books in Week 8 and are flush with cash this week. They love the Cowboys, who have won and covered six straight games, and absolutely hate the winless Browns, who have yet to cover at home.
Houston's nightmare forecast: Cowboys in Super Bowl at NRG - John McClain, Houston Chronicle
This article was brought to our attention by the staff at the DMN, and I can only imagine that whoever wrote up the DMN's take on this article did so with gleeful delight.
Read it and weep, Texans fans: Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys are coming to Houston for Super Bowl LI.
And they won't have to buy tickets to get into NRG Stadium.
The Cowboys (6-1) are the best team in the NFC and the favorite to represent their conference against the team that will win its fifth Super Bowl - the New England Patriots (7-1).
The first weekend in February is going to be a double whammy for Texans fans. Not only will it draw out all those Cowboys fans in Houston who will spend the week being as obnoxious as only they can, but Jones is going to be voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame the day before the game.
Dateline Houston - the Cowboys in the Super Bowl, and Jones immortalized in Canton one day apart.
DeMarcus Lawrence a breakout candidate for the 2nd half of the NFL season? - David Woods, theScore.com
Can Lawrence repeat what he did in 2015 and collect seven sacks in the second half of the season?
After returning from a four-game suspension in Week 5, Lawrence has yet to register a sack. If the Cowboys fancy themselves legitimate Super Bowl contenders, they need to find a consistent pass-rush - and it probably has to come from Lawrence. The third-year lineman has promised his sacks will "come in bunches" over the second half of the season. Lawrence had seven of his eight sacks after Week 10 last year, so he might be the kind of player who takes a while to get rolling.
Twitter mailbag: Don't bury Tony Romo yet - Todd Archer, ESPN
Will Tony Romo ever play another snap for the Cowboys?
In a word, yes. Just my opinion. Maybe I'm the last holdout on this thing, but I believe Tony Romo will play a big part in this season. It's not a negative on Dak Prescott. The shame of it is that those outside the locker room have made this an either/or scenario and if you speak well of one, you are speaking ill of the other. That's not true.
Prescott has been nothing short of amazing in his run as the starter. It's better than anybody could have expected. But he has also shown rookie mistakes, which is perfectly fine and expected. Every young quarterback will make them.
Romo is more advanced as a quarterback. Had he not gotten hurt in the preseason, I believe he would have had a 2014-type season in which he threw 34 touchdown passes and was intercepted just nine times. As the season goes on, defenses will do more to slow down Ezekiel Elliott and the passing game will have to be better. Now, the running game is setting up the pass. Late in 2014, the pass set up the run later in the year. To me, and maybe me only, that's where the Cowboys will need Romo down the stretch.
Why Experience Matters: The reason it has to be Romo when healthy - Sid Vijay, Cowboys Wire
The Cowboys have a tough decision to make at quarterback, but the past may just show the best path to the future.
The single elimination of the NFL makes things even harder. In NFL history a rookie quarterback has never won a Super Bowl. Ever. It’s the reason why despite being a less effective player, the Broncos chose to ride Peyton Manning over Brock Osweiler on their way to a Super Bowl last year.
Experience matters and it’s why Tony Romo should be the starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys once he’s fully conditioned. Look across the league and there’s only a handful of teams that can compete with the Dallas this season.
They have a legitimate chance at hoisting the Lombardi trophy this year and it’s going to require experience to get there. The Cowboys have the chance to start a dynasty beginning this year. It would a terrible waste to keep Romo on the bench and waste the wonderful opportunity in front of them.
Scouting Report: New CB McFadden Is Physical, If A Bit Undersized - Bryan Broaddus, Dallas Cowboys
Leon McFadden was called up from the practice squad for the Cleveland game. Broaddus likes his movement skills but doesn't like that McFadden is just 5-10.
He can line up on either side of the formation and in the slot, as well. Physically he is not an imposing corner height-wise, but he has some thickness to him. He has quick feet with good reactions, and that footwork helps him stay in position during the route.
McFadden shows the ability to mirror and adjust while in route. He plays with route leverage. I like him more playing press than I do playing off.
Cowboys Sign FB Rod Smith To Practice Squad - NFLTradeRumors.co
Smith is back on the Cowboys' practice squad after passing through waivers unclaimed.
McAdoo shrugs off low sack total: 'Stats are for losers' - Jeremy Bergman, NFL.com
You'd think that with the $200 million the Giants invested in their D-line thios year, they'd be aat least a little concerned about getting some bang for their buck. Not so, says Giants coach Ben McAdoo.
Numbers never lie, unless Ben McAdoo doesn't like them.
"We say it all the time, really: Stats are for losers," McAdoo said [when asked being ranked 31st in the league with 9 sacks]. "We need to make the quarterback uncomfortable. We need to make him move, make him chatter his feet, make him early with the throws. Numbers are numbers."
If by "losers", the Giants coach means "people who value qualitative metrics that are indicative of performance", then yes, stats are for losers.
The Giants "fired" Tom Coughlin after last season, and GM Jerry Reese is fighting tooth and nail to keep his job. Reese drafted only two Pro Bowlers with 64 picks from the last nine drafts and had to break the bank in free agency to compensate for the lack of talent and depth on the roster he put together. His time in New York is likely up if his $200 million investment continues to produce stats for losers.
Enemy Intel: Loser in Eagles-Giants will fall to last place behind the Redskins - Rich Tandler, Real Redskins
Redskins fans wondering who to root for or against this weekend get a heads up from Tandler.
Who should Redskins fans root for? The loser will drop into last place in the division, a half game behind the Redskins. The winner will sit in second place, a half-game up on Washington. The Redskins have beaten both teams but with the tie the Redskins are unlikely to be involved in any tiebreakers so division record and head-to-head are not as important to them as they would be otherwise. It probably is best for fans to root against whichever team they think is better. In my mind that’s the Eagles.
Meanwhile the Cowboys travel to Cleveland. The joke is that playing the Browns in the equivalent of an extra bye but this could be a trap for the Cowboys. In fact, if the Browns were not so awful at defending the run (31st in yards, 29th in yards/attempt) I might be tempted to pick the Browns pull off the upset, or at least cover the seven-point spread. So while I think the Cowboys will struggle at times they should take care of business by the lake and move to 7-1 at their midway point.
NFL midseason roundtable: What current over-.500 team will miss the playoffs? - Staff, SI.com
FOX Sports and Sports Illustrated NFL writers teamed up for a roundtable discussion that looks forward to what’s ahead in the second half. Here are three random over-.500 teams the writers think will miss the playoffs
Greg Bedard, SI: Washington. All four teams in that division can make playoff pushes, but Washington has a brutal schedule down the stretch (the most difficult in the league by FootballOutsiders.com) with the Vikings, Packers, Cowboys, Cardinals, Eagles and Panthers in succession after the bye week.
Jonathan Jones, SI: The New York Giants. There’s a bad feeling I have about Eli Manning for the latter half of this year. He’s relied so much on Odell Beckham Jr. so far, and it may not be a sustainable model for the rest of the season. The Cowboys should win the division, and I believe the Eagles will get a wild card. That could leave the Giants on the outside looking in.
Chris Chase, FOX: Let’s go with the Eagles, a yo-yo team that looks primed for January one week and then appears desperately in need of the top-10 pick they won’t have in the next. (Remember, their 2017 first-rounder was jettisoned in the Carson Wentz deal.) At least one team from the NFC East—where all four teams have winning records—will miss out on the postseason, and the one with the rookie quarterback and new coach seems like the natural choice.