Sunday, November 18, 2012
How you feeling? Browns-Cowboys
By Dan Graziano
As the Dallas Cowboys prepare to host the Cleveland Browns today at 1 p.m. ET (noon CT), here's one reason for Cowboys fans to feel good and one reason for concern.
Feeling good: Cleveland's rookie quarterback, Brandon Weeden, is completing just 56.1 percent of his passes this year and has thrown 11 interceptions against just seven touchdowns. He is 31-for-58 with no touchdowns and two interceptions over his last two games. He is the kind of quarterback who plays into the hands of a Dallas pass defense that relies on its cornerbacks to blanket wide receivers and force the quarterback into bad choices. Dallas' turnover margin of minus-9 is the third-worst in the league behind only Kansas City and Philadelphia, but if it can get a lead and force the Browns to have to throw, this game offers a chance to improve it.
Cause for concern: If Dallas can't get that lead (and its offense hasn't exactly shown quick-strike capabilities, after all), the Browns could have an opportunity to run their offense through tough, impressive rookie running back Trent Richardson. Dallas' front line is not the strength of its defense in the first place, and the injury to defensive end Kenyon Coleman deprives it of a key piece. The Cowboys are eighth in the NFL this year against the pass but a more middling 13th against the run, and Richardson is the kind of bruising, physical back who could give them trouble in the run game.