Browns vs. Cowboys: DPD staff predictions for the Week 9 matchup

Oct 30, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Duke Johnson (29) runs the ball during warmups before a game against the New York Jets at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 30, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Duke Johnson (29) runs the ball during warmups before a game against the New York Jets at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dawg Pound Daily staff got together to share their predictions for today’s matchup between the Cleveland Browns and the Dallas Cowboys.

The Cleveland Browns and Dallas Cowboys are in much different situations. Cleveland is 0-8, while the Cowboys are 6-1 and looking to pick up an easy win today in Cleveland.

The only way fans in Cleveland will leave happy if something miraculous happens, which is evident in how the staff picked this week’s game.

Jonathan Goehring (2016 record: 4-4): Cowboys 37, Browns 21

While the Browns have improved in several areas over the last few weeks, the Cowboys have far too many weapons to compete with. Dual-threat quarterback Dak Prescott will be a thorn in the side of Cleveland’s defense.

With a solid offensive line, Dallas can establish the running game. This will open up their play-action passing offense, and with Dez Bryant back against Cleveland’s secondary, Dallas will score with ease.

What makes Dallas so dangerous though on offense is their ability to work the middle of the field. The Browns have struggled with discipline over the middle of the field. Their linebackers and safeties will need to step up in order to slow down this element of the Cowboys’ offense. Given the results of past weeks, this matchup does not bode well for Cleveland.

On defense, Dallas is equally solid against the run and the pass. They don’t have a formidable pass rush, which could be beneficial for Cleveland, but this won’t be a major factor since the Browns will be unable to establish their rushing attack. The Cowboys will jump to an early lead, entering halftime up 24-7. The Browns will make some big plays in the passing game in the second half, but the Dallas lead will never be in jeopardy. Unfortunately, the Browns will drop to 0-9, as the Cowboys will coast to a 37-21 triumph.

Tom Moore (2016 record: 8-0): Cowboys 31, Browns 10

Two stats stand out for today’s game: the Cowboys have the league’s top rushing attack at 164.9 yards per game and the Browns are 31st against the run, giving up 143.8 yards per game.

If the Cowboys do anything other than run the ball 45 times against the Browns today then Dallas head coach Jason Garrett should be fired immediately.

Roger Cohen (2016 record: 6-2): Cowboys 20, Browns 7

This should be a perfect spot for a Browns upset: Cowboys on the road after an emotional win over a division rival and an “only in Cleveland” moment when the Indians lose in Game 7 of the World Series that some are calling the Greatest Game of All-time, the Browns, of course, win their first game in almost a year. But just like Cleveland winning two titles in less than four months, I don’t see it happening.

Beleaguered — and rightfully criticized — Browns defense keeps rookie Dak Prescott in check, but OSU’s Ezekiel Elliott gets into Cleveland’s paper-thin secondary for several second half long gains. Neither Josh McCown nor Cody Kessler can sustain a drive and the Browns’ awful special teams make multiple blunders. In front of 70,000 mostly-empty orange seats dominated by Cowboy Nation, the Browns lose 20-7 falling to 0-9.

Joel Cade (2016 record: 6-2): Cowboys 34, Browns 24

The Cleveland Browns host the Dallas Cowboys offense that boasts two candidates for the Offensive Rookie of the Year. Dak Prescott is making his case to permanently take over the starting quarterback job while Ezekiel Elliott is leading the league in rushing. The Browns’ defense will have their hands full as they are the worst run defense in the league. Part of the run defense is the result of a poor pass defense. Dallas boasts a receiving group that will the Browns headaches all day allowing Elliott to run wild.

On offense the Browns are finally getting healthy. The return of Kessler and Corey Coleman will be a nice boost for the offense. However, this week will see the struggles of all these players to get on the same page. It will not be until Thursday against the Ravens that the offense will be ready.

Steven Kubitza (2016 record: 4-4): Cowboys 31, Browns 13

The Browns are playing at home for the second week in a row, but the matchup against the Dallas Cowboys will not end well for those brave enough to head to FirstEnergy Stadium this afternoon.

Cody Kessler will continue to improve, but it will simply not be enough against arguably the best team in all of football. Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott will tear up the defense, jumping out to an early and insurmountable lead.

The key for this game will be to avoid any many injuries. With a game on Thursday night this week, the Browns just need to make sure that game can still be competitive.

Matt Stevenson (2016 Record: 7-0): Cowboys 34, Browns 20

The Dallas Cowboys come to FirstEnergy Stadium to take on an 0-8 Cleveland squad. Cleveland is still seeking their first win and earning their first against the NFC East leader in the Cowboys would be great for this young squad. The Browns traded for linebacker Jaime Collins this week and he should bolster the defensive attack but this Cowboys offense has been nothing short of great.

Their offensive line is rock solid followed by an elite running game with Ezekiel Elliott who is leading the NFL in rushing. Dak Prescott has also established himself as arguably the best rookie quarterback this season, and connecting with Dez Bryant on a touchdown in his first game back only helps.

Cody Kessler returns from sustaining a concussion two weeks ago and he gets Corey Coleman for the first time this season. The two rookies will hopefully establish some chemistry, even opening things up more for Terrelle Pryor and Gary Barnidge. Despite the effort, the Cowboys appear to be a top-tier team in the NFL and the Browns, well, simply are not.

Eric Szczepinski (2016 record: 4-3): Cowboys 31, Browns 20

The Browns defense will have its hands full Sunday when the dynamic duo of rookies in Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott come to town. The rookie quarterback and running back have transformed the Cowboys offensive attack and have them sitting at an impressive 6-1 record.

The Browns defense has failed to successfully stop the run all year and improvement doesn’t look good this week against the  NFL’s leading rusher. The big storyline to follow for the Browns will be the debut of Pro Bowl linebacker Jamie Collins. Collins, acquired from New England earlier this week, will be debuting in the center of the Browns defense. Head coach Hue Jackson said Collins had a good week of practice and is ready to play. It is yet to be determined how much the coaching staff will unleash him in his first week with the team.

Next: Kessler and Coleman team up for the first time

Offensively, rookies Cody Kessler and Corey Coleman return to the starting lineup. It will be interesting to see how quickly the rookie quarterback and receiver tandem can find chemistry between one another. Coleman will give the offense another playmaking option on the outside along with Terrelle Pryor. However, the Dallas Cowboys enter Sunday red hot and the sensation play of Zeke will be too much for Cleveland to pull off the upset.