5 Keys to the game: Cleveland Browns vs. Dallas Cowboys

Cleveland Browns. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Browns. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Browns
CLEVELAND, OH – NOVEMBER 06: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys runs with the ball against the Cleveland Browns during the game at FirstEnergy Stadium on November 6, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. Dallas defeated Cleveland 35-10. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

3. Rubber band defense has to hold versus Dak

Years ago, the Browns defense was nicknamed the “rubber band” defense because it could be stretched but not broken. That was a good thing. Who cares if you give up yards, as long as you don’t give up points?

Nevertheless, the Browns defensive players took great umbrage at the nickname and were kind of surly with the press for years if not decades. If you said the words “rubber band” someone like Walter Johnson or Jerry Sherk might bite your head off.

Anyway, they won the World Championship in 1964 by being a rubber band and they shut out the Baltimore Colts Johnny Unitas, judged by sportswriters to have been the greatest quarterback to have ever played the game up to that point in time (which was total nonsense; the real answer was Otto Graham, guys).

Nevertheless, this writer is bringing back that term and applying it to Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys. Hopefully, the current defenders will not be too insulted to be compared to the last Browns unit to win a World Championship, because it was never an insult to begin with.

After all, Dak just got done throwing for 472 yards against Seattle on Sunday, but the Seahawks still won the game because they held him under 500. He was really the only thing they had going, as Ezekiel Elliott was held to 34 yards.

It takes too much faith for this writer to think that the Browns or anyone could actually shut down both Elliott and Dak at the same time, but maybe the Browns could slow down Prescott just enough that they can outscore the Cowboys.

Prescott is going to get some yards. There’s just no way around it because he is just too good. Still, Seattle proved that he could be beaten even if he throws for over 400 yards. Maybe that can work for the Browns, too.  Keep the receivers in front, do not give up the big play, even if they get several short completions. Maybe the Browns can keep pace, as explained on the next pages.

Perhaps they could bend, but not break, and the offense might score enough points to allow them to win the game.