Connect with us

Game Notes

Cowboys At Browns Staff Picks And Notes

Published

on

The Star News - Cowboys Aat Browns

Good morning Cowboys fans, it's Sunday! It's game day and the Cowboys are in Cleveland. Kickoff is at noon and while the Dawg Pound are sitting at zero wins on the year, the Cleveland Browns are sitting at zero wins on the year... wait, what?

That wasn't a mistake. The Dawg Pound, the fan base in Cleveland, has no wins this year from their beloved football team, which probably makes last year's championship for LeBron and the Cavaliers a little saltier. But regardless, the team is at zero wins and, as you've undoubtedly heard throughout the week, that can be dangerous.

Can anyone say trap game?

Oddly enough, these Cowboys are the young guns we're so pumped about at 6-1 on the season -- just 1 or 2 erroneous plays from 7-0 -- and my gut instinct is that because they're young, they'll avoid the potential pitfalls of this game. Everything is newer, including the confidence of being 6-1 with Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott leading the charge. It's hard to get caught up in that when you really don't even believe it yet. But let's not forget what it was like to be young. It's easier to get swept away.

The Cowboys have had good luck against the Browns in recent years, winning four of their last five meetings, but haven't played the Browns since November of 2012. It's an unfamiliar team for them, and especially with rookie QB Cody Kessler, the Browns' third round selection of the 2016 draft.

Of course, the Cowboys are battling injuries (same story, different year, right?). Both Morris Claiborne and Barry Church are ruled out for this contest, two guys who have helped shore up this secondary.

Long story short... nobody knows what to expect today.

A winless team through the first half of the year is hungry. The Cowboys just need to avoid getting bit.

So let's have a look at what the guys here at Inside The Star expect from today's game.

Brian Martin | @Bmart0204

This is a matchup the Dallas Cowboys should dominate in all three phases of the game. I think the Cowboys will rely heavily on the running game, led by Ezekiel Elliott, and try to limit the time their defense is on the field.

I have the Cowboys dominating the time of possession and easily defeating the Cleveland Browns on their home turf.

Cowboys 31 – Browns 17

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

Justin Grohowski | @Grohowknowhow

I have a feeling this one will be a closer game than most may expect.

Cleveland has been in almost every game this season, minus a select few, and they aren't short on play makers at wide receiver with Corey Coleman back in action. With a banged up secondary, the Cowboys defense could struggle in this one.

In the end, though, the offensive firepower of the Cowboys will be too much for Cleveland. Ezekiel Elliott runs for 150 on an awful run defense as Dallas pulls out a close one.

Cowboys 27 – Browns 23

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

Sean Martin | @ShoreSportsNJ

I became a Dallas Cowboys fan because they won their most recent Super Bowl on my birthday - January 28th, 1996. Now, 20 years later, I'll be in attendance for my first ever game - and they simply are not losing this one.

I gave some thought to the "trap game" narrative earlier in the week, but Dak Prescott is out for some redemption, and the Browns also aren't ready for Ezekiel Elliott. 7-1? Here we come.

Cowboys 31 – Browns 17

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

Jess Haynie | @CowboysAddicts

The Browns offense moves the ball better than you'd think from a 0-8 team, but they can't finish drives. This fits well with the Dallas defense, which can give up yardage but keeps teams out of the end zone. The Cowboys offense will feel liberated after a tough week against the Eagles, facing the 31st-ranked defense in Cleveland.

Cowboys 34 – Browns 16

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

Ian Koplowitz | @BleedingTheStar

The Browns' run defense is extremely suspect. I expect Scott Linehan to use a steady dose of Zeke Elliott and Alfred Morris throughout the afternoon. The Browns have some weapons coming back, but I think we're the better team.

As long as we don't get cocky, this should be a routine win.

Cowboys 27 – Browns 17

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

Kevin Brady | @Kevinbrady88

This game scares me.

Yes, the Browns are winless and the Cowboys are riding high on a six-game win streak, but that just might be the problem. I think the Browns give the Cowboys a good fight, keeping it close for three quarters. In the end, talent wins out and the Cowboys improve to 7-1.

Cowboys 30 – Browns 21

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

John Williams | @John9williams

While this has the opportunity to be the infamous trap game for a Dallas Cowboys team that is rolling, I think they came back to work focused and determined after a poor showing for 3 1/2 quarters against Philadelphia last Sunday Night.

Jason Garrett's mantra of focusing on making yourself better with each rep and each practice is only going to get this team more prepared to play. Against the second worst rushing defense in the NFL, the offensive line and Ezekiel Elliott are going to have a field day.

Cowboys 38 – Browns 14

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

Bryson Treece | @BrysonTreece

Nothing is guaranteed in this league, especially not when one team is chomping at the bit for their first win in week 9, so I don't expect a trouncing today.

The Browns have some weapons on offense that can make a difference. They also have a rookie QB starting, and those haven't been very predictable this year. With the Dallas defense banged up, this could be much closer than people expect, even without it being a trap game. In the end, the Cowboys win.

Cowboys 27 – Browns 20

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

I'd like to note that Staff Writer Sean Martin made the drive from New Jersey to Cleveland for this one, so if you see a skinny kid wearing a #70 Martin jersey, give him a shout. It's his first Cowboys game! Can't be easy being a life-long Cowboys fan in New Jersey... so enjoy it, brother.

Be safe, be happy, and GO COWBOYS!!!



This is the General Staff account for Inside The Star, a blog for Dallas Cowboys news, scores, schedule, rumors, and analysis. We are the official home for @CowboysNation on Twitter. Follow us today for new content updates straight from our timeline. To learn more about our staff, please visit our Staff listing.

Game Notes

Sean’s Scout: Cowboys Blitzes Keep Giants Play Makers in Check

Sean Martin

Published

on

Sean's Scout: Cowboys Blitzes Keep Giants Play Makers in Check
(Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

Coming into their week two match up against the New York Giants, the Dallas Cowboys knew they could control the game with -- for the first time in years against Eli Manning -- their pass rush and strong secondary. Exposing a weak Giants offensive line went well beyond the Cowboys front four in this win though.

The Cowboys put Manning on the turf six times, with Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard relentlessly dialing up pressure. With the depth at linebacker to match up with Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram, along with Byron Jones' efforts on Odell Beckham Jr., it's no secret how the Cowboys defense forced Manning to dump the ball to his running back for 14 receptions.

Barkley's longest catch going for ten yards, this was a nearly flawless game for Rod Marinelli's defense to even the Cowboys record at 1-1. Expecting much of the same from their front seven against a poor Seahawks OL, now is a good time to look back at some of the pressure packages the Cowboys used in week two.

With a core of versatile linebackers they can trust, the Cowboys deployed Jaylon Smith, Sean Lee, Damien Wilson, and Leighton Vander Esch all over the field to present the Giants with different looks. What made the Cowboys defensive play calling so successful was their LBs ability to cover ground quickly and create depth in coverage.

By doing so, the Giants could not take any chances down the field, their longest passing play going for 37 yards.

Blitz1

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

On this play, even with the Giants looking to get the ball out quickly, the pressure from Smith and Wilson disrupt the timing. Sean Lee, the only Cowboys linebacker not sent after Manning on the play, ends up rallying from his starting WILL position to get in on the tackle. The Giants did not have the numbers up front to block Damien Wilson attacking from SAM, although more impressively, Smith was able to rip through a partial block from the right guard and get ahead of Wilson on their rush.

Blitz2

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

This next blitz shows off the Cowboys strong coverage downfield against the Giants. Cornerback Anthony Brown had his fingerprints all over this game in the back end for Dallas, but on this play comes out of the slot after Manning. Sensing the pressure at his feet, Manning steps up and actually puts himself in position to deliver a good ball, but is forced into yet another check down.

While linebacker blitzes are part of the "Richard effect" on the Cowboys defense, a well-timed slot blitz is a staple of Rod Marinelli's scheme. Using Brown a number of times in this role off the strong side, the Giants had no answers for the different pressures Dallas sent their way against Ereck Flowers at right tackle.

Blitz3

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

Even when Smith was picked up, as he was in the above play, the Cowboys capitalized on missed blocking assignments to get home with their front four. Taco Charlton the benefactor at RDE here, watch as Barkley rushes to keep Lee from having a straight run at his QB - allowing Charlton to do the same off the edge. Running untouched on the play, Charlton does a nice job taking a sharp angle to Manning and chasing him to the ground.

Blitz4

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

As much as the Cowboys cornerbacks were a huge part of the team's confidence in sending pressure, their safeties also performed well in coverage. I wrote about the above play on Monday morning in my Sean's Scout that immediately follows every Cowboys game:

"That's a fantastic play by Jeff Heath to run across the field and tackle Evan Engram short of the line to gain on third down.

The Giants drive would continue with a fourth down conversion, but the Cowboys defense did eventually force a punt.

The Cowboys safeties were primarily called upon to play in run support in this game, a role Heath has struggled in previously. Showing off his strengths as an athletic and rangy defensive back on this play, Heath didn't get pushed up the field by Engram on his release, hunting him down after the catch in front of a fired up Dallas bench."

Heath picking up Engram is just one example of a Cowboys defender exceeding expectations in coverage. Smith was able to run with Beckham Jr., as was Charlton on separate plays later in the game.

Blitz6

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

The only fitting way to conclude this film study is with a DeMarcus Lawrence sack. The Cowboys best individual defender, Lawrence had his way with Flowers as we all expected. Playing to another one of Tank's strengths here though, Lawrence rushes to the inside off a well-executed T/E stunt with Tyrone Crawford.

Also sending Brown at Manning again, the Giants pass pro leaves Lawrence unabated to the quarterback. Unlikely to escape the grasp of Lawrence on such a free rush, Manning does try to abort the pocket, but had Brown crashing down on him to collapse things.

Lawrence might not earn many easier sacks this season. None of the Cowboys starters on defense are more capable of using their own ability to get to the QB than Lawrence still, who is getting all the help he needs from Richard as his play caller.

Through just two games, the Cowboys commitment to forcing the issue on defense has potential to keep this team atop the NFC East as the offense comes into its own.

Depending on the development of their own passing game, this may have to be a defense that can win Dallas games. The only way to do so is with sacks and turnovers.

The latter is something Marinelli's defenses have always excelled at when at full strength (the Cowboys are expecting Randy Gregory back as early as this week and DT David Irving comes off suspension in week five). The former is something the Cowboys are creating with a deeply talented front seven, orchestrated by one of the best in the business.

The Cowboys will look to build on their nine sacks this season against the Seahawks on Sunday, a team that's allowed the most in the league at 12. Their timing to go after Russell Wilson will be tested more than it was against the Giants, with Richard also better positioned to aid the Cowboys against his former team.

Tell us what you think about "Sean’s Scout: Cowboys Blitzes Keep Giants Play Makers in Check" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Continue Reading

Game Notes

Dallas Cowboys’ Path to Victory Over the Seattle Seahawks

John Williams

Published

on

Dallas Cowboys' Path to Victory Over the Seattle Seahawks

In every game, whether it's a sporting event or a board game there is a path -- and sometimes more than one -- to victory. For the Dallas Cowboys, it's no different. As they get set to face a Seattle Seahawks team that is 0-2 for the first time since 2015, they'll have to win in several areas to bring home the W.

After starting out 0-2 in 2015, the Seahawks finished the season with a 10-6 record and won their wild card game over the Minnesota Vikings before falling in the divisional round to the Carolina Panthers.

The Seahawks are one of those teams that you can get down, but can never count out. If the Dallas Cowboys want to come out on top in their trip to the Pacific Northwest, they are going to have to come ready to play.

In particular, these are the things that the Dallas Cowboys have to achieve to be the victors on Sunday.

Limit Big Plays

The Seattle Seahawks are a very interesting offensive case study. They have one of the better quarterbacks in the league, but have invested very little in trying to protect their most important asset.

They rely on Russell Wilson's improvisational ability and penchant for big plays.

In 2017, Wilson had a quarterback rating of 100.9 on attempts greater than 20 yards down the field, per Pro Football Focus. He threw the ball "deep" 91 times, completing 31 passes for 1,134 yards, 12 touchdowns and five interceptions. He had the most deep attempts in the league last season and tied with Alex Smith with the most touchdowns on deep attempts. Wilson's yardage was nearly 200 yards more than the next best in the NFL on deep passing.

Wilson's going to take some deep shots. If you watched the Monday Night Football game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Chicago Bears, you noticed that even though Wilson was getting battered, it didn't deter him from taking shots deep down the field. Sometimes into unfavorable coverages.

The secondary has an advantage over the Seattle Seahawks group of wide receivers, but they'll have to stay disciplined and not allow the big pass plays to beat them.

In a game where they were being dominated for more than three quarters, the Seahawks were able to hang around and had a chance at the end because of their penchant for big plays.

Don't get beat deep.

Wrangling Russell Wilson

The Seattle Seahawks have allowed the most sacks in the league through two weeks. They've allowed six in each of their first two games this season. The Dallas Cowboys are going to have opportunities to sack Russell Wilson this week.

They have to take advantage.

Like Cam Newton in week one, Russell Wilson is a very elusive quarterback. Not only is he really good at making plays with his legs, he can be difficult to bring down. The Dallas Cowboys will have to work to keep Wilson in the pocket and finish when they get an opportunity to bring him down. He's not a physical presence like Newton is, but he's slippery and has some of that Tony Romo elusiveness to him.

If the potential tackler doesn't get Wilson down on first contact, it could lead to big plays both through the air and on the ground. Wilson averages 33.6 yards per game on the ground in his career and 5.7 yards per attempt. In order to get off the field on third down, they're going to have to prevent Wilson from using his legs to pick up third downs.

Establishing the Pass to Set Up the Run

At this point in the Dallas Cowboys offensive approach, everyone in the world knows what the Dallas Cowboys want to do on offense. They want to run the ball.

The Dallas Cowboys did a great job using this knowledge to their advantage on the first series of the game against the New York Giants.

On the first play of the game, they used a Run-Pass Option, with a clear out to the flat by Tight End Geoff Swaim, and found Allen Hurns on a slant to set up a second and short. Then after picking up that second and short with a run by Ezekiel Elliott, they used a straight play action out of a two running back, one tight end set, and hit Tavon Austin for the 64 yard touchdown.

Dak's willingness to throw the ball deep on a couple other occasions helped open up the run. The deep ball has to be a threat in order to back defenses off the line of scrimmage and do what you do best: Run the Ball. If they aren't going to back off, then you have to keep throwing it until you hit the deep ball enough that it forces them to do so.

The Dallas Cowboys were able to run the ball pretty effectively for the rest of the game, even if they didn't hit a lot of big plays. With the New York Giants interior defensive line, it was going to be tough sledding anyway. Getting things going through the air, helped out immensely.

The Seattle Seahawks are going to try to do what everyone does; put the ball in Dak Prescott's hands. If they're going to win on Sunday, it's going to be because Prescott had another efficient game throwing the ball.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

This game sets up really well for the Dallas Cowboys to improve their record to 2-1 and keep pace with the upper tier teams in the NFC. Every win matters, but these NFC games matter even a bit more. No game in the NFL is a cakewalk and this game is no different. If the Dallas Cowboys aren't able to do the above, it could be a long day for America's Team. 



Continue Reading

Game Notes

#SEAvsDAL: Betting Preview, Trends, And Prediction

Kevin Brady

Published

on

Cowboys Wishlist Christmas Edition: Seahawks @ Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys found a way to get their first win last Sunday, defeating the New York Giants from start to finish, 20-13.

Now at 1-1 and locked in a three way tie for 1st place in the NFC East, Dallas is looking to string together a few victories and create some early separation. Seattle is now sitting at 0-2, and while that's typically a hole teams cannot climb out of in the NFL, the Seahawks will be desperately fighting to avoid an 0-3 start.

The Seahawks opened up as 3 point home favorites against the Cowboys, with the over/under set at 44.5 points.

Dallas Cowboys

After an abysmal season opener against Carolina, the Cowboys came out firing against the Giants on Sunday night. Dallas led by as many as 17 points in the fourth quarter, and ended up holding on as the Giants made a late garbage-time run.

Dak Prescott looked as comfortable in the pocket as he as in weeks, finding Tavon Austin for a 64 yard touchdown pass on the opening drive. Ezekiel Elliott scored another rushing touchdown, and the Cowboys defense was straight up dominant.

Now, the Cowboys defensive line has another chance to increase their sack total against the Seahawks' weak offensive line. And you know DeMarcus Lawrence is salivating.

Dallas improved to 1-1 straight up and against the spread, covering the 3 point spread set by Vegas a week ago. Both Cowboys games have gone under thus far as well.

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks fell to 0-2 on Monday night with a tough road loss to the Chicago Bears. Khalil Mack dominated the Seahawks offensive line, dictating protections and keeping Russell Wilson uncomfortable all night long.

The Seahawks haven't been able to get much of a run game going this season, despite their insistence upon doing so. Russell Wilson is their offense, and if the Cowboys can pressure him and force him into hero-ball throws, they should have success on Sunday. After all, this was the Bears recipe for success on Monday night.

Seattle is 0-2 straight up and 0-1-1 against the spread this season.

Trends

  • The score total has gone under 5 straight Cowboys' games.
  • Dallas is 2-4 against the spread their last six times playing at Seattle.
  • Seattle is 1-5 against the spread their last six games at home.
  • The under has hit 4 of the last 5 Cowboys/Seahawks games.

Prediction

While I've thought hard about picking the under for the third straight week (I'm 2-0 doing so), I'll pick the actual game for you guys this time. I think the Cowboys will get this road win and improve to 2-1 behind dominant defensive line play and a strong running game.

This match up favors Dallas in multiple ways and I expect them to take advantage of Seattle's weak spots.

I like the Cowboys +3 a lot this Sunday.



Continue Reading



Enjoy 40% commissions on officially licensed products as a FanPrint affiliate. You can even make your own, fully licensed Cowboys and player designs! Get started here

Trending