Three reasons Dallas Cowboys will expose Browns trap

The Dallas Cowboys seem to fit many of the criteria needed for trap concerns. Fortunately the players are less content with recent performance than fans.

Oct 9, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) celebrates with quarterback Dak Prescott (4) after scoring a touchdown in the third quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys fans will soon detest the word “trap” as it’ll be used many times to describe Sunday’s game in Cleveland.

The Browns are the only NFL team yet to taste victory. On paper they’re inferior to the Cowboys in every phase of the game.

However, no win is guaranteed in the NFL. Each team has enough talent to defeat any opponent if the foe sleepwalks into a hornet’s nest.

Just last Monday the 5-1 Vikings were dismantled by a raucous 1-6 Bears team.

At first glance it seems Dallas (6-1) fits many of the criteria needed for trap concerns.

They’re fresh off an emotional overtime victory against a division rival and six straight wins. Many Cowboys fans are counting a 7th win before kickoff.

Luckily players are the ones who navigate traps. At the moment the Cowboys players are far less content with recent performance than their supporters.

There are three reasons Dallas will identify the trap and avoid a letdown in Cleveland.

Oct 30, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) is hit as he throws a pass by Philadelphia Eagles strong safety Malcolm Jenkins (27) in the fourth quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports


Good teams most often fall into a trap when recent performance is fulfilling.

Last Sunday the Cowboys played their most disorganized, penalized, erratic three quarters of football all season.

QB Dak Prescott looked like a Matt Cassell redux before his fourth quarter awakening.

His final QBR (79.8) was the lowest since the Week 1 loss. For the first time all season Dak completed less than half (49%) of his passes.

I know for one, it was my feet and a couple bad decisions with the ball that were a little careless. Definitely clean those up and get my feet in the ground and make smarter decisions. — QB Dak Prescott

NFL leading rusher Ezekiel Elliott was held under 100 yards for the first time in five weeks. He also failed to score a point for only the third time.

Clutch slot receiver Cole Beasley was flat out ignored drawing only one failed target through 53+ minutes of play. His first catch came with 6:26 left in regulation.

The Cowboys leading QB, RB, WR, and OL looked ineffective for most of the game.

Dallas’ offensive stars seek redemption after multiple failures last week.

Oct 30, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) runs the ball against Philadelphia Eagles free safety Rodney McLeod (23) in the third quarter at AT&T Stadium. Dallas Cowboys won 29-23. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports


When it comes to the Browns defense, they’re bad, I mean really bad.

Cleveland has held only one offense (WAS) below 382 total yards. Dallas has prevented five opponents from reaching that number.

Five offenses topped 400 yards on the Browns’ defense, with two exceeding 500.

They rank 30th in scoring defense (29.8 ppg), with a best effort of 25 points allowed.

Dallas has scored over 25 points five times and has yet to surrender more than 23.

The Browns allowed all eight opponents to score over 3 points above their average.

If that trend holds true, Dallas (26.9 ppg) will score over 30 points.

The Achilles heel against Dallas will come from Cleveland’s awful run defense.

The Cowboys have the league’s best rushing attack (164.9 ypg, 12 TD), while the Browns are 31st in defending the run (143.8 ypg, 10 TD).

Cleveland is equally plagued at defending the pass (277.8 ypg, 19 TD, 6 TD).

This opponent will allow the good fortune to run at will, keep the defense guessing, and execute balance the way the Dallas offense is designed.

Oct 2, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys safety J.J. Wilcox (27) celebrates with Dallas Cowboys safety Byron Jones (31) during the fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi


With recent injuries to starting corner Morris Claiborne and safety Barry Church, the 7th ranked Dallas defense is far from comfortable.

While Orlando Scandrick, Anthony Brown, and J.J. Wilcox should fill the voids sufficiently, the new combinations are still unproven.

On the pressure front things have improved, yet the sack total (14) remains low.

Four (29%) of the Cowboys sacks came in one game against the Bengals in Week 5.

The Bengals are ranked 30th in sacks allowed (25). Cleveland is 29th with 22 sacks.

After posting 3 sacks against the Eagles, Dallas now has a prime opportunity to harass the quarterback and pad their total.

Cleveland’s 9-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Brown was held out of practice Wednesday while dealing with a foot injury.

The injury could provide top pass rusher Demarcus Lawrence with an outside edge.

Browns’ center Cameron Erving (6’6, 315) and LG Spencer Drango (6’5, 313) are slow twitch and inexperienced (4 total starts before 2016).

DT Terrell McClain should have a field day disrupting with explosive interior pressure.

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