Dallas Cowboys (6-1 SU, 6-1 ATS) vs. Cleveland Browns (0-8 SU, 2-6 ATS)
Week 9 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, November 6, 2016 at 1PM EST
Where: FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio
By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Betting Odds: DAL -7/CLE +7
Over/Under Total: 47
The Dallas Cowboys come to FirstEnergy Stadium to face the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. Cleveland looked to be in a position to notch their first win of the season on Sunday, before falling apart late as the Jets got the win. Cleveland was up 20-7 going into the half, before the Jets made a run and took it to 31-20 before Cleveland added a late score to make it look closer than it was. Make no mistake, the Browns pretty much fell apart after a promising half, losing what looked like a winnable game. The Cowboys won their 6th game in a row on Sunday night, coming back from a double-digit 4th quarter deficit to beat the Eagles in OT, 29-23. At 6-1, the Cowboys are looking good and look to keep it going on Sunday.
The Browns saw a little upsurge offensively with Josh McCown returning to the fold behind center. McCown led a handful of scoring drives. He threw for 341 yards with two touchdowns, but two picks were critical. The run game was not on-point and after the first half, this offense went into the tank. Be that as it may, McCown has shown the ability to move the ball well when he's in there, even if he hasn't shown much of an ability to manufacture wins. Still, he's pretty prolific in the air. WR Terrelle Pryor was over 100 yards, most of them in the first half. Duke Johnson, Jr. also had a big day through the air, with Andrew Haskins hauling in a pair of touchdown grabs. Things can sometimes go well for the Browns, but it seems that at the first onset of adversity, they crumble to pieces. We saw that again on Sunday at home against the Jets.
The Cleveland defense did well in the first half, but much like the offense, this side of the ball can't seem to put together a solid 60 minutes of complete play. And that's the thing with the Browns. Some bad teams are just bad most of the time. The Browns are sometimes pretty good, other times pitiful, and it just averages out to being bad. Against the Jets, they were giving them a lot to think about early, as the Browns took a commanding first-half lead. Pretty soon, they were getting run past and looking just like the NFL's worst defense, which they are. And against Dallas and Ezekiel Elliott, one wonders what a slapstick run-defense will end up yielding to the budding Dallas star back.
It has to be hard for the Browns. They see all this glory happening around them with their city in the midst of a sports renaissance. And there they are—still stinking it up. In fact, they're more wayward than normal, on the verge of dropping their ninth straight to open the season, a mark of futility that hasn't even happened to the recent dismal Cleveland teams. Still, despite two covers in eight tries, there is something beneath the surface that is dangerous. Teams could start overlooking the Browns and we could at least start to see them get in a position to start covering some spreads.
The Cowboys have won 6 straight since a week one loss, while also covering the spread in 6 straight weeks. Again, they got a big dose of help from their rookie combo—QB Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. The strong and violent running of Elliott was key on Sunday night, with 96 yards rushing and 52 yards receiving. Prescott also got a big boost from the return of Dez Bryant, who had 113 yards receiving at a touchdown grab. And the offense was clutch, with a key fourth quarter TD to tie it, followed by the OT touchdown strike.
Dallas has managed to thrive despite losses across many areas. Not having Tony Romo had been a death knell for this team in past seasons, but not this year so far. And the defense, with injuries and suspensions all over that side of the ball, has really managed to hold up their end of the deal. They're allowing just over 18 points a game, while really being robust against the run. The secondary had some injuries, but is getting healthier. It's not a great defense, but they don't need to be. At least they're not a liability. And their performance late against Philly, where they shut down the Eagles for the 4th quarter and the OT period was instrumental in the big win.
DEPOSIT $100 AND GET $100 FREE TO BET ON THE COWBOYS VS. BROWNS GAME AT ONE OF THE WEB'S OLDEST SPORTSBOOKS: BOVADA SPORTSBOOK
You have to hand it to Dallas. They've been pretty clutch this season. And they've made it work with personnel issues on both sides of the ball. Not a lot of teams take off with a 4th round rookie behind center. The Cowboys have latched onto something good and should continue riding the crest. But with a surprising 6-game win streak and on the heels of a Sunday night overtime game, could they maybe be a bit diminished on the road this week against an opponent that is difficult to respect?
Again, Cleveland is bad and deserving of their 0-8 mark. But they can be dangerous in spots, though it hasn't really manifested into covers, much less wins. McCown can move the ball and against a Dallas defense in a cross-conference road matchup, it's not hard to envision a good showing from the Browns offense. I see the Browns getting enough done offensively and covering the spread.
Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Cleveland Browns plus 7 points. Did you know... that you could be wagering on the Cowboys vs. Browns game at discounted odds? There's a better than good chance that you're laying -110 odds (or more) with your book. Stop overpaying TODAY by making the switch to 5Dimes Sportsbook! You will be so glad that you did!