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Big Picture: Despite Unfamiliar Setting, Cowboys Hope To Keep 2 Streaks Alive


The Cowboys have won six straight games. The Browns have lost eight. Clearly, this will be a game the Cowboys are expected to win, but in this league, nothing is a given. You can be that head coach Jason Garrett has already reiterated that point to his team and will continue to do so throughout the week.

This was supposed to be the game Tony Romo made his long-awaited return but he's been all but ruled out by both owner Jerry Jones and head coach Jason Garrett.

Romo returned to practice on a limited basis last week and it remains to be seen what he'll do in practice this week. But the Cowboys are not pushing the issue, and don't have to after winning six straight games with Dak Prescott.

The rookie is coming off a subpar performance – stat wise – against the Eagles last Sunday night, finishing with a 79.8 quarterback rating. But when it counted the most, he led the offense to a pair of scoring drives, including the game-winning score in overtime.

While the injury to Romo hasn't hurt them much so far, the Cowboys hope the same will be said in the secondary, where two key starters will likely miss 4-6 weeks. Cornerback Morris Claiborne has a groin injury that will sideline him for likely all of November. The same timetable is set for safety Barry Church, who broke his forearm in the Eagles game.

Look for rookie Anthony Brown to play more in the nickel packages behind starters Brandon Carr and Orlando Scandrick. At safety, Jeff Heath will have an extended role, as will J.J. Wilcox.

Overall, this will be the Cowboys' first trip to Cleveland since 2008, when they won the season opener 28-10.


The Browns are halfway through the season and have yet to collect a victory. An 0-8 start is certainly not what first-year head coach Hue Jackson had in mind when he took over, but when it comes to being competitive, Jackson has his group right in the mix during most of these losses.

Half of the Browns' defeats have been decided by six points or less. In six of the games, Cleveland has been within 11 points.

But despite not getting a ton of blowout losses, the Browns haven't been able to put it together, and it can start at the quarterback position.

Robert Griffin III was hurt in the first game of the season and backup Josh McCown was banged up soon afterwards. The Browns have played five different quarterbacks this year, and that doesn't count former Ohio State quarterback Terrell Pryor, who is listed as a receiver but has nine attempts this year as well.

This week, the Browns have a decision to make. McCown surpassed 300 yards and threw two touchdowns in a loss to the Jets, but had two picks. Cody Kessler has been cleared to play after passing the concussion protocol, but Jackson has yet to name a starter.

Whoever gets the nod at quarterback will likely have first-round draft pick Corey Coleman to throw to. The rookie has been out for six games with a hand issue but has also been cleared to play this week against the Cowboys.

In two games, Coleman has seven catches for 173 yards and two touchdowns.

On defense, the Browns upgraded their pass rush in a trade with the Patriots, sending Jamie Collins over to Cleveland. Collins has led New England in tackles each of the last two years. Jackson described Collins as a "tremendous pass rusher" and said the coaching staff will work "day and night" to make sure he's ready to play this week against the Cowboys.

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