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Bet on Football: Cleveland Browns vs. Dallas Cowboys

The Cleveland Browns come to compete every week, and this Sunday will be no different. I’ve told you that this team, albeit one of the youngest in the league, doesn’t back down from anyone. They play hard and embody a veteran mentality even though there are 15 rookies on the roster. John Harbaugh knows it because his team has been in a battle with the Browns both times they’ve seen them.

"That was a fight. That's a really good football team,” said Harbaugh after facing Cleveland in Week 9. “They are well coached, tough and physical. They are building something here. They are an up-and-coming AFC North-style team.”

Baltimore bested Cleveland 25-15 that weekend. The Ravens jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter of that contest but were trailing 15-14 midway through the fourth quarter. Had the Browns not gone 0-for-5 in the red zone, we could have seen a much different outcome.

After the Ravens pounded the rock to a two-touchdown lead, they stalled. Cleveland figured out whatever was wrong and forced six straight three-and-outs.

The Browns defeated San Diego in Week 8 when Trent Richardson had 29 carries and Brandon Weeden only threw the ball 27 times. That’s the recipe for success; feed Richardson in spoonfuls.

Weeden hasn’t played poorly as a rookie, but he needs to be limited in what he does, just like the rest of the league’s rookie quarterbacks not named Andrew Luck are. Weeden was 20 of 37 for 176 yards and two picks versus Baltimore. He has thrown nine touchdowns against 12 interceptions this year.

One member of the Baltimore defense said that Richardson was the hardest running back in the NFL to tackle. The Cowboys should expect a heavy dose of the bruising back this Sunday.

Dallas would be wise to pound the rock too, considering the Browns have one of the worst run defenses in the game. Felix Jones has finally looked like a feature back the last couple of weeks so he should be able to continue the momentum here. And there’s an outside chance DeMarco Murray could return, but it’s unlikely.

The Cowboys salvaged their season with a 38-23 victory at Philadelphia in Week 10, which improved them to 4-5. They’ve closed the gap in the NFC East following New York’s loss at Cincinnati.

Rob Ryan’s defense has been lights out for the last four weeks. The defense scored the game-sealing touchdown in the fourth quarter Sunday. It notched two turnovers and held the Eagles to 1 of 10 on third down.

"Critical win for us," Jason Garrett said. "I thought the effort was there. I thought we were focused the whole game."

The win came at a cost however. Starting defensive end Kenyon Coleman torn his triceps and will miss the remainder of the season. Coleman isn’t a great pass rusher but he is tremendous against the run.

Dallas played without a number of defensive players in Week 10. Nickel cornerback Mike Jenkins and starting linebacker Dan Connor were out, as was reserve D-end Sean Lissemore. The linebacker depth on this squad is perilously thin, and that’s not a good thing going against a guy like Richardson.

Rob Ryan was in Cleveland for three years prior to landing in Dallas last season so he knows a lot of the defensive personnel -- advantage Cowboys. The Browns are hoping the bye week was enough to get nose tackle Ahtyba Rubin and cornerback Dimitri Patterson healthy.

SBG Global opened the spread for this Sunday afternoon game at -7 in favor of the Cowboys. The NFL odds total surfaced at 43.5.