In week 4, the Dallas Cowboys host the Cleveland Browns. The Dallas Cowboys are coming off a week 3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks while the Cleveland Browns are over .500 for the first time since 2014 after their victory against Washington.
Dallas is 1-2 looking to rebound in their week 4 matchup against Cleveland. This marks a pivotal game for Dallas as they can’t afford to fall to 1-3. Here are three keys to the game for the Dallas Cowboys in week 4.
Get Ezekiel Elliott at least 20 Carries
Although Cowboys quarterback, Dak Prescott, has had an exceptional year so far, this offense runs through Elliott. His success running the football each game almost directly correlates to a Cowboys victory.
In the past three seasons when Elliott has gotten 20 or more carries in a game, the Cowboys are 11-5, including 1-1 this season.
Getting Elliott going is a major factor in this game especially against a tough Cleveland front seven. This season, the Browns are the fifth-best team against the run only allowing 94 yards per game.
The Browns defense has not allowed one 100 yard rusher thus far and has faced some prolific runners. They held Ravens’ quarterback, Lamar Jackson, to only 45 yards in their season opener, Joe Mixon to 45 yards and Antonio Gibson to just 49 yards on the ground.
They will have their hands full with Elliott in week 4 who is hungry to get his first 100-yard rushing game of the year.
When Elliott is at his best, he makes it almost impossible for defenders to bring him down. From 2016 through 2018, he led the league with 30 runs of at least 20 yards.
The last time Elliott faced the Browns was in his rookie year in 2016. Even though the Browns team was much different than it is now, he finished the game with 18 carries for 92 yards and two touchdowns.
Getting Elliott the ball early and often on the ground will help ware out these defenders to set the Cowboys up for success in the fourth quarter.
Stop the Two-Headed Monster
Chubb is coming off of back-to-back 100+ rushing yards and two touchdown performances. Chubb is currently averaging 5.7 yards per carry, his best to start the season in his career.
As for Hunt, he has also been efficient running the ball. He has had over 50+ rushing yards in two of three games and is averaging 5.2 yards per carry.
Chubb and Hunt have each rushed for 200+ yards in their first three games. They are the only team so far this season to have two players have over 150 rush yards. Chubb currently ranks fourth in the NFL with 292 rushing yards while Hunt is 13th with 204 yards.
In 2020, the Cowboys have been bottom of the league in rush yards against. They currently rank 23rd in the NFL allowing 127.7 yards per game.
Not only can Chubb and Hunt both run the football well, but Hunt is also a threat in the passing game. Although Hunt only has 42 receiving yards through three games, he does have two receiving touchdowns to his name.
If the Cowboys want to win this game, they have to contain and prevent the two-headed monster from pulling off explosive plays.
Look for Dalton Schultz
After starting tight end, Blake Jarwin, went down with a torn ACL in week 1, Dalton Schultz was in for an expanded role in the Cowboys’ offense.
After Jarwin went down with the injury, Schultz has been a solid asset in the passing game for Prescott. In week two against the Falcons, Schultz had nine catches for 88 yards and a touchdown.
In week three, he had four catches for 48 yards. Although his week three stats arent as eye-opening as his week 2 stats, he still contributed in a great manner.
His 14 receptions rank fifth amongst tight ends and 20 targets rank tied for seventh.
As for the Browns, they have been one of the worst teams in the league against tight ends this season. They have allowed 22 catches for 179 yards and three touchdowns.
In week 1, Mark Andrews had five catches for 58 yards and two touchdowns against the Browns. Then, in week 2, the Bengals’ tight ends combined for 11 catches for 87 yards and a touchdown.
Utilizing the Cowboys’ tight end is very important in this game. Due to the other Cowboys star wide receivers, Schultz might get overlooked.
However, he is in for a big game against a Browns defense that hasn’t been good against tight ends in 2020.
The Cowboys can’t afford to lose and fall to 1-3 on the season. The Browns have a lot of offensive talent so yet again the Cowboys are in for another shootout. The Cowboys will feed Elliott which will ware out the Browns defense setting up plenty of play-action fakes. Dallas’ offense is too much for the Browns to stop and they will improve to 2-2 on the season.
Dallas Cowboys 31 – Cleveland Browns 28
Image Courtesy of the Dallas Cowboys