GAME: Cleveland Browns at Dallas Cowboys.
WHERE: Cowboys Stadium.
WHEN: today, 1 p.m.
RECORDS: Cowboys (4-5); Browns (2-7).
SERIES: Browns lead 17-12 (2-1 in playoffs).
BROWNS ON OFFENSE: Quarterback Brandon Weeden needs to play better than he did in a loss to the Ravens two weeks ago. Weeden was late in making decisions and was off target several times. For the season he's completed 55.1 percent of his passes for 2,088 yards, nine touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Running back Trent Richardson hasn't had many big games, which makes you wonder if he's healthy. The burst we've been told about just isn't there. The line has given Weeden great protection (14 sacks). Richardson has a team-high 31 receptions. Greg Little leads the receivers with 27 receptions. Josh Gordon averages 21.9 yards a catch.
COWBOYS ON OFFENSE: You never know which Tony Romo will show up on game day. The quarterback has been inconsistent. He's completed 66.9 percent of his passes for 2,603 yards and 12 touchdowns, but he's thrown 13 interceptions. Running back DeMarco Murray has 330 yards, and Felix Jones has added 278. Former Brown Lawrence Vickers is a solid blocking fullback. Tight end Jason Witten is Romo's favorite target by far. He has 66 receptions. Receivers Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Kevin Ogletree are all dangerous.
BROWNS ON DEFENSE: Overall this unit has played well despite missing personnel because of a suspension to cornerback Joe Haden and injuries. It would be nice to see tackle Ahtyba Rubin finally line up next to Phil Taylor. That hasn't happened yet this season. Cornerback Buster Skrine leads in tackles with 58 and safety T.J. Ward is second with 50. The linebackers need to play better. The pass rush has been average. End Jabaal Sheard has just two sacks after posting 8.5 last season.
COWBOYS ON DEFENSE: The defense is eighth overall and eighth against the run, allowing 105.2 rushing yards a game. One key for the Browns will be to move the ball through the air to loosen things up for Richardson. The Cowboys suffered a huge loss when middle linebacker Sean Lee went down for the season. He was the leading tackler and the glue to the defense in the words of owner Jerry Jones. Rush linebacker DeMarcus Ware is one of the best in the business. He has 9.5 of the defense's 18 sacks and has forced four fumbles. The Browns will need to know where Ware is at all times. Cornerback Morris Claiborne arrived in the draft from LSU to help shore up the pass defense.
BROWNS ON SPECIAL TEAMS: Kicker Phil Dawson is perfect on all 17 of his field-goal attempts. Amazingly, he's 9-of-9 beyond 40 yards and 4-of-4 beyond 50. Punter Reggie Hodges has been better of late, but his 37.0 net average isn't good. Return specialist Joshua Cribbs is averaging 12.6 yards on punt returns and 29.7 on kick returns,
COWBOYS ON SPECIAL TEAMS: Kicker Dan Bailey has made 16-of-18 field-goal attempts. Punter Brian Moorman has a 41.8 net average. Rookie Lance Dunbar has a 23.2 coverage on kick returns. Dwayne Harris is averaging 18.9 yards on punt returns. He took one back 78 yards for a touchdown last week against the Eagles.
BROWNS MUST: Get more production from Richardson. Weeden can't be asked to supply the lion's share of the offense. Romo can get on streaks. The front seven has to put pressure on him.
COWBOYS MUST: Get Romo on a roll. When he's feeling it, he can be as lethal as any quarterback in the NFL. The Cowboys will blitz Weeden more than perhaps any opponent has this season. Ware needs to get home a few times.
PREDICTION: Cowboys, 27-17.