On Sunday, Dallas Cowboys host the Cleveland Browns at (yyyyyaawwwn) home.
I’m more interested in watching the Bucs roll over the Panthers, but then again, the Carolina market is where I live.
Still, I’m sure the fans in Texas will be excited to watch their team try and get to an even .500. (Of the 27-and-a-half million Texas residents, only the Houstonians root for the “Texans.” The rest are Cowboys fans. With family in San Marcos, I know this to be fact.) Dallas needs a win badly, too. They can pull to within one game of the New York Giants in the NFC East. The Giants are enjoying a bye this weekend.
In fact, so little has been reported about this game that the hot topic about a Cleveland/Dallas game has been about Cleveland coach Paul Holmgren’s want for another team. After being fired as team president by Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, he is staying on in an advisory position ‘til season’s end. That may have already happened, as the Browns’ season is, well, over.
A former Superbowl coach (two with the 49ers, one with Green Bay), Holmgren has tutored coaches with names like Andy Reid, Steve Mariucci, Dick Jauron, Ray Rhodes and Jon Gruden over the years. He even managed to take the Seattle Seahawks to their first Superbowl. But Holmgren has no interest in coaching in Dallas, regardless of rumors. “…I've always been, quite honestly, bothered by the speculation during the season when coaches are trying to work and they're fighting like crazy for their jobs, and I would never do that,” he said in a press conference this week. "I would never do that to anybody. I have tremendous respect for (Dallas coach) Jason Garrett."
Garrett, meanwhile, has been coaching for his life. After turning the Eagles on their head last Sunday, he looks to improve on his record, and QB Tony Romo is helping him there. While he leads the league in INTs with 13, he is INT-free in his last two games, is throwing the ball with 72% accuracy for 530 yards, and has three TDs. 320 of those yards came against the Eagles last week. Romo is sixth in the league in passing yards per game with 287, and Dallas’s D is an NFC fourth-best, allowing for only 318 ypg.
Dallas can move to 5-5, nipping at the Giants’ 6-4 heels. They face a shaky Washington Redskin team on Thanksgiving Day, and could conceivably move into a tie for first with New York, should they lose to the Packers in Week Twelve.
Cleveland, meanwhile, had not found its way under rookie QB Brandon Weeden. Contrary to Romo’s performance in his last two games, Weeden has a completion percentage of only 48 percent and no TDs in his. Weeden has been all over the map with his performance, and he’s not what the Browns were hoping they dealt for out of Oklahoma State. His QB ratings per game have run the gamut from 5.1 in a weekend loss to Philadelphia Eagles in Week One to a 114.9 against Cincy in Week Two. Since those two games, he’s been everywhere in between. He is inconsistent and tossing 12 INTs to 9 TDs.
Dallas will win this one at home, spanking the Browns soundly and sending them back to Cincinnati with a 2-8 record, wondering what they will do next season.