What matters: This will be a game where special teams might play a major role. The Browns aren't exceptional on offense or defense but have solid play in the kicking game, thanks largely to dynamic return specialist Josh Cribbs. The Browns are second in the NFL in both kickoff and punt return average. The Cowboys have struggled at times this year on special teams, yielding a kickoff return for a score against Baltimore and a blocked punt against Seattle. But the Cowboys did have a big punt return for a touchdown last week with Dwayne Harris, who has been a big spark the last two weeks.
Who matters: With DeMarco Murray expected to miss his fifth straight game with a sprained foot, the Cowboys are once again relying on Felix Jones to handle the load in the running game. While Jones rushed for 71 yards last week, he arguably had his best game of the season; he added 22 yards in the passing game, including a nifty 11-yard touchdown catch. Against the Browns, who rank 27th in the NFL in run defense, Jones will need to keep the chains moving both in the running and passing game.
Key matchups: Two of the best in the NFL at their respective positions will be squaring off when the Browns have the ball. Left tackle Joe Thomas is a perennial Pro Bowler and can be dominant. The same has been said regarding Cowboys' pass-rusher DeMarcus Ware. The Browns can't afford to give Thomas much help and rarely need to, so there should be quite the battle all day between Thomas and Ware, who has 9.5 sacks this season through nine games.
Injuries of note: The Cowboys are expecting to be without running back DeMarco Murray (foot), center Ryan Cook(knee) and cornerback Mike Jenkins (back), who are all listed as doubtful. Losing Kenyon Coleman (triceps) for the season is a big blow to the run defense, and it forces Marcus Spears into action.
Inside stuff: These are both third-quarter teams. The Cowboys have been outscored in all other quarters this year except the third, where they have a 54-45 advantage. The Browns have a 39-37 scoring edge in the third quarter and 57-52 edge in the fourth. However, Cleveland has been outscored 122-73 in the first half, so coming out of halftime should be big for both teams.
Stat you should know: Tony Romo improved his November record to 20-3 since becoming the starting quarterback in 2006. But he's even more impressive at home, winning all 13 games in the month of November at either Cowboys Stadium or Texas Stadium. More than the wins, Romo has 32 touchdown passes to just eight interceptions.
Looking ahead: The Cowboys have a quick turnaround with the upcoming Thanksgiving Day game against the Redskins just four days after playing the Browns, who will be the first opponent of three straight home games for the Cowboys.
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Mike Holmgren is expected to be in Dallas on Sunday hoping the Cleveland Browns can post their first road win in more than a year -- and nothing more.
While the Super Bowl-winning coach and former Browns president insists he is not looking to take over the Cowboys, Jason Garrett and his Dallas team try to move back to .500 by handing Cleveland a franchise-record 12th straight road defeat.
Holmgren was ousted as team president by new owner Jimmy Haslam III last month but remains with the Browns in an advisory role until the end of the season. On Monday in front of the Cleveland media, he dismissed a report that he was interested in coaching the Cowboys (4-5) if Garrett is fired. The 64-year-old Holmgren is unsure if he even wants to coach again.
"I haven't booked my tickets to Dallas," joked Holmgren. "I haven't talked to a single soul. That's the first thing. The second thing is I honestly don't know what the future holds or what I want to do. Believe me on that. Thirdly, 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.
"I would never do that to anybody. I have tremendous respect for Jason Garrett."
Holmgren expects to run into Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on Sunday. The two served on the NFL's competition committee and are good friends, but Holmgren said he has not expressed any interest to work with Jones. He also does not believe the latest rumor will be a distraction to the Browns, (2-7), who are coming off their bye week.
With Cleveland mired in another losing season and trying to win on the road for the first time since a 27-19 victory at Indianapolis on Sept. 18, 2011, coaching rumors involving another team are the least of the Browns' concerns.
"There's nothing that can distract us," cornerback Joe Haden said. "We've been through it all."
Haden is now dealing with an oblique injury and will be a game-time decision after missing his second straight day of practice Friday. The Browns went 0-4 while he was serving a suspension earlier this year.
"We'll just have to see," coach Pat Shurmur said. "We'll get him ready to go and if he can play, he will. If not, then we'll adjust."
Dallas is trying to win consecutive games for the first time this season after a 38-23 victory at Philadelphia last weekend. Holmgren's statement and the Cowboys' win might take some heat off Garrett, at least for the moment.
"Hey, look, it gets back to football, but you lose another game and there's going to be more talk," tight end Jason Witten said. "We know what's at stake, and I thought it was big of our team to go find a way to win, and hopefully we'll build on that."
Tony Romo threw for two touchdowns, Felix Jones totaled 93 yards with a TD and the Cowboys scored two fourth-quarter TDs on defense and another on special teams. The victory left Dallas one behind the NFC East-leading New York Giants in the loss column.
"We know we have a shot. But we're not looking around to see what everyone else is doing," said cornerback Brandon Carr, who had a 47-yard interception return for a TD.
Though Dallas is trying to avoid losing three straight at home for the first time since a four-game slide in 2010, it plays three in a row and five of the final seven at Cowboys Stadium.
Romo enters Week 11 with a league-leading 13 interceptions but has none over the past two games, a span in which he's completed 72.1 percent of his passes for 530 yards with three TDs. He was 24 of 32 for 320 yards with a touchdown during Dallas' 28-10 win at Cleveland in 2008 when these teams last met.
Jones ran for 62 yards and a TD in that game and could make a fifth straight start Sunday in place of DeMarco Murray (foot), who is doubtful to return. Jones has a combined 202 yards in the last two games and is facing a Cleveland run defense which ranks 27th, allowing 132.2 yards per contest.
Dallas hopes for another big defensive effort Sunday against a Cleveland team that has scored one touchdown over the last two games. Phil Dawson kicked five field goals in a 25-15 loss to Baltimore on Nov. 4.
Brandon Weeden has completed 48.4 percent of his passes with no TDs in the last two games after throwing for six touchdowns in the previous three.
Despite a rib injury, fellow rookie Trent Richardson has been one of few offensive bright spots of late with 227 rushing yards and Cleveland's lone TD in the last two contests.