KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:15 ET
TV: FOX (Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver)
SERIES: 26th meeting. Browns lead series, 15-10. The Browns
are 9-3 against the Cowboys at home. However, the Cowboys are 2-0 in season
openers at Cleveland. The Cowboys won the last meeting between the two teams,
19-12 in 2004. The Cowboys have won six of the last nine meetings.
PREDICTION: Cowboys 34-17
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Browns like the tandem of young CBs Eric Wright and Brandon McDonald, but Cleveland still has questions to answer in the secondary after allowing 230.1 passing yards per game and an AFC-high 29 touchdown passes last season. Cowboys QB Tony Romo will pick the secondary apart unless the Browns get a consistent pass rush. But Cleveland also allowed 129.5 rushing yards per game in '07, so their front seven has its work cut out to contain RB Marion Barber as well. ... QB Derek Anderson appears completely over his concussion, but the Browns have to be a bit worried about the conditioning of RB Jamal Lewis (hamstring) and WR Braylon Edwards (foot) coming off injuries that sidelined them most of the preseason. Cleveland will likely have to turn this into a track meet to keep pace, but pass protection is also a concern with a slew of injuries likely to leave Seth McKinney starting at right guard.
KEY INJURIES: Cowboys: No. 3 WR Isaiah Stanback (shoulder) is putting off surgery and will wear a harness all season. WRs Sam Hurd (ankle) and Miles Austin (knee) and OG Kyle Kosier (foot) are out. Browns: OG Rex Hadnot (knee) is out. RG Ryan Tucker (hip) has an outside shot to play. Cribbs (ankle) has increased his practice reps in hopes of playing.
NEED TO KNOW: Cowboys WR Terrell Owens needs two touchdown receptions to pass Cris Carter (130) for second most in NFL history. ... This is one of three games in which Dallas will wear its blue jerseys this season. ... The Browns have not won double-digit games since 1988.
--WR Terrell Owens has gone from pariah to team captain. Once a controversial figure who was considered a locker room divider, Owens was named one of the eight team captains. He joins Tony Romo, Jason Witten and Marion Barber on offense. Defensive captains are linebacker Bradie James, safety Ken Hamlin and linebacker Greg Ellis. Keith Davis was named special teams captain.
--SS Keith Davis joined the Cowboys on Wednesday after being cut by the Dolphins. On Thursday, he was named team captain, which speaks volumes about how much he was missed and what his teammates think of him.
--CB Terence Newman remains bothered by a training camp groin injury and may not start against the Browns, if he plays. The Cowboys plan to bring Newman along slowly so he just may play in the nickel.
--CB Adam Jones will likely start against the Browns in place of the hobbled Terence Newman. It would be quite a comeback for Jones, who was suspended for the 2007 season for repeated violations of the NFL's personal-conduct policy. It will be his first start since December 2006, when he was with Tennessee. It is also his first official game since then.
--RB Felix Jones will alternate with CB Adam Jones on returning kickoffs in the season opener. Adam Jones will be the primary punt returner.
--S Brodney Pool did not practice Thursday. He was limited Wednesday in his first practice since suffering a concussion Aug. 18. Mike Adams will start if Pool cannot.
--OL Ryan Tucker worked with the tackles in practice Thursday. His status for the Cowboys is uncertain. He is trying to recover from a fractured hip.
--G Rex Hadnot did not practice because of a knee injury. He might miss the Pittsburgh game next week.
--RB Jamal Lewis worked on blitz pick-up drills. He is battling a hamstring injury.
--LB Kris Griffin missed practice with an elbow injury. He is a key contributor on special teams.