CLEVELAND, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – The Browns have scored 69 points combined in their last two games – both wins.
The Cowboys have put up 71 points in their last two games while splitting them.
Sunday, defense could be optional – for both teams as Dak Prescott and Baker Mayfield could find themselves in a good ole fashioned shootout in Arlington, Texas.
“We understand the challenge that is in front of us,” head coach Kevin Stefanski said Wednesday, “and I think specifically for our offense, they just need to finish each drive with seven in any which way you can do it.”
In the Browns last two wins, Stefanski hasn’t had to lean on Mayfield to put opponents away.
That job has gone to running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, who have helped deliver knockout blows with punishing runs and touchdowns.
“We just have to find a way to win no matter what it is,” Chubb said. “Whatever it takes, we have to find a way to win. We have to get points to do that against this team. Whatever it takes for us to do, we are going to find a way to do it.”
Hunt, who did not practice Wednesday due to a groin injury, may not be available this week.
Stefanski has shown he's willing to stick with the run and has counted on it to deliver a pair of victories when it matters most.
“He trusts in this team and trusts in the offense to get it done,” Chubb said. “Those 3-yard runs, 2-yard runs do not feel like much, but it does have an effect on the defense, and sooner or later, we will pop one open and break one. We have to be patient and stick with it.”
Mayfield has been asked to throw just five passes in the fourth quarter the last two weeks but with Hunt potentially sidelined and Prescott leading Dallas’ prolific offense, keeping the ball on the ground to grind away the game down the stretch might not be a luxury they can afford.
“Dak is a great player. [I have] A tremendous amount of respect for him, the leader and the person he is,” Mayfield said. “When it comes down to it, we are playing the Cowboys defense and we have to do whatever it takes to win. If that is a shootout, then great, and if it is another game where we have to control the clock, then we will do that. Whatever it takes to win.”
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson gashed the Cowboys for 315 yards and five touchdowns through the air which is music to the ears of receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, who have combined for 23 catches for 198 yards and a touchdown through the first three games.
Dallas is also giving up plenty of yards on the ground too – an average of 127.7 per game.
“Whatever it takes to win,” Mayfield said. “If they have safeties down and we have one-on-one matchups, we are going to take those shots. But if they are going to take away that, then we need to be able to complete balls underneath and hand the ball off.”
Conversely, Prescott and the Cowboys eyes might be awfully big looking at the Browns defense, which has allowed 88 points through three games. Dallas leads the NFL by averaging just under 491 yards of offense per game.
“As rushers, we have to effect No. 4. That is one of the keys. We have to collapse the pocket. We have to make him throw off rhythm,” defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi, who has eight tackles and a forced fumble this season, said. “We really have to attack the football in order to help with the coverage. It works vice versa them covering the rushers. We have to play really good complementary football. We have to be on our keys, understand our checks and just play our style of football.”
Mayfield, who grew up a Packers fan because of Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre, attended just one NFL game growing up – it was a playoff game in Dallas against the Giants featuring former Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman.
He returns to AT&T Stadium where he played while at the University of Oklahoma.
“I will have plenty of people there — friends and family, loved ones and all those good people there — but I have to treat it like any other game and have to go do our job,” Mayfield said.
“That screen is pretty breathtaking. It is an extremely nice facility. Up until I think the new L.A. stadium, it was the nicest one in the country. It is quite the facility.”
It goes without saying that Mayfield hopes he’ll get to light that screen up again.