Surprisingly, the Cleveland Browns head into their Week 4 matchup with a record above .500 for the first time since 2004.
That being said, the Dallas Cowboys are a tough opponent and are looking to bounce back after a close loss in Week 3.
This contest could very well be a shootout between two high powered offenses.
The Browns are going to need their obvious playmakers such as Odell Beckham, Nick Chubb, and Myles Garrett to step up.
Although, there are a few underrated players that could actually have a big impact in the outcome of Sunday’s contest.
3. Malcolm Smith
The Browns made some major upgrades to their defense over the offseason.
Sadly, they failed to address the linebacker position, which has hurt them early in the season.
Luckily, veteran linebacker Malcolm Smith has been a bright spot for their defense.
Smith is not listed as a starter, but has been on the field for 46.8 percent of the Browns defensive snaps.
He recorded his first interception of the season in a key victory over the Washington Football Team in Week 3.
Hellllllooooo Malcolm Smith!
📺: @NFLonFOX pic.twitter.com/mOEQADoAPy
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) September 27, 2020
The former Super Bowl MVP has quietly been the best Browns linebacker this season.
Pro Football Focus has Smith graded at 69.3, which is far better than the other linebackers in Cleveland.
The Cleveland defense does greatly benefit from having Smith on the field.
Smith came up big for the Browns last week and he very well might do it again versus Dallas.
He is the best Browns linebacker in coverage, which is important in a game that is likely going to be a shootout.
2. Kareem Hunt
The Browns offense is loaded with talent, but someone who doesn’t get enough attention is running back Kareem Hunt.
The 25-year-old was once the leading rusher in the league during his rookie campaign.
There is no doubting his talent, but his mistakes off the field have cost him.
Although, he has a chance to redeem himself with the Browns in 2020.
In fact, the Browns believe in him so much that they signed him to an extension over offseason.
The #Browns are giving RB Kareem Hunt a 2-year, $13.25M extension, source said. Cleveland keeps him for 3 years, Hunt gets paid.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 8, 2020
Hunt has already surpassed his rushing total from last season in just three games.
He is a dangerous weapon in both the rushing and passing attack for Cleveland.
Hunt has three touchdowns this season and has been a key contributor near the goal line.
Last week, Hunt saw 16 carries in the victory over Washington.
Getting Hunt heavily involved could be a smart way to throw off the Dallas defense.
1. Jordan Elliott
The performance of rookie defensive tackle Jordan Elliott has been overlooked this season.
Elliott is playing limited snaps with Sheldon Richardson and Larry Ogunjobi as the starters.
However, Elliott has been able to make the most of his playing time in Cleveland.
Right now, Elliott is currently ranked as the best interior defensive linemen, according to PFF.
Among rookie defensive lineman, #Browns Jordan Elliott ranks first in PFF overall grade and run defense, and second in pass-rush grade. pic.twitter.com/Qu6tS7NSBm
— Sam Penix (@Sam_Penix) September 29, 2020
During Week 2, Elliott was a key piece to stopping the Cincinnati Bengals rushing attack.
He could be asked to do it again versus star running back Ezekiel Elliott.
Asking Elliott to neutralize the Dallas running game is ridiculous, but he could play an important role in slowing it down.
Elliott has been playing just over 38 percent of the defensive snaps this season.
However, if he continues to perform like he has early in the season then his playing time is only going to increase going forward.
Leave a Reply