Rob Ryan held Patriots in check last year

IRVING, Texas -- Winning at New England will be a difficult task for the Cowboys, but Rob Ryan’s recent history against the Patriots should help.

Ryan coordinated Cleveland’s defense last year that limited Tom Brady to 224 yards on 19-of-36 passing, confusing the Patriots with a variety of looks. Like this year, Ryan and the Browns had the bye the week before playing New England.

In a 34-14 loss to the Browns, New England had just 19 first downs, converted on 3 of 11 third down opportunities and had 283 total yards.

“We just went out and executed our game plan,” said safety Abram Elam, who started for Cleveland last year. “We gave them a bunch of different looks. We attack them and committed to not giving up the big play. That’s big with them. That’s a good offense. They find a hole and they do a good job of making adjustments, so you always have to stay ahead of the game with them.”

Cleveland’s offense helped that day, too. The Browns ran for 230 yards, led by Peyton Hillis’ 184 yards on 29 carries. New England had the ball for 21 minutes, 52 seconds that day.