How does the great Rob Ryan defense let up two touchdowns with a little over five-minutes to play? I’ll tell you how, by continuing to blitz with an injured secondary leaving little or no help over the top. It also did not help that DeMarcus Ware was offsides on what would have been a 2nd and 22 instead of a 1st and 5 that ended up being the game winning drive.
Both quarterbacks left it all on the field and neither deserved to lose, but Romo lost again even though he orchestrated another drive with no time outs and less than a minute to play to have the Cowboys tie the game up and send it into overtime. It looked like they had; much like last week when it looked like they won. Instead Tom Coughlin called a timeout as the game tying field goal sailed through the uprights. Like a bad dream the Giants blocked the second attempt and went on to win 37-34 and put the Cowboys on the playoff bubble, however the Cowboys play the Giants again on New Years Day, Tampa Bay this week and Philly at home on Christmas Eve. Things look good for them.
It’s yet another frustrating loss for the Cowboys who have lost all their games under Jason Garrett by an average of 3.3 points not including the Philly game from this season where the Cowboys lost by 27. I did not include that because that one loss this season was the total amount of points the Cowboys lost their eight other games under Garrett. That Philly loss was an anomaly for the ‘Boys under Garret, who has his team playing they way they need to win games. Romo has never looked better and has kept them in every game this season. If the last two weeks field goals had counted you could argue the Cowboys would be 9-4, instead of 7-6. Oh well, can’t go back and stop Garrett from taking an unnecessary time out or have the offensive line actually block Jason Pierre-Paul, a true defensive game changer for the Giants.
This game was everything you expected it to be, except for the Cowboys blowing a 12-point lead with only five minutes and some change to go.
Romo had the game won if he had just lofted a pass a little higher to Miles Austin that looked to be a touchdown as he was behind the defense, and probably would have sealed the Cowboys victory.
Winning three in a row is very doable with this team, especially since their offense is as healthy as it has been since the start of the season. The key is going to be the play of the defense.
Garrett needs to sit Ryan down and tell him to ease up on the blitzing because Eli Manning figured it out quickly because he’s a smart QB. He dropped further back and was able to buy time for his receivers to break open in the injured Cowboys secondary. If you go back and watch the game the Cowboys could have had eight sacks easily if Manning had stayed in a normal pocket, but he adjusted.
I imagine for a less seasoned quarterback such as Tampa Bay’s Josh Freeman will have trouble against the complex packages that Ryan will throw at him this coming Saturday and will lead to some turnovers.
The game that will be the most interesting will be the Philly game, since his defense looked ridiculously bad earlier this season in a 27-point loss. I imagine he will force Vick to make more decisions with coverage packages versus blitz packages that left the Cowboys venerable over the middle of the field the entire game. The last time the Eagles pasted the Cowboys the Cowboys came back and destroyed them two games in consecutive weeks at the end of the regular season and round one of the playoffs.
The Cowboys still control their own destiny and the Giants still have to deal with the Cowboys again at the end of the season as well as the Redskins and Jets. The Cowboys might be back in first next week as the Redskins beat the Giants once this season already.
One thing for sure, it’s good to see Romo living up to the billing, let’s go Cowboys.
As I sit with a smile on my face Monday morning because my Cowboys are in first place, I know my Bears’ friends are doom and gloom because of Jay Cutler going down with a broken thumb. As you who know me well know I have no love for the Bears, I will tell you there’s still a lot of hope. I would say that 80% of the Bears game is set-up by defense and special teams with the remaining 20% on the offense’s shoulder. Forte seems to be handling most of the work load at this point, so if Caleb Hanie, Cutler’s replacement can manage the game the Bears still have a shot at the playoffs.
While Cutler looked pretty good against the 13th ranked Chargers defense this past Sunday, he did nothing against the ninth ranked Lions the week prior. Hanie has every opportunity to be as successful as Cutler in Mike Martz’ offense.
Let’s look at the remaining schedule:
@The Raiders – The Raiders are looking good with Carson Palmer at the helm and they have a pretty good defense that can cause Forte some issues. The key for Hanie in this game is taking what the Raiders give him to loosen the defense up enough to let Forte run wild. The Raiders defense ranks 23rd against the run and 20th against the pass, so there should be some open Bears’ receivers. No doubt the Raiders are going to make Hanie beat them, so there should be a lot of man coverage down field. Since the Bears are on the road and Palmer should be able do enough against the Bears secondary the Raiders win this one in a low scoring affair. Record: 7-4
Chiefs – The Bears come home to face the Chiefs in what is a second of three games against the AFC West, a blessing down the stretch. Bears can win this game on defense and special teams alone. The Chiefs have showed a pulse at times but they are not a very good team and the Bears will exploit this. Record: 8-4
@Broncos – This one makes my head hurt because I still haven’t been able to figure out how the Broncos have gone 3-1 with Tebow, he’s not a good quarterback. The Bears should easily win this one because their defense should be able to cause Tebow fits, but the Jets defense should have done the same and Tebow beat them last Thursday. Since it’s on the road and Tebow seems to really have God on his side, Broncos win in a squeaker: Record: 8-5
Seahawks – Again, the Bears come home to game that they should have little problem winning, they should be able to run and pass, as well as make big plays on defense and special teams. Record: 9-5
@Packers – Just withdraw from the game and keep the team healthy. Packers win big. Record: 9-6
@Vikings – The Vikings have shown some signs of life, but if Adrian Peterson is still gimpy the Bears should win easily. Even with Peterson the defense should confuse Vikings QB, Christian Ponder, enough to create a few turnovers that should lead to points. Bears close out with a win on the road. Record: 10-6
Now it gets trickier in regards to getting into the playoffs, especially with the Cowboys winning this weekend and the Giants losing. If the season ended today the Lions would play the Cowboys and the Bears would play the Saints in the Wildcard round. I’m sticking by 11-5 for the Cowboys and winning the division, but the Giants now become the Bears’ problem.
In week 13 the Giants host the Packers in the Meadowlands and while Bears’ fans would instinctively root for the Giants they should be rooting for their enemy the Packers. In fact, you should back the Pack the next two weeks against the Lions on Thanksgiving and the Giants the following week. Two more wins by the Pack and you’re playoff hopes improve, in fact the Pack close the season hosting the Lions so your chances greatly improve.
The Giants have to play the Saints in week 12, so that should be another loss especially with the Saints coming off the bye week. That takes care of the Giants, but there’s still the Atlanta Falcons to consider, however the Bears’ hold the tiebreaker from the opening day win so they would only be a concern if they finish with a better record than the Bears.
So hope remains if the Bears formula continues to work, solid defense and spectacular special teams.
Another tough week after such a good start to the season. A very frustrating week, as the Lions defense did the job by holding the Bears to one offensive touchdown, Cutler to 123 yards, and Forte to 67 yards rushing. When you look at that it would seem that the Lions won, but Jim Schwartz has some growing to do as a coach and the first lesson learned would be do not kick the ball to Hester. Two special teams and defensive touchdowns lead to the demise of the Lions. Stafford had 63 passing attempts, whoa! Anyhow enough of my complaining about bonehead calls that lead to a 1-3 week, hold on, wait, I have to say something about the Falcons going for it on 4th and 1 in their end of the field in overtime; terrible coaching.
I fell to .500 straight up, but remain a few games above .500 against the spread.
Straight up: 9-9
Spread: 11 – 9
This weeks upset specials:
Chargers over the Bears (-2.5) – This looks familiar, same prediction different team. The Bears are not as desperate as the Chargers and the Chargers will have a more balanced game plan than the Lions, as well as not kicking to Hester. Let’s not forget the Bears only scored one offensive touchdown last week. Remove Hester from the equation and the Bears lose. They’re really not good.
Raiders over the Vikings (-1.5) – The Raiders have a much better team than the Vikings, and should overcome any dome troubles to win this one on the road. I’m kind of shocked that the Vikings are favorites in this one.
Eagles over the Giants (-3.5) – I’m pretty shocked by how well the Giants have played so far this season, but the desperate Eagles will win this one in a classic NFC East match-up.
Bills over the Dolphins (-2.5) – The Bills will rebound this week in Miami despite the Dolphins finally figuring out their team over the last few weeks. The Dolphins have been playing much better and Reggie Bush has been running the best of his career, but the Bills will reach back and re-establish themselves after a horrible performance against the Cowboys.
Good luck everyone!
On Sunday night at band practice I entered into a discussion of Tony Romo vs. Jay Cutler with Jimmy. He insisted that if he had the choice he would take Cutler over Romo in a heartbeat, this statement flabbergasted me.
The argument in itself is funny, as neither has done squat as it relates to the post season, which is what you really want out of your quarterback. Romo’s misfortunes are highly publicized with the fumbled field goal in 2006, his first season as the Cowboys QB and late game turnovers since, while Cutler had a mysterious knee injury in the 2010 Championship game, and also has a career of throwing interceptions at inopportune times.
When you look at the numbers between Cutler and Romo, well it seems like only an idiot would pick Cutler. Cutler has started 77 games to Romo’s 70 games, as Romo did not play his first full season as the Cowboys starter until 2007 and was injured much of last season (Romo is listed as playing in 98 games, but 28 of those were as the field goal placement holder.)
In seven less games and 111 less passing attempts Romo has passed for 19,158 yards to Cutler’s 17,997, as well as throwing 134 touch down passes to Cutler’s 115. Interceptions – Romo has only thrown 69, while Cutler has thrown 85, and Romo has a 95.8 QB rating with Cutler’s at 84.3. The numbers do not lie, and Romo made a leap over Cutler in the guts category earlier this season thanks to his performance in the 49ers game.
Romo left the game injured to return a quarter later to lead the Cowboys to an overtime victory. It was revealed that Romo returned to the game with four broken ribs and a punctured lung. Romo has continued to play with these injuries throughout the 2011 season. One thing to note, the Cowboys loss is the only loss the 49ers have this season.
Cutler left the biggest game of his career with a “knee-injury” and could not return. I still find it curious that Cutler stood on the sideline with a “knee-injury.” Romo has now trumped Cutler in the “guts” category after his 49ers performance.
Now Jimmy says that Cutler has some “mysterioso X factor” which I can’t argue if he feels that way but he also stated the following about Cutler, “Great arm, tough dude, best QB the Bears have had in my lifetime.”
Great arm I can’t argue, but in regards to “tough dude” please refer to the 2010 playoffs. As far as being the “best QB the Bears had” in Jimmy’s lifetime, well I’d vote Jim McMahon, since he won a Super Bowl. McMahon may have had Payton, but Cutler has Forte (he’s pretty darn good.)
So as far as number goes Romo is superior to Cutler, in regards to guts Romo took a leap past Cutler, but as far as “mysterio x factors” Cutler has that covered.
It was a slight rebound with a 2-2 record last week, which should have been 3-1 if the Rams were not so poorly coached. As predicted the running game was in full order with Jackson busting off 130 plus, but bonehead plays by the defense cost the Rams the game.
Straight up: 8-6
Spread: 10 – 6
This weeks upset specials:
Lions over the Bears (-2.5) – I can’t even believe the Lions are underdogs this week? Have the odd makers not been paying attention to how well teams coming off the bye weeks have been playing? The Bears upset the Eagles last week following the week off, and the Eagles had a flawless game plan against the Cowboys with the extra week off in what turned into a beating. The Bears will suffer the same fate. Lions win easily at the Flying Saucer Field. Also, did someone catch Bears fever?
Rams over the Browns (-2.5) – The Rams will make me right this weekend and beat the Browns. Steven Jackson will run wild again.
Colts over the Jaguars (-2.5) – The Colts will get their first win this week over the Jacksonville Jaguars. This should the team the Colts defense has been waiting for to make their team look good.
Falcons over the Saints(-.5) – The Falcons are getting their mojo rising and the Saints are starting to look more like the ‘aints each game. They gave the Bucs a chance to win last week. The Falcons will over match the Saints, but there should be a lot of points in this one.
Good luck everyone!
This week I try to rebound coming off a rough week with only calling the Giants against the Dolphins correctly. I would have been 2-2 if Houston did not choose to kick a field goal with: 20 left already up by a touchdown. At least in the Cowboys loss Rob Ryan took full blame for it and saved me ranting about it this week on the blog; terrible defensive plan. My season totals took a bit of hit this week.
Straight up: 6-4 (only picked two last week)
Spread: 8 – 4
This weeks upset specials:
Buccaneers over the Saints (-7.5) – I’m going to repurpose this one saying once again the Bucs will upset the Saints this week. In the first meeting the Buc won 26-20 and they will win again by running it down the Saints throats. Freeman has been in a bit of a funk the Bucs, but expect him to have a nice game throwing the ball.
Rams over the Cardinals (-4.5) – The Rams have found their running game again with a healthy Steven Jackson, and they will continue to run him 30 plus times thus given Sam Bradford wide open receivers to throw to in man coverage. Rams will win quite easily this week.
Ravens over the Steelers (-3.5) – This game will be decided by a field goal either way, but the Ravens will find a way to win this one after coming off a huge come from behind victory last weekend. Two solid defenses square off in this one, but I think both teams will score a lot of points.
Jets over the Bills (-1.5) – Jets defense is coming on and the other Ryan will put together a good defensive scheme to shut down the Bills running game. If that happens it should be an easy day for the Jets. J-E-T-S! JETS!
Good luck everyone!
By all media accounts, Denver Broncos’ new starting QB Tim Tebow is the favorite son of the Son of God. Since his days as a Florida Gator journalists and broadcasters have practically knocked each other over to anoint him as the second coming of Christ despite the only marginal talents he displays on the field. The most famous and egregious example came from FOX announcer Thom Brennaman who spewed this most nauseating tribute during the 2009 BCS National Championship: “If you’re fortunate enough to spend five minutes or 20 minutes around Tim Tebow, your life is better for it.“
By contrast, Lions’ imposing DT Ndamukong Suh has begun to get the reputation of being the NFL’s dirtiest player. Whether or not that characterization is just, this Sunday’s Broncos/Lions matchup could be billed as the ultimate battle of Good vs. Evil.
In his first NFL start against Miami last week, Tebow proved both his critics and proponents right by looking like anything but a professional quarterback, yet he found a way to win. Tebow went an abismal 13 for 27 for a mere 131 yards, but he was able to lead the Broncos to two TDs in the final 2:44 to tie the game and eventually win on a long field goal in overtime.
Strict analysis of his tangible abilities prove Tebow is not up to the challenge of being an NFL quarterback. However, his disciples point to his intangibles as what sets him apart as he always seems to find a way to win. So the Tebow debate remains unsettled after last week’s performance, but that will change tomorrow when the Lions and the demonized Suh come to Mile High.
Suh has been fined $42,500 over his first two seasons for varying degrees of questionable hits and general nastiness. Last week, Suh was even accused of taunting Atlanta’s Matt Ryan as the QB writhed in pain after his own lineman rolled up on his ankle. A few Falcons whined to the media afterwards claiming Suh mockingly called out, “Get the cart!” But perhaps he knew Ryan was embellishing a bit because he was able to make a miraculously quick recovery and was back on the field just two plays later.
Regardless, the notion that Suh is too nasty for pro football is laughable. Does anyone think like Jack Lambert, “Mean” Joe Greene or Dick Butkus would have any issues with his play? Anyone who thinks Suh needs to take it down a notch needs to look at the past and realize he is emulating the greats in the sport’s history.
For the first time Tebow will face a truly menacing defensive line led by Suh that should cause plenty of turnovers and dispel the messianic Tebow myth. If anyone wants to characterize this Sunday’s Bronco/Lions game as a battle of Good vs. Evil, go ahead. Is Suh evil? Yes he is. Get used to it.