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Tag:Tony Romo
Posted on: October 4, 2011 11:19 am
 

Deion Sanders has had about enough of Tony Romo

Deion Sanders likes Tony Romo but says 'you can't trust him.' (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Deion Sanders is an analyst for the NFL Network, and he's a former Cowboy, too, so it stands to reason that he'd have some thoughts on his former team. He's previously weighed in on wide receiver Dez Bryant, his one-time mentee, and after what transpired at the Jerry Dome Sunday against the Lions, Sanders spoke frankly about everybody's favorite punching bag, quarterback Tony Romo.

"I don’t understand this guy. Just when you want to believe in him, heroic effort, came back against San Francisco, they said punctured lung and everything," Sanders said during the NFL Network's Sunday night wrap-up show. "And we praised him, we said, 'Yeah, he’s that leader, he’s their guy.' And then you come and do this. What are you thinking? Sooner or later we’ve just got to quit guessing and assuming that this guy’s is the guy to get you over the hump, and say, 'You know what? This guy is always going to be great statistically, but he’s not that guy that can take you to where you want to go.' And that’s the Super Bowl."

Sounds familiar because it's what we hear every season with Romo, a top-10 NFL quarterback who goes through stretches (usually at the worst possible moments) where he looks like he's never thrown a football.

Still, despite his wildly inconsistent play from one week to the next, we didn't single him out in the latest edition of Coach Killers for one reason: defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, who can't blame sore ribs or a punctured lung for his decision to not double-cover Calvin Johnson on the game's most important play.

And if Romo apologists are looking to dispel the notion that the Cowboys' quarterback is solely responsible for Sunday's loss, Grantland's Bill Barnwell offers a helping hand.

"Go watch those [Romo interceptions] again. It's one thing when a quarterback makes a terrible throw to the sideline and it gets jumped by an eager defender. That's a throw that invites a pick-six. The two interceptions that were returned for scores were both disappointing throws, but neither of them were totally on Romo. And if you watch the returns, you'll note that Bobby Carpenter and Chris Houston run through virtually the entire Cowboys offense en route to the score. …There's nothing about those interceptions that forced the Cowboys to avoid making tackles, and assigning Romo all of the blame for those plays because the Cowboys didn't tackle is beyond unfair."

Okay, so it wasn't all Romo's fault, but none of his 10 teammates made him throw the ball in those situations.

Perhaps it's time for the Cowboys offense to devote some practice time to tackling would-be interceptors. It's unconventional, yes, but Romo's going to throw picks so it only makes since to be prepared. Either way, to hear Sanders tell it, the torch-and-pitchfork crowd is mobilizing.

"Dallas Cowboys fans are sick of it. We had [Romo] on our shoulders last week. 'Oh Tony, he’s our king!' But now we want to stone him. I’m serious, that’s the way [fans] feel about him because you can’t trust him. I like him. Statistically, he’s great, but you can’t trust him."

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Posted on: October 3, 2011 10:36 pm
 

Nowitzki sympathizes with Romo

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

If there’s anybody in the Dallas Metroplex area who kinda, sorta understands what Tony Romo is going through (he’s awesome, he sucks, he’s awesome, he sucks, blah, blah, blah!), it’s Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki.

The boys from the Eye on Basketball blog write about this tweet sent out by Nowitzki that reads,

A nice gesture by Nowitzki, to be sure. But Royce Young also makes a good point. Nowitzki has never seen the vitriol that Romo feels on a week to week basis.

Writes Young, “What you heard is nothing like what Tony Romo is getting. Nobody ever genuinely wanted the Mavericks to bench or trade Dirk. No one ever thought it would be best to part ways with him. It was always just about how Dirk couldn't win big and that was pretty much it. No doubt, he heard the chatter and had plenty of it. But Romo's on another planet in terms of that.”

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Posted on: October 3, 2011 1:44 pm
 

Week 4 NFL Podcast Review

Posted by Will Brinson & Ryan Wilson

National Choker's Day is over, and it's time to break down a hefty slate of Week 4 NFL action. Joining us as always for the "the Detroit Lions are still somehow undefeated" talk is Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk.

Before MDS hops on, though, we break down whether or not Madonna is a good choice for the Super Bowl halftime show, wonder if the Steelers offensive line can keep Ben Roethlisberger healthy through the season, debate whether Tony Romo's a choker or not, question if the Eagles can make the playoffs and Matt Hasselbeck's rejuvenation.

We also break down which teams with winning records are contenders and which are pretenders.

Hit the play button below to listen (and did we mention that you should subscribe to the podcast via iTunes?). If you can't listen to the podcast below, download it here. And if you'd like to keep working while listening in your browser, pop that puppy out in a new tab here.


For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: October 3, 2011 12:43 am
Edited on: October 3, 2011 1:36 pm
 

Sorting the Sunday Pile: Week 4


Sorting the Sunday Pile takes all of Sunday's NFL action and figures out the most important storylines for you to digest. Send your complaints, questions and comments to Will Brinson on Twitter.Make sure and listen to our Week 4 podcast review below as well and feel free to subscribe via iTunes.



1. The bandwagon rolls on
On Sunday, the mojo disappeared for the Lions and they fell 24 points behind the Cowboys in Dallas, until Tony Romo decided to drag Detroit back from a lockjob of a defeat with a pair of pick-sixes that sparked a rally in which Matthew Stafford hit Calvin Johnson for two touchdowns and the Lions stunned Dallas 34-30 at Jerry Jones' palatial estate.

There are two ways to look at this. One, Romo is a choker again (more on that in a second) and Dallas stinks. Or, two, the Lions are very much for real. I'm inclined to believe the second narrative. So is Cowboys fan LeBron James.


I'm including this mainly because I find it absolutely hysterical that Ohio native James is a Cowboys fan. I'm sure it has nothing to do with bandwagons. But I'm also including it because James is right -- the Lions do "got swag right now."

This was mentioned after Week 2, when the Lions slammed a beatdown on the Chiefs, and it makes sense to mention now.

That's primarily because the Lions are 4-0 for the first time since 1980 and became the fourth team to start a season 4-0 a year after starting the season 0-4 since 1990. (The impressive nature of that turnaround aside, what a statement on the NFL's parity, huh?)

Take it back even further, and count preseason games and the Lions are on a 12-game winning streak, and once, again, appear to develop some of this attitude from their head coach.

"I'm glad the third best wide receiver on the Cowboys is on our team," Jim Schwartz said after the game.

Naturally you'll recall that Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan had some comments about the skills of Dez Bryant and Miles Austin versus Calvin Johnson before the game.

Schwartz' comments are a straight burn, of course, but it warrants mentioning that Dez did look otherworldly earlier in the game. But Megatron did some dirty things on his two touchdowns to the Dallas defensive backs. On the first catch, he went up in triple coverage and grabbed a ball that probably never should have been a score.

And on the second -- and most important -- score, Johnson scored when he was isolated in single coverage against Terrence Newman. Based on Ryan's theory, Newman's practice against Bryant and Austin should have prepared him for a one-on-one matchup at the goalline.

Unfortunately, Megatron's the biggest freak of nature in the NFL, arguably the best wideout in the league and slicing up some well-deserved humble pie for Ryan after the Lebowski look-a-like tried to put him in man coverage.

2. Hands on Necks
Obviously the Cowboys loss is going to be classified as a chokejob. And it should -- there's no way to classify it as anything other than that, especially when Romo packaged a pair of touchdowns and mailed it the Lions way.

"The games turn, obviously, on turnovers," Romo said. "It's the most important stat in the game. That's why you protect the ball. That's my No. 1 job and I didn't do a well enough job of that today."

The weird thing about the loss is that Dallas is now 2-0 in games where they were "gritty and tough and found a way to win" and 0-2 in games where "Romo peed his pants and threw terrible picks." Or something like that.

The point is that, yes, the Cowboys choked, but it wasn't even the worst choke on Sunday. And perhaps only the third worst -- Dallas was at least playing a very dangerous team in the Lions and even if the game was at home, we've seen Detroit do this before.

There's no real excuse for Buffalo, who was leading 21-3 against the Bengals on Sunday, to lose on a last-second field goal by Mike Nugent. Sure, it was in Cincy and, sure, it was the Bills and we should have seen something coming after buying in so heavily. But losing like that to a Bengals team with a rookie quarterback is just bad news Bears.

And yet it wasn't even the most embarrassing choke of the day. The Eagles deserve some, um, credit for their inability to hold off the 49ers in a home game where they led 23-3 as late as midway through the third quarter.

The Bills and Cowboys can at least hang their respective hats on records that aren't below .500. The Eagles have no such excuse and it's becoming increasingly clear why "offseason winners" isn't always such a nice thing to say about teams in the NFL.



3. Super Bowl champs remain under the radar

Thus far, the Packers have beaten the Saints, the Panthers, the Bears and the Broncos. It's not exactly a murderer's row of great NFL teams, but it's not the four-worst teams in the league either.

And they've looked outstanding on offense, compiling a league-high 148 points en route to a 4-0 record, and giving plenty of folks justification for selecting the Packers to repeat as Super Bowl champions in 2011.

Yet ... no one wants to talk about the success they've had this year.

This is partially because of the other storylines that are permeating the NFL this season, and partially because after last season's late run, we've come to expect this out of Aaron Rodgers and his outstanding teammates.

"Trust me, we don't have it all figured out as a football team," Mike McCarthy said Sunday. "We're 4-0, but we're very in tune with what we need to improve as a team."

The biggest issue is defense, clearly. While the Packers have arguably improved their running game from last year (James Starks looks like a legit back for their system, especially when it comes to melting the clock with a lead), the defense isn't the championship-winning caliber that showed up in the playoffs last year.

Both Kyle Orton and Cam Newton posted big numbers against Green Bay, and though there were some fantastic moments from the defenses in those games, it's difficult to justify any claim that the Packers defense is better this year than it was last year.

Having said all that, this team did a pretty good job of gelling at the right time last year, and they're off to a much better start in 2011. We should all take notice.

4. Hope you sick people are happy now
2011 has been a tough go for anyone who supports Arian Foster, whether it be Texans fans, fantasy owners or just, you now, nice people who care about other humans.

Fortunately, those people got some good karmic returns for their Foster love on Sunday, as he and the Texans took some punches from the Steelers and punched right back, eventually beating Pittsburgh 17-10 on Sunday afternoon. As my man Mike Freeman points out, everything about the win at Reliant Stadium on Sunday goes against the typical stereotype of Texans football.

More on that in a second, but first, Foster. When Gary Kubiak said he was going to bring Foster back against the Steelers, I thought he was insane. After all, the Steelers are (well, were) a top-10 rushing defense.

But Foster looked fantastic. He broke long runs, he showed tremendous burst through holes, when he got around the corner he was able to cut back upfield and pick up big yards and in general he looked like the 2010 version of himself.

"I go into every contest thinking that I'm the go-to guy," Foster said. "When the flow of the game starts going, we need certain things, and you've got to be there for your team."

Hamstrings are tricky, of course, and there's no guarantee that Foster's going to roll to another rushing title or anything. Plus, the Texans offense sputtered a bit (OK, a lot) after Andre Johnson left with a hamstring injury that really looked like a knee injury in the second quarter and that could be problematic going forward.

But at least for now, there's reason to think that the Texans offense can hop back up on Foster's back and ride him to a division title.



5. Sunday night monstrosity
The Ravens opened up on fire to begin the Sunday night game against the Jets, jumping out to a 27-7 lead before eventually winning handily. But, um, well, you see ... that was ugly.

Real ugly -- Joe Flacco limped his way to a 10 for 31 performance that generated 163 passing yards and an interception.

It would have been the ugliest performance on the field, but Mark Sanchez took full advantage of Nick Mangold's absence, and fumbled four times, three of which were lost, two of which were taken to the house by Ravens defenders and also threw a pick-six.

Things got so bad that, at one point, Rex Ryan called a timeout just to scream at the officials. It actually seemed to work, or it at least confused the Ravens and Cam Cameron, who took a 20-point lead with just a few minutes remaining in the second quarter and desperately tried to let the Jets back in the game.

That didn't matter, but it didn't make the performance of Sanchez, Flacco and their respective teams any worse or weirder. There were five defensive and special teams touchdowns in total during the game, most in NFL history and Sanchez' final pass (he finished 11 of 35, ugh) went off the heel of a defender.

What perplexes me isn't the Jets struggling, because, frankly, they were kind of due to regress a bit. I'm sure they'll start getting better, and they might start stopping the run (although I'm sure Cameron won't figure that out!) and running the ball better. They almost always do, just in time to claw their way into the playoffs.

The bigger concern is how the Ravens came out in Week 4, continuing the metronome-like performance for Flacco through a few weeks. At times (against the Steelers and the Rams) he's looked like an elite-level quarterback. And at others (Sunday and against the Titans), he's looked absolutely lost.

If he wants to truly "make the jump," he's going to need to find some consistency.

6. Goin' out east
There was no shortage of different predictions for the team that would win the NFC West. Well, except for the Seahawks. No one predicted that. The typical favorites were the Rams and Cardinals, mainly because of their quarterback play.

The 49ers should have gotten more love, but Alex Smith held them back, and Jim Harbaugh, in his first stop as an NFL head coach, is showing exactly why. His team managed to storm back against the Eagles on Sunday and move into first place in their division, with a firm command of the typically crappy NFC West.

San Francisco's 3-1, the Rams are 0-4 and the Seahawks and Cardinals are 1-3.

None of the teams out there have, unsurprisingly, looked very good. And the 49ers are the only squad with a positive point differential, which should tell you just how bad this division is. Again. But maybe Harbaugh is the difference -- look no further than his decision to house his team in Ohio for half a week in between their Week 3 game against the Bengals and Sunday's win in Philadelphia.

"Thanks Youngstown, you've been good to us," Harbaugh said in deference to Ohio. "That's as good a win as I can ever remember being a part of. I'm really proud of our players. They never flinched in a tough environment here, and there was no moment or circumstance that made them nervous in this ballgame. We kept fighting, made adjustments -- a great team victory for us."

Frank Gore gashed the Eagles for 127 yards, and Alex Smith played pretty inspired football, going 13 of 17 for 201 yards and two touchdowns in just the second half.

It's a surprising turnaround for a surprising team that stunk the joint out last year. Given the dearth of talent for Seattle, Arizona's inability to close out, and St. Louis' rough schedule ahead, Harbaugh might have this team -- surprisingly -- poised to take over their division.

7. Remember the Titans

Unless Tennessee has something to say about that anyway -- Mike Munchak picked up his third-career win on Sunday afternoon as the Titans vaulted themselves into a first-place tie with Houston in the AFC South

On The NFL Today, Charley Casserly mentioned that Matt Hasselbeck was drawn to Tennessee because of two things: Munchak's commitment to protecting the quarterback with strong line play, and Munchak's commitment to protecting the quarterback's ability to throw deep by leaving in more blockers.

This has paid tremendous dividends for Hasselbeck, who's eighth in the NFL in passing yards, sixth in passing touchdowns, third in yards per pass and first in pass plays of 40-plus yards.

"We thought he had a lot left in the tank from watching him in the playoffs last year," Munchak said. "We didn't bring him here to retire quietly. We brought him here to do exactly what he's been doing."

And he's casually doing all of this while playing for a team that doesn't have a viable No. 1 wide receiver because of Kenny Britt's season-ending injury last week.

Chris Johnson finally managed to get going a little bit in the Week 4 win over Cleveland, and provided the Hasselbeck can stay healthy (which is somewhat of a stretch, but possible), the Titans might be the surprise playoff team that no one's talking about.



8. Pay the man!
Just like 2010, Mike Martz refused to run the ball until the Bears met up with the Panthers early in the season. And just like 2010, Martz got enough criticism for his playcalling that he ran the ball a ton against Carolina. And just like 2010, Matt Forte went HAM.

Last year it was 166 rushing yards on 22 carries with two touchdowns. This year it was a career-high 205 rushing yards on 25 carries and a touchdown in the Bears 34-29 win.

This is interesting for a couple of reasons. One, the Bears are 9-0 when Forte rushes for 100 yards or more. Yet ... they don't like to run. Two, the Panthers defense is absolutely terrible. I could put up a hundo on them, and it shouldn't be too huge of a shock to see him go key largo against Carolina's beat-up defense.

That being said ... three, Forte wants a new contract, has wanted a new contract but can't get the Bears to even talk to him about getting more money.

The result, predictably, is a running back who appears to be playing with a great deal of intensity and a desire to be highly productive. Of course, for all of Forte's success against the Panthers, there wasn't that much to love about the way Chicago played. Just don't tell Lovie Smith that.

"We’re not apologizing at all about this win," Smith said. "We feel really good about it."

They shouldn't, even if this year suddenly looks like last year in terms of figuring out to run the ball and not get Jay Cutler killed. Cam Newton did a lot of damage to the Bears defense, though he made some rookie mistakes, and the Panthers were able to run pretty easily on Chicago.

Anyone can score on the Panthers, and do it at will, given the lack of depth they have on the defensive side of the ball right now. That being said, it sure does seem like the Bears might have saved themselves some money if they'd gotten Forte some cash before the season rather than waiting.

As my college football colleague Tom Fornelli likes to say, "Pay the man, Chicago."

9. Review Controversy
Could the NFL's current replay system be any less controversial? As you likely know, all scoring plays are reviewed by a booth official. That sounds simple, but it's not at all -- we've already had plenty of problems with plays that seemed like obvious needs for reviews that weren't scrutinized further by the officials.

Sunday, we saw two more examples. First, there an issue in the Chiefs and Vikings game.

With 5:01 remaining, Michael Jenkins caught a one-yard touchdown pass from Donovan McNabb. It appeared, pretty clearly, that he only got one foot inbounds. Fox didn't show any replays of the catch, and the officials at the game never reviewed it. Ultimately, it didn't matter, because the Vikings lost.

But it could have mattered and there wasn't anything Todd Haley or the Chiefs could do to get the play looked at. If Haley had thrown a challenge flag, he'd have been flagged for a delay of game penalty.

Another less controversial instance occurred during the Packers-Broncos game when Aaron Rodgers rushed for his second touchdown of the day on a third down. Rodgers was ruled down at the one-yard line, though replays showed he broke the plane of the goal line.

Mike McCarthy challenged and the Packers were given a touchdown that locked in their win against Denver. Here's the problem: "a scoring play" is only defined as a play in which the officials subjectively rule that a touchdown has happened. If that subjective ruling occurs, then the play is automatically reviewed.

If it doesn't happen, coaches are required to use a challenge.

I realize that the league can't challenge every single play that gets close to the end zone, but it seems to me that these two plays aren't that different. Something was botched by the refs and the booth wasn't available to make sure the right call was locked in. Ironically, in the non touchdown scenario, the coach has more freedom to help out his team with a red flag.

Even if the booth doesn't believe that a call should be looked at by the ref -- and in a close game like that, who's hurt by double-checking? -- there should be an option for a coach to take a stab at having a call overturned as well, if he's really adamant about what happened.

And, of course, there's the whole mess that went down in Arizona with Victor Cruz giving himself up and/or pulling the old stumble-->fumble disaster combo.

That actually seems like it was interpreted correctly, as it relates to the rule book.

"Official shall declare ball dead when a runner declares himself down by falling to ground or kneeling and making no effort to advance," reads Rule 7, Section 2, Article 1(e) of the NFL Rule Book.

In other words, it's a subjective call by the guys who look like zebras. If they believe Cruz gave himself up, then he gave himself up and that's the end of it.

10. Maybe they ARE the NFL's Heat

Whenever something good or bad happens in sports, reporters inevitably ask athletes how they feel. No, I don't know why it happens all the time either, but it rarely produces a good result.

It got a decent reaction out of Eagles quarterback Michael Vick on Sunday, though, as he expressed a high level of frustration at the fact that the Eagles just choked away a huge lead against the 49ers -- at home, no less -- that eventually led to a 24-23 loss to San Francisco.

"Do I really have to explain how I feel right now sitting here at 1-3?" Vick asked. "It's frustrating. It's tough. I can't put that in words. I take sole responsibility. Maybe it's a lot of things I can do better. And I gotta figure it out.

"It's frustrating. I'm not going to continue to use that word, but, yeah, it's tough."


That's the thing with the Eagles, though. It's not all Vick's fault.

Is some of it? Sure, of course. But he was 30 of 46 for 416 yards and two touchdowns Sunday. A bigger problem is that he led the team in rushing, with 75 yards on eight carries. When you have a weapon like LeSean McCoy, it seems silly not to utilize him more.

Then again, the lack of a good push from the offensive line causes that too.

And when you can't stop other teams from running the ball, none of it really matters. Frank Gore gashed the Eagles for 127 yards on just 15 carries and Kendall Hunter picked up 38 on nine.

The Eagles might have some really, really talented players at a couple positions, but they're also really, really weak at other positions, and their depth just isn't that impressive at all.

So, come to think of it, maybe they're more like the Miami Heat than any of us could have ever known.

Muffed Punts
Leftovers from Sunday's action ...
... What the hell was Ronnie Brown thinking? He's not even a quarterback, so trying to throw the ball while being tackled at the goal line doesn't even work as a random logical excuse.
... Johnathan Joseph had two -- TWO! -- touchdowns nullified by stupid penalties by the Texans. First there was the ridiculous block in the back by Danieal Manning when Joseph took a blocked punt to the house to end the half. And then there was the pick six he grabbed to close out the game that was negated by a J.J. Watt penalty. Welcome to Houston!
... Speaking of picks, Vince Wilfork now has two on the season after his second career INT against the Raiders.
... Just for trolling purposes: Nnamdi Asomugha only has one interception on the year.
... In one of the more insane things ever, Rex Ryan used a first-half timeout on Sunday night just to yell at the officials.

Worth 1,000 Words



Jim Irsay Pop-Culture Referencing Tweet That's Sure to Drive Colts Fans Insane of the Week
"I woke up in a So Ho doorway ... a policeman knew my name."

"Who Are You" is actually a pretty good thing to ask the Colts quarterback, no?

GIF O' THE WEEK



Hot Seat Tracker
  • Tony Sparano: It would almost be an upset if he made it past the bye at this point.
  • Jack Del Rio: Very impressive that JDR figured out a way to make Maurice Jones-Drew completely ineffective during the first half of a game that was pretty closer during the first half.
  • Leslie Frazier: It might only be his first year, but looking terrible against a terrible Chiefs team ain't helping his cause. 
  • Todd Haley: Can Minnesota visit every weekend?
  • Juan Castillo: New guy for the Eagles, their defense is a leaky ship and someone needs to take the fall.
Chasing Andrew Luck (All odds mine)
We have a new entrant in the usual suspects who are searching for the answer to their franchise woes -- the St. Louis Rams! Heretofore unlisted in this space, the Rams are 0-4 and now squarely in the hunt for Luck, even though they could get to 0-7 and somehow still win their division, based on how easy their schedule is.

What I find fascinating about this is that the Rams and Vikings, my two current faves for Luck, both drafted a "franchise quarterback" in the past two years. Would the Rams consider acquiring Luck if they got the No. 1 overall pick again? Or is Sam Bradford just that much better? Would both they and the Vikings just absolutely trade the pick to whoever was desperate enough for Luck? Because I'm not so sure.

Vikings (2:1) -- Can't imagine they actually feel like Christian Ponder's better than Luck. Right?
Dolphins (2:1) -- As AJB points out below, Miami definitely deserves inclusion here. My bust. Was too worried about Sparano's job.
Rams (3:1) -- So spicy if they get it.
Colts (3:1) -- They'd be the favorites if/when they lose to Tampa on Monday.
Broncos (4:1) -- Stanford, everyone!
Panthers (5:1) -- Fairly confident that the Panthers would acquire some assets for that pick.
Eagles (10:1) -- Andy Reid does love quarterbacks ...

MVP Watch
Stafford, my leader up to this point, did some nice things Sunday. But after Rodgers did the dirty things -- six touchdowns! -- that he did to Denver and helped propel the Packers to 4-0, it's hard not to sit up and take notice and admit that right now he's the best quarterback in the NFL.
Posted on: October 1, 2011 4:16 pm
 

For the gambler in you, Week 4

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Each Saturday, we’ll take the best -- and most clever -- odds collected by bodog.com for the upcoming week and give our take. This is important stuff, perhaps the most important post you’ll read all week. Because if you can’t lose money while watching a game in which you have absolutely no effect, what’s the point of watching sports at all?

Odds to win the Super Bowl XLVI
                                                Pre-Season      Last Week        Current
New England Patriots                   11/2                  9/2                    9/2

Green Bay Packers                      7/1                    11/2                  9/2

Philadelphia Eagles                     15/2                  8/1                    14/1

Indianapolis Colts                       20/1                  150/1                200/1

Detroit Lions                                30/1                  18/1                  16/1

Minnesota Vikings                       40/1                  75/1                  200/1

Kansas City Chiefs                      50/1                  200/1                500/1

Washington Redskins                 100/1                  45/1                  45/1

Carolina Panthers                      125/1                125/1                150/1

Buffalo Bills                               150/1                75/1                  28/1

Cincinnati Bengals                     150/1                 150/1                250/1

My, how things have changed for the Colts, Vikings, Chiefs and Bills. I still would take the Packers to win the Super Bowl, I certainly wouldn’t take the Dream Team, and just for fun, I’d give the Bills a shot (and I doubt that Fred Jackson would disagree with you). And if you said the Colts season is 10 times worse than you could have imagined, technically you’d be right according to these odds.

Said Richard Gardner, the Bodog sportsbook manager: “The big story this week is the Buffalo Bills who were 150-1 preseason have gone all the way down to 28-1. That is the lowest they have been in years and are a team to be reckoned with all of a sudden.”

Will the Minnesota Vikings blow a double-digit lead this week against the Kansas City Chiefs? 

Yes +650    

No  -1200  

It’d be pretty awesome if they did (Vikings fans might disagree), since they’ve done exactly that the first three games of the season. But Minnesota is playing the Chiefs, so the Vikings should be safe from another disastrous second half.

How many total interceptions will Tom Brady throw in the 2011 regular season?

Over/Under 14.5

After throwing four interceptions last week against the Bills (and, busy man that he is, he threw four touchdowns as well), Brady has five on the season. Do you remember the last time Brady threw 15 interceptions in a season? Neither do I, because it’s never, ever happened (he has thrown 14 picks three times, though). Take the under.

How many times will Tony Romo fumble or drop the snap Week 4?      

Over 1½ (+110)

Under 1½ (-150)

(Must hit a part of Tony Romo and hit the ground.)

Call this one the Phil Costa section of the post. He’s the Cowboys center who made at least four bad snaps that hit off Romo or went over his head that led to fumbles, though the Redskins -- who were allegedly distracting Costa by calling out the snap count -- didn’t recover any of them and they lost. Somehow, I think Costa will be perfect this week. Go under.

When will Chris Johnson record his first 100-yard or more rushing game in the 2011 regular season?

Week 4 vs. Cleveland +200

Week 5 or after -300

Johnson has 98 yards on the season (on the season!!!). But the Browns rank 29th in the league with 128.7 rushing yards allowed per game. So, it’s kind of a tossup. I don’t like the +200, but I think you’d have to go with Week 4. It’s time for a Johnson breakout and the Browns seem like the perfect opportunity.

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Posted on: September 30, 2011 9:33 am
 

Suh won't 'FBI half-target' Romo's ribs

Posted by Will Brinson

Before last week's Monday night tilt between the Redskins and Cowboys, DeAngelo Hall caused quite a stir by stating that he would target the broken ribs of quarterback Tony Romo. (Hall missed the mark.)

This week, as my colleague Andy Benoit pointed out yesterday, Romo will be dealing with a substantially better tackler in Lions defensive tackle and general havoc-wrecker Ndamukong Suh. Suh won't put an official target on Romo, but his comments, via Howard Balzer of 101Sports.com, are equally as terrifying.

"There isn't going to be any FBI half-target on him," Suh said. "But I am on his right side, as everybody wants to point out. I am coming at him from that side. If I accidentally hit (the broken rib), so be it. It's not my problem, not my issue to deal with. I just go for the ball because that's the only thing that can hurt you.

"I am 307 pounds. I am pretty sure if I land on you with all my weight, you are going to feel it."
Week 4 NFL Preview

The cool thing about that statement is that Suh managed to a) inform Romo he is coming after him, b) take a potshot at Hall for the weaksauce target he put on Romo's ribs and c) make sure and avoid already putting a fine in the books for the first time he touches Romo.

Make no mistake, though -- Suh wants to be more effective than he was last week.

"I was definitely not disruptive enough," he said per The Detroit News. "I am not satisfied with the way I played. I am going to try and redeem myself and get back on track."

If the Cowboys offensive line behaves like it did on Monday night, Suh's going to be just fine come next week.

But he's being wise with his comments -- alerting the league and the refs to an intent to hurt would be foolish and only add to the "dirty" reputation that Suh's managed to (incorrectly, in my opinion) pick up in his first year and a quarter in the league.

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Posted on: September 28, 2011 8:34 pm
 

Redskins refute Phil Costa; say they didn't cheat

CostaPosted by Josh Katzowitz

If anybody was a goat from the victorious Cowboys squad during last Monday’s win against the Redskins, it was center Phil Costa’s ghastly performance whenever he had to snap the ball to Tony Romo. It was, as my CBSSports.com colleague Ryan Wilson pointed out, akin to a Benny Hill skit (albeit without that kick-ass, show-ending music).

Though Costa took the blame for his poor performance -- “There’s no blaming the refs,” he said. “It’s on me.” -- he also said it wasn’t totally on him. Instead, he blamed the Redskins defensive line for cheating, accusing them of calling out the snap count to keep Costa out of rhythm. It is, of course, illegal for a defensive player to try to screw up the cadence of the quarterback, but as CBSSports.com’s Mike Freeman writes, teams from around the league (and across history) have performed the same maneuver.

Thing is, we don’t know for sure if the Redskins were cheating, because when they were asked about it Wednesday, they denied doing it in the first place.

 “Honestly, I don’t understand how I could simulate his snap count,” said Redskins defensive end Stephen Bowen, who was suspected of such tactics because he used to play in Dallas. “Am I supposed to memorize the colors and the numbers he was saying? Honestly, I lost a lot of respect for Costa. If that was the case, then why didn’t any of their offensive linemen jump offsides? It makes no sense, because he’s lying. Just be a man and stand by your word. Everybody respects a man that tells the truth.”

While Romo said after the game the Cowboys would have to talk to the league about cracking down on this practice, the officials apparently questioned Bowen during the game.

“Even during the game, the ref came to us and asked if we were making fake snap counts, and I looked at Barry [Cofield] like, ‘Huh? Did you make a noise? I didn’t make a noise. I didn’t even hear anything,’” Bowen said. “So for him to say that, I’m disappointed, and I lost respect in him. He’s making excuses for messing up. And they’re trying to make me out to be some guy that I’m not. I’m not that type of person. I just line up and play ball.”

Redskins coach Mike Shanahan also made a good point, saying that when the center is mic’d up, it’s easy for an observer to determine whether anybody other than the quarterback is shouting. According to Shanahan, nobody from his team was saying a snap count.

To make matters even more interesting, Fox Sports’ Matt Mosley reported that Dallas’ Jason Hatcher said Bowen was NOT shouting out his own cadence. Mosley wrote that it could have been a Redskins linebacker instead.

Unless we hear the audio, there’s really no way to determine if Costa is telling the truth or if the Redskins really did cheat. But either way, the blame will be pinned on Costa. If yelling the snap count is a part of the league culture, you’d like to think the center who is playing in his own building could focus a little better than that. And if the Redskins weren’t doing it, then Costa just had one of the worst games out of a center that I’ve ever seen on any level of football.

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Posted on: September 28, 2011 4:17 pm
 

Pick-Six Podcast: Week 4 NFL film room preview

Posted by Will Brinson & Ryan Wilson

it's Wednesday, which means it's time for our own Andy Benoit to take a look at some matchups in an in-depth perspective. This week's matchups are Ravens-Jets (you can read it here) and Lions-Cowboys (check it out here) and they're excellent, per usual.

Andy also joins Will on the podcast to talk about whether Les Miles could make it as an NFL coach and where he might end up, whether Tony Romo deserves all the praise he's getting, what the Cowboys will do to slow down MVP candidate Matthew Stafford, whether or not Torrey Smith is a legit receiving option for the Ravens, and how the Patriots might slow down Darren McFadden.

Plus, Michael David Smith of PFT joins Ryan to talk about the fact that the Lions are undefeated when he joins the podcast. (It's true!) And, of course, all the NFL action that we had this past weekend, plus a look at Week 4.

Hit the play button below to listen (and did we mention that you should subscribe to the podcast via iTunes?). If you can't listen to the podcast below, download it here. And if you'd like to keep working while listening in your browser, pop that puppy out in a new tab here.


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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com