Who could forget the game last year, when Tony Romo led the Dallas Cowboys to a fourth quarter comeback against the Carolina Panthers? That game was Romo’s first career start in Week 8 of the season. The Cowboys were 4-3 and the Panthers were 4-4 after that game. Romo threw for 270 yards and a touchdown. Then-coach Bill Parcells was kissing players, acting like a little fairy on the sidelines, because it proved to the NFL world that the Cowboys were on a resurgence and he helped do it.
Fast-forward to now. The Cowboys are 12-2, fighting for home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs. The Panthers are 6-8 with no chance for the postseason. There are stakes in this game.
What to Watch?
Matt Moore. The Cowboys dropped Moore in the preseason, even though he showed great promise, especially as a back up. Well, now he is the starter for the Panthers and he threw for 300 yards last week against the Seahawks. Go figure. It will be interesting to see how he plays against the team that dropped him, and how the defense attacks him. This is a Cowboys defense that is coming off its best game of the year.
Romo’s thumb and how he plays with that injured digit is going to be interesting. Should he be playing? Personally, I wouldn’t be upset if he sat this week to fully heal. Brad Johnson is capable of beating a bad team.
Can the Cowboys get Terrell Owens active in the game right away? This is going to be key. With all of the Dallas Morning News-ESPN sensationalism this week, it is paramount that Owens gets some catches, even touchdowns, quickly. A three-game slump doesn’t bode well for the offense that has sputtered these last two games. December slump? Whatever. The Cowboys are 12-2, and they are not going to lose their last three games. No one thought the Cowboys would be fighting for the best record in the NFC right now.
Romo has gone through quite an embarrassing week. All of the hoopla over his girlfriend, Jessica Simpson, should be a wake-up call for him. Look at all the star football players over the past decade, and I cannot think of any other player who has been run through the grinder like Romo has this past week. Romo is getting hammered. You play bad, you’re going to get this kind of press. You just don’t expect the press to insert themselves into the story and make something out of nothing. Last week’s game was one of Romo’s worst as a pro. His girlfriend was in the stands, pink jersey and all, cheering him on. I mean just look at this picture and tell me what kind of relationship they really have? She isn’t even waiting for him to get out of the limo. Then there is this story that just shows this entire relationship is a distraction for the Cowboy’s top quarterback. That hot piece of ass is controlling him, we all know it. There’s no and, if buts about it. She is a distraction. And now look at what has happened. This is going to suck. If I were a Romo hater, I’d be wearing that mask out in public.
The Dallas Morning News can’t move on from the Terrell Owens-Simpson-Romo scandal it caused. Today, the DMB bloggers report that Hall of Famer and Ring of Honor wide receiver Michael Irvin came to the rescue of Owens:
“If it’s TO, we’re leading SportsCenter — (in the) same situation,” Irvin said. “I’m not getting mad at it, I’m just educating the people on why they do it.”
“Small things only start a fire when people want them to. TO has a great Q rating, people turn to the TV when they say ‘TO said this.’”
Irvin is right. Move on, Dallas Morning News.
As for the game, I am excited as ever. I will be on a road trip, however. I doubt I can post game updates because I will be in NY, away from the computer, with friends and family watching the game on high definition. Dallas will win this game. By how much, I don’t know.