|Cowboys get to see Rodgers again|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 18 September 2008 07:11|
With Favre gone to the Jets, Rodgers starts Sunday night in Green Bay against the only team that's already had a good look at him. Just as it was last season, it's a marquee matchup - the teams were 10-1 when they met last season and each are 2-0 now.
It's also a marquee matchup of young quarterbacks: Rodgers and Dallas' Tony Romo, who is in his third season as a starter. Rodgers was a first-round draft pick and Romo an undrafted free agent, but both got their first major playing time by being thrown in on prime time with little warning. Romo did do on a Monday night two years ago against the Giants when Drew Bledsoe was pulled.
``He's making good decisions and he's being accurate with the football,'' coach Mike McCarthy says. ``He hasn't taken many chances, and that's all part of good quarterback play. He needs to continue to do that.''
Romo, who grew up in Wisconsin, has a lot of Favre in him. He can make big plays out of nothing, but he can also get himself into trouble, as he did Monday night in the 41-37 win over the Eagles, fumbling in his end zone to give Philadelphia a touchdown, in part because he tried to make a play instead of conceding a safety.
He's looking forward this week to performing in a historic venue.
``I'm a nostalgic person in a sense that I enjoy traditional things. I enjoy watching great players or great sporting events at a great atmosphere,'' Romo said. ``Lambeau Field obviously has great history and it's going to fun to go up there and be part of that a little bit.''
Although this is a glamour game, there's not as much urgency as last year, when it was to decide home-field advantage in the NFC. As it turned out, Green Bay lost, yet got the advantage because Dallas lost the game that really counted, its opening playoff game.
But this is a chance to make a statement.
games. It's the first games that count, too. They count them all.''
In other games Sunday, Houston is at Tennessee; Oakland at Buffalo; Carolina at Minnesota; Kansas City at Atlanta; Tampa Bay at Chicago; Arizona at Washington; Miami at New England; Cincinnati at the New York Giants; St. Louis at Seattle; Detroit at San Francisco; New Orleans at Denver; Cleveland at Baltimore; Jacksonville at Indianapolis; and Pittsburgh at Philadelphia.
The New York Jets are at San Diego on Monday night.
Jacksonville (0-2) at Indianapolis (1-1)
The Jaguars were a chic pick to end the Colts' run of five straight AFC South titles. After losses to Tennessee and Buffalo, they just need a win. The problem is injuries on the offensive line. The Jags depend more than most teams on the run, but both Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew are averaging less than 3 yards per carry.
The Colts also have a banged-up OL. But Peyton Manning, harassed by the Vikings early in last week's game, threw two late touchdown passes, then drove his team into range for Adam Vinatieri's field goal that gave it 18-15 win. Credit the defense, too, for holding Minnesota without a touchdown.
Pittsburgh (2-0) at Philadelphia (1-1)
, the first player since 1940 to start his career with two 100-yard receiving games. Although Andy Reid and his staff have to cure him of WSS (Wideout Showboat Syndrome) before it becomes a habit.
Pittsburgh already is in position for another AFC North title after winning in Cleveland. That was one of the weird weather games the Steelers often seem to play,although the forecast for Sunday in Philly is decent.
Carolina (2-0) at Minnesota (0-2)
Congratulations to John Fox for getting through two games against good opposition without Steve Smith, in part because Jonathan Stewart, one of a pack of good rookie running backs in the NFL, has averaged 5.4 yards per carry. And because Jake Delhomme is back in form after elbow surgery.
The Vikings are in desperation mode, benching 25-year-old QB Tarvaris Jackson for 37-year-old Gus Frerotte. Brett Favre would have been a better solution for a team that spent millions elsewhere, but kept a youngster at QB. That was never going to happen.
New York Jets (1-1) at San Diego (0-2) (Monday night)
The Jets are up against it. Not only are the Chargers desperate to avoid an 0-3 start, but the officials owe them one after Ed Hochuli's acknowledged bad call cost them last week's game in Denver.
ew England 3, then settling for a field goal despite Brett Favre's historic ability to throw short-range TD passes. The ESPN script calls for Tony Kornheiser to mention Favre on every first-half play before Mike Tirico and Ron Jaworski manage to shut him up.
New Orleans (1-1) at Denver (2-0)
The Broncos are averaging 40 points a game. And the Saints have the offensive weapons, even with Marques Colston out, to make this another 39-38 game. Statistics after two weeks are usually skewed, but this may be relevant: Denver ranks 27th in the NFL in yards allowed and New Orleans is 29th.
And for those who like oddities, Denver just signed WR Clifford Russell and assigned him No. 10. Their three best wideouts are No. 15 (Brandon Marshall), No. 19 (Eddie Royal) and No. 14 (Brandon Stokley). Rod Smith and Ed McCaffrey are retired, so there are 80 numbers available.
Houston (0-1) at Tennessee (2-0)
The Texans' enforced week off was hardly a vacation, thanks to Hurricane Ike. ``I feel very lucky,'' said DE Mario Williams, Houston's top defensive player. ``My area is very bad. There's tons of trees that are down, lots of trees that fell through houses, but thank goodness no one was injured.''
needs 90 yards to become the 15th QB to reach 35,000 yards passing, is part of the '90s revival - Gus Frerotte and Kurt Warner also are starting.
Oakland (1-1) at Buffalo (2-0)
Darren McFadden and Michael Bush led the way in the Raiders' first 300-yard rushing game in 21 years in a 23-8 win over Kansas City. Still, rumors persist that Al Davis is about to fire coach Lane Kiffin. ``There are certain things I can control, there's certain things I can't,'' Kiffin said. ``He has a decision to make. It does me no good to worry about it right now.''
The Bills' wins over Seattle and Jacksonville, playoff teams last season, solidify their credentials as the most likely challenger to the Tom Brady-less Patriots in the AFC East. With other young QBs stumbling, does anyone notice Trent Edwards, a third-round pick last year who has a passer rating of 107.7?
Miami (0-2) at New England (2-0)
Here's news: Bill Belichick, who always says every opponent is great, acknowledged this week that the 2007 1-15 Dolphins weren't very good. ``I think they are greatly improved from where they were last year,'' he said of this year's version.
Matt Cassel's first start was his first win, 19-10 over the Jets last week. One sign of Brady's absence: New England has 36 points in two wins this season after getting 38 in each of its first two last season. To Belichick, a win is a win.
(2-0) at Washington (1-1)
The historically challenged Cardinals last started 2-0 in 1991, and Warner had a perfect passer rating of 158.3 last week against Miami.
``There's reason to be proud of our accomplishment,'' says linebacker Chike Okeafor. ``But it's just two games. It's just a start. Football is a game of 'forget.' You forget about what you did last week or yesterday, and you just move on.''
The Redskins are probably the worst team in the NFC East, but might be the favorite if they were in the West, where the Cardinals reside. Warner turns the ball over under pressure, a problem if Jason Taylor is healthy.
Cincinnati (0-2) at New York Giants (2-0)
The Giants have been inconsistent on offense, but have outscored Washington and Cincinnati by a combined 57-20 and are getting back the respect they earned during their Super Bowl run. Eli Manning's passer rating of 131.4 against St. Louis was the second best of his career; he was a point higher in the playoff win in Dallas last January.
Carson Palmer is last in the NFL at 37.1, although to be fair, last week's loss to Tennessee was played in 50 mph winds. The wide receivers, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and the guy who changed his name, have only 11 catches between them.
Cleveland (0-2) at Baltimore (1-0)
ston. It gave time off that allowed a few players to heal, but it means there will be no bye later, when more players are likely to be banged up.
The Browns are another of those 0-2 teams with high expectations that suddenly find themselves facing a turning point in the third week. They have scored just 16 points in home losses to Dallas and Pittsburgh after averaging 25 per game in a 10-6 season a year ago.
Tampa Bay (1-1) at Chicago (1-1)
Brian Griese has the QB job for the Bucs after owning it for a short time in Chicago last season. That leaves Jeff Garcia in limbo in Jon Gruden's always changeable stable of quarterbacks.
The Bears are silent about their best big-play threat, Devin Hester, who injured his ribs last week. Kyle Orton is the QB now and rookie Matt Forte is averaging 108 yards per game and 4.7 yards per carry.
St. Louis (0-2) at Seattle (0-2)
The Seahawks are winless in part because every experienced receiver has been hurt and Matt Hasselbeck has a bad back. The defense also has underachieved.
This could be the perfect time to get well against a team that has been outscored 79-16 and hasn't had a snap inside an opponent's 20-yard-line. The only TD came on a 45-yard pass in the 41-13 loss to the Giants that was deflected twice by New York's Kenny Phillips and fell to Torry Holt on the ground.
Detroit (0-2) at San Francisco (1-1)
The 49ers, who went straight from the top of the NFL to the bottom, may have a chance to be at least mediocre this year. New coordinator Mike Martz, with career third-stringer J.T. O'Sullivan at QB, seems to have invigorated an offense that scored an NFL-worst 219 points last season.
Detroit, which has been at the bottom longer than San Francisco, can score. But Jon Kitna often spoils that with a critical interception - he had two returned for TDs against Green Bay last week after the Lions had overcome a 21-0 deficit to briefly lead 25-24.
Kansas City (0-2) at Atlanta (1-1)
Matt Ryan, who came back to earth last week against Tampa's difficult defense, is matched up against a QB with less experience and far less money: the Chiefs' Tyler Thigpen, forced to start by injuries to Brodie Croyle and Damon Huard.
Thigpen's presence could make it hard for Tony Gonzalez to reach a career milestone he'll eventually get of most career yards receiving by a tight end. He needs 85 yards to pass Shannon Sharpe, who leads with 10,060.