We did a decent job defending the run, but Tony Romo was able to consistently hook up with Jason Witten and Miles Austin. Jason Campbell's stat line isn't great, as he was unable to get the ball down the field, but I continue to believe we're barking up the wrong tree if we think quarterback is even close to our biggest problem. On a night when
our leading rusher ran wild for 13 yards on seven carries, how does anyone focus attention anywhere else other than the running game? Mike Shanahan always had great rushing attacks in Denver, and was able to just change backs in and out and stay productive. Let's hurry up and get his name on the dotted line before the Bears beat us to him.
Dallas' win clinched a playoff berth after the Giants completely imploded in their final game at the Meadowlands against the Panthers. While New York did beat themselves with turnovers (losing that battle 4-0), it is stunning that this defense could surrender 247 yards on the ground in a game where they were fighting for their lives. The Cowboys also stayed on the heels of the Eagles, who held off Denver. After building a 27-10 lead, Philly let Denver tie it up, before finally winning on a David Akers field goal with :04 left. Putting the ball on the ground was a problem for Andy Reid's team, as was the lack
of a running game. The defense, which prevented Kyle Orton from making any big plays in the passing game, plus Donovan McNabb, who had a big day, carried Philly home. The Eagles are now in a volatile spot. They are in a head-to-head battle with Dallas next week for the division title. Lose and they are looking at three road games to reach the Super Bowl. But win, and get just one Viking loss, and Philadelphia has a first-round bye. Next week's Eagles-Cowboys game is about as big as a regular season game can possibly be.
In the rest of the NFC, Green Bay is looking more and more like a Super Bowl team. The Packers are scary good when they get a running game and don't shoot themselves in the foot with penalties. Ryan Grant rushed for 97 yards, they only had five flags thrown against them and the defense seems to be finally settling in under first-year coordinator Dom Capers, whose pedigree in this league as a defensive guru is impeccable. And
there's always Aaron Rodgers pulling the trigger behind it all. With New Orleans and Minnesota looking more vulnerable in recent weeks, we have to look seriously at the wild-card prospects in the NFC. The Saints did not defend the run at all yesterday in their shocking loss to Tampa. Arizona looked good, although it was against the Rams. I would imagine next week's Packers-Cardinals game--one that will be potentially rematched in the same site the following week--will see both teams sit their quarterbacks and do little to show anything substantive on either side of the ball.
Over in the AFC, New England and Cinncinnati clinched division titles. The Patriots showed how good they can be where they fire on all cylinders. Tom Brady hooked up with Wes Welker all game long and New England rolled to a 35-7 lead. Because of this blog's tie to Boston sports, the Patriots will be someone I'll be strongly rooting for in January. The Bengals weren't
impressive, but they ran the ball well and escaped with a 17-10 win over Kansas City to lock up the North.
The wild-card fight in the AFC is heading to a wild finish. Baltimore shot themselves in the foot with over 100 yards of penalties in a 23-20 loss to Pittsburgh. The Texans kept pace by jumping out to a 27-0 lead and then eliminating Miami. And say what you will about Indy's decision to pull Peyton Manning, but it wasn't the quarterback who gave up over 200 rushing yards to the Jets.