Cardinals at Cowboys: The Dallas Cowboys’ biggest fears manifested themselves Monday night when Tony Romo was sprawled out on the turf, having been kneed in the back by Washington Redskins linebacker Keenan Robinson. The Cowboys are confident Romo didn’t suffer extensive damage and hope he’ll be able to play in what is a surprisingly huge game against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. But Jason Garrett’s stating Romo is "our quarterback" and will play as long as he’s able to do so should come with a caveat.
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If Romo is going to be as immobile as he looked late in the loss to Washington, Garrett should let Brandon Weeden show he can handle the offense as well as he did in relief on Monday and at times in the preseason. Romo was definitely jittery in the pocket and reacted to phantom pressure. If he can’t improvise and escape like he usually does, he shouldn’t be under center. Meanwhile, the Cardinals will look to sweep the NFC East, which is funny, seeing as how they had such issues doing so when they played in that division for years.
Broncos at Patriots: If this were an old-school heavyweight title boxing match, they would have to add an extra round. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will be on opposite sides of the field for the 16th time in their NFL careers Sunday when New England hosts Denver. Both quarterbacks are coming off one of the best months in their Hall of Fame careers. Brady and Manning each went 4-0 in October with almost the exact same statistics, individually throwing for 14 touchdowns and completing exactly 100 passes at a clip of roughly 71 percent.
Manning and Denver’s treasure chest of skill-position talent will provide the toughest test for New England’s defense since it lost linebacker Jerod Mayo (knee) and defensive end Chandler Jones (hip). The Broncos are much improved defensively since last season but must find an answer for tight end Rob Gronkowski, who is back to Pro Bowl form with 27 catches for 411 yards and four touchdowns in his past four outings. Brady holds a 10-5 career edge in games against Manning-quarterbacked squads. Manning also has dropped his past three appearances at Gillette Stadium, the most recent coming last season when Denver squandered a 24-0 lead en route to a 34-31 loss.
Jets at Chiefs: Losers of seven straight and just a few days removed from a 19-minute rambling press conference from their usually media-shy general manager, and playing in one of the more hostile road environments in the NFL — it’s tough to have much faith in the Jets on Sunday afternoon in Kansas City. Toss in a new starting quarterback, the Chiefs coming off a dominant defensive performance versus the Rams a week ago and Andy Reid knowing Michael Vick and his tendencies as well as just about any other NFL head coach from their years spent together in Philadelphia — and this has bad news for Gang Green written all over it.
The Jets are in the midst of one of the franchise’s worst tailspins — and that’s saying a lot considering what their fans have been through — and the schedule doesn’t get much easier down the road. Consider New York’s three remaining home games — Miami, New England, and Pittsburgh — and the 2014 season could get even uglier as the weeks go by.
The playoffs are a pipe dream at this point, but a solid effort versus the Chiefs this weekend could help change the narrative in New York, which has gone from frustration to sarcasm in a matter of weeks. New York’s D, typically the pride of the team under Rex Ryan, is 30th in the league in points allowed.