Sunday Insider: Fourth-and-5

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG
  • Star Tribune
  • December 28, 2013 - 11:25 PM

Three observations …

• Tony Romo has had two back surgeries in eight months and he turns 34 on April 21. If this isn’t the end of the line, can it be far off? Romo was placed on injured reserve this week and will miss Sunday’s winner-takes-the-NFC-East-title game against Philadelphia. The fact the Cowboys have eight victories with one of the worst defenses in NFL history is a credit to Romo. This could have been the sort of signature game that has eluded Romo his entire career.

• The Packers, who play the Bears for the NFC North title on Sunday, would have clinched the division weeks ago and would be contending for a No. 1 seed had Aaron Rodgers not missed the past 7½ games. But home-field advantage hasn’t been a prerequisite for postseason success in recent years. In 2010, the Packers were the sixth seed when they went on the road an upset the No. 3-seeded Eagles, No. 1-seeded Falcons and No. 2-seeded Bears en route to winning the Super Bowl.

• There are a lot of bad quarterbacks. Detroit’s Matthew Stafford isn’t one of them. But he might be the best quarterback who gets the least out of his raw talent.

Two predictions …

• Something Romo’s reputation doesn’t need: Kyle Orton leading Dallas to a surprising playoff-clinching victory over the Eagles.

• The bodies keep dropping, but the Patriots keep winning. A win over Buffalo on Sunday clinches a first-round bye for the fourth straight year.

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