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Thursday, December 27, 2012
Blogger Blitz: Protect the ball

By Dan Graziano


This week's Blogger Blitz video, of course, takes a look at Sunday night's division title game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins, and the extent to which turnovers could tell the story.

The Redskins have committed the fewest turnovers of any team in the league (14) and have a turnover ratio of plus-14. The Cowboys have fewer takeaways than all but three teams and a turnover ratio of minus-10. Those numbers clearly favor Washington heavily, and even if you allow that just three of Tony Romo's 16 interceptions have come in the last eight games, it strikes you that two of those three came in the Thanksgiving Day loss to the Redskins.

I think a lot of this is going to come down to Romo, as it always seems to. The Cowboys are 2-10 in Week 17 games since 2000, the worst such record in the league. Romo has played in five of those games and thrown five interceptions against six touchdown passes in them. Two of those games, in 2008 and in 2011, were "win or go home" games, and the Cowboys lost them both -- 44-6 to the Eagles in 2008 and 31-14 to the Giants last year. Romo was 21-for-39 for 183 yards, no touchowns and one interception in the 2008 game, and he was 29-for-37 for 289 yards, two touchdowns and one interception last year against the Giants.

Neither of these defenses has been great at getting stops lately, but the Redskins have been better in the second half of the season at forcing turnovers. If they keep that up Sunday, Romo and the Cowboys could be headed home yet again.