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Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Sando's MVP Watch: Romo returns

By Dan Graziano

Remember back, a few weeks ago, when our division couldn't get anybody in the top 10 of Mike Sando's weekly MVP Watch? No? Well, I do. And let me tell you, we've come a long way, baby. This week, Mike's got two NFC East quarterbacks in his top 10 -- the New York Giants' Eli Manning at No. 8 and the Dallas Cowboys' Tony Romo at No. 9:
The Cowboys have scored 101 points in their last three victories. Romo has taken no sacks in his past two games after absorbing eight in his previous three. He has not fumbled since Week 3 and has not lost one since the regular-season opener. Romo did not fumble at all in his six games last season. He had fumbled 38 times, losing 16 of them, during his first four seasons as a starter. That's one area where Romo has improved dramatically.

Mike's great about soliciting input on this thing, and if you read the lead-in you'll see that I offered two tidbits about potential reasons for why Romo played so well Sunday -- his improved health and the continued emergence of DeMarco Murray and the running game. If Murray keeps doing what he's doing, he'll deserve a spot on this list. But you know how it is with quarterbacks -- too much credit, too much blame.

As for Manning, he drops two spots from No. 6 to No. 8 after Sunday's loss in San Francisco. Still ahead of Romo by one, just like his team's record. I'd argue that Manning is more directly responsible for the Giants' success this year than Romo is for the Cowboys', but here's what Mike's got on Eli:
The 49ers prevented Manning from building on his total of four games in which he has helped turn a fourth-quarter Giants deficit into victory. Manning's two interceptions gave him three in his last two games. He had thrown three in his previous five games combined, all against Seattle. Manning has thrown six of his eight picks against NFC West teams. The Giants have no more games against that division.

Good thing, then, that Manning doesn't play in that division! The Seattle game was Manning's one truly bad game since the season opener, and the interceptions are obviously the thing to watch going forward with both of these guys. The lower those interception numbers are, the more their teams will keep winning.