NFC East: 2013 Week 6 QB Watch NFC

QB Watch: Cowboys' Tony Romo

October, 16, 2013
10/16/13
9:00
AM ET
A weekly analysis of the Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback play:

Romo
Rewind: There is something about the Washington Redskins that has affected the Cowboys’ passing game. Tony Romo completed only 60 percent of his passes (a season low) and threw for a season-low 170 yards against the Redskins. He was intercepted once but had a Romo-like touchdown, escaping trouble and finding Terrance Williams for a 15-yard score. Coming off a 506-yard effort against Denver when he was able to get the ball down the field, Romo’s longest completion against the Redskins was just 17 yards to Dez Bryant. Things started out well with Romo completing four of his first five passes for 50 yards on a 10-play, 80-yard touchdown drive to open the game, but the Redskins' pressure and tight coverage forced him to be slightly off for the first time this season.

Fast-forward: For most of his career, Romo could expect to see a wide variety of blitzes from the Eagles' defense with the influence of former defensive coordinator Jim Johnson still being felt after he stopped coaching. Romo has yet to go against a Bill Davis-led defense in his career, but he has gone against Davis’ influences in the past that have employed similar schemes. He has had some success but also struggled at times against the confusing looks. Philadelphia, however, is allowing 314.5 yards per game through the air, which is 31st in the NFL. Without DeMarco Murray, the Cowboys' running game figures to be limited at least a little, so Romo will have to make plays through the air.

Mixing it around: The Cowboys have had 12 different players catch at least one pass in the first six games. Rookie running back Joseph Randle became the 12th with two catches against Washington. While Jason Witten is the security blanket and Bryant is the big-play receiver, Romo is at his best when he mixes it around. He had six different receivers versus the Redskins. He had eight different receivers two weeks ago against the Denver Broncos. He’s not afraid to go to Williams or Cole Beasley in a tight spot if needed. Six different receivers have caught Romo’s 14 touchdown passes. The ability to spread the ball makes it that much harder for a defense to key in on one or two targets. By going to so many different players, Romo is making his job a little easier.

Prediction: Romo was held to only 130 yards fewer than what I predicted he would get against the Redskins. In his two road games so far -- losses to the Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers -- he has thrown for 544 yards. Let’s split it down the middle and say he throws for 272 yards against the Eagles and comes up with two touchdown passes as well. He has yet to throw an interception on the road this year, but that streak will end against Philadelphia. It doesn’t mean the Cowboys will lose though, does it?

QB Watch: Philadelphia Eagles

October, 16, 2013
10/16/13
9:00
AM ET
A weekly analysis of the Eagles’ quarterback play.

Foles
Vick
Vick
Rewind: Setting aside the Nick Foles/Michael Vick comparisons for a second, let’s look at how Foles did against Tampa Bay’s defense compared to others who have faced it.

Foles: 22-for-31, 296 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INT, 31 points.

Drew Brees: 26-for-46, 322 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT, 16 points.

Tom Brady: 25-for-36, 225 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 23 points.

The point is not that Foles belongs in a conversation with those quarterbacks just yet -- merely that it’s worth holding either Eagles quarterback to the NFL standard for performance. Against the same defense, Foles was comparable or better than two of the best.

Fast-forward: The Dallas Cowboys have allowed more than 30 points and 400 passing yards to Eli Manning, Philip Rivers (OK, 394) and Peyton Manning. Clearly, their secondary is vulnerable to a smart, accurate quarterback. Foles has the added benefit of having faced a Tampa 2 defense. Monte Kiffin doesn’t run exactly the same style in Dallas, but he’s the trunk of that tree.

Uncertainty principle: For the second week in a row, there will be doubt and speculation about the status of Michael Vick’s hamstring and the identity of the Eagles’ starter. For the second week in a row, it appears likely that Foles will get the start as the Eagles and Vick avoid the risk of turning a two-week injury into a six-week injury.

Prediction: It is one thing to win a shootout against Mike Glennon in Tampa, quite another to win one against Tony Romo. Foles will be under more pressure to score points this week. It is also unlikely that he will continue to play mistake-free football. Still, expect Foles (or Vick, should he get the nod) to do enough to keep the Eagles in what figures to be another NFC East touchdown-fest.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

NFC EAST SCOREBOARD