Weekly 14 Thursday Night Picks: Just What Dallas Ordered: Hapless Chicago

Jay Cutler vs. Tony Romo

Image courtesy of www.espn.com.

Jim Armstrong

There’s no two ways about it, Jay Cutler is who he is at 31 years old – an erratic, turnover prone QB who has one career playoff win. Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson both are Super Bowl winning QB’s. Through nearly 9 seasons, Cutler sports 1 career playoff win and a ghastly 1-11 career record against the Green Bay Packers.

Jay Cutler is the 7th highest paid QB in the NFL. Last January, the Bears inked the then 30-year old Cutler to a 7-year, $126.7 million contract with $54 million guaranteed. Let’s take a look below at why this deal is such a head-scratcher.

  • Cutler has never had a QB rating better than 91 (this season’s current rating). Phillip Rivers, who is 8 months older than Cutler has 7 seasons of at least a QB rating of 90 or better. Russell Wilson has never had a QB rating lower than 94 in his 2+ seasons (94.7 QB rating this season).
  • Cutler has a career record of 62-56 (.525), which is one better than Michael Vick and four wins worse than Carson Palmer and Matt Ryan among active quarterbacks.
  • In seasons where Cutler has played more than 10 games, he has never thrown less than 12 interceptions
  • He has never thrown more than 27 touchdowns. Let’s go back to Phillip Rivers – he has thrown 27 or more TD’s in 5 seasons (about to be 6 seasons this weekend – he has 25 TD’s through week 13).
  • He is tied for 66th in career interception percentage (% of times intercepted when attempting a pass), tied with guys such as Steve Beuerlein (3.4%) and Gus Frerotte (3.4%) and just ahead of guys such as Ryan Fitzpatrick (3.5%) and former teammate Josh McCown (3.5%).
  • Cutler is injury prone. He is played only 16 games in three of his first 8 seasons and has missed a total of 24 career games.

The Bears lost to the Bills, Packers and Dolphins earlier this season at home. I expect tonight’s game to be no different. Although Dallas’ defense is slowly becoming unglued with all of the injuries they have sustained, Romo and Murray will keep the Chicago offense off the field by pounding the rock between the towering men on the Dallas offensive line.

Even when Cutler does have the ball, the Dallas offense better be ready. Cutler has 22 turnovers through the first 12 games (that’s nearly 2 turnovers a game).

Dallas wins at Chicago, 27-14.

 

Rory Goulding

Tonight marks Tony Romo’s 120th career start with the Dallas Cowboys, and not one player’s legacy seems to fluctuate more than his. Romo’s tenure as the starting quarterback of America’s Team has been judged off of single moments and memories, more than statistics, as the lasting images of his career up until now seem to be 4th quarter interceptions and botched field goal holds. But taking a deeper look at his career numbers paints a much different picture.

Since Romo became the starter in Dallas during the 2006 season, not a single quarterback has more game-winning drives OR 4th quarter comebacks than Tony Romo during that time. Read that again. Since 2006, the guy who’s viewed as a perennial choke artist actually has more game-winning drives than Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger. The juxtaposition of Tony Romo’s actual career numbers against the perception of his legacy is an interesting case study, similar to the way Eli Manning is, sometimes, only viewed through the lens of the his two Super Bowl-winning passes instead of through the lens of one of the only quarterbacks in NFL history to lead the league in interceptions three separate times.1

Not to say that this Romo perception issue hasn’t been covered in length by many, including us, because it has. But sometimes the stories of Romo’s failures neglect to mention that the reason he’s in a position to disappoint spectacularly are, many times, thanks to his ability to bring his team to that point in the first place. While many focus on his lack of postseason wins, and his bizarre regular season win discrepancy between November and December2, the statistics don’t lie: Tony Romo is an elite quarterback.

Most likely Romo won’t be forced to carry the weight of the offense tonight because, as Jim mentioned above, all is not well in Chicago either, and that’s not even including the fact that their current coach looks like he’s either from another decade or the villain in a Hostel movie. Cutler’s erratic-ness aside, Chicago ranks 30th in the league in total defense, and though they’ve won their last two at home while holding their opponents (Vikings & Bucs) under 14 points each time, the Cowboys are a different caliber offense than those quarterbacked by Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater.

I like the Cowboys tonight – surviving in my eliminator pool depends on it.

Cowboys 31, Bears 20.

 

 

 

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