NFL Nation: 2013 Week 7 QB Watch

QB Watch: Jets' Geno Smith

October, 23, 2013
10/23/13
10:45
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A weekly examination of the New York Jets' quarterback position:

Smith
Rewind: Geno Smith became the first quarterback since the 1970 merger to register four game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime in his first seven games. He did it with a 30-27 overtime win over the New England Patriots. It took some luck (see the controversial "push" penalty on the Patriots) and it took some micromanaging by the coaching staff. After a 6-for-10 first quarter, Smith went only 13-for-23 the rest of the way. The coaches dialed it back as soon as he was intercepted for a touchdown at the end of the first quarter. Smith managed the conservative game plan nicely, converting on third down and running when necessary.

Fast forward: The Jets go on the road to face the Cincinnati Bengals (5-2). This will be one of Smith's toughest challenges, as the Bengals are ranked ninth in total defense. Smith played poorly against the other top-10 defenses he faced, the Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 6) and the Tennessee Titans (No. 10). The Bengals aren't a big blitzing team -- they've rushed five or more on only 25 percent of the dropbacks -- but they generate excellent pressure from their front four. They will miss CB Leon Hall, who was placed on season-ending injured reserve with a torn Achilles tendon.

New-look depth chart: The Jets made it official Monday, placing David Garrard on the active roster after a two-week exemption. Matt Simms will remain the No. 2 quarterback, according to Rex Ryan. Garrard's job is to carry the clipboard and serve as a mentor to Smith. Garrard, 35, who came out of retirement for this gig, will be paid handsomely -- $54,000 per week, based on his $925,000 salary. If Garrard is pressed into action, the Jets are in trouble in more ways than one. He hasn't taken a snap since 2010.

Prediction: On paper, this isn't a good matchup for Smith. The Bengals are a very good home team, with a talented and physical defense. Prepare for an afternoon of growing pains.

QB Watch: Titans’ Jake Locker

October, 23, 2013
10/23/13
9:00
AM ET
A weekly analysis of the Titans' quarterback play:

Locker
Rewind: Jake Locker didn’t look completely like himself and took a long time to get the Titans' offense moving effectively. He threw a bad interception but followed it up with two touchdown passes. The hip and knee injuries, and the knee brace he wore, didn’t keep him from running, but he did go down headfirst twice, as sliding with the brace ahead of you can be awkward. Locker finished with a 92.1 passer rating and was a major upgrade over his backup, Ryan Fitzpatrick, who started the previous two games.

Fast-forward: Locker will continue to rehabilitate the leg and rest during the bye week, and the team feels very good about where he will be as it gets ready for Week 9 at St. Louis. Like the Titans, the Rams are 3-4. They will play Monday night against Seattle before hosting Tennessee. Rams coach Jeff Fisher’s defense is 22nd in the NFL, and 30th against the run. If the Titans can finally run it, Locker should have a much easier time.

Reallocation: The top of the pass-distribution list is fine. The Titans should be throwing to Kendall Wright (40 catches), Nate Washington (26) and Delanie Walker (23). Running back Chris Johnson has done far more big-play damage as a receiver than as a runner, even with just 15 catches. The Titans should consider new, more inventive ways to get him the ball. And they should throw once in a while to tight ends Craig Stevens and Taylor Thompson, just to tell defenses those tight ends aren’t only going to be blocking.

Prediction: I predict a restful, peaceful week for Locker as he continues to heal.

QB Watch: Jaguars' Chad Henne

October, 23, 2013
10/23/13
9:00
AM ET
A weekly analysis of the Jaguars’ quarterback play.

Henne
Rewind: Chad Henne posted his second consecutive 300-yard passing game Sunday against the Chargers -- the third time in his career he has done so -- and played perhaps his best statistical game of the season. It could have been even better had he not had two potential touchdown passes dropped by Cecil Shorts. Henne threw one interception, but it came later in the fourth quarter when the Chargers were already ahead 24-6. However, the Jaguars still haven’t scored a touchdown in three home games.

Fast-forward: Blaine Gabbert has been nursing a left hamstring injury and wasn’t active for the Chargers game. It's likely he’ll be held out of Sunday's game against San Francisco. The Jaguars have a bye next week and that will have given Gabbert a month to recover. Though neither player has been able to lead the Jaguars to a victory, Henne clearly has been the better of the two this season (59.5 percent to 48.8 percent completions, 2 TD/5 INT to 1 TD/7 INT). He’s got a tough task on Sunday. The 49ers are sixth in the league in pass defense and have nine interceptions, fourth-most in the league.

Road games: Since he joined the Jaguars last sesaon, Henne has thrown four touchdown passes and eight interceptions at EverBank Field, and nine touchdowns and six interceptions on the road. Though Sunday’s game is at Wembley Stadium in London, it counts as a home game.

Prediction: Much like the past two weeks, Henne is likely to put up 250-plus yards because the 17-point underdog Jaguars will be trailing the 49ers. He should have his top four targets (receivers Mike Brown, Shorts and Justin Blackmon and tight end Marcedes Lewis) available for the second consecutive week.

QB Watch: Ravens' Joe Flacco

October, 23, 2013
10/23/13
9:00
AM ET
A weekly examination of the Ravens' quarterback play.

Flacco
Rewind: It's becoming a bad trend for Joe Flacco, who continues to get off to slow starts. This past Sunday, he threw for only 90 yards in the first half and averaged 5.6 yards per attempt. For the second straight week, Flacco's best quarter was the fourth. He was 9-of-10 for 60 yards and a touchdown against the Steelers as he tied the game with 1:58 remaining. He finished with a 97.1 passer rating, his second highest of the season. Where Flacco has turned things around is in limiting his mistakes. Since throwing a career-high five interceptions, Flacco has been picked off once in his past three games, and that one interception was the result of getting hit from behind after a missed block.

Fast-foward: The Ravens are on their bye week.

Missing the deep pass: Flacco's biggest mistake was missing a wide-open Jacoby Jones deep. He underthrew Jones, which allowed cornerback William Gay to break up the pass. Flacco still has zero touchdowns on passes 20-plus yards downfield this season, according to ESPN Stats & Information. In four playoff games last season, Flacco had four touchdowns of more than 20 yards. This season, Flacco has completed 25.7 percent of his passes that have traveled at least 20 yards in the air. That's the 11th-worst completion rate on such throws this season.

Prediction: History says Flacco will have success coming off the bye because he faces two division teams, at Cleveland and home against Cincinnati. Since he entered the league in 2008, Flacco is a combined 17-4 against the Ohio teams. He has thrown 22 touchdowns and 15 interceptions for an 85.8 passer rating. But it will be a challenge against the Browns and Bengals, both of whom rank in the top half of the NFL in pass defense.

QB Watch: Raiders’ Terrelle Pryor

October, 23, 2013
10/23/13
9:00
AM ET
A weekly examination of the Raiders’ quarterback play.

Pryor
Rewind: After taking a step back in his development with three interceptions -- including a pick-six -- and 10 sacks in Kansas City on Oct. 13, Terrelle Pryor went back to his source, so to speak, during the Raiders' bye week. Or rather, his source came to him. QB guru Tom House ventured to Oakland Sunday to work with Pryor on his mechanics, and if it helped with the likes of Drew Brees and Tom Brady, why not, right? Pryor also spent hours watching video and studying at the Raiders' facility, though he was unable to work with Oakland coaches over the break because of CBA regulations.

Fast-forward: Pryor and his coaches, from Dennis Allen to offensive coordinator Greg Olson to QB coach John DeFilippo, have all acknowledged the quarterback hit a bump in the road against the Chiefs. The question, then, is how will Pryor react to such a setback? The early returns suggest he's taking the correct path in hitting the books and getting in extra work over the bye. "You know me," he said, "steady trying to get better."

Bittersweet? Pryor, 24, is a Steel City kid -- by way of nearby Jeannette -- who grew up rooting hard for the Steelers and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Imagine, then, the primal feelings he’ll have to fight through Sunday at the O.co Coliseum when he takes on his childhood heroes.

Prediction: Sure, Kansas City’s defense hits hard. But now Pryor will get a whole new definition courtesy of the Steelers. The book is out on Pryor, that he prefers to roll out to his right to buy himself some time. Expect Steelers safety Troy Polamalu to shadow him as a spy all day long.

QB Watch: Dolphins' Ryan Tannehill

October, 23, 2013
10/23/13
9:00
AM ET
A weekly examination of the Miami Dolphins' quarterback play.

Tannehill
Rewind: Dolphins starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill had an up-and-down outing in a 23-21 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. Coming off the bye, Tannehill was rusty and had the worst start imaginable. He threw a pick-six on his first attempt and had a second interception in the first half that put Miami behind early. Tannehill eventually recovered and finished with 194 yards and three touchdowns. But his three turnovers -- two picks and one lost fumble -- were the story. Tannehill now has seven turnovers in the past three games.

Fast-forward: The competition gets much stiffer Sunday as Tannehill travels to Foxborough, Mass., to play the first-place New England Patriots (5-2). Gillette Stadium is one of the hardest places to play for opposing teams. Last year, Tannehill had one of his worst games while in New England, suffering a 28-0 loss in Miami’s regular-season finale. The Patriots are 11th against the pass, and the secondary is playing much better this year. New England will also be fired up coming off a tough overtime loss to the rival New York Jets.

Accuracy question: Tannehill’s accuracy is dwindling. He’s completed only 51.9 percent (40-for-77) of his passes the past two games (against Buffalo and the Baltimore Ravens). You have to wonder if the pressure of carrying the offense all season is starting to take its toll on the second-year quarterback. Tannehill is not getting consistent help from the running game, and he’s been sacked 26 times in six games. Tannehill may be hitting the wall at the wrong time.

Prediction: After a fast start, Tannehill's play has been declining for several weeks. It is hard to imagine Tannehill suddenly turning things around and out-dueling Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in Gillette Stadium. This is a bad time for Tannehill and the Dolphins to be in a funk. Miami has lost three straight games and could be staring at a four-game losing streak if it can’t change the momentum.

QB Watch: Packers' Aaron Rodgers

October, 23, 2013
10/23/13
9:00
AM ET
A weekly examination of the Green Bay Packers’ quarterback play.

Rodgers
Rodgers
Rewind: That seldom-used receiver Jarrett Boykin, who made his first NFL start in Sunday’s 31-13 win over the Cleveland Browns, was able to catch eight passes for 103 yards and a touchdown probably says as much about Rodgers as it does about Boykin. Take nothing away from Boykin, who was pressed into action after injuries to Randall Cobb and James Jones, but Rodgers’ ability to get him involved in the offense was a critical aspect to the game. Rodgers broke his streak of three straight games without multiple touchdown passes by throwing three -- one to Boykin, one to tight end Jermichael Finley and one to Jordy Nelson -- as part of his 260-yard, turnover-free passing performance.

Fast-forward: Rodgers managed to deal with the losses of Cobb and Jones by getting Boykin involved. His challenge this week in preparing for the Minnesota Vikings is to find someone to replace Finley, who sustained a neck injury against the Browns. The most logical candidate is backup tight end Andrew Quarless.

Batting .900: The Packers give Rodgers freedom at the line of scrimmage to change plays if he sees fit. One such occasion was a third-and-5 play against the Browns in the first quarter, when coach Mike McCarthy called a pass play. Rodgers changed the play at the line of scrimmage and gave the ball to running back Eddie Lacy, who picked up 13 yards. Offensive coordinator Tom Clements said Rodgers' percentage on audibles this season has been at least 90 percent. “When he makes the adjustment, it usually works out,” Clements said.

Prediction: In his past six games against the Vikings, including playoffs, Rodgers has combined to throw 17 touchdowns and just one interception. That trend will continue. Look for Rodgers to throw two touchdown passes without an interception.

QB Watch: Lions' Matthew Stafford

October, 23, 2013
10/23/13
9:00
AM ET
A weekly examination of the Lions’ quarterback play.

Stafford
Stafford
Rewind: Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford missed some throws deep on Sunday -- notably ones to Kris Durham and Ryan Broyles -- but otherwise played quite well. He had the best QBR of any quarterback who lost a game Sunday (81.9) and threw for 357 yards, third best in the league last week. His completion percentage was his lowest of the season (54.9 percent), but he was one of two quarterbacks not to take a sack, and he threw three touchdowns and no interceptions.

Fast-forward: The Cowboys' defense is allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete 62.2 percent of their passes, but it also has nine interceptions. Moreover, Dallas' defense has 20 sacks. That’s an intriguing number for two reasons relating to Stafford -- he’s been sacked just nine times, tied for the lowest number in the league. Here’s the potential issue for Stafford: He has a ton of injured tackles. Starting left tackle Riley Reiff injured his hamstring in the first half and was limited when he returned in the fourth quarter. Starting right tackle Jason Fox hasn’t played since injuring his knee against Green Bay, and Corey Hilliard, his replacement, injured his knee in the fourth quarter against Cincinnati. Right now the only healthy tackle is undrafted rookie LaAdrian Waddle, who has less than one full game worth of experience.

Drops are better: For the first time all season, no Detroit receiver was charged with a drop Sunday against Cincinnati, and the performance even knocked the Lions out of the ignominious spot of having the worst drop percentage in the league. St. Louis, at 7.1 percent, now leads the league in drops. Detroit is second at 6.9 percent.

Prediction: Stafford again throws for more than 250 yards, with three touchdowns and an interception.

QB Watch: Vikings' Josh Freeman

October, 23, 2013
10/23/13
9:00
AM ET
A weekly analysis of the Minnesota Vikings' quarterback play:

Freeman
Rewind: Josh Freeman's first start with the Vikings looked sloppy from the early stages of Monday night's loss to the New York Giants; Freeman finished the night completing just 20 of his 53 passes, floating an interception over the middle to kill a Vikings scoring drive and overthrowing his receivers on 16 of his 33 incompletions, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Just two weeks after he signed with the team, Freeman could rightly point to a lack of experience with his receivers on some of the mistakes, but there were other times when he simply wasn't able to put the ball on target.

Fast-forward: Assuming Freeman starts on Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers, he might have to trade scores with Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and he'll have to do it against a defense that appears vastly improved from what the Packers have had the last two years. Green Bay has allowed the ninth-most passing yards in the league, but is third in the league against the run and is tied for seventh in the league with 20 sacks. Teams that have been able to stop Adrian Peterson and pressure the quarterback have had plenty of success against the Vikings, and Green Bay might have that formula working on Sunday.

Help from Jennings? Wide receiver Greg Jennings had just four catches for 41 yards in the Vikings' loss on Monday, but it stands to reason he'll be looking for a big game against his former team this week. Freeman and Jennings looked out of sync at times on Monday night, but Jennings obviously knows the Packers' defense as well as anyone after practicing against it for seven years. Green Bay can throw a number of different looks at Freeman with its 3-4 defense, so letting Jennings find holes in the Packers' coverage might be useful for Freeman.

Prediction: Freeman is better in his second start (and first at home), throwing for around 240 yards and a touchdown, but he'll also commit a turnover or two against a defense that's so far had trouble getting back to its typical ballhawking ways.

QB Watch: 49ers' Colin Kaepernick

October, 23, 2013
10/23/13
9:00
AM ET
A weekly examination of the San Francisco 49ers' quarterback play.

Jones
Kaepernick
Rewind: Colin Kaepernick had one of his best games of the season in a 31-17 win at the Tennessee Titans. He was 13-of-21 for 199 yards passing, and he ran for 68 yards on 11 carries. He ran the read-option five times, which was the most he has all season. Kaepernick was 11-of-13 passing as the 49ers jumped out to a 24-0 lead in the third quarter.

Fast-forward: Kaepernick will face the Jacksonville Jaguars in London on Sunday. The Jaguars are winless and can be thrown on. Expect Kaepernick to get some opportunities to make some big plays across the pond.

Total QBR star: Kaepernick had a Total QBR of 99.0 Sunday. It was the highest Total QBR in the NFL this season. The scale runs from 0 to 100.

Prediction: In think Kaepernick will have a big day -- 19-of-27 for 280 yards and three touchdown passes. Don’t expect him to run too much unless the 49ers think they can really exploit the Jacksonville defense with the read-option offense.

QB Watch: Redskins' Robert Griffin III

October, 23, 2013
10/23/13
9:00
AM ET
A weekly analysis of the Washington Redskins’ quarterback play.

Griffin
Rewind: Robert Griffin III was not perfect with his passes and, yes, he was intercepted once and got away with a decision to throw deep to Aldrick Robinson, who was double-covered when another receiver was wide-open. But life worked out for Griffin. People seem to think he was always perfect last year. He wasn’t. He missed numerous open receivers and made life tough on himself at times. But Griffin had a massive impact on the game because of his legs and, yes, his arm. Just like last year. And the trickle-down impact on his teammates is tremendous. He consistently found tight end Jordan Reed, throwing a nice fade to him for a touchdown. And Griffin’s ability to elude the rush on a third-and-5 pass late in the game to Pierre Garcon led to the winning touchdown. Griffin has a ways to go to be an accomplished passer, but he showed Sunday that he is, once again, a dynamic threat.

Fast-forward: Denver’s defense has struggled and will be without corner Champ Bailey, which clearly will not help the coverage. The Broncos are susceptible on passes down the middle, which is where Griffin typically throws the best, particularly to tight end Jordan Reed. Griffin targeted Reed nine times versus the Bears; the rookie caught them all.

Zone-read runs: Griffin rushed for a season-best 70 yards on zone-read options Sunday, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The Redskins gained only 79 total, as Chicago focused heavily on stopping running back Alfred Morris. Before Sunday, Griffin had rushed for only 41 yards on zone-read plays.

Prediction: In the past three games, Griffin has continued to restore the dynamic elements to his game, particularly in the past two against Dallas and Chicago. This will continue, though if Denver pays better attention to Griffin on the zone-read runs, Morris could have a big game. Griffin will throw an interception -- teams have a decent read on what he does as a passer. But Griffin will still accumulate 300 yards of total offense.

QB Watch: Buccaneers' Mike Glennon

October, 23, 2013
10/23/13
9:00
AM ET
A weekly analysis of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' quarterback play.

Rewind: Mike Glennon completed 26 of 44 passes for 256 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in a 31-23 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. He was sacked three times and lost a fumble.

Glennon
Fast-forward: It seems every week is something new for the rookie. The Atlanta game was his first on the road. On Thursday night, Glennon will make his first prime-time start when the Buccaneers host the Carolina Panthers at Raymond James Stadium.

Pick your antidote: In Glennon’s first three starts, opposing defenses loaded the box to try to stop running back Doug Martin. But Martin is dealing with a shoulder injury now, so the Bucs will also have a rookie at running back: Mike James, who is likely to pick up most of Martin’s workload. That could prompt Carolina to go to a different tactic than Glennon’s previous opponents and focus on stopping the passing game.

Prediction: It’s not hard to envision trouble on the horizon. Glennon is not noted for his mobility, and his offensive line hasn’t been playing very well. Throw in the fact that Carolina has two good defensive ends in Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson, and Glennon could be in for a long night.

QB Watch: Giants' Eli Manning

October, 23, 2013
10/23/13
9:00
AM ET
A weekly analysis of the New York Giants' quarterback play.

Manning
Rewind: Monday night's victory over the Vikings was the first game this season in which Eli Manning did not throw an interception. At least partially for that reason, it also was the first game this season in which the Giants outscored their opponents. He wasn't perfect, obviously. There were a couple of balls that could have been intercepted somewhat easily if the Vikings' defensive backs had better hands. But they weren't, and Manning needed a turnover-free game to feel good about himself again. He was 23-for-39 for a modest 200 yards and a touchdown pass to Rueben Randle. His completion percentage of 59.0 was his highest in any game since Week 1.

Fast-forward: Manning and the Giants play the Eagles in Philadelphia on Sunday, just three weeks after he threw three fourth-quarter interceptions in a span of nine throws and effectively handed the Eagles the Week 5 game at MetLife Stadium. Manning was 24-for-52 for 334 yards and two touchdowns in that game. It was his lowest completion-percentage game of the year.

A new feature? Manning found new running back Peyton Hillis five times for 45 yards Monday night. Hillis is known for his good hands, and even if Brandon Jacobs is back to get the bulk of the carries Sunday, Hillis as a checkdown option in the passing game could be a help going forward as Manning continues to try to limit turnovers.

Prediction: I think Manning finds some big yardage down the field against that Eagles' secondary, but he'll also face pressure again, and this time the opponent will be able to take advantage better if he misses throws. Manning goes over 300 yards but does not have a second straight interception-free game.

QB Watch: Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger

October, 23, 2013
10/23/13
9:00
AM ET
A weekly analysis of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback play.

Roethlisberger
Rewind: Ben Roethlisberger continued his stellar play in leading the Steelers to a 19-16 win over the Baltimore Ravens. He completed 17 of 23 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown and did not commit a turnover for the second consecutive game. Roethlisberger was not flashy, but the Steelers didn’t need him to be given the success they had running the ball and keeping the Ravens out of the end zone. His longest completion went for only 19 yards, but Roethlisberger should have had a 20-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter. The 10th-year veteran threw a good ball to wide receiver Derek Moye in the end zone, but Moye could not make the catch.

Fast-forward: Roethlisberger will try to win for the first time in his career in Oakland, where he has had mixed results in two previous games. Roethlisberger torched the Raiders last year with a season-high 384 yards and four touchdowns, but defense betrayed the Steelers in a 34-31 loss. Roethlisberger threw for more than 300 yards in 2006 against the Raiders, but he also served up four interceptions in the Steelers’ 20-13 loss. The caveat to that performance is that Roethlisberger had been knocked out of the previous week’s game at Atlanta with a concussion, and there had been questions as to whether he should have even played in Oakland.

A return to form: Roethlisberger put it best when asked about the late drive that set up Shaun Suisham’s game-winning field goal this past Sunday. “It’s about time,” Roethlisberger said. Indeed, a player who built his reputation on performing at his best in the clutch had not led the Steelers back from a fourth-quarter tie or deficit in almost a year. Roethlisberger also threw late interceptions in close losses to the Cowboys and Bengals down the stretch, and those defeats kept the Steelers out of the playoffs. Just as he had been all game against the Ravens, Roethlisberger was more methodical than anything in leading the offense after getting the ball at the Steelers' 34-yard line with less than two minutes to play. Roethlisberger completed three of four passes for 31 yards, and Suisham did the rest after Big Ben had moved the Steelers inside the Ravens' 24-yard line.

Prediction: This is probably a good week for fantasy owners to start Roethlisberger. The Raiders are in the top 10 in the NFL in rushing defense (99.0 yards), and they are yielding 241 passing yards. Roethlisberger has a history of putting up big numbers against the Raiders -- he is averaging 312.3 passing yards in his past three games against Oakland with nine touchdowns and one interception -- and the Steelers are probably going to have to throw the ball to beat the Raiders.

QB Watch: Cowboys' Tony Romo

October, 23, 2013
10/23/13
9:00
AM ET
A weekly examination of the Dallas Cowboys' quarterback play:

Romo
Rewind: With the Cowboys facing the 31st-ranked pass defense last week in the Philadelphia Eagles, it was assumed Tony Romo would have a field day. Instead, he had his lowest completion percentage and first multi-interception game of the season. One pick, however, came on a Hail Mary at the end of the first half. But when the Cowboys needed to answer the Eagles' only scoring drive, Romo completed seven of eight passes before hitting Terrance Williams for a 9-yard touchdown that made the score 17-3. It wasn't Romo at his most efficient (even with 317 passing yards), but he was able to make plays when it mattered most.

Fast forward: Romo is facing another porous pass defense this week with the Detroit Lions checking in at No. 28. However, Detroit is good on third downs in the red zone and has 13 takeaways, including 10 interceptions. Romo will have to be in good situations. The Cowboys struggled on third downs against the Eagles, converting only half of their tries from five years or less. Romo has a history against Lions coordinator Gunther Cunningham and it wasn't good when these teams last met in 2010. Romo helped stake the Cowboys to a 27-3 lead in the third quarter, but he had two interceptions returned for a touchdown and his third interception led to the Lions' game-winning touchdown. He finished with 331 yards and completed 72.3 percent of his passes but could not avoid the big mistake.

Let's go streaking: With his touchdown pass to Williams last week, Romo has thrown for a score in 20 straight games, trying his team record. It is the second-best current streak in the NFL behind Peyton Manning, who has thrown a touchdown pass in 30 straight. The all-time mark is held by New Orleans' Drew Brees at 54. Romo's streak of 20 straight is tied for 25th all-time.

A new go-to guy: Cole Beasley was inactive the first two games of the year, but he has quickly become one of Romo's favorite targets. In the past four games, he has 17 catches for 160 yards and a touchdown. With teams making sure Dez Bryant and Jason Witten don't beat them, Romo has turned to Beasley and Williams with success.

Prediction: The last time the Cowboys faced a team that could throw it like the Lions, Romo threw for 506 yards and five touchdown passes against the Denver Broncos. The offense has sputtered a little since that game but knowing they will have to keep up with Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson should propel Romo to his second straight 300 yard-plus game, and he will push his TD streak to 21 straight games. He will stop his interception streak at three games.

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