Daily Archives: November 2nd, 2013

WORLDWIDE EXCLUSIVE: The Great Robbini’s predictions for Game #9 | 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys vs. Minnesota Vikings

The GREAT Robbini's Crystal Ball - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

Regular readers know that The Boys Are Back website features the ALMOST WORLD FAMOUS predictions from The GREAT Robbini. Last week, our “exalted one” predicted a big win … and was almost correct!

This week, The GREAT Robbini expects a heavy dose of Marinelli Misfits setting the pace defensively and Tony Romo to repeatedly fire that cannon through the Vikings hull!

Recently, the GREAT ONE was distracted by a house full of little women hopped up on Halloween candy. Finally, the dust (and wrappers) has settled, and the GREAT Robbini is the only one left in the house wearing a costume. Tonight, he was able to sit down and put a seriously powerful rub on his magic ball. I’m told it was so vigorous, that his ball actually emitted purple.

Clearly, he’s psyched about the Dallas Cowboys – Minnesota Vikings vibe… and ready to share his prognostications that we all count on from week-to-week. Without further delay, it’s time for The GREAT Robbini’s predictions …

The GREAT Robbini’s – 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys game #9 predictions:

Above .500 yet again

The Dallas Cowboys offense continue with the overall improved play of last week, as far as points on the board. The nagging issue was capitalizing on their chances given by the defense. This will improve somewhat against a hungry, but overwhelmed Vikings defense. Mark this one in the W column, and take it for what it is. Wins may not be so easy to come by in this months slate of games.

Predictions for the Texas 2 Defense …

  • 3 takeaways
  • 4 sacks
  • 1 sack Jason Hatcher
  • 1 sack Jarius Wynn
  • 2 sacks George Selvie
  • Sean Lee/Bruce Carter lead tackles
  • Jason Hatcher fumble recovery
  • Brandon Carr secures a takeaway
  • Dallas Cowboys injure Vikings player
  • Adrian Peterson out at least one drive

COWBOYS VS. VIKINGS GAMEDAY PRIMER: Minnesota RB Adrian Peterson still after Emmitt Smith’s NFL record

 

Predictions for the offense …

  • Tony Romo 330 yards, 4 TDs
  • Dez Bryant 100 yards, TD
  • Jason Witten 65 yards, TD
  • Terrance Williams 110 yards, TD
  • Cole Beasley 45 yards
  • DeMarco Murray TD
  • Rushing committee 110 yards
  • Cowboys receive second half kick

The GREAT Robbini

Remember, you read it here! The Great Robbini predictions for game #9. Leave your final score or predictions in the comment section.


Stats and predictions to be confirmed by:

button - Dallas Cowboys Box Score - NFL Box score - 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys

THE PLOT THICKENS: Ex-Cowboy Jay Ratliff agrees to deal with Chicago Bears; Could face Dallas in December

THE PLOT THICKENS - Ex-Cowboy Jay Ratliff agrees to deal with Chicago Bears; Could face Dallas in December - 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys

IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys didn’t think Jay Ratliff would be able to play with them this year. Now, they’re scheduled to play against him.

Just two weeks after Ratliff was released from the Cowboys for a failed physical, the defensive tackle agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the Bears, who are set to play the Cowboys on Monday night on Dec. 9 in Chicago.

Dallas Cowboys vs. Chicago Bears schedule 2013-2014 - 2013 Dallas Cowboys NFL Schedule - button

The latest news continues an ongoing saga between the Cowboys and Ratliff, who hasn’t played in a game since Nov. 18, 2012. Despite multiple off-field incidents, the Cowboys cited his lingering health issues as primary reasons for the release.

Ratliff underwent sports hernia surgery in December and came back to run in the team’s conditioning test at the start of training camp, where he hurt his hamstring. He never again got on the field for the Cowboys and was put on the Physically Unable to Perform list.

After his release, Ratliff’s agent, Mark Slough, said the injury was much more serious than a sports hernia and claimed Ratliff actually had muscle ripped off from the pelvic bone. He said that Ratliff still had a desire to play, but that the plan would be for a 2014 return. At the time, there was no expectation Ratliff would be ready to play this quickly.

Ratliff is still maybe two to four weeks away from being able to play. The Bears, however, have a huge need at defensive tackle after losing Henry Melton and Nate Collins.

Ratliff visited the Bears, Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins this week. The Cincinnati Bengals also made inquiries after a season-ending injury to Geno Atkins.

The Bears made the most sense for Ratliff of the teams he visited, as he should have a chance start when healthy. In Kansas City or Miami, he likely would have been a rotational player.

“Those people that ever questioned his loyalty, maybe questioned his desire to play, integrity – all those things – those questions were misplaced,” Slough said. “But again, I think a lot of that came from the fact that no one really understood the severity of the injury that Jay had suffered. As a result, there were unrealistic expectations for his return being bantered about publicly.”

The Cowboys and owner/general manager tried to stay as mum as possible after Ratliff was medically cleared to play this season, citing legal reasons. It’s possible the Cowboys try to get some of the money back on Ratliff’s contract extension he signed in 2011.

“I don’t want to comment because of the legal aspect of it, and I had said earlier that I was going to focus on good things – the contribution that he made here, and this team needed him real bad,” Jones said Oct. 24. “It was disappointing that he’s not playing, disappointing that the resources involved aren’t going to guys out here making plays.”

Ratliff has some familiarity with staff members on the Bears. Running backs coach Skip Peete and special teams coach/assistant head coach Joe DeCamillis were with the Cowboys last year. Former Cowboy Martellus Bennett is also on the Bears’ roster.

Ratliff was thought to be an ideal fit in the middle of the Dallas Cowboys’ new 4-3 defense. The Bears evidently hope the same in their scheme.

The Bears sit just outside of the playoff race and are trying to stay in contention while they wait for the return of injured quarterback Jay Cutler and linebacker Lance Briggs.

A healthy Ratliff is a step toward saving the Bears’ playoff hopes if they can stay afloat with backup quarterback Josh McCown and a patchwork defensive.

COWBOYS RIVAL HEADLINE: Minnesota StarTribune | Tony Romo came from out of nowhere

COWBOYS RIVAL HEADLINE - Minnesota StarTribune - Tony Romo came from out of nowhere - 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys schedule

Tony Romo has turned into a star after going undrafted 10 years ago. Romo’s spring of 2013 was a tad more lucrative than his spring of 2003.

Eight months ago, the Dallas Cowboys quarterback signed a six-year, $108 million extension with $55 million in guaranteed money.

And 10 years before that?

“I was a very sought-after [rookie] free agent,” Romo, tongue firmly in cheek, told Twin Cities reporters on Wednesday.

Romo said he had nibbles from 15 to 20 NFL teams immediately after the 2003 draft. Of course, as Romo noted, that interest level came from 15 to 20 teams, “that really didn’t like [me] enough the previous 48 hours.

So, Tony, what did the Cowboys have to fork over to get the late-bloomer from Eastern Illinois? Five hundred bucks?

“Yeah, I made a little more than that,” he said. “I think it was 10 grand, actually, which felt like a year’s paycheck coming out of college. It was nice.”

Say what you want about Romo. He has been labeled as a guy who can’t win the big game. A guy who is prone to mistakes late in games. A guy who is 1-3 in the postseason. But there aren’t too many teams, the Vikings obviously included, who wouldn’t swap quarterbacks for Romo.

Heading into Sunday’s game against the Vikings, Romo ranks fifth in passer rating (101.7) behind only Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers.

Romo is 59-42 heading into his 102nd NFL start. Among quarterbacks through 100 starts, Romo ranks No. 1 in completions (2,262) and passing yards (27,485). He also ranks third in touchdown passes (189) behind only Dan Marino (214) and Brett Favre (194).

In that 2003 draft, 32 teams made 262 selections. Thirteen quarterbacks were selected. Only one of them — Carson Palmer, selected No. 1 overall by the Bengals — ever made a Pro Bowl. Romo has made three.

The other quarterbacks selected in the first round that year were Byron Leftwich (seventh), Kyle Boller (19th) and Rex Grossman (22nd). Later rounds saw names such as Chris Simms, Senaca Wallace, Brian St. Pierre, Brooks Bollinger, Drew Henson and Kliff Kingsbury.

“I think more than anything, I was just very raw,” Romo said. “[The scouts] were all right. But at the end of the day, they just didn’t see the things that can separate you.

Romo was asked what it is about quarterbacks and the draft selection process that can lead to No. 1 overall picks flopping and undrafted free-agents flourishing.

“I think sometimes only certain people can evaluate the quarterback position at a high level,” Romo said. “I think it’s a very tough thing to do because there are so many things that go into it. And I think it’s a difficult position to gauge. Just [the offensive] system alone dictates differing decision-making processes and I think that unless you’re really the guy coaching him and teaching him, you don’t necessarily know his strengths and negatives.

So what’s the one trait Romo would look for if he were in charge of drafting a quarterback coming out of college?

“Instincts,” he said. “Just their ability to get through progressions at a fast rate. You can always work on accuracy, you can always work on footwork. You can get guys to do the right things and be leaders and all that stuff. But inherently what you can’t teach him is to see the field quickly, react quickly and get through stuff fast. That’s where I find that [teams] just miss the mark the most times with young guys.

Courtesy: MARK CRAIG | Minnesota Star Tribune

NFC BEAST OF THE EAST: Review of the Dallas Cowboys division at the halfway point in the 2013-2014 NFL season (Special Feature)

NFC East - NFC East starting stars drawing - button - 2013 Dallas Cowboys

The focus of this article is on the NFC East as a whole. Outside of the enormous popularity of the Dallas Cowboys, the division features some pretty prominent, popular franchises in their own right – and there’s the undeniable truth that all three are in the way of a Dallas Cowboys playoff berth.

NFC East: Analyzing The Importance Of November

NFC East - button

It’s not October anymore. When the ball kicks off this Sunday for our three fair NFC East contestants, we’ll be into the second half of the season. The temperatures are starting to drop, and the games that determine the playoff picture are about to begin.

With that in mind, lets take a look at a stat that Dallas Cowboys fans should be well-familiar with by now, considering it’s one of Tony Romo’s most impressive numbers. As it’s been documented, since he took over starting duties for the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 29, 2006, Romo has a staggering 21-4 record in the month of November.

That’s a statistic the Cowboys would desperately love to keep in line with. Dallas has four games sandwiched around a bye week this month – Minnesota tomorrow, at New Orleans in a week, at New York after the bye and home for Thanksgiving against Oakland. 

That’s a combined record of 12-17, with the Saints comprising 50 percent of that win total. Take the current NFC No. 2 seed out of the equation, and the other three opponents are just 6-16. With outdoor road trips to Chicago and Washington, not to mention a home date against Green Bay, looming in December, a winning mark in November would be huge for Romo and Co.

It’s even more important when you look at the upcoming slates for the rest of the division. 

The Redskins, captained by Robert Griffin III, actually begin their six-game win streak and eventual march to the playoffs in November last year. They’re going to need him to improve on his 2-1 November mark to remain in the hunt, as they host the white-hot Philip Rivers this weekend before making back-to-back road trips to Minnesota and Philly, and then finishing the month off with a Monday night game against San Francisco.

Philadelphia has the last bye week in the league, with the final weekend of November the goal for a much-needed rest. In the meantime, they also have back-to-back road trips, to Oakland and Green Bay, before facing the Redskins at home. Nick Foles is winless in November, with an 0-2 mark. The Eagles would love to have Michael Vick back – though his career November record of 12-12-1 is hardly awe-inspiring.

Expect the upcoming month to sink both Washington and Philadelphia’s playoff hopes. Ironically enough, however, this 11th month of the year just may give a fighting chance to the once-buried Giants.

The much-needed bye week falls on the Giants this weekend. After a reprieve and a chance to get some guys healthy, they don’t have to leave the confines of MetLife Stadium until Dec. 1. During the three-game homestand, they’ll host the Raiders, Packers and Cowboys.

Despite the Giants’ run of postseason success, Eli Manning’s November record sits at just 13-19. In fact, New York is just 2-6 in November since 2011.

Does any of that mean anything? It’s hard to say for sure. It’s hard for some to take Romo’s winning ways in November too seriously when he hasn’t guided a team to the playoffs since 2009.

We didn’t decide much in this division in the first eight weeks – other than the fact that there isn’t a dominant team among the four.

Whoever manages the best over the next four or five weeks may find themselves in an enviable position when December starts.

NFC East: Burning Questions At The Halfway Point

NFC East - NFC East starting quarterbacks - button - 2013 Dallas Cowboys

Can we just chuck the first half of the season out the window? Is there a fan base in the NFC East that would really mind?

The array of mediocre traverses the entire spectrum among the NFL’s most volatile division. This is a group that’s had four different champions in the past four years, and it’s certainly playing up that moniker of parity.

Division leader Dallas has four wins – just two games ahead of cellar-dweller New York at the halfway point of the season. What’s the worst predicament?

Cowboys fans will tell you they should probably be 6-2, but you could make an easy argument the team has come painstakingly close to winning all eight games – refer yourself to the total margin of defeat of 14 points.

The Giants, continual contenders in the NFC with two Super Bowls in the last six seasons, plummeted to an 0-6 start – their worst such start to a season in 37 years. The division’s middling middle, Philadelphia and Washington, will go the way of their dynamic but injury-riddled quarterbacks.

It has all combined to give the NFC East the worst win total among the NFL’s eight divisions – 11-20. That’s one win more than the AFC South, which boasts a 10-19 mark thanks to hapless Jacksonville, but it’s also one more loss.

Go figure, the league’s western half – the AFC and NFC West, which boast four of the best teams in football in Denver, Kansas City, San Francisco and Seattle – are running away with collective records of 22-8 and 20-12, respectively.

In those divisions, and in several others, things are beginning to settle. We have a good idea of what’s going to happen in four or five of the league’s divisions.

But that’s not so in the NFC East, where the first half of the season hasn’t determined much other than that all four teams are equally flawed. 

So what storylines are going to dictate the stretch run and the eventual division champion?

Dallas Cowboys: How well can they weather the injuries?

It sounds like a copout, because there’s a lot to be said about the shakiness of the Dallas offense, not to mention late-game decisions in all four Cowboys losses.

NFC East - Dallas Cowboys 2013 - The Boys Are Back blog - Dallas Cowboys reversed - button

But as of Monday, they have lost starting right guard Brian Waters, likely for the year. Starting cornerback Morris Claiborne is also out for at least a handful of games with a bad hamstring. Starting safety Barry Church may also be iffy with a hamstring.

Don’t forget to factor those injuries in with the prior ones suffered by starters DeMarco Murray, DeMarcus Ware and Miles Austin and J.J. Wilcox. All four players are expected back soon, but as of yet, we don’t know for sure when that will happen.

Don’t count on many teams stringing together wins with as many as six or seven starters missing from the lineup. The Dallas Cowboys need the bye week to get here, and quickly.

Philadelphia Eagles: What is Michael Vick’s status for the last eight games?

Michael Vick tried to give it a go on his injured hamstring last week against New York. It didn’t work out quite as well as he’d hoped – he completed 6-of-9 passes for 30 yards and a pick before exiting prior to halftime.

NFC East - Philadelphia Eagles 2013 - The Boys Are Back blog

It doesn’t look likely he’ll be ready for this weekend’s trip to Oakland, and that’s a problem for the Philadelphia offense. Yes, the Eagles romped over winless Tampa Bay with Nick Foles at the helm. But it’s becoming increasingly more evident that as Vick goes, so goes the Philly attack. 

In the four full games that Vick played before injuring the hamstring in the first game against the Giants, the Philadelphia offense was averaging 458 yards per game. In the three games since the injury, the average has plummeted to 300 yards per game.

Yes, the Eagles’ defense is atrocious, and it has cost them opportunities at a better record. But Chip Kelly’s offense has not hummed without his starting quarterback behind center. With a bad defense, they’ll need a strong offense to earn wins.

They need Vick.

Washington Redskins: Can RG3 rediscover his mojo?

It’s a pretty similar situation in D.C. as it is in Philly. The Redskins are an average team with a bad defense. They need a strong performance from their leader and pace-setter of a quarterback if they’re going to match last season’s division championship.

NFC East - Washington Redskins 2013 - The Boys Are Back blog - Washington Redskins reversed - button

It seemed like Griffin had turned a corner after a slow start to 2013. He threw for a combined 544 yards in Weeks 6 and 7, and he led the Redskins to a last-minute victory against Chicago.

More notably in that, he rushed for a combined 181 yards in those two games after totaling just 72 yards on the ground in the first month of the season. He was beginning to look comfortable using both of his skillsets. 

That all derailed in Sunday’s blowout loss to Denver. Griffin managed just seven rushing yards on five attempts, and he completed 50 percent of his passes for just 132 yards. He left the game in the fourth quarter with an apparent knee injury, though he has since been declared OK.

The fact of the matter is that Griffin is slumping across the board in his sophomore season. His completion percentage after seven games is at just 59 percent.  He’s actually on pace to throw for 1,000 more yards than his 3,200 yards last season, but he already has eight interceptions in seven games, where he threw just five picks his entire rookie campaign.

The running issues are well-documented. Griffin is averaging roughly 34 yards on the ground to this point, and he hasn’t found the end zone as a runner yet.

These are the pressures that go with being a No. 2 pick. The Redskins need to win at least six of the last nine games, and they won’t do it unless Griffin’s play improves.

New York Giants: Can the lines continue to improve?

Sunday’s win against Philadelphia was not pretty, but it saw two significant improvements for the New York Giants.

NFC East - New York Giants 2013 - The Boys Are Back blog

Firstly, the offensive line won the day. The Giants weren’t great running the ball, with just 88 total yards, but they outrushed an Eagles rushing attack that has been tops in the league for most of the year. It also gave Eli Manning time to the make decisions, which allowed him to put together his second-straight interception-free game.

The Giants are 2-0 in games where Manning hasn’t thrown a pick. In their previous six, all losses, he threw 15 balls to the other team.

Secondly, the Giants’ defense managed four sacks against the Eagles after notching six combined sacks in the seven previous games. It’s a long way to go before anyone believes New York has re-discovered its pass rushing reputation, but it’s a start. 

No team has ever started 0-6 and reached the playoffs. But in this division, the Giants now just sit two games out of first. If they can keep people away from their quarterback, and keep finding ways to reach opposing quarterbacks, they have a chance.


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2013-2014 COWBOYS ROSTER: Dallas RG Brian Waters placed on IR | Micah Pellerin promoted from practice squad

2013-2014 COWBOYS ROSTER - Dallas RG Brian Waters placed on IR - Micah Pellerin promoted from practice squad

IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys have officially placed guard Brian Waters on injured reserve after a week of evaluation.

Waters suffered a strained rib, a hyperextended knee and a torn triceps in last weekend’s loss to Detroit, with the triceps injury proving to be the most severe.

The veteran guard, who was halfway through his 13th NFL season, sought out several secondary opinions that would allow him to continue playing this year, but those were of no avail.

Mackenzy Bernadeau will start in place of Waters on Sunday against Minnesota. Bernadeau started in all 16 games last season, and he was the starter for the first three weeks of 2013 before Waters replaced him in Week 4.

It remains to be seen what Waters will do going forward. The Cowboys signed him to a one-year contract just five days before the season opener against the New York Giants. The six-time Pro Bowler played to his lofty reputation in five starts this season, but he will be 37 by the start of the 2014 campaign.

In Waters’ place, the Cowboys called up defensive back Micah Pellerin from the practice squad. This marks the fourth week in a row the Cowboys have activated a practice squad player. They called up linebacker Cameron Lawrence on Oct. 11, defensive end Jason Vega on Oct. 18 and safety Jakar Hamilton on Oct. 26.

Pellerin was a standout for the team in training camp after joining the practice squad at the tail end of 2012. He has experience playing both safety and cornerback, though he has played primarily as a corner during his time with Dallas.

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett hinted on Friday that Pellerin would get the nod, as the team will be without Morris Claiborne for Sunday’s game against the Vikings. Claiborne injured his hamstring in the loss to the Lions.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION VIDEO: Dallas Cowboys AT&T Stadium Gameday Spectacle of Light

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION HYPE VIDEO - Dallas Cowboys AT&T Stadium Spectacle of Light - 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys

GAMEDAY LIGHTS: Dallas Cowboys AT&T Stadium comes alive (1:06)

Watch as the the lights of Dallas Cowboys AT&T Stadium come alive. Song: Shut Em Down by Cell Dweller. Courtesy of Fixt/Position Music. . (Watch Video | Play Audio)

HYPE VIDEO AND DOWNLOAD: Dallas Cowboys touchdown song featured on highlight video

HYPE VIDEO AND DOWNLOAD - Dallas Cowboys touchdown song featured on highlight video - Dez Bryant TD

HIGHLIGHT HYPE: Dallas Cowboys Touchdown Song

The Dallas Cowboys Touchdown Song, performed by The Burning of Rome, is featured on this Dallas Cowboys TD highlights video. (Watch Video | Play Audio)

Dallas Cowboys touchdown song

 

Download the full song here ( or here) and rock it in your car, on your phone/tablet, or at your tailgate.

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