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The thrill of (Cowboys) victory, the agony of (Ravens) defeat

December 05, 2006|by ROBERT KELLER

This week's football games determined that one team clinched a spot in the playoffs. Some turned out for the better, while others didn't turn out so well.

If there are any Baltimore fans out there, you know what I'm talking about.

The biggest game this week was between the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants. New York came in after losing three straight games, one to the Tennessee Titans. The Cowboys came in with quarterback Tony Romo winning four out of his five starts, hoping to stop the Giants. The Giants' key player, running back Tiki Barber, had 23 carries, but only rushed for 90 yards. Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens had eight receptions for 84 yards, but scored no touchdowns. In the end, the Cowboys kicked the winning field goal to win the game 23-20. Dallas is now 8-4, and increased its lead in the NFC East to two games over the Giants.

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This week's games include Cleveland at Pittsburgh, Baltimore at Kansas City, Oakland at Cincinnati, and Philadelphia at Washington. I predict that the winners will be Cleveland, Baltimore, Cincinnati and Philadelphia.

Let's talk about Cincinnati for a few minutes. Earlier this season, the Bengals lost their first matchup with the Ravens, 26-20, in Baltimore. The team was broken and needed to be fixed. Now let's jump to the second game against Baltimore in Cincinnati. The Bengals came out a whole different team, shutting Baltimore out for three quarters and scoring 13 points.

Cincinnati wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh was quoted saying that the Bengals were the better team by a long shot. If Cincinnati were the better team, why didn't the Bengals stop Baltimore the first game the two teams played?

I've noticed that older quarterbacks have a rougher time in the pocket than younger quarterbacks. The reason: You've got younger players on defense. The young guys are chasing after the quarterback, and the quarterback can't run as fast as the players chasing him. If you give younger quarterbacks a chance, like Cowboy Tony Romo, they can make something happen.

With the Ravens missing their first chance to clinch a playoff spot, the only team with a guaranteed playoff berth is the Chicago Bears.

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