We do our weekly Who’s Winning article to setup the games on Sunday, and now for the first time Bryan lets me show up and take over his usual What We Learned article… which I guess was always the plan, except I was never available to pitch in my two cents.

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Denver Barely Beats Dallas

Pigskin Pig – Last week in your recap article (that you did without me) you said “Nobody Can Beat Denver”, and I think Tony Romo wanted to make sure you weren’t wrong on that. All kidding aside, I’m not sure that Dallas would get as close to beating Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos without a QB as good as Tony Romo.

Bryan Lienesch (@BCLienesch) – I’m glad you brought up Tony Romo. Good? Even on his career day, he pissed away the game. What more can you say about this guy at this point. He is what he is. Is he better than a handful of starting quarterbacks in the league? Probably. But we need to stop pretending Romo can be something greater. He’s a mediocre quarterback who can put up decent numbers at times and finds the worst opportunities to make just plain dumb decisions.

Pigskin Pig – A handful? That’s a joke. Taking age out of the situation, I’d rather have Tony Romo under center than a majority of the QBs around the league. Don’t let your DC bias cloud you against the gunslingin’ Cowboy. He hasn’t won a Super Bowl… or many playoff games… but a lot of QBs around the league are in that same boat, and most of them don’t have the skills Romo has. That said, while I was extolling his virtues, Romo just threw another interception in a key spot.

Bryan Lienesch (@BCLienesch) – See, you want to have it both ways. Defend him and then make him the butt of your joke. You and the rest of the NFL can’t have it both ways. He hasn’t won many playoff games? He’s won one. They could’ve handed Denver what will probably be a rare loss this weekend and he blew it. He could’ve given his team a playoff berth last season and he, yeah, that’s right, blew it. And in between? Dallas shelled out a brand spankin’ new contract WHILE their under a cap penalty. This isn’t bias, brother, it’s just the way it is.

Pigskin Pig – He’s currently Top 5 in Passing Yards, Touchdowns and Completion Percentage… and he only has 2 INT on the year. Aside from Peyton Manning, the only QB this year with only 2 INT with at least 8 touchdown passes is Tony Romo. Did I goof on him for fitting into his stereotype late in the game? Absolutely, but I’d be happy if he were my QB. He hung in there with Peyton Manning… and had the chance to beat him. I didn’t see Joe Flacco anywhere close to Peyton at the end of the opening game. Eli couldn’t hang with his older brother, either.

Bryan Lienesch (@BCLienesch) – His stats are inflated by the weapons around him. Matthew Stafford is continually in the upper echelons of passing yardage year in and year out. Is Stafford a Top 10 quarterback just because he has Calvin Johnson to throw to. You can look at stat sheets all day, but this isn’t fantasy football, it’s real football. And in real football, Romo isn’t getting the job done. Flacco and Eli? Last two quarterbacks to win a Super Bowl, by the way.

Josh Gordon,  Greg Little,  Trent Richardson

Browns Cooked In Cleveland?

Bryan Lienesch (@BCLienesch) – The Cleveland Browns are 3-2. Think that’s shocking? What if I told you the three wins have come in large part because of the journeyman quarterback named Brian Hoyer. Now, though, Hoyer has a torn ACL and is done for the season. Pigskin Pig, did Cleveland’s hopes of being a black sheep shatter alongside Hoyer’s ligament?

Pigskin Pig – I’m not going to try to convince you that the Browns are still a playoffs contender, but I’m not sure I would’ve done that even if Brian Hoyer had stayed healthy. I do like their defense, though, which has yet to let up a 100-yard rusher, nor a 300-yard passer, is racking up the sacks and has only failed to get an interception in 1 of their 5 games thus far. Dealing Trent Richardson and now entertaining offers for Josh Gordon, it does seem like they’re still content to punt the season here at the beginning of the 2013 season’s 2nd Down.

Bryan Lienesch (@BCLienesch) – Yea, I think Cleveland had a long way still to go in terms of proving itself, but it’s undeniable that Brian Hoyer was a difference maker. I still think the Browns are good for another three wins or so from here, but this front office knows what kind of team they have. And they don’t trade their feature back for a draft pick in the middle of the season if they thought playoffs were even remotely possible.

Pigskin Pig – They’ve still got the Steelers twice, and the Jaguars, but if they want to be competitive against some of the other teams they’ve got on the schedule, Brandon Weeden better get as familiar with Jordan Cameron like Hoyer did, and they better hope that Willis McGahee is shaking off the rust and getting back to a little bit of what he used to do.

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Time To Lay Off The Patriots’s Bandwagon

Pigskin Pig – Last week, you talked about how the Patriots weren’t hurting at the wide receiver position as much as a lot of analysts might think, and you mentioned how Tom Brady went for 541 yards and 4 touchdowns in weeks 3 and 4. Now I’m not going to say you’re wrong, but how did Tom Brady’s ZERO touchdown, sub-200-yard passing performance weigh on you against the Bengals?

Bryan Lienesch (@BCLienesch) – It did seem baffling. The two things I’ll say here are, 1, every passing touchdown streak has to come an end eventually and, 2, we can’t read too much into one game. If the Patriots continue to struggle, I’ll be happy to admit I was wrong. I just think its too early right now. A part of my point was that a Welker-less Tom Brady is still, in fact, Tom Brady. Cincinnati was a tough team, he’ll figure out how to get this offense over that speed bump this past week, and they should just toss this one away as nothing more than just a bad game.

Pigskin Pig – Out of his receiver options, who do you think he should spend the most time gaining chemistry with? Kenbrell Thompkins? Should they try to bring someone in?

Bryan Lienesch (@BCLienesch) – All of them. People are drooling over Denver’s passing game. Shocking that it’s hard to cover four legitimate threats, isn’t it? If Brady develops a go-to guy, defenses will take him away. The advantage New England has right now is that there isn’t an established pecking order. I’m not disillusioned that it’s going to take time for Brady to build a report with these new pieces, but that’s exactly what he needs to do. Don’t play favorites, don’t lean on Amendola and Gronk as crutches. This isn’t a problem for the Patriots so much as an opportunity.

Falcons quarterback Ryan gets up after being sacked by the Cowboys during the second half of NFL football game in Arlington

Falcons Falling Out Of The Sky?

Bryan Lienesch (@BCLienesch) – Following last night’s loss to the Jets, Atlanta is now 1-4 and already has more losses this season than they did all of last year. Meanwhile, New Orleans is undefeated and four games ahead in only five weeks. Pigskin Pig, how much trouble are the Falcons in?

Pigskin Pig – I’m having a hard time figuring out why the Falcons aren’t winning, but you have to think that they’re happy to see the BYE week show up after inexplicably losing to the JETS. It seems to me like they’re having trouble finishing. They were tied with the Dolphins as their Week 3 game went into the fourth quarter, they were beating the Jets last night until the last play of the game… Having the Bucs twice on the schedule coming up in their second half of the year, and the Cardinals, and the Redskins, and the Bills and the Panthers twice… That should help. And so should the fact that the NFC East isn’t sending more than one team to the playoffs this year… the Panthers and Tampa Bay aren’t going… So if they want to get in, they’ll have to look at the NFC North and NFC West for who to beat for the second wild card.

Bryan Lienesch (@BCLienesch) – That was a brilliant job of fillibustering my question. I didn’t realize you moonlighted as a politician!

Pigskin Pig – Well Congress isn’t really doing their job right now, so someone in this town needs to. GuysNation hasn’t furloughed me yet!

Bryan Lienesch (@BCLienesch) – I agree with much of what you say, but let me be direct: the Falcons are in a LOT of trouble. Like you said, they can’t finish games right now. Well look at some of those teams you rattled off. The Bills. The Panthers. The Redskins. A lot of these teams they’ll have to play after the bye week can put up points in a hurry when they need them and Atlanta hasn’t shown any ability whatsoever to stop it. You look at the NFC North and West, and it’s very realistic that a 10-6 team won’t make the postseason. Well, do you even have confidence that Atlanta can go 9-2 from here?

Pigskin Pig – If you’re saying 10-6 is what they need to hit to get the second wild card, then they may as well take Cleveland’s route and start compiling draft picks. I think they could maybe hit 8-8. They’ve got the talent… although that talent’s getting really old.