In a league dominated by the passing game, this matchup is primed to set the skies ablaze.
Tony Romo’s career record as a starter is 59-41 with 27,485 yards passing—that’s the most passing yards in a player's first 100 starts since the modern era of football. He’ll be slinging it downfield all game long, as the Cowboys will undoubtedly try to keep pace with the other high-octane gunslinger on the opposite sideline.
If Matthew Stafford can do anything, it's racking up yards through the air. In his last two seasons, he has amassed over 7,000 yards through the air. That’s pretty impressive when you consider only four other quarterbacks since 1920 have thrown for more than 4,700 yards in a season more than once during their careers. Stafford has done it in consecutive years.
Both quarterbacks are fortunate enough to be equipped with some of the best receivers in the NFL at their disposal. Expect Dez Bryant and Calvin Johnson to be targeted often this Sunday as they look to show the world who’s really the best of the best.
When Dez was asked to compare himself to Calvin Johnson earlier in the week, as reported by Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com through 103.3 FM ESPN, Bryant eventually found his way to this stance “I believe I can do whatever he (Calvin) can do…” Apparently, he’s not going to concede to any wide receiver being better than him at anything.
In that same report, outspoken owner Jerry Jones was on KRLD-FM and asked to give his own spin on which of the two receivers is better. Jones took a more objective approach:
"I think that Johnson at Detroit has got to be the best receiver or best end target, if you want to put it like that, the best guy to go to right now in the league. Dez can aspire to be that and has a chance to be that."
Perhaps the lack of public support for his star receiver in this case was a motivational tactic to bring out a fiery performance this Sunday—regardless of how true the opinion may be.
Bryant and Johnson have both been targeted an average of 10 times per game while averaging about 83 yards receiving. The statistical similarities are intriguing.
The quarterback who comes out on top will be the one who makes the fewest mistakes. Error-free football has been a weakness of both of these quarterbacks despite their success as fantasy football superstars. With that said, both guys have been uncharacteristically efficient in avoiding turnovers.
Perhaps the game will not be decided by the fewest turnovers, but by who makes the most untimely turnover of the day. In this context, Romo becomes the clear-cut underdog.
Stats were derived from the play index via ProFootballReference.com.