MVP Meter: Romo's ready to feast

Posted Nov. 22, 2011 @ 6:39 p.m.
Posted By Eli Kaberon

The food, the parades, the time spent with loved ones, the massive bargains at stores the day after — there are a lot of reasons to love Thanksgiving.

And, of course, there's the football.

Tony Romo may love the holiday more than most, however. The Cowboys' quarterback saves his best performances of the year for the fourth Thursday of November. He has played on Thanksgiving day four times in his career and put up outstanding numbers in each game.

A review of Romo's Thanksgiving performances:

2006 vs. Buccaneers — 22-of-29, 306 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INTs, 148.9 rating — 38-10 win

2007 vs. Jets — 21-of-28, 195 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 102.5 rating — 34-3 win

2008 vs. Seahawks — 22-of-34, 331 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, 113.7 rating — 34-9 win

2009 vs. Raiders — 18-of-29, 309 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INT, 121.2 rating — 24-7 win

Romo missed the Turkey Day game last season because of clavicle fracture, but he's on fire heading into this year's matchup against the Dolphins. He makes his debut on the MVP Meter this week because of his play leading up to Thursday's game, but if history is any indication, he'll be ranked higher on next week's Meter.

(Last week's ranking in parentheses)

1. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (No. 1) — There's no place on the field where Rodgers isn't dangerous, but he's nearly unstoppable when he moves inside an opponent's 20-yard line. Since 2008, Rodgers has thrown 81 touchdowns and only two interceptions inside the red zone. That includes a pair of five-yard TD passes in the Packers' Week 11 win over the Buccaneers.

2. Patriots QB Tom Brady (No. 2) — He's unlikely to throw for 50 touchdown passes like he did in 2007 (he has 25 TDs through Week 11), but Brady is actually throwing for a bit more yardage this season than he did during that MVP campaign. Brady is throwing for 327 yards per game after throwing for 300 yards a game four seasons ago.

3. Saints QB Drew Brees (No. 3) — The remaining schedule bodes well for Brees. Of the Saints' final six games, only one (Dec. 4 vs. the Lions) is against a defense that ranks higher than 16th in the league in average passing yards allowed.

4. Bears RB Matt Forté (No. 4) — Now more than ever, the Bears are going to need Forté to play like one of the NFL's premier running backs. With Jay Cutler out for an extended period of time because of a broken thumb, Forté can put more pressure on the Chicago front office to give him the big contract he has been asking for. 

5. Texans RB Arian Foster (No. 7) — Foster, who also gets a boost in value because of an injury to a starting quarterback, actually moved up on the Meter despite being on bye Sunday. With Matt Leinart under center for the Texans, expect Foster's touches per game to rise from the 25.3 he averaged with Matt Schaub in the lineup.

6. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger (No. 10) — Roethlisberger is considered one of the toughest quarterbacks to defend because of his height, strength and ability to make plays when it seems little is available to him. He's also one of the toughest players, period, just based on the fact he will play this week despite a fractured thumb on his throwing hand.

7. 49ers RB Frank Gore (No. 5) — Gore played Sunday despite an injured knee, but he failed to score a touchdown or eclipse 100 yards rushing. Some have argued that his teammate, QB Alex Smith, should be on the Meter ahead of Gore, but San Francisco is still a run-first team, and Gore is still their most important offensive player.

8. Cowboys QB Tony Romo (NR) — The emergence of rookie RB DeMarco Murray has taken the pressure off Romo and allowed him to play better. Since the start of Murray's breakout performance in Week Seven vs. the Rams, Romo has thrown 11 touchdowns and just one interception, and the Cowboys have won four of their last five games.

9. Giants QB Eli Manning (No. 6) — Another tough loss with an end-of-game error by Manning dropped him on the Meter for a second consecutive week. He now faces a game against the Saints in his hometown of New Orleans. Manning grew up going to the Superdome to cheer on his father, Archie, and the Saints beat Eli Manning's Giants, 48-27, in a 2009 game in New Orleans, so he knows how tough that stadium can be for opposing quarterbacks.

10. Broncos QB Tim Tebow (cusp) — Tebow has delivered with key fourth-quarter scores in three of his five starts this season. The latest was a 20-yard run against the Jets with less than one minute remaining, giving the Broncos the lead and helping them stay within a game of first place in the AFC West.

Five on the cusp (in alphabetical order) — Bills RB Fred Jackson, Lions WR Calvin Johnson, Eagles RB LeSean McCoy, Jets CB Darrelle Revis, 49ers DE Justin Smith.

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