32 Questions: 'Boys have long view of success

Michael Silver
Yahoo! Sports

GREEN BAY, Wis. – As I walked through the narrow corridor that led to the visitors' locker room at Lambeau Field on Sunday night, a loud voice with a familiar Arkansas twang blindsided me like a third-and-20 Miles Austin touchdown dash down the right sideline.

"Hey Mike, if you need a loan I can help you out,” Jerry Jones intoned, a Texas-sized grin plastered on his face. "Cause I know you lost your shirt pickin' against the Cowboys."

It was a perfectly appropriate response to the lack of faith I had displayed in Jones' billion-dollar investment – humorous, devoid of sandbox-style emotion and delivered with reasonably good grammar. In the wake of the Cowboys' convincing 27-16 victory over the Packers – and the reshuffling at the top of the rankings it necessitated – I'm grateful that a) I'm not a gambling man and b) my baby-blue button-up was not within the reach of many of you.

So yes, the Cowboys are the subject of this week's honorary initial query, and no, it still doesn't mean a thing.

Jones knows this. So does his quarterback, Tony Romo, who said of Sunday's victory: "You're not trying to be the favorite in Week 3; you're trying to be the favorite at the end of the year."

That's why, as big of a game as this was for Romo, who grew up in Burlington, and dreamed of playing in Lambeau as a kid, even those closest to him understood that it was nothing more than an interesting clash of perceived NFC powers in September.

"You'd love to win a game like this," Tony's father, Ramiro, said Sunday afternoon. "But if we lose, it really won't be a big deal."

Smoking a pregame cigar at a tailgate outside Lambeau that included scores of Burlington residents – many of whom were avid Packers fans moonlighting as Dallas devotees for the day (there was even a green-and-gold Packers E-Z UP and accompanying banner that belonged to some of Romo's cousins) – Ramiro added, "Something tells me we're going to have to play this team again before all is said and done. And every game in the NFC East is a big game."

True that – not since "Seinfeld" went off the air has there been such a formidable foursome.

"Dude, the NFC East is brutal," Tony Romo said in the locker room. "What are we, a combined 10-2? And the two losses were to other teams in the division. That's crazy."

It's also reflected in this week's top-to-bottom rankings, with all four teams in the division among the first dozen. And don't worry, Dan Snyder – you'll probably get your chance to goof on me soon.

1. Dallas Cowboys: Is there any doubt that Romo is looking for Jason Witten on virtually every key third down – and, even with that knowledge, can anyone stop it from happening?

2. New York Giants: How cool was that when savvy middle linebacker Antonio Pierce took an intentional encroachment penalty against the Bengals to avoid having to defend Carson Palmer with only 10 men on the field?

3. Tennessee Titans: Think it's about time we all figure out who Cortland Finnegan is?

4. Green Bay Packers: How much will Al Harris' absence hurt them, and who will replace the dreadlocked corner as my daughter's favorite active NFL player?

5. Philadelphia Eagles: Was that the real Philly defense on Sunday, and if so, how scary is that?

6. Buffalo Bills: Does anyone run with more strength, balance and ferocity in the red zone than Marshawn Lynch?

7. Pittsburgh Steelers: Why do I get the feeling Mike Tomlin and his assistants will make some shrewd adjustments before they face the Ravens?

8. Denver Broncos: Do the football gods want them to win, or what?

9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Can someone please explain how Fred Taylor is getting better, and more physical, in his 11th season?

10. San Diego Chargers: Was that what you'd call a Monday Night Massacre?

11. Carolina Panthers: Which Twin Cities spectacle dragged on longer – John McCain's speech at the Republican Convention, or the 19-play, three-penalty drive the Panthers surrendered to the Vikings on Sunday?

12. Washington Redskins: Wasn't it cool to see Chris Cooley finally get some exposure – on the football field?

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: What was more limp come Monday – Brian Griese's arm, or Jeff Garcia's body language at practice?

14. Indianapolis Colts: Is it time to start thinking about moving back to the RCA Dome – or building another new stadium very quickly?

15. Minnesota Vikings: In Gus they trust?

16. Arizona Cardinals: How much better is their defense when Adrian Wilson is healthy?

17. Baltimore Ravens: After two games, can we already conclude that John Harbaugh's presence has revitalized their defense?

18. New Orleans Saints: Beyond Martin Gramatica's shanked field goal, what is it about this team that I just don't trust in the fourth quarter?

19. New England Patriots: Will the real Randy Moss please lay down?

20. Chicago Bears: Is it just me, or does Kyle Orton's beard make his arm stronger?

21. Miami Dolphins: With Michael Vick incarcerated and Vince Young incapacitated – and with Dan Henning's innovative game-plan wrinkle – did Ronnie Brown just become the most dangerous running quarterback in the NFL?

22. San Francisco 49ers: Is there any linebacker who's more fun to watch than Patrick Willis?

23. Seattle Seahawks: What's more awkward – Matt Hasselbeck trying to throw a block, or Mike Holmgren trying to block my access by ordering his players not to hang out with me?

24. New York Jets: All right, Jets fans – ready to deal with The Streak in all its splendor?

25. Atlanta Falcons: Did I miss something, or is Roddy White suddenly legit?

26. Cincinnati Bengals: Will they build on Sunday's valiant effort at Giants Stadium, or are we about to see their true stripes?

27. Houston Texans: Since when did Andre Johnson start dropping passes?

28. Cleveland Browns: Which Bob Dylan tune do you suppose Phil Savage is humming these days?

29. Oakland Raiders: How many lawyers does it take to fire a coach?

30. Detroit Lions: Hey Bill Ford Jr. – if your dad were Al Davis, would he be getting ready to fire you for insubordination?

31. Kansas City Chiefs: Does Thigpen belong in a pigpen?

32. St. Louis Rams: Are the '76 Bucs getting nervous?

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