Starting Lineups: Rodgers Returns, Romo Relinquishes Regular Role

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The two biggest games on the final 2013 NFL regular-season weekend center around injured starting quarterbacks.

The biggest news to break yesterday was the return of Aaron Rodgers under center for the Green Bay Packers, as they take on the Chicago Bears to decide the winner of the NFC North. How Rodgers acclimates in his first game action for months will go a long way in deciding which of these division rivals will head to playoffs. Of course, the Bears have their own issues at the quarterback position, with the talented but often erratic Jay Cutler making just his third start since returning from injury himself and not exactly doing a better job than backup Josh McCown did in Cutler’s absence.

In the other division-deciding match-up of the weekend, the Dallas Cowboys take on the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night amid their own quarterback health issues, as Tony Romo most likely will not play after suffering a herniated disk, leaving the game in the hands of Kyle Orton. That’s not exactly an ideal situation for Dallas, which hosts an Eagles team that just steamrolled the Bears, with the NFC East title on the line.

Of course, the Eagles have gone through their own version of a quarterback carousel this season, as Michael Vick won the starting job out of camp, then got injured, then watched Nick Foles play well in his absence, then play terrible against Dallas, then get hurt, then have Vick return and get injured again before Foles finally healed from his concussion and cemented his place as the starter. Oh, and there was a brief Matt Barkley cameo in there as well.

Talk about some crazy quarterback situations in the biggest of games. We’ll have to wait and see what Rodgers has in store for his return and how the Cowboys — in the highly probable scenario of playing without Romo — can cope with a quarterback who has gotten very little game snaps this season. If nothing else, it should be fun to watch.

Links …

The Conversation – Steven Lebron

Tyler Hadley’s Killer Party – Rolling Stone

Sword and Shield – Grantland

God Is Not Dead – The Classical

Is this goodbye? A look at Rex Ryan’s most entertaining moments with the Jets – NJ.com

Anatomy Of A Con: How The Public Was Scammed To Build Candlestick Park – The Stacks (Deadspin)

The 10 most controversial people of 2013 (Puck Daddy year in review) – Puck Daddy

The Professional – SLAM

20 Gifts Santa Should’ve Brought NBA Stars This Year – Dime Magazine

Carlos Santana five games into third-base experiment for Cleveland Indians – Cleveland.com

Bill O’Brien’s NFL Future – The MMQB

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