Rodgers vs. Romo has a nice ring to it

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The only way Tony Romo (left) can get all the critics off his back is to win a Super Bowl, which Aaron Rodgers already has done. | AP

Tony Romo vs. Aaron Rodgers isn’t even a close debate in most NFL circles.

Rodgers has a Super Bowl ring and is expected to win his second league MVP award after throwing for 4,382 yards with 38 touchdown passes and only five interceptions.

Romo puts up big numbers but can’t win the big one. He actually edged Rodgers for the league lead in passer rating (113.2-112.2) and threw for 3,705 yards with 34 TD passes and nine interceptions — avoiding the fatal turnovers that have doomed him and the Cowboys in the past.

He’s good. But he’s no Aaron Rodgers.

“I hope [the critics] see that he’s made some pretty impressive plays and had some big games,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said after Romo rallied Dallas to a 24-20 victory over the Lions in a wild-card game last week at Cowboys Stadium. “The only thing that will ever get them off his back totally would be to get that Super Bowl win.”

Ain’t that the truth. And it would help even more if Romo could beat Rodgers and the Packers en route to that elusive ring. That’s the opportunity that awaits Romo and the Cowboys on Sunday — the first Cowboys-Packers playoff game at Lambeau Field since the legendary “Ice Bowl,” the 1967 NFL Championship Game won by the Packers 21-17 that preceded the Packers’ victory over the Raiders in Super Bowl II.

Romo is on his way to eradicating the stigma that has dogged him for much of his career. In recent years, the Cowboys faltered late and failed to make the playoffs. They were a combined 8-11 in December and January the previous four seasons.

They were in peril after a 33-10 home loss to the Eagles on Thanksgiving. But they responded by going 4-0 in December, with Romo throwing 12 TD passes and one interception and posting ratings of 138.0, 129.1, 151.7 and 100.0.

The win over the Lions last week might’ve changed a few minds. But the challenge against the Packers and Rodgers is on another level. The Cowboys are 8-0 on the road, but the Packers are 8-0 at home. Rodgers has a 133.0 passer rating at home — 25 TD passes and zero picks.

“Playing these games are what you want to do as a player — I don’t know that it matters where you’re playing,” said Romo, who’s from Burlington, Wisconsin, about 150 miles from Green Bay. “It’s just about winning and getting our team to a championship [game] and winning it. That’s what it’s all about.”

Rodgers, though, has been hampered by a sore calf and battled through it in a 30-20 victory over the Lions in Week 17.

“Aaron came through the [Thursday] practice [with] everything OK. He [felt] good [Friday],” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “He’s progressing, and I feel he will be available for the game.”


Twitter: @MarkPotash

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