By Shaun Morash
There is nothing I love more than patting myself on the back when I am right. Just seven weeks into Rex Ryan’s Bills tenure it seems I am on the path to once again being correct. Bills players are openly criticizing Rex Ryan’s schemes. The fact is he is not a good x’s and o’s coach. He is a great motivator and players love him. However, if players are already off the Rex love wagon, doesn’t that spell a shorter shelf life in Orchard Park?
Ten Yard Gain
1- The Steelers next man up mentality right now is as strong as an NFL team I have seen in a long time. Without their franchise in ben Roethlisberger, Mike Vick stepped up admirably and played well. Then, Vick goes down and Landry Fields comes out and helps lead the Steelers to a victory over the Cardinals. Some teams sink when a quarterback goes down, in fact most do. Especially when two go down. The Steelers, however, have risen above it.
2- The Seattle Seahawks clearly aren’t the same team. We all discussed how Kam Chancellor was the missing ingredient to the team early in the season. I think we can all see now it was Dan Quinn. In fact Quinn’s success in Atlanta while Carrol struggles in Seattle reminds me a lot of Bruce Arians in Arizona and Chuck Pagano in Indianapolis.
3- The Eagles beat the Giants, a time honored tradition. However, that game only has to alarm Eagles fans. Sam Bradford stinks. Warren Moon came on The DA Show on Tuesday and said this offense doesn’t suit Bradford. I believe he is right. When will Chip bend and build a team around the players he has.
4- It’s time to buy stock in the New York Jets. I wasn’t a believer preseason but when you start to check out the landscape of the potential AFC Wild Card picture. There may be just three contenders, the Steelers, Bills, and Jets. With Bills players openly upset with Rex, the Jets under Todd Bowles are as good as any bet to get to January.
5- As a football fan for the most of my life I have seen Peyton Manning under center on Sundays. It breaks my heart to see what he has become. However, I won’t be naïve and suggest it is silly to think Brock Osweiller is the better option at QB. Because Brock just might be. If the Broncos start to get double digit leads Peyton needs to allow the Broncos to give Brock a look in the 4th quarter. If it leads to him starting, so be it. Sorry Peyton.
6- The Baltimore Ravens being awful is one strange sight to see. They may not be the Patriots in terms of Super Bowl’s, but they are always in the mix. Seeing them actually be bottom five bad potential is literally stunning. Yet last week many jumped on betting them vs the 49’ers. Memo to everyone, the Ravens stink, stop thinking the turnaround is coming at any moment.
7- Pat McAfee’s explanation of Chuck Pagano’s “Worst Play Ever,” actually made sense. Except for one thing, why on earth would Pagano call that play with someone who never practiced it snapping it?
8- What did come from the Sunday Night Football showdown was that the 2015 Patriots are in fact human. They are great, no question, but unbeatable? No way. The Patriots will lose a couple of games here in the final 10 games of the season, and I wouldn’t necessarily lock them in for the Super Bowl either.
9- Phillip Rivers threw for a franchise record in yardage in Green Bay Sunday. Yet he couldn’t see Danny Woodhead wide open in the endzone in the final four plays of the game for a Chargers win. That moment encompassed why Rivers does not have the Super Bowl rings his classmates Roethlisberger and Eli have. That is just bonehead in the clutch.
10- NY Giants defensive end Damontre Moore deserves the clown of the week award. Not only did he take an awful roughing the passer penalty that helped begin the Giants crumble, but he was doing sack dances down 10 and 17 points. There is nothing more gutless than when a player does a “look at me,” dance while his team is getting its butt whooped.
Five Games to Chew On
5 Spicy Beef Tacos Game of the Week: Raiders @ Chargers- The AFC Wild Card picture appears to be a three team race between the Steelers, Jets, and Bills. The Bills though look like an unsteady ship, the Steelers have major injury concerns, and the Jets still have Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback. Which means the opportunity is there for the Chargers and dare we say it the Raiders to play hot and sneak in. That’s why this game cracks the Top 5. In many ways it is a playoff game, if there is such a thing, for under .500 teams. Plus it’s the who wants to move to LA more bowl!
4 Toasted Ravioli’s Game of the Week: Browns @ Rams- Speaking of teams in playoff contention, the Browns and Rams both somehow fit that bill. St.Louis has a chance to really propel themselves into not only the Wild Card race, but the division title race as well with a win. The Browns keep losing close games vs good teams, but a win here makes you start to believe they can be the surprise team in the AFC.
3 Bowls of Manhattan Clam Chowder Game of the Week: Cowboys @ Giants- The Cowboys are looking to win their 1st game this season without Tony Romo. The Giants need to pick up the pieces after an embarrassing mistake filled Monday Nighter in Philadelphia. The Giants had Dallas on the ropes in Week1 then Eli’s worst mental blunder of his career ruined everything. Revenge is a dish best served cold, and this game should feel that.
2 Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Game of the Week: Eagles @ Panthers- Do we buy the Eagles after two straight fortunate victories? Sunday night may tell us we should if the eagles can hand the underappreciated Panthers their 1st loss of the year. This game could have classic let down written all over it after the Panthers emotional upset in Seattle. However, Sam Bradford vs that secondary may counter act that argument.
1 Bowl of New England Clam Chowder game of the Week: Jets @ Patriots- Two AFC East teams with a combined 1 loss will throw down at Gillette early Sunday afternoon. We know under Rex Ryan, Jets/Pats was always interesting for better or for worse. Now it is Todd Bowles 1st chance to one up Belichick in this rivalry. The Patriots were very underwhelming in Indianapolis while the Jets throttled Washington. This game will tell us whether the Patriots will have another runaway division title.
Yet another winning week at 2-1 has me now at 14-5 on the year. Let’s keep the good times going. This week I give you a 4-Pack, and all favorites.
Dolphins -4 vs Texans: I felt the Dolphins momentum swing coming last week and nailed it. I’m going back to the well for the 2nd straight week. The Texans are still a mess and looked ugly, even in winning, vs the Jags last week. Miami is feeling reenergized under Dan Campbell and now have a chance to play their 1st home game under him. You’re asking for a win by 5 points vs an awful team. That’s enough for me to take this and run to the bank.
Falcons -5 at Titans: The Titans looked lost with no answers vs Miami at home. Now they get a hungry Falcons team off an awful Thursday night loss to the Saints. I expect the Falcons to establish the run and break the Titans backs late with the pass. A touchdown win should be an easy cover in this game.
Panthers -3 vs Eagles: The Eagles stink, even after Monday night, I think we can all agree. Asking them to win three straight games just seems like a tall task. The Panthers will eventually lose, but their secondary has a chance to feast on the turnover machine that is Sam Bradford. The Eagles traveling on the road after a short week does them no favors. Carolina 27-Eagles 21 seems about right.
Cardinals -7.5 vs Ravens: This pick is a big message to the football betting world. Stop believing the Ravens will go back to being the Ravens. Arizona lost a game they have to be kicking themselves for and are coming back home where they love to feast. They are just flat out a better team than the hapless Ravens. This smells like Monday night blowout, and that’s what I am banking on.
Football Food of the Week
Philly Cheese Steak Dip. I’ve mentioned before I am a big fan of dips. Hot dips are even better. The classic Taco dip is a fan favorite at occasions. Over the past two years or so Buffalo chicken dip has taken over as a “wow, this is delicious, how do you make this?” treat at parties. Well this week folks I bring you Philly Cheesesteak Dip. The tastiness of a Philly Cheesesteak, the tenderness of the meat, melty and gooeyness of the cheese, and the flavor of grilled onions all melted down into a dip for the ages. Your taste buds will tingle, and this is the perfect match combo with a nice beer on your couch. I have linked an easy to make recipe here: http://www.chef-in-training.com/2014/12/philly-cheese-steak-dip/
Thank you everyone for reading, enjoy your football weekend. As always you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @MrazCBS.