Up The Gut: Week 14

By Shaun Morash

The Watercooler

Tom Coughlin is a Hall of Fame Coach, his credentials are undeniable. However, his performance Sunday left even his sternest of supporters in Giants fans doubting whether he is still the right man for the job at 70 years old.

He decided to not go up 13 vs a Ryan Fitzpatrick team and play for the 17 point lead with 8 minutes left. It failed him. In the 1st half he had a chance to go up 11 or at worst leave the Jets at their own 1, instead he elected for a field goal. This was backwards thinking in both accounts for sure. He also challenged a play that would have made a difference in two yards of field position and lost. Now, the refs botched that, but why bother challenging?

The Giants still unbelievably find themselves very much in play for a playoff spot at 5-7. However, if they don’t, it is tough to sell anyone that Coughlin should be back on the sidelines in 2016.

Ten Yard Gain

1- It is time to worry about the New England Patriots. Of course they will still win their division and make the playoffs. Sure they will get Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman back for the playoffs, but it may be too little too late to save their Super Bowl dreams. Right now New England no longer holds a BYE week position. They have never made the Super Bowl when having to play Wild Card weekend.

2- Brock Osweiler did not flash in the Broncos win in San Diego Sunday, but he played well enough to make us continue to believe he is the man for the job moving forward. A decision will probably have to be made at this point next week between Manning and Osweiler, right now the decision seems obvious.

3- This is a never look back moment for Johnny Manziel in the final month of the season. I truthfully believe no matter how well he plays that the ship has already sailed on him in Cleveland. However, if his head is on straight and he is capable at the position it will be a very easy sell for Jerry Jones to make to the rest of the Cowboys staff, especially after what they endured at the position this year.

4-It took a Percy Harvin departure from the Seahawks offense last year to get the team steam rolling. It may be a Jimmy Graham departure this year that has the team clicking. The Seahawks looked like the Seahawks of old vs the Vikings and they suddenly are a danger to make another deep January run.

5-The Green Bay Packers were on the wrong side of history in two of the more memorable recent Hail Marys. The 2011 playoffs where a Hakeem Nicks end of 1st half catch toasted the 15-1 Packers, and the infamous “Fail Mary.” If any team deserved to get one of their own last Thursday night it was them.

6-Brandon Marshall complained post game that Cullen Jenkins trash talked stuff about Marshall’s wife and it enraged him. This was a chump move by Marshall who has trash talked and taunted with the best of them throughout his career. I’m sure he has been no saint when it comes to the war of words on the field, so why turn into a Chuck-E-Cheese type rat?

7-Rex Ryan has been a disaster as the head coach of the Bills, much like anyone should have been expected. However, he got his 1st “big win,” Sunday when he had his boys ready to stop the surging Texans. This is a huge month for Rex as he will get to face his former team the Jets plus three chump teams from the NFC East. Anything less than running the table should really be unacceptable.

8-The Raiders playoff hopes came to an emphatic end with their loss to the Chiefs. However, there is no reason not to pick the Raiders as a Wild Card team or dare I say division winner in 2016. The arrow is pointed up for the 1st time in over a decade for the Silver and Black and it is fun to see.

9-Antonio Brown won the award for Balls-iest touchdown celebration of the year. No pun intended.

10-I’m convinced more than ever that the Panthers won’t go 16-0. For the pressure they will have on a Super Bowl run it is actually in their best interest to slip up in the final month. The best bets to beat them are the Giants and Bucs.

Five Games to Chew On

5- Toilet Seat Kielbasa’s Game of the Week- Cowboys @ Packers: In a game most of the country will see in the late window on Fox, playoff implications will be at stake. The Cowboys are somehow alive for the NFC East and will know the fate of the Redskins and Eagles by the time this game kicks off. The Packers are looking to build off their comeback win Thursday night. The Cowboys pass rush vs a beat up packers offensive line will make this game very interesting and probably closer than we think.

4- Tony Lukes’ Cheesesteaks Game of the Week- Bills @ Eagles: This game will be awesome theater as the war of words Shady McCoy had thrown at Chip Kelly since his trade will finally be settled on the field. The Eagles no longer look or feel like a team ready to be pushed over and the Bills are playing an essential must win for their Wild Card hopes. Can Shady McCoy break the Eagles hearts the way he broke Eagles opponents hearts with big home run type plays Sunday?

3- Carolina Pulled Pork Sliders Game of the Week- Falcons @ Panthers: Atlanta is in free fall mode and now the team is even questioning the psyche of quarterback Matt Ryan. Their playoff hopes have nearly completely dissipated. Now they travel to Carolina to face the unbeaten Panthers. This is a game to watch because the pressure is now real and must watch to see whether Cam and the crew could get to 16-0. If the Falcons were to ever pull this upset, Atlanta’s 2015 fortunes would change in an instant.

2- Enchiladas Game of the Week- Patriots @ Texans: The Patriots offensive line is a total mess and the Patriots concerns are real after two straight losses. How can the line manage to hold up vs JJ Watt and the ferocious Texans defense? Houston is looking to bounce back after a disappointing loss in Buffalo. A loss for New England and it may be time to kiss the post season bye week away.

1- Skyline Chili Game of the Week- Steelers @ Bengals: It is a shame we don’t get this game in the late afternoon window or in primetime. The Steelers offense has been so fun to watch in recent weeks and now they get to go into Cincinnati to try and spoil the Bengals hopes for a BYE week. This game should be fun through the 4th quarter, and undoubtedly is the best matchup of Week 14.

My Picks

Thanks to Desean Jackson’s fumble and Dan Bailey’s leg I was back to my winning ways last week at 2-1. My season total is up to 23-17. This week I give you a 4 pack.

Steelers +3 at Bengals: The Bengals managed to win an ugly game16-10 in Pittsburgh in early November. The Steelers offense wasn’t firing the way it is now. The AFC Wild Card picture is tight as a drum and Big Ben and the boys need this game badly. The Bengals need to win to keep ahead for a BYE in the AFC. Give me the better Coach and the Better QB to win a game they need more in December. Bengals won’t cover, let alone win.

Bills -1 @ Eagles: Heading into Thanksgiving the Cowboys were the NFC East darlings. They were then trounced by the Panthers. Then everyone loved the Giants. They inevitably lost to Washington. Then the public fell in love with the Redskins, only to see them lose at home to Dallas. Now everyone’s NFC East flavor of the week is the Eagles. They follow suit with the garbage in their division and give this one up like the others. Shady McCoy may run 40 times for the win in this game.

Colts PK @ Jaguars: The Jaguars were looking like a team on the come a month or so ago. They have looked lost since. The Colts have played better with Matt Hasselbeck, despite their primetime loss last week. I don’t have to lay any points; I just need a win, however ugly it may look. Indy is the better team so I am taking them without hesitation in a game they need.

Giants -1 @ Dolphins: Unlike the other NFC East teams, the Giants will know exactly where they stand on Monday night. There is a realistic, and I think, likely chance they are playing for sole possession of 1st place vs the Dolphins. The Dolphins aren’t good enough to burn the Giants in another 4th quarter collapse. As good as Odell Beckham is, expect him to be even better as he will be highly motivated to outperform his best friend and former LSU teammate Jarvis Landry on National television.

Football Food of the Week

Buffalo Chicken Hot Pretzel Sandwiches. This may be as easy and as tasty a game day lunch I serve you all year. Go to your local grocer’s freezer section and buy frozen hot pretzels. Get chicken breasts and cut them into cutlet size.

It is up you whether you would like to make the chicken crispy, baked, or grilled. But after cooking the chicken toss each piece in some Frank’s Red Hot sauce. Cook the pretzels according to the box they came in. After they cool for approximately 3 minutes after being out of the oven, cut them in half, very gently so the pretzel doesn’t break apart, and put a piece of chicken in between the top and bottom of the now cut Pretzel. Essentially you are using the Pretzel as a bun or bread.

Feel free to add cheese as a melt to the chicken as well if that floats your boat. But serve these on a tray to your guests and put Blue Cheese out to dip in on the side. These will be a little more filling than your typical football finger food, but they are mighty delicious and serve as simple pub grub from the comfort of your home.

Thanks for reading and enjoy yet another Football weekend. Feel free to follow me on Twitter and Instagram @MrazCBS.

 

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