By Shaun Morash
Carson Wentz is all the rage in the NFL after three weeks. A rookie quarterback and his team many picked for last in their division are sitting at 3-0 after a blowout over a Super Bowl favorite. The truth about these Eagles though is that their success has had very little to do with their much hyped quarterback.
The Eagles defense, led by Fletcher Cox and Malcom Jenkins has been tremendous. An offense featuring Antonio Brown should never be held to just a field goal and they did just that. While you talk up Carson Wentz and his underneath passes at the water cooler, make sure to mention the Eagles defense because without it Carson Wentz may be winless.
Ten Yard Gain
1-I don’t get the hate for Odell Beckham Jr. this week. He was the best player (by far) on Sunday vs the Redskins and did not take a single penalty in the game. He shows animation and slams stuff on the sideline after an emotional drive (never once yelling at his teammates,) and somehow we think he is a distraction?
2-Survivor pools across America gasped as the Browns missed a potential game winning field goal at the end of the 4th quarter. The Dolphins would survive in overtime but even after a win Adam Gase is frustrated with his team. He has threatened to bench anyone who doesn’t step their game up. That is a hard stance a young coach better take if he is making the threat, or he will forever have the reputation that he can be walked all over.
3- Tom Brady’s naked pictures on his Italy vacation were very funny and in reality who really cares? However, the idea that he is in season taking that kind of trip while on vacation would rub me the wrong way as a Patriots fan. He isn’t getting any younger and brushing off work outside the facility to fly to Europe seems like his head isn’t where it should be. Then again a microwave could quarterback the Pats and win so maybe it doesn’t matter.
4-The 4th interception Ryan Fitzpatrick threw should have been the time Geno Smith was inserted into the Jets embarrassing loss in Kansas City. Instead Fitz was allowed to stay in and throw two more interceptions. That’s right, he threw double the amount of interceptions than points the Jets scored. Further proving it was a mistake for the Jets to cave in and spend good sized dollars on Fitzpatrick.
5-The Seahawks awoke in a big way with their blowout win over the 49ers Sunday. The game’s biggest storyline was the injury to Russell Wilson. That will be something to monitor this entire season as without his legs Wilson simply is not a big time quarterback in this league. A positive for Seattle? Jimmy Graham looked like Jimmy Graham again, I’m sure that was a welcome sight for the 12th man.
6-The Cowboys playing coy about Dez Bryant’s injury makes little sense. A hairline fracture of a knee cap is a fracture in the knee cap, big, small, medium it doesn’t matter. Dez Bryant’s leg injuries every season are an enormous concern. Dez relies on his legs for everything, and rushing him back from this will do the Cowboys and his future no good.
7-Our 1st London game of the season has even more meaning after the news JJ Watt will be an out an extended period of time. The NFC South is the worst division in football this year and the winner could legitimately be 8-8, meaning the Jaguars are not out of this. They need to beat the Colt sin London though, because losing these division games will sink them if the season isn’t already sunk.
8- Dirk Koetter believes he has had Jameis Winston throw the ball too much the 1st two weeks and the team needs to get back to running the ball more. This is probably a smart move but sends off alarms about their franchise talent none the less. Winston’s game is his arm and he has two excellent receivers to sling it too. If he has regressed that much that the team is panicking into running it more I would be nervous as a Bucs fan.
9- Perhaps the lowest point of Jay Cutler’s career has not even happened yet. This is because John Fox hinted this week that Cutler’s job as the Bears starting quarterback won’t necessarily be handed right back to him. Perhaps this is a tactic used to motivate Hoyer this weekend, or perhaps Cutler has become this bad at his position that he is actually in a controversy with journeyman Brian Hoyer.
10- Hats off to the Raiders last week. They won Week 1 by scoring a ton of points then lost their home opener in Week 2 by giving up more. Week 3 came last week in a game a playoff team has to win (on the road in Tennessee) and they did so by winning ugly, 17-10/ No need for Derek Carr fireworks to bail them out and that may be a positive sign for the franchise that they can win any game they play in if the style shifts week to week.
Five Games To Chew On
5) New York Bagels Game of the Week: Seahawks @ Jets: Russell Wilson’s injury is a huge question mark hanging over this game. The Seahawks offense is finally feeling good about itself after looking dreary through the 1st two weeks, but a hampered quarterback vs the Jets pass rush could send them right back into a ditch. The Jets need this win perhaps more than any team this weekend with back to back road games in Pittsburgh and Arizona awaiting them. Expect an ugly old school defensive slug fest that should be tight late.
4) Chicken Quesadillas Game of the Week: Rams @ Cardinals: The 1st place Rams, yes those 1st place Rams roll into Arizona feeling good but must be ready for the hornets’ nest that awaits them. Bruce Arians will have the Birds ready as they are on the ropes after an embarrassing performance in Buffalo. This is a monster swing game in the NFC West Standings as a Rams win would mean a two game lead for LA over the reigning division champs. However a Cardinals win and the Rams will be who we thought they were.
3)Chicken and Waffles Game of the Week: Panthers @ Falcons: Carolina’s Super Bowl hangover feels real, especially after Cam Newton was sacked 8 times by the new Purple People Eaters. This could be a season we did not see coming for the Panthers, an 8-8 type of campaign. A loss to the suddenly surging Falcons would reiterate that and push Carolina to two games back in the NFC South after a quarter of the season.
2) Fry Breads Game of the Week: Giants @ Vikings: Are the Vikings the ’85 Bears? Their fans certainly believe that after three weeks. In comes Eli Manning, who seems to melt into a turnover machine whenever he sees purple. The Giants have the potential to right all the wrongs from a week ago and tie the Vikings in the NFC hierarchy with a record of 3-1, this game may be on Odell Beckham Jr. to shake off his critics and find the end zone multiple times for the 1st time all season.
1) Pierogi Game of the Week: Chiefs @ Steelers: NBC has hit a homerun with their Sunday Night matchup. This screams old school football and a potential playoff rematch may await us down the road. The Chiefs will not get the benefit of 6 interceptions from Ben Roethlisberger this week, in fact expect the opposite as Le’Veon Bell returns from suspension to run, run, and run some more. Antonio brown shines the brightest when the lights are on in primetime, but don’t think for a second that Marcus Peters isn’t looking to make himself a name brand this weekend.
Hey look, another losing weekend picking games. 1-2 last week bringing my season record to 2-6-1 on the season. Here’s what we have for Week 4:
Carolina -3 at Falcons- The Panthers do look like they are in the midst of a Super Bowl hangover, but the best cure for a hangover is often getting knocked down. That’s exactly what happened to the Panthers as Cam Newton was rattled by the Vikings defense. Their guts and pride were tested and not are primed to pick themselves up off the mat. They get the Falcons, on a short week, who may be feeling a little too high after 2 straight wins. The idea of this Falcons roster ever having a 3 game win streak this year makes me laugh, and makes me lean on Carolina hard here even on the road. Winning this game by 4-7 points should not be a difficult ask out of the Cats.
Bucs +3 vs Broncos- Don’t re-read that, yes I am taking the self-imploding Jameis Winston vs the Super Bowl champs who feats off turnovers. Vegas knows, and they often play tricks on us with lines to make us jump all over one team. I usually am the sucker that jumps all over said team. However, I refused to be fooled this week. This is my upset special of the week. The Broncos are 3-0 and could fall into the trap of playing a lesser opponent all the way across the country and see themselves tight late. I don’t think Siemian makes the plays he did in Cincinnati, give me the Bucs and the points.
Titans +5 at Texans- The Texans looked like a team that mailed it in in New England and now will be without their best player for the foreseeable future in JJ Watt. The Titans may not be very good but they have played up to opponents thus far this season. Should the Texans win this game? Sure, but 5 points is an enormous line for two teams that probably finish within 2 games of each other in the standing when all is said and done. Demarco Murray could have a big game on the ground here and don’t be surprised if Marcus Mariota outplays Brock Osweiler.
Football Food of the Week
Bacon Wrapped Kielbasa. Anything you throw bacon into a food equation the answer is always yes. This is pig and pig with the sweet taste of a brown maple glaze. Pretty simply purchase Kielbasa links and slice them into thick round slices. Bake them until they are near done and then pull them out, wrap with raw bacon, and glaze them over with maple syrup and chili powder. Stick a tooth pick thru to keep the bacon attached on each piece and bake them some more.
The reason for this method is so that the bacon does not burn as it will cook a heck of a lot quicker than the kielbasa does.
Regardless, this taste of pig and pig and maple and chili powder has me blushing as I type this. If these aren’t a hit at your football party this weekend then it is time to find new friends. Here is the recipe (note: I am not a mustard fan so I omit that from the recipe.) http://stressbaking.com/2013/01/bacon-wrapped-kielbasa.html/
Enjoy the weekend, you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @MrazCBS