By Shaun Morash

Cold Open

Colin Kaepernick’s time to shine has come. I’ve seen some pretty hot takes this week that claim he should have been starting earlier than this but wasn’t due to punishments for his protests. Those could not be more baseless. Kaepernick wanted out of San Francisco, he smartly would not reduce his contract or he would have been granted his wish. Why would the 49ers hand the starting job out of the gates to a guy who made it pretty clear he did not want to be there?

He was obviously still banged up and mentally I would venture to guess he did not pick up Chip Kelly’s system as quickly as he probably should have if he was really focused on being the 49ers starting quarterback. By now, more than a month in to the season, the timing is right for Kaepernick and the 49ers. However, if he struggles the rest of the season regardless of wins or losses this may spell the end for Colin ever getting the chance again to start in this league.

Ten Yard Gain

1- For those few left clamoring for Tony Romo to be given his starting job back I have to ask what is going through your mind? Tony Romo is not the Tony Romo of 2014, he simply cannot move around like he used to, and frankly does not give his team the best chance to win. In the NFL there are no hall passes, winning keeps jobs, losing gets you fired. For Jason Garrett the answer is simple: Dak keeps you winning.

2- The Giants received perhaps the worst game played by a left tackle I have ever seen on Sunday Night when Ereck Flowers looked like he was not even trying. Eli manning has no trust in that line right now and this season has a chance of spiraling out of control because of that dynamic if they do not beat Baltimore Sunday.

3- The Super Bowl hangover for the loser is truly real. The effort the Panthes put forth on Monday night was pathetic. That is a team that seems like it has no heartbeat. Yes Cam Newton didn’t play, but regardless the defense didn’t do enough vs the Bucs to carry the team the way they would have a year ago. Frankly the Panthers are lucky the Bucs have a shaky kicker or this would have looked much worse.

4- The Atlanta Falcons earned the win of the week after they went into Denver and played their game offensively and persevered. Too many times teams with plenty of talent bow down to an opponent in their building and try to play “the other team’s style” of game. It rarely works. The Falcons did not try to do that and trusted themselves. That is a huge victory for a team suddenly running away with their division.

5-The wheels fell off the Carson Wentz wagon. His interception late made him look and feel like a rookie quarterback for the 1st time. This was a Philadelphia team remember that should have been extremely prepared and fresh coming off of a bye week, instead they were lethargic and allowed the Lions to stash points early in this game that would eventually be the difference.

6-Chargers kicker Josh Lambo was reportedly talked to by management for yucking it up with Sebastian Janikowski after a heart breaking San Diego loss. This strikes me as very hypocritical. Kickers are never looked at as equals and how often do we see receivers, defensive players, and others exchanging jerseys with opponents after bad losses? This is a b ad look by the Chargers, not Lambo.

7-The Houston Texans are not going to win the AFC South. I am planting that flag before Week 6, I have seen enough. Ironically this is a division they should probably walk all over to get to, but boy do they have issues in every phase of the game. I still feel strongly the Jaguars will find a way to get this South division, but now we cannot dismiss the Titans. If the Texans lose a division to this Titans team everyone’s seats should be as hot as chili out of a Wendy’s microwave.

8-Tom Brady returned with the kind of vengeance we all expected vs the Browns. The most scary part of that game however was that we now have idea of just how dangerous the Patriots two headed tight end attack will be with Brady. Gronk suddenly looked healthy and Martellus Bennett looked just as good, if not better than Aaron Hernandez in 2011.

9- The Eli Manning late interception in Week 3 saved the Redskins season. Now they have gone from life support to downright dangerous in the NFC. That is a team overcoming injuries, heavily in the secondary, and Kirk Cousins is quietly doing enough. Three straight wins for Washington proves once again that 0-2 isn’t the end all be all to an NFL season.

10-You could live with the Jets offense taking a step back on a down year from Ryan Fitzpatrick. What you cannot live with is that defense, one of the best in football a year ago, not just looking awful but looking inept. They had stud pass rusher Sheldon Richardson dropping back into coverage Sunday for no apparent reason. Revis diminishing doesn’t mean the entire defense needs to diminish, yet somehow it is.

Five Games to Chew On

5 Bowls of Gumbo Game of the Week: Panthers @ Saints: Bart Scott told DA this week that the Panthers were done. I tend to agree with him, but if they aren’t this will surely be their last stand. Cam Newton needs to be himself with his legs and physicality for the Panthers to be able to keep pace in the Super Dome where games resemble ping pong games. This could be an emotional lift for Carolina or their final burial place.

4 Crab Cakes Game of the Week: Eagles @ Redskins: Jordan Reed’s concussion this week is a huge storyline heading into this enormous NFC East matchup. If he cannot go and free up the offense on the outsides, the Eagles could have their way into forcing Kirk Cousins into a couple of costly turnovers. On the flip side Josh Norman will look to play head games with an Eagles receiving corps notorious for major drops. If the Eagles lose they will have officially come back to the pack and then some in this division.

3 Lobster Rolls Game of the Week: Bengals @ Patriots: The Tom Brady express has only made on stop, things can get going even more on their 2nd stop, and his 1st home game of the year. His use of this dynamic tight end duo could cause fits for the Bengals defense. On the flip side the Bengals really need to dig their heals in and find a way to either win, or play well enough to build momentum going forward, because this Bengals playoff streak could come to an end quickly in 2016.

2 Curd Burgers Game of the Week: Cowboys @ Packers: The Packers offense still seems out of sync, even in a victory last Sunday Night. Their defense though is the best in the business against the run. That stat will be tested heavily vs the best offensive line and maybe the best run game in football. It is strength vs strength. If the Packers offensive line dominates like it did a week ago Rodgers and company may be able to take advantage of a masked Cowboys secondary.

1 Sushi platter Game of the Week: Falcons @ Seahawks: After a week off Russell Wilson’s leg injuries should be a minor issue, even if it were a major issue he was able to toy with the Jets defense just two weeks ago. This is a brutal spot for the Falcons on the road, but then again so was last week in Denver. If the Falcons win this game the talk will shift from surprise to Super Bowl.

My Picks

I had my best week of the year last week, and it was still mediocre. I went 2-2, making my season record 4-11-1. Here is this week’s 3 pack:

Jaguars +2.5 @ Bears: The Bears had a spirited effort in a road loss to Indianapolis last week, but their problems are plentiful and show up on a weekly basis. So much so that they should only be favored in games they would play the Browns in. The Jaguars are talented, and righted their ship 2 weeks ago in London with a win. Now with a bye week to rest and prepare they should come out roaring. The AFC South could and should be theirs starting with a comfortable underdog win this week.

Patriots -9 vs Bengals: I’m riding this Patriots wagon right now until the wheels fall off, which I don’t think they will. This number from Vegas is screaming for people to pick the Bengals, with the assumption 9 points is too much for 2 good teams facing each other. These Bengals are different though, they got man handled at the point of attack vs Dallas and there is no doubt Bill Belichick has studied that tape as much as any coach could possibly do. Unfortunately for Cincinnati this is another road blow out in the making.

Lions -3 vs Rams: This is a classic “who cares?” kind of match up. When combing over lines I won’t lie to you, this game just screamed to me. Seeing the Lions win 2 straight is hard, but the Rams loss to the Bills was a sign of things to come for Jeff Fisher. The Rams are about to rattle off a long losing streak beginning in Detroit Sunday.

Football Food of The Week

Bacon D’Oeuvres. A shout out to my original boss at Subway many years ago Kim Rico, who has been making these treats for 15 years or more. If you love bacon, and frankly who doesn’t, you will love these. You need a whole loaf of white bread, 2 packages of cream cheese, a package of bacon, and tooth picks   On a baking sheet evenly place pieces of white bread throughout. Spread a layer of cream cheese on every piece of bread and place another piece of bread on top of the cream cheese, making sandwiches so to speak.

Cut the sandwiches into small pieces, approximately 16 per piece. Then wrap cut pieces of bacon over each small piece of bread and pierce a toothpick through them to hold together. Bake them on 350 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 10 minutes, remove and serve.

The bread toasts while sopping up delicious bacon juice and the cream cheese cooks with the juice infused as well. These little guys will be crunchy with just enough gooey to make the hair stand on the back of your neck.

Thanks for reading and enjoy a great October Weekend. You can follow me on Twitter @MrazCBS



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