Up The Gut: Week 8

By Shaun Morash

Cold Open

Ties should not exist in football. We were robbed of a winner on Sunday Night, just as we seem to be at least once a football season when games remained tied after overtime. Come December when we are evaluating playoff scenarios, nothing sticks out like a sore thumb and convolutes the picture more than two teams with that tie at the end of their record.

Russell Wilson suggested the winner of a coin toss after overtime have one chance at a 53 yard field goal, if he makes it that team wins, if he misses that team loses. That is utterly ridiculous.

Why can’t we play a double overtime with college rules? Each team gets a possession from the 25 yard line and if you score a touchdown, you have to go for two points. For those that claim injury risks my argument back would be this would only ever happen for two teams once an entire season. The other 28 would never have this scenario come into play. We would have a winner and the loser could never argue this cost them a win as they would have had 75 minutes and an extra possession to win a game then.

One way or another, the NFL committee needs to have this discussion so we stop having these awful ties that leave everyone unsatisfied and feeling like they just wasted three hours of their life watching.

Ten Yard Gain

1-Allen Robinson bashing Jaguars fans by saying they have a better home field advantage in London is officially the 1st sign the Gus Bradley Jaguars era is unraveling rapidly. If there were ever a year for Jacksonville to win a bad AFC South this would be it. When a team that talented loses enough games that they start bashing fans booing, that is a sign to me the coach has no control of his team and their emotions.

2-Reports surfaced this week that Jared Goff will finally get an increase in 1st team reps in practice. That doesn’t change Jeff Fisher’s odd postgame reaction in which he essentially died on the sword of Case Keenum after he threw 4 interceptions. Fisher actually named names, two of his receivers, as to who is more at fault than Keenum. How can you love a mediocre quarterback that much that you call out others besides him by name publicly?

3-Last week I finally caved in and gave the Vikings love after calling them frauds all season. The Vikings then decided to show they were the frauds I had believed they were all season long. Now they were going to have a bump or two this season even if they were a great team, but the loss to Philadelphia revealed some real warts. The offensive line, run game, and more importantly starting quarterback are all major weaknesses and weaknesses that will prohibit them from getting to a Super Bowl, or even win one playoff game.

4-Ryan Fitzpatrick’s ego is something else. A career journeyman quarterback that has never made the playoffs and at times has been an interception machine should never call out his owner, general manager, and coach for not believing in him. A true leader at quarterback does what Joe Flacco did this week and shoulder blame on himself, not dig his feet in and act like he wasn’t playing poorly.

5-Colim Kaepernick’s career is shot. Two straight starts of him looking like he isn’t even a capable 3rd string quarterback should officially close the chapter on any team believing in him. He had an entire preseason and 5 weeks of the regular season to prepare for another shot at being a starter, in a system that plays to his strengths, and he has failed miserably. When he inevitably gets benched or cut I don’t want to hear his protests are the reason, the reason is plain and simple, he stinks.

6- The Matt Stafford MVP talk this week was a bit much but it doesn’t mean he and the Lions deserve a ton of credit for making themselves one of the true pleasant 1st half surprises in the NFL. This is a team that is suddenly very dangerous in their building and should be in play for a post season berth in December. All of this comes after the sudden retirement of Calvin Johnson. Hey, maybe the Lions are better off without “Megatron” after all?

7-Bill O’Brien being a quarterback guru is false. He has now had a couple of years to turn late draft riser Tom Savage into a capable quarterback and hasn’t. He has also managed to blatantly let Brock Osweiler, who could absolutely play for Gary Kubiak, regress to the point he looks like Brandon Weeden. The awful AFC South may allow Bill O’Brien to keep his job, but the truth is he is a bad head coach and this is a bad football team with a quarterback THEY have made bad.

8- Speaking of the AFC South there was no worse loss for a team as far as their season goes than the one the Titans suffered Sunday. Just when people believed they could actually establish themselves in the South to make a playoff push they lay an egg at home and blow a game they should have won to a division rival. The Titans inability to close and win games in their own building for multiple years now must have their fans sick. The arrow should be pointed up with Marcus Mariota, but under Mike Mularkey it feels like he Titans will be stuck in neutral.

9- Farewell to Arian Foster who had one of the most frustrating careers we have ever seen in the NFL. He burst onto the scene and looked like he could become the next Emmitt Smith. In the end he ended up being a great back for spurts but one that could just never ever stay healthy. In the last 15 years or so that Fantasy Football has become popular; there may not have been a more frustrating player to have on your team than Foster.

10- DA started the show with this take on Monday and it should be reiterated. The Patriots clinched the top seed in the AFC on Sunday. The chance for teams in that conference came and went with Brady’s suspension, but the Pats didn’t blink. The next chance would have been if the Steelers stayed healthy, but of course Big Ben got banged up just in time for that matchup. The road to the Super Bowl once again goes through Foxboro. It isn’t even Halloween yet and we can declare it.

Five Games To Chew On

5 Hardee’s Burgers Game of the Week: Cardinals @ Panthers: This was a game Fox actually elected to flex downward as it moved from America’s Game of the Week to the early slates. With good reason too as the Panthers have managed to win just one game and the post Josh Norman era of their secondary has looked horrendous. The Cardinals come into this one limping as well after their unfathomable home tie to the Seahawks. The Panthers believe they can get back in the race in the AFC South but that is only plausible with a win here. A loss for Arizona and they suddenly will look like an unlikely candidate for a Wild Card.

4 Orders of Fish and Chips Game of the Week: Redskins @ Bengals: These early morning London games went from an intriguing idea to a snooze fest. However, I would argue this may be pound for pound the best matchup we have ever seen for a London Game. Both teams are playoff contenders, but both could be in serious trouble with losses. The Redskins need Josh Norman healthy to contain AJ Green, but at the time of me writing this that may be a long shot.

3 Orders of Shrimp Cocktail Game of the Week: Chiefs @ Colts: Things could be ugly for the Colts as their weaknesses along the offensive line could be exposed vs the Chiefs pass rush. Kansas City though allowed New Orleans back in a game they controlled all afternoon last Sunday, a Saints team that in many ways mirrors this Colts team. This is a potential Wild Card weekend matchup so worth book marking this game as we may need to look back come January.

2 Chicken and Waffles Game of the Week: Packers @ Falcons: For all the good the Falcons have built up this year they could be staring at a very average 4-4 record with a loss Sunday. The Packers come into this game off of extended rest but still with major question marks at running back. The Green Bay offense really wasn’t back in sync vs Chicago as Aaron Rodgers essentially ran a dink and dunk offense. The x-factor in this game will be the Packers enormous injuries in their secondary as they try and control Julio Jones.

1 Texas Steak Game of the Week: Eagles @ Cowboys: This is easily the “sexiest” primetime matchup to date for the NFL. The Eagles have been a surprise at 4-2, with two of their wins coming at home vs the Steelers and Vikings. They do appear to be a different team on the road though and their strength has been their front 7. Ironically Dallas strength is their offensive line, so to be cliché this game likely will be won in the trenches. Don’t think Dak Prescott also isn’t playing this game without a chip on his shoulder after Carson Wentz was the golden boy of his quarterback draft class.

My Picks

Hey another winning week for me as I went 2-1, the only loss coming because of the fraudulent Vikings. I am now 8-12-1 on the year.

Carolina -2.5 vs Cardinals: The Panthers season may be over but they still have to have some good football left in them, especially at home, especially coming off of a bye week. I expect the Panthers offense to move the ball on an Arizona team who may be a little sleepy early for a 1pm eastern start. The Cardinals played in an emotional division game and came away with more questions about themselves than answers. The Panthers are sitting and waiting to take out their frustrations. A win by a field goal covers you, making this a safe bet.

Patriots -6.5 at Bills: Shady McCoy’s injury combined with the fact the Patriots chances of getting swept by Buffalo this year are slim to none make me run to the betting counter with this game. The Patriots look like a machine ready to roll over whomever is in their way and Rob Ryan will have no answer for Tom Brady here. All you need to win by is a touchdown, but this spread could be 13 and I’d take the Patriots.

Raiders + 1 at Bucs: The Raiders road warrior mentality has won me multiple games this year and I plan on the same happening here. The Bucs came off their bye and got on track last week, but asking them to win two games in a row at this juncture seems like a tough ask. The Raiders are damn good, and the Bucs defense should have their hands full slowing down Cooper and Crabtree. I am getting a point here as well in what is essentially a pick’em. Give the Raiders for what has me feeling like will be a 3-0 week.

Football Food of the Week

Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Garlic Bread. I must give credit to “Tasty” on Facebook for making me drool on my computer when I saw this this week. You will need chicken breast, mozzarella, sauce, and a baguette or Italian bread to make this possible.

Cook up chicken strip sized breaded cutlets and then roll those after they are cooked in sliced mozzarella. Cut out the center of the bread and stuff the chicken wrapped in cheese into the bread. Cut the bread into finger food sized servings after it is stuffed. Glaze the bread on a baking sheet in melted butter, garlic, parsley, and parmesan. Have the tomato or marinara sauce of your choosing to dip these bad boys into.

Bake this for a few minutes and then serve. This will have the crispiness of chicken cutlets, gooeyness of cooked mozzarella, and the soaking tastiness of a melted butter garlic sauce over toasted bread.

It is simply unfathomable for your toes not to curl underneath your feet when biting into these. Check out a video of how to make these here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2leVinuQeo

Thanks for reading and enjoy the last weekend in October! You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @MrazCBS

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