By Shaun Morash
The Oakland Raiders official thrust themselves back onto the national spotlight and into the ranks of the NFL’s elite with a resounding primetime win over the Broncos on Sunday Night. Many non-Raiders fans have seen bits and pieces of Oakland, playing on the Redzone, or with their Sunday Ticket, but the performance they put up with every football fan watching really turned some heads.
Offensively we know how good Derek Carr is and he spreads the field like a ten year veteran. Their offensive line though appears like it is Dallas Cowboys light, pushing piles and opening up holes.
Their defense, which had been much maligned for most of the season, showed up and came to play. Their biggest competitor in the AFC will be the Patriots, and if Khalil Mack can be the edge rusher we have seen Von Miller, Justin Tuck, and others in the past vs Tom Brady the damn Raiders just may be the team that takes down the evil empire in January.
Ten Yard Gain
1- The Giants entered last Sunday an astonishing 3-13 in their last 16 meetings with the rival Eagles. They leave Sunday 1-0 vs the Eagles under Ben McAdoo. McAdoo has had ups and downs in his 1st season as a head coach, but his willingness to adapt and play young players while diminishing the roles of some of Tom Coughlin’s favorites is a bold move that could keep propelling the G-Men in the 2nd half.
2-Throughout September and October the Vikings were referred by their fans as the replica of the 1985 Chicago Bears. Well for a 3rd straight week the 85 Bears looked like the 2016 Browns. The team being 5-3 is not a shock, but their route to 5-3 is. This is a team that has the biggest “must-win” kind of game coming up this weekend.
3-Muhammad Wilkerson missing his own birthday cake is an insult to me and all of the other members of Chubbonation. But in all seriousness, the Jets giving him the money and contract he earned and he just becomes a dog and misses meetings? The Jets franchise always seems to take two steps forward, and three gigantic steps backward.
4- The 4-4 Pittsburgh Steelers doesn’t sound right, especially after the whooping they put on the now 6-2 Chiefs over a month ago. The most alarming part of Sunday’s loss is it really had nothing to do with a hobbled Ben Roethlisberger, it was the amount of big plays on special teams and defense that they gave up. As it stands right now the Steelers are not even in a playoff position, and their only route maybe to win this division. Buckle up Pittsburgh.
5- Tony Romo participated fully in practice for the 1st time since the preseason this week. That doesn’t seem to be changing the Cowboys thought process. This is in fact Dak Prescott’s team and it seems even the Cowboys won’t find a way to screw this up. Barring a Prescott injury, the next time we see Romo play quarterback will be in a Jets, Broncos, or Bears uniform.
6- Jeff Fisher is still digging his heels in and sticking with Case Keenum, once again going out of his way to say Keenum is not a reason they are losing. Well Jeff, he is certainly a reason you are not winning. At this point if Jared Goff isn’t starting by Thanksgiving weekend we can only be led to believe this was a pick that was botched and/or the Rams need a coaching staff change because they clearly cannot get the most out of the talent he has.
7- All week talking heads have debated who should be the MVP with arguments for both Derek Carr and Tom Brady. I think both are pretty debatable options, but if the season ended today how does the MVP not go to Matt Ryan? Ryan once again put on an aerial assault on Thursday night torching the Bucs defense. I would argue no quarterback in 2016 has had a better rapport with their receiving corps than Ryan and boy is it showing.
8- Aaron Rodgers proclaiming that the Packers had “no juice” on the sidelines is the biggest indictments against Mike McCarthy that we have ever heard come out of the Packers quarterback. It is possible for great coaches, Super Bowl winning coaches, to run their course with an organization and have a message fall on deaf ear. If The Packers can’t get excited to play a home game vs a young stud quarterback who else can you blame but the head coach?
9- Melvin Gordon tallied his league leading 11th touchdown on Sunday vs Tennessee and is part of a small group of backs bucking the trend that drafting a running back in the 1st round in not smart business. We have seen Todd Gurley fall off a cliff this season. But Zeke Elliot has been an absolute monster. This trend bodes well for guys like Fournette, Chubb, and Cook entering the 2017 Draft.
10- One part of Sunday Night Football that should be mentioned is how fun Marquette King is. I don’t care what position you play in football, I am not in the old man club of hand the ball to the ref. I find celebrating, when winning or games are close, very entertaining. Marquette King doing dances after he pins opponents inside the 20 represents everything I currently love about the game.
Five Games to Chew On
5 Krispy Kreme Donuts Game of the Week: Chiefs @ Panthers: The Panthers seemed dead in the water a few weeks ago, but their recent two game winning streak combined with the final wild card in the NFC currently sitting with just 4 wins has the Panthers actually alive for a 2nd half of the season playoff run. A win over the 6-2 Chiefs will start to make other people catch on to this belief. The Chiefs come in having no room for error in what has become the most fascinating division race in quite some time in the NFC. Alex Smith does not have the arm to challenge the Panthers suspect secondary vertically.
4 Geno’s Cheesesteaks Game of the Week: Falcons @ Eagles: The Eagles have lost 4 of their last 5 games dropping them to 4-4 and in the very muddled NFC Wild Card pack. Their division chances have all but vanished now that they are three games back of the Cowboys and 0-3 within division play. The Falcons come in off an extended break having played last Thursday Night. The Eagles secondary was torched in many ways by the Giants last week; leaving us asking just how badly will Matt Ryan and Julio Jones torch it this week? However, the Eagles have had two huge home wins vs the Steelers and Vikings this year making this game all that much more interesting.
3 Half-Smoke’s Game of the Week: Vikings @ Redskins: The last time we saw the Redskins they were tied in London with the Bengals and having a PR director push a German TV reporter away. They need a monster 2nd half of the season, coming out of the bye, to either catch Dallas for the division, or to fortify themselves as a wild card. They get the Vikings, who have lost 3 in a row, coming into FedEx field. The loser of this game will be in utter panic mode, while the winner will be able to breathe a sigh of relief and move onto Week 11 holding a playoff position.
2 Bowls of Clam Chowder Game of the Week: Seahawks @ Patriots: A fantastic Sunday Night Football matchup in Foxboro this weekend, and a rematch of one of the greatest Super Bowl’s ever. The Seahawks offensive line has been putrid, but a bad offensive line’s best friend can be a tight end who catches balls on quick released. Russell Wilson may have found that guy in Jimmy Graham, who finally looked like the old Jimmy Graham again on Monday Night, For Seattle to win this game though the key may be slowing down possibly the greatest tight end to ever play in Rob Gronkowski.
1 Jumbo and Cheese Game of the Week: Cowboys @ Steelers: This is what old school football is all about. If this game in the late window on Fox doesn’t excite the football watching nation nothing will. The Steelers need this game badly and the Cowboys are due for a loss, but Dak Prescott won’t be so quick to hand this game over to the Steelers. With Tony Romo now practicing fully Dak is facing the most pressure he has faced to date in his rookie year. If Pittsburgh can’t slow down the run game, this could be Dak’s coming out party with his arm strength with a lot of eyes watching.
I went back to my losing ways with a 0-2-1 week last weekend. My record is now 11-14-2.
Chargers -4 vs Dolphins: The Dolphins are suddenly resurgent behind the run game of Jay Ajayi. This is a bad matchup for them to walk into with that being their strength. Just a week ago the Chargers saw a similar running attack from Demarco Murray and were able to outlast, and score more points against arguably a better defense than that of the Dolphins. I don’t think Miami will make enough stops here, unless Suh becomes Von Miller, and San Diego should win this game by a touchdown and cover.
Cardinals -13.5 vs 49’ers: Bruce Arians is 1-1 ATS as Cardinals Head Coach coming off of the Bye week, there for there is little to go on trend wise off of bye’s like Arizona is doing this week. It has been a tough week in San Francisco as Chip Kelly continues to answer questions about whether or not he will go back to coach in college and Colin Kaepernick had to answer questions about why he didn’t vote. While all of that negativity was swirling, the Cardinals were simmering and steaming after their loss two weeks ago to the Panthers. If the Cardinals are going to have a season then they will in fact blow away the inferior 49ers at home Sunday. This could be a mauling for the ages.
Vikings +2.5 at Redskins: I have mocked and mocked and then mocked some more the Vikings all season, going as far as to call them frauds. I still believe they are that, however, this is strictly a gut pick. I think the Vikings offense will struggle again in this game, but I think we see the Vikings defense of the 1st couple of weeks generating scores, especially off of the arm of Kirk Cousins. I have a suspicion this game is the game that will end with the closest score, so give me the points here and what I think will be a Vikings out right win.
Football Food of the Week
Hot Pizza Dip. As noted earlier this season I love going back to the well on various dips. Let’s face it, they are probably the best thing for game watching with multiple people. With nervous hands as your team is losing, your paw flutters to the chip bowl like Jaws to the boat in Amity Harbor. Hot Pizza Dip will have all of your friends leaving your house talking about it.
If you love the melted taste of mozzarella, cheddar, tomato sauce, garlic powder, and any other pizza topping you love then you will thoroughly enjoy this. The best part though is if you are not a fan of chips, you can also supplement the chips with breadsticks for this dip if you choose.
I have attached the amazing recipe here: http://www.food.com/recipe/hot-pizza-dip-2687
Thank you all for reading, enjoy Week 10! You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @MrazCBS