Up The Gut: Week 16

By Shaun Morash

Cold Open

The Jaguars abruptly ended their trip on the “Gus Bus” on Sunday after another heartbreaking loss by the Jaguars in a game they had no business surrendering. On Monday Dave Caldwell spoke openly about Tom Coughlin and how they will talk with him.

Usually general managers and team officials involved in a coaching search do not reveal names or even answer questions about certain names in their 1st meetings with the press following a coaching search. However, Caldwell was not shy when asked about Coughlin.

While I understand the interest in Coughlin, he led the Jaguars to their only success, he is a coach who can restore order, I must caution just how bad a hire this would end up being in Jacksonville. At 70 years old he obviously is not in for the long haul, and to be honest his last two seasons with the Giants showed just how much Coughlin had fallen in decision making. The Giants are 10-4 this season and would easily have three less wins had Coughlin still been the coach, based on bold moves he was scared to make in game.

The Jaguars have plenty of talent to turn around this situation quickly, but Coughlin would only further derail it, or at best keep it in neutral.

Ten Yard Gain

1- Dak Prescott scoffed at the critics and delivered one phenomenal performance vs a red hot defense on Sunday Night. If I am Prescott I would not forget the adversity he has had to deal with because of his own owner and team president. Brock Osweiler felt slighted by the Broncos and chose to leave for Houston. In 3 years Dak Prescott just may have this in the back of his head, and should have what has happened in the back of his head, when his contract is up.

2-The Broncos locker room is officially divided after tensions boiled over between the offense and defense following the team’s potential season costing loss vs the Patriots. John Elway gambled on his quarterback situation and in many ways broke even. However, if the defense is this upset now, will they be patient next year as Paxton Lynch develops? Or does a panic move for Tony Romo now have to be made to save the locker room next season?

3- The Jets have become dogs and quit on Todd Bowles. Perhaps more importantly, in my eyes, they have quit on their rookie quarterback Bryce Petty. Petty’s injury after suffering a sandwich licking from both Suh and Wake Saturday night came after his offensive line essentially stood up and let the Dolphins in. That stunt could not be more unprofessional. The lack of leadership Brandon Marshall, Revis, and Fitzpatrick have in that locker room is now apparent. A major house cleaning is in order for this franchise.

4- With the Eagles all but eliminated on Sunday Doug Pederson elected to “go for 2” and the win in the final seconds in Baltimore. They failed; they lost, and left me wondering what the heck Pederson was doing. If this was the Browns dying for their 1st win I’d get it. However, this is a team with a young rookie franchise quarterback who could learn from another overtime experience way more than going for 2 and a gamble in a spot in which you would never go for 2 if the playoffs were on the line. Doug Pederson’s decision making this season would scare me as an Eagles fan moving forward.

5-Speaking of Eagles coaches Andy Reid was up to his old tricks on Sunday as the man somehow continues to push all of the wrong buttons in a big spot. On Sunday he elected to call a timeout to “ice” Ryan Succop on his game winning field goal try. Succop missed as the time out came in. Given another chance Succop drilled the winner, and drilled the Chiefs out of the division lead. Proving once again just how stupid icing the kicker is.

6- Associate producer of The Doug Gottlieb Show Stu Kovacs is a huge Raiders fan. So huge that we learned in the newsroom this week that he was 11 years old the last time the Raiders made the playoffs. Meaning Stu has gone through Junior High School, High School, learning how to drive, college, interning, eventually getting a full time career all in a span in which the Raiders NEVER made the playoffs. Congrats on clinching Raiders fans, that is long awaited and well deserved.

7- The Packers escaped frigid Chicago with yet another big time win thanks to a clutch performance by Aaron Rodgers. Momentum is a real thing, the Packers have it, and it is hard to see them falling short of winning the NFC North as it stands right now. However, that defense once again showed its warts as they allowed the Bears back in that game and almost to overtime. The Packers should surge into the playoffs, but their surge will fall short of a Super Bowl thanks to the ugly defense.

8- The Vikings just 9 weeks ago were compared to the ’85 Bears. Jon Gruden was wearing “Purple Reign” t shirts on TV in support of that defense. That defense looked like the 2015 Giants or Saints in Sunday and all but ended the Vikings chances at the playoffs. 2-7 in their last 9 games, the ’85 Bears ever have a run like that?

9- The DA Show favorite John McClain Tweeted on Sunday Night that Tom Savage was ready for his chance to start and shine as he is now in his 3rd year in the system. While that all sounds fine and dandy I must ask why on earth the Texans would overpay Brock Osweiler, a guy Bill O’Brien never sat down to talk with, if they felt Tom Savage would be ready at some point this season? The Texans quarterback problem is not solved by one 2nd half vs the Jaguars by Savage. This offseason will be a head scratching one at that position for Houston.

10- Ezekiel Elliot was not fined for jumping into the Salvation Army Bucket Sunday Night. I find this ridiculous. Not because the NFL should fine a guy who actually supported a good cause, but because they are hypocritical. If this was Odell Beckham Jr, or even Cam Newton, they would totally be fined and be called selfish by fans and media alike. The answer to this dilemma on Sunday Night was simple for the NFL and they still botched it. There should have been a fine, with ALL OF the money going to the Salvation Army.

Five Games to Chew On

5 Orders of Baked Clams Game of the Week: Chargers @ Browns: A game with the winless Browns probably should not qualify as one of the games of the week, but this game will have the feel of a Super Bowl, for Cleveland. With the Steelers on tap next week this is Cleveland’s last stand to avoid being winless. The Chargers will fly across the country to play an early kickoff in the freezing cold on Christmas Eve. If there was ever a game ripe for the picking for the Dawg Pound it is this one.

4 Orders of Calamari Game of the Week: Vikings @ Packers: The Packers can actually be eliminated from winning the NFC North this week if they slip up vs the Vikings and the Lions beat the Cowboys. Every game is a playoff game for the Packers and they lost in Week 2 to what was a very different Vikings team. Minnesota is now all but eliminated but looking to still finish the season with a winning record. Vikings-Packers is always a fun rivalry, especially with the playoffs on the line.

3 Leftover Sandwiches Game of the Week: Lions @ Cowboys: Monday Night Football will have serious meaning for the Lions, who in many ways may feel like they are at home as they will play back in doors, where they have shined. If the Giants win in Philadelphia Thursday Night the Cowboys will be playing to ensure Week 17 in meaningless. This game will feature three MVP candidates and two offenses who were both recently shut down by the Giants. A playoff atmosphere for the Monday Night finale is on tap.

2 Cannoli’s Game of the Week: Broncos @ Chiefs: The Broncos last stand will take place Sunday Night in Kansas City vs a Chiefs team who has plenty to play for after blowing last week’s game vs the Titans. On Thanksgiving weekend these two teams played a Sunday Night game that many could call the game of the year in the NFL. Expect plenty of the same on Christmas Night, and what will be a perfect spot to unwind after 48 hours with family and food.

1 Christmas Ham Game of the Week: Ravens @ Steelers: The NBA league office didn’t like when the NFL snuck in a Christmas Day double header on their day, and they like it even less now that the 4:30pm eastern kick off is essentially a divisional championship game. The Ravens/Steelers rivalry has always been a fun one, but now it is about offense more than defense. The Steelers are red hot, but the kryptonite for them could be Joe Flacco who is looking to surprise us all and get Steve Smith into the post season one last time.

My Picks

I am now 20-20-5 on the year after an even 1-1-1 last week. I am 9-4-3 over the last 5 weeks. For this week, a holiday surprise of 5 games:

Browns + 6 vs Chargers: The Chargers are flying across the country, one day earlier than usual, with nothing to play for, in between divisional rivalry games, in bitter cold weather, playing a team who will lay everything it has on the line to win it’s only game of the year at home. I don’t necessarily have the stones to pick the Browns outright in a win here, but I see this game coming down to a field goal late, 6 points is way to dangerous for me to lay here.

Saints -3 vs Bucs: The Bucs showed some true warts on Sunday Night and collapsed when the pressure was highest. They played the Saints just a couple of weeks ago and it is awfully hard to beat a division rival twice when two games are so close together. The Saints will play hard for Sean Payton Sunday after rumors again resurfaced that he may be traded. The Bucs will find a way to cough up a prime chance to get into the playoffs, the Saints win and cover.

Dolphins +3.5 at Bills: This is that game in Week 16 where the line makes no sense. Sure Ryan Tannehill is out, but the Bills are still a dog of a team. The Dolphins are playing for the post season and showed they had enough around Matt Moore to beat bad teams, as they did last Saturday Night. Miami is ready to pop some champagne, what better chance to do it than on the road at Orchard Park. Plus at 3 and a half you get that extra hook here making this well worth it.

Bengals +2 @ Texans: The Tom Savage bandwagon was built awfully quick. Watch him totally spit the bit as Houston battles to try and maintain prime position to win the AFC South. The Bengals collapsed against the Steelers and have collapsed all season long. Give me Cincinnati here though, on National TV, to have one last spoiler win in 2016.

Lions +7 @ Cowboys: The Lions have had their struggles outdoors this season. They get the Cowboys in doors for this one, unless of course you ask Mike Francesa. The Cowboys laid a touchdown against the Bucs last week and Tampa Bay covered. I see a similar sort of game playing out in this one. The Cowboys should win this game in the territory of 42-20, 30-28. The Lions with the points is the layup of this weekend.

Football Food of the Week

Oreo Pudding Pie. This may seem lame to some as my food of the week this week is not dripping with cheese or buffalo sauce. I get it, however this week I am giving one of my favorite deserts on the holiday’s. Purchase an Oreo pie crust, Oreo instant pudding, and milk. The directions on the box are so simple as it is simply mixing milk and the mix, pouring that into the pie crust, and let thicken for a few hours.

Of all the puddings and pudding pies I find this taste to be the richest and always is a hit with my family. Take some time this week with football in the background to enjoy laughs with your family and friends over some great food. Top it off with a great slice of pudding pie and have a very Merry Christmas weekend.

Thank you all for reading as always, enjoy a jolly weekend and stuff yourselves! Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @MrazCBS

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