By: Shaun Morash
The Eagles and Rams are the two best teams in football and in doing so have laid the blueprint for teams to follow their steps. It is a copycat league, after all. The stars are aligning, with all due respect to the Cowboys, Saints, Seahawks, and Vikings, for a Rams-Eagles NFC Championship Game. A game in which the debate of who is better, Carson Wentz or Jared Goff, will be in full effect.
Both of those franchises were criticized by many for trading a boatload of picks to get up to the top of the 2016 draft and take their quarterbacks. As it turns out, just two years later one of these teams could be in a Super Bowl because of that move. This coming draft has a similar feel with Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, and probably Sam Darnold attracting plenty of suitors. Sprinkle in Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson and you may have the most intriguing quarterback class of the last decade on tap. Only thanks to the Eagles and Rams, I don’t think any team will be afraid to pull the trigger to trade up and get their guy if they like him.
This is also a refreshing change for football as we see Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, and eventually Drew Brees fade away in their careers knowing we have Wentz, Goff, Watson, and others to enjoy is a great thing for a league with supposed declining ratings.
Ten Yard Gain
1-Jameis Winston “Eating the W” was undoubtedly the most bizarre thing I have ever seen on a football field. Jameis comes across as a guy who tries very hard to be a leader but just falls short. As he was “Eating the W,” it appeared many players, including Desean Jackson, were more confused than fired up and who could blame them? Jameis was supposed to be the next face of the league, but many young quarterbacks are seemingly lapping him on the field, while Winston becomes a punch line.
2-Another week and we had another head-scratching Cam Newton moment at the podium. I can understand never seeing the movie Titanic, heck sitting through 3 hours of a love story that drags on is tough. However, to not understand the Titanic did not keep going, rather it kept sinking, makes me question Cam Newton’s ability to grasp a playbook. I certainly have fumbled my share of history lessons, but the Titanic kept going? What could Cam have possibly been thinking?
3-Super Bowl hangovers are no myth. I was too quick to assume the Falcons would be all right following their quick start at 3-0. They have lost four of five and Steve Sarkisian, the man who once was caught picking a booger in the booth coaching Alabama’s offense, has been a disaster at coordinator. If they lose this week versus the Cowboys, I am waving the white flag on their season, it’s over.
4-Eli Manning’s consecutive games started streak needs to end after the next three weeks. Three weeks will have him pass his brother Peyton for second all-time in consecutive games started. He has no realistic chance of passing Brett Favre, so once Peyton is passed, Eli should acknowledge the team needs to look at Davis Webb to determine whether or not they should be drafting a quarterback in April. This actually could work to Eli’s benefit, as the team could draft a piece to help Eli take one more run at a ring in 2018 while Webb goes back to observing how it is done.
5-Jaguars set the tone with Leonard Fournette’s punishment. Doug Marronne and Tom Coughlin are all business and while that attitude may not work for many teams of young stars, it works in Jacksonville. The team didn’t miss a beat and thus the move paid off. Nobody is bigger than the team in Jacksonville and that mentality just may carry this team to a surprise playoff berth.
6-Kudos to John Lynch for having the stones to inquire about Tom Brady. In a story reported by Jay Glazer, once Lynch was told Garoppolo wasn’t available, he boldly and bravely asked how much it would take to get Brady to California. Had he somehow succeeded, he would have been a hero – and probably still is by landing a franchise quarterback in the end. Now teams know he means business, and publicly if he ever lost this job he should be able to get another one with this moment being a major bold notch in his resume.
7-The Seahawks defense has lost their swagger and nobody fears them. That would be my mentality if I went into Seattle to play them at any point this season following their utter collapse versus Kirk Cousins on Sunday. In a year in which nobody can trust any NFC contender, the Seahawks should be the team above the rest, but instead are floundering. Not because of their suspect offense, either; this is a defensive-first team and that defense is much softer than stats will tell you.
8-Richie Incognito went from well-known bully to a well-known baby on Thursday Night. Every play and I would think at this point every fan knows Thursday Night games are dumb money grabs. They are on so we watch, but in reality they are simply unfair to teams, especially those on the road. Saying this is not a big story. However, saying this after you lose a game the way Incognito did following the Bills loss to the Jets comes across as hypocritical. Had the Bills won the game would this have been Incognito’s pounding statement following the game? My assumption would be no. Stop crying and start playing, every team has a Thursday Night game, it sucks, deal with it.
9-AJ Green brought some life to the early window of games albeit by doing the dirtiest of moves to Jalen Ramsey. Ramsey is a refreshing trash talker and frankly a punk, but the league needs that. Safety in football and the elimination of big this is necessary, but everyone being a nice guy and trading jersey’s after a game is not. The Josh Norman versus Odell Beckham Jr. situation was ugly but refreshingly entertaining, as was Green versus Ramsey. I’m not saying the league needs more of this, but I am sort of saying the league needs more of this, just as long of course as nobody gets hurt.
10-Tony Romo got a play wrong that made him look worse as a quarterback and nobody talked about it on Sunday. Romo has gotten a gluttonous amount of praise for the job he has done as CBS’ lead color analyst. I personally think a lot of it has been too much too soon. I think the sky is the limit for Romo and eventually will be the best or should be the best in the business, but he is far from there yet. Many have lauded his ability to call out what play will be run, but for some reason ignore how often he is wrong. Case in point Sunday, late 1st half, when he said Jason Garrett doesn’t usually trust his quarterbacks on 3rd-and-long in their own territory and predicted a run. The result was of course a dime throw by Dak Prescott over the middle to extend the drive. Whoops, I guess Garrett trusts some quarterbacks in that spot, maybe not you Tony.
Five Games to Chew On
5 Dolphins @ Panthers: The Dolphins continue to be the worst playoff contender through the half way this season. I cannot lie, this is a weak week of football, pun not intended, therefor landing this Monday Night game in the top five. Carolina is a confusing 6-3, with all of the controversy all season long you would think they were under achievers. With a win over the fish, Carolina gets to seven wins and would likely need to only play .500 football in the final six games to make the postseason.
4 Chargers @ Jaguars: Sacksonville is the town, the Jaguars are the team. This Jaguar team is living up to their 2016 expectations a year later. The latest quarterback they plan on pouncing on is Phillip Rivers, who has taken a beating over the past couple of years. The Chargers have flickering playoff hopes after reviving their season, but that light can be put out in a hurry by this Jaguars defense.
3 Vikings @ Redskins: The cameras will show Teddy Bridgewater a lot on Sunday as he will be active for the first time since the playoff game versus Seattle in January 2016. Case Keenum will be playing a fire lit under him to show Mike Zimmer and company they need to hold off on bringing back Teddy. Washington returns home after a thrilling win in Seattle. Their offensive line, though, could really show its holes against this Vikings front.
2 Saints @ Bills: I never would have guessed in August that by Week 10 this would be arguably the game of the week on this schedule. The Bills come in off that Thursday night stinker looking to stay perfect at home as the hottest team in football, while the Saints look to knock off the notion they cannot win cold-weather games. The winner of this game is one step closer to the playoffs, while the loser makes their situation murkier.
1 Cowboys @ Falcons: The Falcons have lost four of five games and need one huge hurrah in their new building to build momentum and change everything. As I have stated earlier, if the Falcons lose this game I don’t believe they recover, and this begins to look like 2015 for that franchise. For the Cowboys, depending on when you are reading this, Ezekiel Elliot may or may not be running. Dak seems to be hitting his stride and poised for a big win to remind everyone not to count them out as far as winning road games in January.
I went back to mediocrity, or worse, with a 1-2 week last week. Thanks for nothing Kansas City. I am 10-16-1 on the season. For this week:
Colts +10 vs Steelers: Jacoby Brissett is making plays. Yes, I uttered that sentence. The Colts stink, I won’t make them out to be a good team. However, getting 10 points at home vs a team that has a tendency to play down to their opponents, especially on the road, is one I will jump all over. The Steelers will undoubtedly win this game, but it won’t be won until the fourth quarter. Throw in the potential for a garbage-time touchdown by Brissett and I love the Colts and the points.
Bears -5.5 vs Packers: Here is a math equation for you: Packers minus Aaron Rodgers equals the Browns. Yeah, Aaron Rodgers should probably be given the MVP award this year and every year until he retires if this is the roster surrounding him. The Bears are a team trending upward, even if their record doesn’t show it. This is a big-time chance for Trubisky to rally Chicago fans and have “his moment” at home. The Bears win and cover.
Patriots -7.5 at Broncos: Denver is a disaster and the clock is ticking for Paxton Lynch’s shoulder to heal and become the Broncos starter. The Patriots, somehow despite their flaws, seem destined for another top seed in the AFC Playoff picture. Their weakness is on defense and the Broncos simply cannot take advantage. The lowly Giants beat up the Broncos in their house and the Patriots will do the same and run away with this game in the second half.
Football Food of the Week
Tomato and Mozzarella Garlic Bread. The weather has turned in the Northeast, leaving me craving Italian at every turn. Buy yourself some fresh Italian bread on Sunday morning. Get fresh garlic cloves, garlic powder, mozzarella, and tomato. Slice the bread open and butter both sides of the entire loaf. Then take chopped garlic and sprinkle evenly throughout the loaf. Follow that up with sprinkling the garlic powder throughout the load. Top that with slices of tomato evenly placed with every bite. Top it off with mozzarella covering every inch of bread.
Bake this hidden gem in the oven for seven minutes or until perfectly crisp on the edges. Slice up, serve, and enjoy.
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