Up The Gut Week 15: Bears "Smell Blood In The Water"

Aaron Rodgers got the better of Chicago in Week 1 – and Khalil Mack and the Bears haven't forgotten

The DA Show
December 12, 2018 - 6:17 pm

USA Today Images


By Shaun Morash

Cold Open

Bill Belichick committed his biggest coaching blunder since he was leading the Browns. That isn't hyperbole. The "Miracle in Miami" never happens if Bill doesn't trot out his clunky horse Rob Gronkwoski on defense rather than one of his best tacklers in space, Devin McCourty. So why did Belichick go with Gronk?

Simply put, his size is there to swat down a jump ball in the end zone. Only, did Belichick think Ryan Tannehill – who hasn't been healthy in two years – was suddenly Patrick Mahomes with his arm? From the Dolphins own 31, nothing short of Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite in a Dolphins Jersey would have warranted Gronk being needed for a jump ball. How could Belichick not think a lateral, band-on-the-field play was the obvious way to go for the Dolphins offense? This may be the first time, the first sign, that we see as fans that the great Bill Belichick is starting to slip with decisions as he gets older. This decision may have ultimately cost the Patriots a trip to the Super Bowl if they even have to play one road game in the AFC playoffs to get there.

Ten Yard Gain

1-​Mike Tomlin was useless with his arrogance in Oakland Sunday and made himself look even worse when discussing Ben Roethlisberger's availability with the rib injury post-game. Tomlin and Big Ben never took the Raiders seriously, which is a joke in the NFL. Now the joke is on Pittsburgh. With a tough final three games, making the playoffs is now a serious question. 

2-Kirk Cousins remained winless on Monday Night, with just five prime-time wins in his career, and this season not delivering a single win versus a team over .500 when they played. This has been money terribly spent for the Vikings. Their franchise quarterback is now a coach killer as well. Farewell, John DeFilippo.

3-Gregg Williams has as many wins (three) in five weeks as Hue Jackson did in the last two-and-a-half years coaching the Browns. That is the stat of the week in the NFL. It also may be bringing something into the light that seemed crazy last month: Gregg Williams being the permanent answer in Cleveland? If the Browns win out, can they really ditch Williams? 

4-At 6-7, the Panthers are part of the muddled mess of teams searching for the final Wild Card spot in the NFL, yet they already seemed checked out. Out of all the teams with potential changes coming, it seems to be gaining steam that the Panthers will blow it up. They would be crazy to move on from Cam Newton, but even that wouldn't surprise me under new ownership off of this collapse. 

5-The Rams looked disinterested in getting hit in the cold weather in Chicago. Luckily if they do go on the road in the NFC Championship Game, it will likely only be in New Orleans. However, moving forward in seasons to come, it would be hard to trust Jared Goff winning any big games when the temperatures dip outside.

6-Jaguars defensive players doing shimmies and dances down 21 points after making tackles with less than five minutes left Thursday Night should be benched in Jacksonville for the rest of the season. That may sound like an over-exaggeration, and maybe it is, but that kind of behavior is a joke for a franchise. This team has had its behind handed to them all year long and Derrick Henry just embarrassed them, so they elect to still show "swagger" after not showing any heart? Take a lap, Jags.

7-Sam Darnold gave the Jets fans and brass the rookie moment they had been waiting for when he led the Jets down the field late in the fourth quarter for a comeback win on the road. This was big as Darnold beat fellow first-round quarterback Josh Allen, and it helped silence many who have been skeptical of his rookie year. He was thought of as a winning player and finally had a winning moment. That, as meaningless as it may have seemed, will be a big building block game for the Jets as they head into next season.

8-Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett both deserve credit where credit is due. Jones was questioned for trading a first-round pick for Amari Cooper, yet that move won the Cowboys a division this year, and won trust with Dak Prescott that he can in fact be a franchise quarterback. For Garrett, his sudden aggressive mindset was on display in overtime Sunday. Now the Cowboys are as formidable a core as any – both this season and moving forward in the NFC. 

9-Moral victories shouldn't exist in the NFL, but the Ravens should absolutely be feeling like they had one. They, thanks to the Raiders, are still alive for the AFC North crown, and still control their own destiny for a playoff spot. On top of that, if and when they make the playoffs, how can they not be confident versus any team after going toe-to-toe this season with both the Chiefs and Saints, losing late to both in tight games? 

10-We are two weeks away from Week 17, and despite craziness in the NFC Wild Card picture – and even in the AFC – it is hard to cherry pick the game to be flexed into prime-time on the final Sunday. As of now, Bears at Vikings with the Vikings in a win-and-in scenario seems most likely. 

Five Games to Chew On

5- Eagles @ Rams: Carson Wentz returns to the field in which he tore his ACL and his world upside down around this same time a year ago. The Eagles are still in play for a Wild Card as long as they win two of their last three games. However, with this Rams game on tap – plus a Texans visit next week – wins may be hard to come by. Can Wentz get sweet revenge and force an unlikely two-game Rams losing streak?

4- Saints @ Panthers: The Panthers are in quicksand and all that is left showing is their forehead. Monday Night could be a blood bath for the Saints offense. However, Carolina can still save their season by winning out, beating the Saints twice. This is Ron Rivera's last stand. Can the Panthers shock the world? As we know in inter-divisional games, anything is possible. 

3- Packers @ Bears: The Bears rebounded off their embarrassing overtime loss in New York by rattling the Bears. Now they can put the Packers out of their misery. The Week 1 Sunday Night game was one the Bears were in until Aaron Rodgers exploded late. That game will not be forgotten in Chicago heading into this game. That defense smells blood in the water. 

2- Cowboys @ Colts: Will the real Colts please stand up? Two weeks ago, they were shutout by the lowly Jags; then last week they beat the red-hot Texans in Houston. Their Texas Two-Step continues with the red-hot Cowboys now entering Indy. The Cowboys are 5-1 since acquiring Amari Cooper and are controlling the clock offensively each week now. Can the Colts make enough plays to Marlon Mack and Eric Ebron to help negate the Dallas pass rush? A Colts win could catapult them into the drivers seat of the final AFC Wild Card.

1- Patriots @ Steelers: ​This game last year was one of the wildest of the 2017 regular season. Now the Steelers playoff lives may be on the line. They classically play down to their opponents and play up to the good ones. Both teams come in off heartbreaking losses, and both coaches had to be questioned for the first time in the same week probably ever. Panic will set in for the loser – and for the winner, a sense of relief. If the Steelers want to make any of us believe, they finally go home and beat the Patriots again.

My Picks

Another 1-2 week gets me to 23-18-1 on the season. For this week:

Dolphins +6.5 @ Vikings: The Vikings come back home on a short week, after firing their offensive coordinator, versus a Miami team feeling great after a miracle win. Firing John DeFilippo won't solve the Vikings' offensive woes, but I'm supposed to believe they will beat a non-terrible Dolphins team by a touchdown or more? Kenyan Drake controls the clock and Miami makes enough plays to make sure this is a field-goal game. Don't sleep on Miami's pass rush either. Minnesota leaves Sunday scratching their heads, they are on upset watch.

Cardinals +9 @ Falcons: Did I miss when the 4-9 Falcons became the 2016 Falcons? They must be to be favored by nine points in any game. The Cardinals stink, too, but Josh Rosen could have his best rookie moment in this game as plays will be had versus a banged-up Falcons defense. These are just too many points for any four-win team to lay, ever. 

Patriots -1.5 vs Steelers: A rematch of last year's best regular season game awaits, and this time both teams are coming off significant late losses. I trust Belichick and Brady way more off a loss than I do Tomlin and Roethlisberger. This 1.5 points makes this game essentially a pick'em. The Steelers cannot beat the Patriots in their building until I see otherwise.

Football Food of The Week

Oreo Chocolate Chip Cookies. ​Holiday time is sweet-tooth time. Cookie-baking is taking place coast to coast, so why not indulge on a Sunday and put up as many calories as the Chiefs and Rams put up points a couple of weeks ago? This is so simple: a package of Oreo's and chocolate chip cookie dough. Wrap each Oreo in chocolate chip cookie dough, covering every crevice, Bake them, like you would chocolate chip cookies for 7-10 minutes at 325 degrees. Every best cookie combined into one bite. What could go wrong?

Thanks for reading. You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @MrazCBS.