Up The Gut Week 3: Eli Manning Is A Hall-of-Famer

In his latest column, Shaun Morash reflects on Manning's career and shares his thoughts on the top storylines from around the NFL

The DA Show
September 20, 2019 - 9:32 am

By Shaun Morash

Cold Open

It is the end of an era in New York. A complicated era, but one that every fanbase outside of New England would have signed up for beginning in 2004. Eli Manning, to any non-Giants fan, will probably be forever remembered as a meme, a blank-starred face, messy hair. For that, combined with the fact that pound-for-pound he could never live up to his big brother's star power, many don't grasp just how great Eli Manning truly was.

In the media circus that was New York, he was able to navigate through 16 years, in a tough-as-nails division, all the while taking two trips in a parade float while defeating the best dynasty many of us will ever see in the New England Patriots. If you believe Eli Manning's career was saved by his defense and two "lucky" Super Bowls, frankly, you are an idiot who didn't bother to watch his abilities year after year, game after game. Eli out-dueled Brett Favre in one of the coldest games in NFL history, zipping passes as if it were 85 degrees and Sunny, leading the Giants to their first Super Bowl in title in nearly two decades. In 2011, Eli Manning led an offense that ranked 32nd in rushing, (The only team to finish dead last in rushing in a season and win a Super Bowl), had a deteriorating offensive line, a defense that was so beat up and average they had to sign a starting middle linebacker off the streets in late November. 2011 was Eli Manning's year. The defense contributed some, but Eli carried 52 guys to an NFL Championship that may have been more improbable than 2007's in terms of talent.

He made the names Victor Cruz, Mario Manningham, Kevin Boss, Steve Smith, Ahmad Bradshaw, and Jake Ballard, amongst others. Eli will finish Top 8 all time in passing yards and touchdowns when his career ends, which, as it stands now, seems over. Eli Manning is a Hall-of-Famer. You cannot tell the story of the NFL without him. He may not have the flash of Aaron Rodgers, the consistency of Drew Brees, but 15-plus years in one of the windiest stadiums in the NFL, with those numbers, and those accolades speaks for itself. 

Thank you, Eli Manning, for one heck of a run. 

Ten Yard Gain

1-Drew Brees missing the next 6 weeks on the surface seems devastating. However, the state of the NFC South makes this very manageable. Brees has worn down, or so it appeared, in December and January the last two seasons, helped by a monster run game. Perhaps this injury may be a blessing in disguise, allowing Brees to have plenty of zip left in his fast ball when the close games that matter truly hit later this year. 

2-Ben Roethlisberger should retire if Mason Rudolph plays to the capabilities many around the Steelers seem to think. Should Rudolph lead the Steelers to the playoffs, Roethlisberger unfortunately will look selfish if choosing to continue playing with the team and "honor his contract" in 2020. I am sure no athlete wants to go out the way this looks, but Roethlisberger forced the Steelers’ hand in drafting Rudolph for this exact reason following many retirement discussions. 

3-Minkah Fitzpatrick is a playmaker for the Steelers defense. I personally love the move to give up a first-round pick. Pittsburgh and defense have been synonymous for years, but since the retirement of Troy Polamalu, that stigma has faded. Minkah may be the perfect fit to bring the noise when Stix gets queued up at Heinz Field. 

4-Cam Newton said there is no excuse for his poor play, not even injuries. Then spent this week in a walking boot with no actual timetable for when we will see him again. I am beginning to wonder if the best days of Cam Newton are not just behind us, but long behind us. His body has taken a beating, maybe more so than Andrew Luck's. This will unfortunately always be the risk with choosing a running quarterback, not even just a mobile quarterback, but one that will run often. Their shelf lives will never be that or a Drew Brees or Tom Brady who sit in the pocket. If all we get out of Cam Newton's greatness is one Super Bowl trip and loss, it will feel as if we were robbed as football fans. When Cam was on, he could truly do it all. 

5-The Jets’ implosion is in full effect. Nobody could plan for your franchise quarterback to go down with mono, then your backup quarterback to tear ligaments in his ankle. However, Adam Gase in the early going seems to not be able to handle adversity. Having his best player Jamal Adams believe he was benched in a blowout loss on Monday Night is a terrible example to set for a franchise that has had the stench of disaster on it since long before he and his darting eyes arrived.

6-Adam Vinatieri is not retiring. He has referred to the "demons" in his head and getting in the right place mentally. It has been a strange week in the NFL with many legends no longer playing either permanently or temporarily for a variety of reasons. Vinatieri choosing to keep playing – and honestly, now hurting his team – is very surprising. I have a hard time thinking these "demons" will be figured out by Sunday. How can the Colts right now trust someone who was once the most trustworthy kicker in football?

7-The Texans remain laughable even in victory. Gardner Minshew is a bad quarterback, and the fact the Texans allowed he and the Jaguars to be within a two-point conversion of sending them to 0-2 is a joke. A win is a win in the NFL, supposedly; only for my eyes, it wasn't. The Texans look like a team made of glass. 

8-Never trust the Chargers in a big spot. Melvin Gordon is out, Derwin James is out, and of course now Hunter Henry is out. I felt the Lions would beat them, I even picked the Lions in this column a week ago, but I never expected the Chargers to have 400 yards of offense and just score 10 points as a result. No team disappoints expectations under a star quarterback quite like the Chargers with Philip Rivers year to year.

9-Does anyone else feel nauseous watching Antonio Brown catch passes from Tom Brady? Being involved in a civil suit is the icing on the queasy cake. His smiling after a touchdown, the hugs to Tom Brady, it all feels so wrong. In the 100 years of the NFL watching this situation continue is as uncomfortable as a hemorrhoid on a long cross-country flight.

10-​The Eagles’ injuries may be the most underrated story line of the week. They canceled a Wednesday practice because they have that little amount of healthy bodies. Carson Wentz did not even meet with the media in his usual spot. The Eagles, on paper, had the most talented team in football coming into 2019. They may need to hang on tight to even become a Wild Card should this epidemic continue.

Five Games To Chew On

5 Lions @ Eagles: The Eagles are so banged up that practice was canceled Wednesday. Their secondary is overrated, and Matt Stafford is licking his chops. However, do we trust the, um, unbeaten Lions to go into Philadelphia and get what would be their biggest win under Matt Patricia? The Lions’ front seven has created a ton of havoc over two weeks. The pressure they put or don't put on Carson Wentz will be the difference in this game. 

4 Texans @ Chargers: The Texans should be 0-2, and may have been 0-2 had the Jaguars elected to kick an extra point and potentially won a coin toss.  The Chargers cannot be trusted, and as their injuries mount, this home game versus another playoff contender will tell us a lot if they will be anything resembling the 2018 Chargers. This is the Fraud Bowl to me. The winner will continue to contend; the loser, I have no faith in as a real playoff team.

3 Saints @ Seahawks: ​How much Taysom Hill will we see? Can Teddy Bridgewater still prove worthy enough of all the promise he once showed pre-knee injury? Everything is on the table for the Saints, who head to one of the toughest buildings to win in in football. This game has less juice than it did a week ago, but the Bengals almost picked off the Seahawks in Week 1. There is potential for a rally cry type of win for New Orleans.

2 Ravens @ Chiefs: The Ravens are 2-0 and everyone is rightfully drooling over the play of Lamar Jackson. Critics will point to the fact Baltimore may have beaten the two worst teams in the NFL in the Dolphins and Cardinals in each of the first two weeks. This is a big-boy test on the road, attempting to slow down Patrick Mahomes, who plays as if the NFL is a video game. The talk of the nation will be the Ravens if they manage to win this game.

1 Rams @ Browns: Back-to-back weeks with the Browns in primetime. The sputtering Browns offense was bailed out by an inept, injury-riddled Jets team. This is a major step up in class when playing the Rams. Will Odell Beckham Jr.’s focus be on winning? A win for Cleveland could put them back in the driver’s seat for the AFC North.

My Picks

Another 2-1 week has me at 4-2 on the season. For this week:

Cowboys -21.5 vs Dolphins: I am not here to get cute. I am not Huge Freeze of the 2018 DA Show picks. I am here to make money. The Cowboys have not been this heavy a favorite in over 30 years. Frankly, they should be favored by 30 in this game. This offense is cooking, and the Dolphins, especially without Minkah Fitzpatrick, have no way of slowing it down. This will be another uncompetitive blowout. Lay the points and enjoy a bag of chips this game is already over. 

Chiefs -6.5 vs Ravens: The Ravens blew out Miami and held on tight versus Arizona. Now a step up in class with Patrick Mahomes, who can turn a close game into a three-touchdown lead before the RedZone channel even gets a chance to turn to it. I like Baltimore. I think they will win the North, but I think Sunday will be a humbling experience for their young quarterback and team. Less than a touchdown and an extra point feels comfortable for Patrick Mahomes to handle at home. 

Lions +6.5 @Eagles: This will mark the third straight week I bet the Lions. I am 1-1 thus far ATS. I am back on their train in Week 3 as they head to Philadelphia to play a team so beat up they couldn’t field a healthy roster to practice with. There isn’t an offensive weapon healthy enough to scare a pretty good Lions defense. Remember: Detroit surrendered just 10 points to the Chargers while allowing 400 yards of offense. Matt Stafford should do enough through the air, while Kerryon Johnson gets to try and gash an Eagles front that has lost both Timmy Jernigan and Malik Jackson for the season. I may even bet the Lions money line on Sunday, for now I will gladly take the points. 

Football Food of The Week

French Onion Dip with Bacon. Simple? Yes. Delightful? Heck yes. This will be very easy for our friends on Instagram @up_the_gut to cook up. Get a container of sour cream, a Lipton onion soup mix pack, and three strips of fresh bacon. Cook the bacon to the crispiness you refer and chop it up into small bits when cooled. Mix the chopped bacon and soup mix pack into a bowl where you must first have the sour cream sitting in. Blend the three together until all bacon and soup mix is evenly distributed with the sour cream.

We all have had French onion dip. It is not as if I am splitting the atom here, but by adding bacon it takes that dip up another creative, delicious level that will have your mouth both dancing and stinking before you kiss your wife goodnight.

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