Up The Gut Week 4: Jets must draft Trevor Lawrence if they get top pick

Sam Darnold has a bright NFL future, Shaun Morash says, but it won’t be in New York if the Jets get the No. 1 pick

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October 01, 2020 - 10:29 am
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[Note: This column was written prior to the NFL officially postponing the Titans/Steelers game.]

By Shaun Morash

Cold Open

The NFL approaches Week 4 with their first semblance of a COVID-19 outbreak. The panic on social media has ensued, and at this stage in the pandemic, I can’t help but laugh. This has been a scary year, and this situation four months ago may have felt differently with the Titans. However, on the same day the Major League Baseball postseason begins, the irony of people panicked that the NFL is in jeopardy should not be lost.

MLB lost several games from several teams and has a sport built on playing every day forcing them to cram double headers. That is a far more difficult schedule to rebuild on the fly than the NFL. If you can’t play on a Sunday but can get guys on the field to play Monday or Tuesday due to rapid testing, that will work. A worst-case scenario? Pushing Wild Card weekend back a week and having a Week 18 with make up games.

The bottom line is this: the playing once-a-week schedule for the NFL makes it so much easier to deal with an outbreak. The Falcons just took the field Sunday after having a positive text two days earlier. The Texans just took the field Sunday after false positives. Those two stories were so underreported compared to the Titans positive tests because that is how big a machine the NFL is. They play on, they carry on, they have learned to live with the virus around us. Panic this week is ridiculous, the Titans will be fine, the Vikings will be fine, the NFL will be fine. On to Week 4 we go.

Ten Yard Gain

1-The Seahawks’ pass rush continues to be a net negative for them. For as great as Russell Wilson is, unlike the Chiefs, Packers, Ravens, or any other Super Bowl contender, the Seahawks defense will do them in if they cannot figure this out. It is the same problem as they had last year when they had Jadeveon Clowney.

2-Drew Brees can say all he wants about his age and skill level; the facts in front of our face again on Sunday night told us that without Michael Thomas, he will not go downfield. Whether by design or because of talent should not matter. The Saints’ offense is broken, and running Alvin Kamara into the ground in September and October won’t help the tread they will need on his tires as Brees and the passing game gets harder to get going in December and January.

3-Sam Darnold is still younger than Joe Burrow. Let that marinate in your mind for a moment. The Jets are atrocious and have almost felt like they purposely have not surrounded him with the pieces on offense to succeed. If the first overall pick does happen for them, they must take Trevor Lawrence, but Sam Darnold could have the opportunity to be the next Drew Brees in terms of a rare available quarterback that becomes elite at his next stop.

4-What happened to the guts of Doug Pederson? Yes, we all can agree ties in the NFL are so stupid. What is even worse is playing for one. Jake Elliot has kicked incredibly long field goals for the Eagles before, and kicking is different now more than ever. Would they have made a 63-yard field goal? Odds say no, but if that is your ONLY chance at a win, how do you not even attempt one?

5-Dwayne Haskins’ mental toughness is already being tested. Having an inspirational story like Alex Smith behind him was hard enough, but having Ron Rivera admit to the media that he will have a breaking point if the struggles of Haskins continue is a disservice to the young man. That isn’t an easy organization, and it was an even harder offseason in Washington to get your career going. Putting that pressure on him after three weeks is asking him to crumble.

6-Monday Night should be the last time Patrick Mahomes is ever an underdog in a game in the next three years, at minimum. Watching experts trip all over themselves picking the Ravens to win Sunday was hysterical. Patrick Mahomes is a cheat code, and ever giving him points at a sports book is ridiculous. Vegas handed you a gift, hopefully you took advantage.

7-Nobody is going to, or even think about, feeling bad for the Rams on Sunday. Their comeback down 28-3 was epic, and the Bills felt very much like the Falcons in that moment. There absolutely was a phantom pass interference that altered the outcome, but are we forgetting the Rams as the franchise who got the greatest benefit of all time on a blown pass interference call? Saints fans watched that Sunday and laughed.

8-The Kyler Murray MVP hype train can wait at the station for a while. MVP’s don’t lose to Matt Patricia and the Lions at home. DeAndre Hopkins remains the biggest threat on the field for Murray, a game-changer. However, Kyler’s decision making on Sunday was questionable at best. He may get to the top-five QB pedestal – heck, as a No. 1 overall pick, he should get there – but he is not there yet.

9-The leash for Mitchell Trubisky was that short? The Bears were 2-0, a flimsy 2-0, but still had that record. They were not out of Sunday’s game with the Falcons by any means. Nick Foles came in, Nick Foles prevailed, and Nick Foles is now the starter in Chicago. If a 2-0 record wasn’t enough to keep Trubisky in at quarterback, why didn’t Matt Nagy name Foles the starter from training camp?

10-Daniel Jones’ turnovers, at least most of them throughout his early career, were excusable. Sunday felt different. The Giants had actual hope Sunday. They are one of, if not, the youngest team in football. Mistakes with a new coaching staff will happen. The turnovers from their franchise quarterback, though, are setting the entire team back. The 49ers rolled out a JV squad, and Daniel Jones looked like an 8th grader who was elevated to varsity.

Five Games to Chew On

5 Bills @ Raiders: This game screams the opener of a Wild Card Saturday come playoff time – and heck, come that weekend, we may find ourselves with this same matchup. The Bills are unbeaten after escaping a brutal collapse against the Rams, while the Raiders are eating humble pie after being exposed by the Patriots. This season can go the typical Derek Carr Raiders way, where losses mount just when you believe in them, or they can continue to be unbeaten at home forcing Josh Allen into mistakes.

4 Vikings @ Texans: The toilet bowl, the elimination bowl, the letdown bowl – there are plenty of names to give this game. The fact both of these playoff teams are 0-3 is startling, yet the case can be made with an extra Wild Card team that the season isn’t over for the winner. An 0-4 start, however, would make you as cooked as a turkey on Thanksgiving. Zimmer versus the Butt Chin for all the marbles.

3 Browns @ Cowboys: The Browns are over .500 for the first time in four years and now travel to Jerry World to play a Cowboys team very fortunate to not be winless, and fortunate to be playing in the NFC East. This could be a huge swing game for public perception should the Browns find a way to upend Dallas in their building. A 3-1 record would look more legitimate, and for the Cowboys the panic button could begin to be pressed.

2 Steelers @ Titans: Whenever this game is played, it will be great. Two upper-tier undefeated teams looking to get to 4-0. The Titans don’t have the Ravens to deal with in their division, so for them it may not be as important as it is for the Steelers to keep pace ahead for playoff-seeding purposes. Ryan Tannehill is getting better and silencing anyone who thought he may be a one-year fluke. Dionte Johnson’s injury could hurt the Steelers' offense a bit, but Pittsburgh would officially be “back” with a win here – again, whenever the game is played.

1 Patriots @ Chiefs: Last year, the Chiefs’ win in New England was the true sign the torch had been passed in the AFC. Now the Patriots come into their 2020 matchup with no expectations publicly that they should win this game in Arrowhead. Cam Newton has been an MVP candidate, and the Patriots are a pleasant surprise. If New England and Cam find a way to go into Arrowhead and beat the Chiefs, who are on a short week, the world may officially be ending after throwing the Patriots’ dominance on top of the 2020 melting pot of bad news.

My Picks

A 2-1 week gets us to 7-2 on the season. For this week:

Bears +2.5 vs Colts: If I have learned anything over the last 15 years, it is don’t bet on Philip Rivers’ games, and yet here I am not learning my lesson. The Bears got some juice out of Nick Foles, and here they are getting points against a Colts team that remains inconsistent despite the beatdown they gave the Jets. They will miss Marlon Mack for the first time in this kind of game. The Bears’ defense can get to Philip Rivers, and I expect a couple of turnovers the flip the tide.

Jaguars +3 @ Bengals: The Bengals love is deserved – Joe Burrow has the arrow pointed up – but are they ready to be field goal favorites against anyone? Sure, the Jaguars came crashing down to earth against the Dolphins, but they are on an extended layoff after playing on Thursday night, and this is the exact kind of game Gardner Minshew wins. The Bengals are building a promising foundation, but they are doomed for an unfortunate setback this week.

Ravens -12.5 @ Football Team: The heat is on Dwayne Haskins, and the recipe couldn’t be worse for him, or Washington, as an angry and embarrassed Ravens team takes a short bus trip to FedExField. How exactly is Lamar Jackson going to be slowed down if Chase Young is banged up? Baltimore’s defense will force turnovers and run away in a laugher. Two touchdowns to cover is nothing for this sort of mismatch.

Football Food of the Week

Cheez-It Fried Mac and Cheese. You want cheese? You want clogged arteries? You want Mraz to step up his food game? I’m back, baby. Cook macaroni and cheese however you prefer it. If you are a boxed mac and cheese person, that is fine; if you make from scratch, even better. Once the mac and cheese is cooked, let it cool.

Take a box of Cheez-its, and smash them down to pieces. The idea here is to get them ground up as if they are a cheesy bread crumb. Roll the cooled mac and cheese into golf ball-sized pieces, dip them in egg wash, and then roll in the Cheez-it breading you have created. Once that is finished, stick them on a tray in the fridge for an hour to firm up. Once you remove it, fry in oil or an air fryer until browned.

The macaroni and cheese will explode in your mouth with a crispy, cheesy coating on the outside. This takes fried macaroni and cheese to an even gooey-er level.

Take that for data!

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