Up The Gut Week 14: Tom Brady Looks His Age

There's no turning back, Shaun Morash says: Brady is no longer elite

The DA Show
December 05, 2019 - 9:41 am
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By Shaun Morash

Cold Open
    
Tom Brady officially looks his age, and there is no turning back. You can point to his lack of weapons, and that may be true. Rob Gronkowski isn't walking through that door, but Julian Edelman, Mohamed Sanu, Sony Michel, and James White still remain. Brady once did more with less; those days at his age are over. There is no shame in it; his elite status lasted way beyond anyone else's in NFL history, but that day we have waited for is here, yet many won't acknowledge it. 
        
In the playoffs, there should be only one way defenses play the Patriots: take away anything underneath, and dare Tom Brady to beat you deep. He cannot, he will not, the zip is gone, the mystique is over. 

All of that being said, the idea the Patriots can't win a Super Bowl with Brady playing like this is false. Their defense is still great, and their head-coaching advantage remains maybe the biggest mismatch of any situation on a football field in the NFL. If Tom Brady wins a Super Bowl this year, he and Trent Dilfer will have a lot in common, even if history won't see it that way. 

Ten Yard Gain

1- Ron Rivera being fired with 4 weeks left to play is surprising, but David Tepper wanting to impose his own finger print on the organization is not. The Panthers may be making a mistake in letting Rivera walk. The miss rate on head coaches seems to be way higher than hit rate of late. They had a stable presence at coach and at quarterback; now they may have neither in 2020. 

2-Eli Manning appears set to return as the Giants starting quarterback for one last swan song. This may give Giants fans a tickle in the back of their throat that they get to say goodbye, but Eli could not beat the Eagles when he was still playing decent and the team was better. Now on the worst Giants team of them all, with Eli having virtually nothing left in the tank, do not expect a happy ending. 

3-Carson Wentz' panic meter has to be going off internally. Losing to the Dolphins and the offense continuing to sputter on South Beach should now be hitting Wentz that his career is off the rails and the magnifying glass he is under will only continue to grow. It isn't time to throw Wentz to the wolves, but if he starts 2020 looking more Marcus Mariota than the MVP he appeared to be in 2017, his leash may get shorter in Philadelphia.

4-Ryan Tannehill has made the ugliest franchise in football look exciting in the Tennessee Titans. I just took a shot at Marcus Mariota, and that stinks considering he was an easy player to root for. But let's face it: his brand of football made this team a drag on the eyes. Tannehill looks every bit the first-round pick he was supposed to be. How can you not believe in the Titans as a spoiler in the postseason with the way they operate with Tannehill? 

5-If you defend Freddie Kitchens wearing that T-shirt, you are as big a loser as him. He can make all the excuses about his daughters giving him the shirt and wearing a jacket over it, the bottom line is this: no elite head coach is doing that after an incident as potentially serious as the one that took place a couple weeks ago. Myles Garrett just made racial allegations, and it shows how serious his own head coach took those allegations since a goofy T-shirt is worth the laugh to him. The Browns will continue to be the Browns as long as this remains Freddie's show.

6-Jacoby Brissett is a roller coaster that isn't fun riding as a Colts fan. Before the season, Peter King predicted he would be an MVP candidate. I laughed, and a couple weeks in apologized for laughing, as Jacoby seemed to have the juice. Now he is what he is: a middle-of-the-road quarterback that is perfect as a backup quarterback. He will win you games; he may even get you to the playoffs should your quarterback go down. But counting on him as a face of the franchise seems like a stretch based on the inconsistencies. 

7-Minshew Mania is back in full force in Jacksonville. The Jaguars are stuck on the books with a rough Nick Foles contract. There is no mathematical, sensible reason that Nick Foles only seems to work out when he plays in Philadelphia, but the proof is in the pudding now. The real question is what will Gardner Minshew show over this final month of the season to be able to keep Jacksonville away from thinking quarterback in round one of the NFL Draft.

8-David Blough should forever be remembered, but he won't be. The Lions and Bears appeared to be such a dead game heading into Thanksgiving. Blough's early touchdown strikes made it fun in a standalone spotlight game. If he had won the game, we may have always remembered him when Thanksgiving Lions games came on each year. Now with a loss, he sadly becomes Mike McMahon all over again. 

9-Sean Payton rightfully made his team practice over and over again how to recover an onside kick after Thanksgiving. In a year where the NFL should seriously consider drastic changes to the onside-kick rule, since it is now basically non-existent, the Saints managed to lose three of them. Yes the stat sheet says two, but it was three if you count one that was overturned by a penalty. The Saints have lost on the Minneapolis Miracle and then a phantom pass interference non-call in back-to-back postseasons. Imagine Payton's team losing in 2020 because they can't recover an onside kick in a league where nobody is surrendering them? 

10- Give credit to the San Francisco defense, even in defeat, for slowing down Lamar Jackson. The weather certainly played a factor as Jackson struggled throwing a wet ball. However, on the road on a holiday week, three time zones away in bad weather, the 49ers defense proves they are formidable to stop the NFL's greatest offensive show in 2019. This Super Bowl would be one I would sign up for. 

Five Games to Chew On

5 Seahawks @ Rams:  The Rams will enter the weekend one game behind the Vikings for the final spot in the NFC. It is funny how things can change week to week, maybe the Rams have some late surge in them. The Seahawks, though, suddenly have a top seed and division title on the line. Can the Seattle pass rush make Jared Goff's night difficult?

4 Titans @ Raiders: The Raiders have let their once-fun season completely halt over the last two weeks with back-to-back blowouts. Now they may have one last chance to stake their playoff claim as the red-hot Titans travel to Oakland. They can tie and own a tie breaker with the Titans for a potential last playoff spot int he AFC with a win. However, can anyone slow down Ryan Tannehill right now?

3 Ravens @ Bills: A bit of an extended break for the Bills after playing on Thanksgiving. They are almost back in the postseason, but can they do with their defense what the 49ers did a week ago? Lamar Jackson will be dangerous as he always is, but imagine the Monday morning story lines on the Buffalo Bills if they pull this upset off?

2 49ers @ Saints: The 49ers are not only playing for the tie break and the one seed in this game, but also their division title lives as the Seahawks sit tied with them. Do the Saints need home-field advantage to get to the Super Bowl? If you are a subscriber to that theory, then they better be able to run the ball versus San Francisco. The only negative to this game is that it is part of a bunch of regional games early on Sunday and not featured. 

1 Chiefs @ Patriots: The rematch of last year's AFC Championship game has finally arrived and the Patriots don't have their division title wrapped up yet like most years. The Chiefs offense is almost right back to where it needs to be, though their run game needs to get going. Can Mahomes light up a secondary that has been difficult to beat? The Patriots are in danger of losing to all three AFC Division leaders besides themselves should they fall here.

My Picks

A 1-2 week has me at 22-17 on the season. For this week:

Jaguars +3 vs Chargers: The Chargers letdown season came to an unofficial ending with that pass interference call versus the Broncos last Sunday. Now they must get on a plane and travel to Jacksonville while an unsure off season at the QB position hangs in the future. I question their motivation on this trip. On the flip side, Jacksonville gets Minshew Mania and all they energy that comes with it back in their favor. We go with our gut and ride the Jags at home.

Colts +3 @ Bucs: The Bucs are the model of up and down in the NFL in 2019, and to an extent, maybe the Colts are, too. Indianapolis needs a win to keep their fading hopes alive. Their defense and the trenches can fine a way to take over this match up. Are the Bucs going to explode in back to back weeks? I have a hard time seeing that. Brissett gives you an above average effort and Indy wins outright. 

Packers -13 vs Redskins: The Packers looked ugly to start versus the Giants last week but ultimately covered with ease. Washington is incapable of giving you back-to-back big performances with their roster. They won a big one versus the Panthers and likely won't handle success well here. I expect Rodgers to carve up a secondary that has been so lifeless for most of 2019 and pull away late. 

Football Food of the Week

Oreo Chocolate Chip Cookies: Maybe you all are begging for the constant salt that comes with a typical food of the week. The holiday spirit has my sweet tooth begging for a taste. One of the most incredible inventions to come out of the 20-teens is the Oreo Chocolate Chip cookie. That is right, combining the two greatest cookies of all time is like when Jerry Rice saw Terrell Owens walk into the locker room in San Francisco. Sure, it may be tumultuous in that oven, but it is magic on the field. I have linked the best recipe here, though let's be honest. You’re essentially just wrapping an Oreo with chocolate chip cookie dough. 

Thanks for reading as always, you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @MrazCBS.