Up The Gut Week 12: Brady is as cooked as a Thanksgiving turkey

Tom Brady and the Buccaneers are not winning a Super Bowl, Shaun Morash says, and fans and media “clinging to the past” need to accept that

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November 24, 2020 - 1:19 pm
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By Shaun Morash

Cold Open
    
All right, we can stop pretending Tom Brady will have a fairy tale career ending in Tampa Bay now. The Bucs’ four losses have all been in primetime against far more superior defenses than Tampa possesses, and with the exception of the Bears, more superior teams. They also were within a pass interference call on a two-point conversion from overtime with the Giants. The positive Bucs train has clinged to the Packers game, a game in which Aaron Rodgers did the heavy lifting in throwing the Packers out of a win.
    
Tom Brady looks 43 because he is 43. He has provided the Bucs a stable team, a calming presence, but ability-wise, the Bucs are lacking at the most important position and that is what will keep them from making any January noise, not propel them. Tom Brady is as cooked as the turkey you will eat this week, yet too many people are still dreaming of a second-dance title like Peyton Manning won in Denver. It is more Namath on the Rams. The sooner we understand that, the easier the early exit for the Bucs will be to handle emotionally for all the Tom Brady-obsessed fans clinging to the past. 

Ten Yard Gain

1-The inability of the Chiefs to be able to flex on the Raiders says more about Las Vegas than it does Kansas City. The Chiefs have just the one loss, that to the Raiders, and yet it feels like they have had an unimpressive season. They have not; it is just our expectations for blowouts every week. The Raiders, though, with one win in Kansas City and now a four-point loss to KC, become a kryptonite that could be the one team that can ruin the Chiefs’ repeat hopes in the playoffs. This could be a fascinating potential playoff matchup. 

2-The Colts are the third-best team in the NFL. I still refuse to trust Philip Rivers in a playoff game, especially toe-to-toe with Patrick Mahomes or Ben Roethlisberger. However, give credit where credit is due. They went on a 20-3 run after halftime to beat the Packers in overtime. Their shutdown defense continues to find their footing, even in a game they were torched in early. I can't help but wonder if they would be Super Bowl favorites with Andrew Luck leading this team. 

3-The time has come to ask just what Lamar Jackson will be going forward. Was 2019 his peak? Once again, the plain offense the Ravens run came back to haunt them in a fourth quarter against the Titans. Tennessee looked at times like they knew every play that was coming. Many questioned if the league would catch up to Lamar Jackson. It didn't take long and Lamar has yet to show he can adjust back. 

4-Carson Wentz feels like what Lamar Jackson could become. A former MVP (candidate) now looks like his franchise made a mistake in paying him. The offensive line is awful in Philadelphia, but Wentz’s inability to make any plays on the move like he once did is the real issue. The Wentz era in Philly, which resulted in a Super Bowl won by Nick Foles, may be one of the strangest periods of time for a quarterback ever drafted in the first round. 

5-The Lions were shut out for the first time in the Matthew Stafford era. Matt Patricia has lost hope. Jeff Okudah looks like anything but a top-five pick. What exactly do the Lions keep waiting for every week when it comes to his job?

6-Frank Gore seemingly is looking for sympathy that his career may end on an 0-16 team. He is a nice guy by all accounts, but he has been a compiler refusing to retire for three years. Now he is a Jet because of his love for Adam Gase and wants to pout to the media about how he cannot go out on an 0-16 team? Sorry, this is the mess you signed up for, Frank.

7-Andy Dalton had a moment for the Cowboys, and for even a day everyone could appreciate a good guy even if he has the star on his helmet. The Cowboys did not come to his defense when he took an ugly hit that knocked him out three weeks ago, but the team rallied around him against the Vikings. The Cowboys now have six weeks to salvage bitter disappointment and Andy Dalton has a chance to make the playoffs and wipe the negative stigma of his mocked ability away temporarily. 

8-Joe Burrow's knee injury is devastating. The 9-12 month potential recovery timeline makes it even worse. I have no doubt with modern medicine that Joe Burrow will come back and be the same player he was. Unlike Tua, he does not have a mounting injury history. However, blaming the Bengals for mishandling Burrow is not fair. Everyone knew their offensive line stunk. Were the Bengals not supposed to let him air it out because their line stinks? Nobody was complaining about this when the Bengals were upsetting the Titans. 

9-We can end the Vikings’ playoff hopes now. Their surge in recent weeks had them back in the hunt, in theory. Kirk Cousins turned back into a pumpkin and the formerly great defense wilted against Dallas when it mattered most. The Vikings may play themselves into enough wins that Kirk Cousins won't have a rookie quarterback challenging him in August. No man's land is the worst place to be, and the Vikings look to be finding themselves in that sweet spot. 

10-Bill Belichick has lost to Romeo Crennel in a regular-season game. That about sums up the Patriots' disaster of a season. The tease after the Ravens win that they may be a playoff team after all can now be swallowed. The Jets are en route to Trevor Lawrence, while the Bills and Dolphins look to have above average head coach and quarterback combinations. The line to the bottom of the AFC East is a straight shot from here for the Bill and the Pats.

Five Games to Chew On


5 Washington @ Cowboys: A Thanksgiving stinker on paper, and maybe visually, but the game counts. The winner of this game, for at least a couple of days, will hold sole possession of first place in the NFC East. The Eagles play Seattle so expect a loss there. The Giants play the Bengals, so they likely would be tied with this winner. Four-win division leaders on the day of Thanks, what is more wacky than that?

4 Bears @ Packers: Joy to the world, the Bears’ dreadful offense is on primetime again Sunday night. The Bears’ fading playoff hopes can be revived if the Packers play down to yet another opponent in this game. The Packers’ hopes for the top seed and a bye need to be in full focus in this rivalry game. 

3 Titans @ Colts: These teams are playing for the second time in three games, and the stakes remain high. The Colts have made their mark this season, and a win here at home would cement it as they would look all but a lock as division champs by holding this tie-breaker. The Titans, though, may have rediscovered their mojo in the fourth quarter and overtime against Baltimore. Is the Titans’ defense up to keeping the Titans in this game should the Colts again have an answer for Derrick Henry?

2 Ravens @ Steelers: The Thanksgiving main course we have been salivating for since the schedule came out last spring. The reeling Ravens have no answers on how to fix their broken offense, and it won't get any easier against the Steelers’ pass rush. Pittsburgh's offense keeps rolling and a defining win over their rivals could clear the path to a remarkable 16-0 season. 

1 Chiefs @ Buccaneers:  The Bucs’ four losses to opponents with good pass rushes do not bode well for them as they await a visit from the Chiefs. Let's not forget the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes must feel like they could already have two rings if not for losing a coin toss in an AFC Title game to Brady just two years ago. Can the Bucs’ offense get back on track and save the season?

My Picks (picked with the lines as of Tuesday due to Thanksgiving)

A disaster of an 0-3 week has me at 17-16 on the season, clinging to positive life. For this week:

Steelers -4 vs Ravens:  The Ravens are imploding and the Steelers are licking their lips in excitement to show the entire nation full of turkey Thanksgiving night that 16-0 is realistic. The Ravens are dealing with several COVID-19 issues and important pieces out. The ugly gets uglier for Baltimore, as their playoff hopes continue to take a major hit. 

Raiders -3 @ Falcons: The Raiders may be emotionally devastated after that loss to the Chiefs, but they still have a Wild Card spot within reach if they keep playing to their talents. They are a better team in every phase than the Falcons are. The Raiders’ pass rush should get to Matt Ryan early and often, and Ryan may be seeing ghosts after what he had to deal with against the Saints. I like the Raiders in an ugly game to cover. 

Giants -5.5 @ Bengals: The Bengals were understandably lifeless once Joe Burrow went down against Washington. Now, with their putrid offensive line, they get a motivated and hot Giants team coming off of a bye week. The Giants’ defense has played above expectations all year and has a chance to feast on Ryan Finley. I expect a third straight clean, zero-turnover game by Daniel Jones, and a touchdown win covers here. 

Football Food of the Week

Thanksgiving Leftover Panini: This week is an annual Football Food of the Week tradition. There is no reason to run to the store and grab extra food. By Sunday, your fridge will be packed and it will feel like an “everything must go” sale. I suggest this delicious twist. Take two slices of your favorite bread and throw the house on it. I’m talking turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry. Put it between two slices of bread and either press it in a panini maker or throw it on a frying pan grilled cheese style. The flavors will melt together and your stomach will be satisfied as you continue your weekend-long “eating and watching football” bender.

Thanks for reading. You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @MrazCBS. Have a great weekend, everyone.