Up The Gut Week 11: No more primetime games for Matt Nagy, Bears

The Chicago Bears are “as boring a watch as I can ever remember,” Shaun Morash says, and the NFL needs to stop subjecting fans to their “offensive ineptitude” in primetime

The DA Show
November 19, 2020 - 8:09 am

By Shaun Morash

Cold Open
A plea to the NFL: Please no more Bears in spotlight games. The Bears/Packers game on Sunday Night Football on November 29th needs to be flexed out immediately. In almost every important offensive category, the Bears rank either 31st or 32nd in the NFL, battling with only the Jets for offensive ineptitude. The Jets are in tank mode; the Bears are supposed to be in playoff mode.
Nick Foles, Mitchell Trubisky – heck, now Tyler Bray – it just doesn't matter. The Bears, led by an offensive mind, are as boring a watch that is thrown in casual fans’ faces as I can ever remember. Four of their last seven games have been on national television. If you feel your stomach turn, it isn't your lunch; it is realizing just how much Bears football you have seen. 

The Bears are a classic team, with classic uniforms, in a monster market, but they are simply the worst and most unexciting team to still be in playoff contention by Thanksgiving. Please, NFL, let Monday Night be the last night non-Bears fans are subject to the disaster in Illinois that is Matt Nagy’s coaching. 

Ten Yard Gain

1-New England on Sunday Night looked like a scene out of Forrest Gump. Heavy rain drops thumping empty seats, cameras fogging up, and yet a team that has a strength on the ground – both with their running backs and quarterback – seemed as if they had no idea how to play in bad weather. We keep waiting for the Ravens and Lamar Jackson to figure this out, but what if they never do?

2-Drew Brees being out down the stretch has the potential to turn into a good thing for New Orleans. Yes, losing the division to the Bucs, a team they swept, would give the Saints the near-impossible hurdle of having to win three straight road games. But a fresher Drew Brees without throwing his aging arm out down the stretch may make the Saints a more complete January threat.

3-It is almost admirable how little the Packers seem to care about beating down a bad opponent. In their last home game, they gave life to a previously dead Vikings team, and they came back in their next home game and let Jake Luton and the Jaguars push them around to the point where the Packers were on upset alert. A win is a win, but the Packers are leaving a lot to be desired.

4-The “Hail Murray” is a moment we will never forget, and it will be played on Murray's career highlight reel forever. We play back Aaron Rodgers’ Hail Mary’s; we play back Eli Manning’s; now Kyler Murray is just getting going. The Cardinals took a lot of heat for taking quarterbacks in the first round in back-to-back drafts. They may have done Josh Rosen dirty, but there is no denying they look like geniuses for going with Kyler Murray – and Sunday cemented that.

5-Carson Wentz must enter a Jalen Hurts quarterback competition in training camp next August. The Eagles got Alshon Jeffery and more back versus the Giants. The expectation was that the Eagles and Wentz’s troubles would go away as the team got healthier. They did not, and the Eagles failed to convert a single third down. Jalen Hurts was not taken to be Taysom Hill in the second round, no matter what was spun on draft weekend. Wentz has a buy-out after 2021 that seems inevitable. The Eagles cannot just hand him the job next season. 

6-Joe Judge and Brian Flores are flipping the narrative on the Bill Belichick coaching tree. Eric Mangini, Josh McDaniels, Charlie Weis, Romeo Crennel, Matt Patricia, and more have flopped by trying to do things like Belichick. Flores and Judge have been actual culture-changers in their organizations, and that is another shining carrot for Belichick's Hall of Fame career.

7-The Seahawks are quickly bowing out of the best-team-in-the-NFC conversation. The Packers, Bucs, and Saints all have flaws. Seattle, led by Wilson, should have – and could have – been the team to beat in the NFC. They now have lost two straight games to two other playoff teams and look nothing more than ordinary. 

8-Andy Dalton is back under center in Dallas. This feels like a mistake after the life Garrett Gilbert gave Dallas in the Steelers game, but just remember your Thanksgiving dinner can now be filled with special Andy Dalton memories this year. 

9-Andy Reid being upset at Jon Gruden is comical. Reid had a problem with Gruden taking the Raiders’ team busses on a celebration lap after their win over the Chiefs earlier in the season. This isn't T.O. going to the Cowboys star. Is this how soft coaches have gotten? I expected better from Mr. Cheeseburger in Paradise.

10- The Colts had a great win on Thursday Night. They deserve a division title should they continue to play this type of defense. However, I refuse to trust them to go on any run in the playoffs. Philip Rivers is what he is, and he will throw you out of any playoff game with poor decision-making. Unfortunately, this will feel like a Colts team that may have been a true Super Bowl threat had Andrew Luck stuck around.

Five Games to Chew on

5 Chiefs @ Raiders: This was right around the time last year that the Raiders began falling apart as a playoff hopeful. This is a monster Sunday Night game to show that 2020 is different than 2019. They beat the Chiefs once this year and Kansas City is licking their chops for this game. Can the Raiders prove to be their kryptonite?

4 Eagles @ Browns: The Browns won probably the ugliest game of the season against the Texans last week; this game could be more of the same. The Browns’ pass rush could give Carson Wentz fits, but this is also the kind of game just after you believe in Baker Mayfield and the Browns that they give you an inexplicable loss. 

3 Titans @ Ravens: Two AFC fake heavyweights that are reeling meet in this game. The Titans were pushed around by the Colts and are losers of three of their last three. The Ravens’ offensive problems continued to sputter in the rain in New England. This is the one game this weekend I have zero feel for, but it should have a playoff vibe with both teams sensing desperation. 

2 Packers @ Colts: This game was flexed to the late-afternoon window to save America from only getting the Cowboys and Vikings on FOX. The Colts’ defense can bring the wood, and the Packers can't afford to waltz through the motions like they clearly did against the Jaguars. This also will likely be the last time Philip Rivers and Aaron Rodgers share a football field in the same game.

1 Rams @ Bucs: Monday Night Football gets back in our good graces after having the Jets two weeks ago and the Bears last week. Tampa is salivating at the Drew Brees injury opening the door in the NFC South. However, the one thing  that has rattled Brady in games this year are good pass rushes and defensive fronts. Aaron Donald has a chance to control the tone of this game and maybe rise the Rams up into our expectations for an NFC Super Bowl contender.

My Picks

A 1-2 week has me at 17-13 on the season. For this week:

Packers +1.5 @ Colts: Betting the Packers in Up The Gut has become as traditional as the Cowboys playing on Thanksgiving. The Packers play down to opponents, and usually follow a game like that by rising to the occasion. The Jaguars game was a win but felt like a loss. Now, just like when they went on the road to San Francisco, they come in with questions. The Colts’ defense will look to suffocate the run, so it will be on Aaron Rodgers to make enough plays with his arm. Philip Rivers will try and win this game with 20-23 points, and I am trusting Rodgers to out-duel Rivers in that score range. That is something I will sleep comfortably doing.

Patriots -2.5 @ Texans: Romeo and Juliet was a classic story, Romeo and Belichick is as well. These two teams stink – of that there is no doubt – but Belichick knows Romeo Crennel better than Romeo knows himself. Cam Newton and the Pats will do enough on the ground and confuse Deshaun Watson and the Texans offense with multiple looks. A field goal is all you need to cover in this chess match. 

Chiefs -6.5 @ Raiders: Sunday Night Football, the whole country watching, the Chiefs looking to avenge a loss to their rivals from earlier this season. If there were ever a spot for the light switch to be turned on for the Chiefs, it is this spot on Sunday Night. Their mindset should be to bury the Raiders and begin prepping for playoff mode. A touchdown covers you here, but I expect this to be a double-digit win.

Football Food of the Week

A first-ever for this column, a Food of the Week I actually won't ever eat. This is because I, frankly, am not a pickle-eater. DA’s wife, The Bourbon Belle, is and pitched this food to me, so I present it to you: Bacon Wrapped Pickles.

That's right, pickles... WITH BACON. If the salty, savory, crunch of a pickle is your thing, combine that with everything that makes bacon an American hero. The recipe she provided is here.

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