What do Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Wes Welker, Reggie Wayne and Vincent Jackson have in common? A couple things actually. They’re all Pro Bowl wide receivers, and they ALL have fewer receiving touchdowns this season than Texans superstar J.J. Watt… AND HE’S A DEFENSIVE END! Watt recorded his third receiving touchdown on Sunday, which is three more than all the Kansas City Chiefs receivers have recorded all season long. In addition to being an absolute stud, Watt became the first player in NFL history to score three receiving touchdowns, a interception return for a touchdown AND a fumble return for a touchdown all in the same season. That’s the good. Now let’s move on to the bad and the ugly.
Just in the past six weeks, the Carolina Panthers have been outscored 184 to 61. Their top ranked defense from a season ago has completely fallen apart and they now have the worst points scored to points allowed ratio of any team in the NFC. The obvious conclusion there is that their offense isn’t any good either. Special teams leaves something to be desired too. Against the Vikings on Sunday, Carolina had two punts blocked and returned for touchdowns. You don’t see that very often. A playoff team in 2013, the Panthers are now just one win better than the worst team in the worst division ever. Incredibly, pathetically, with a record of 3 – 8 -1, they’re still just 2½ games out of first in the South. Had it not been for an October 12 tie with the Bengals, Carolina would own the longest active losing streak in football. That dubious honor now belongs to the New York Giants.
The Jacksonville Jaguars defeated the Cleveland Browns on October, 19. That’s notable because it was the only team they’d beaten all season long. They won just four games a season ago and two games the season before that. They haven’t had a winning season since 2007. I’m actually surprised it was that recently because we’ve just gotten so used to them being bad. If anything, they took a step backwards this year with rookie quarterback Blake Bortles leading the league in interceptions.
Optimism has been running quite a bit higher in New York thanks mostly to emerging star Odell Beckham, Jr. and his highlight reel receptions. That’s been about the only bright spot in a rather abysmal season. Over the past month and a half, the Giants played Dallas twice, along with Philadelphia, Indianapolis, San Francisco and Seattle. They were all losses, but it is pretty tough competition. All those teams were in the playoffs last season and are likely playoff bound again. The Giants are rebuilding and clearly have work to do. Still, they could surely beat the Jags… or not. New York led 21 to 3 at half time, and finished the game with more first downs, offensive drives, total plays, passing yards, and rushing yards. They committed fewer penalties and completely dominated time of possession. They also lost. How? I think coach Tom Coughlin is still trying to figure that out. After the game, he said they probably would have had a better chance of winning had the team simply taken a knee for every second half possession. I think that’s called the possum ploy. You just lay there and hope for the best because you know you’ll get your ass kicked if you actually try to put up a fight. The way Big Blue has been playing lately, it’s a good bet they’ll get their asses kicked no matter what. The only real question is which New York coach will be cleaning out his office first. My money’s still on Rex Ryan but the race is getting a lot tighter.
I am assuming we are all still recovering from some level of tryptophan overdose. Therefore, for this week’s game day recipe, we’re going with something healthy. Don’t laugh. On rare occasions, it is possible to serve healthy football food that actually tastes good. Don’t be scared by the somewhat lengthy ingredient list either. This recipe couldn’t be any easier. If you can use a knife, a spoon and a large bowl you’d be hard pressed to mess this up. We’re making Cowboy Caviar and I know you’ll love it.
1 15 oz. can black-eyed peas
1 15 oz. can black beans
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
2 cups canned or frozen corn
1 small to medium onion, chopped
1/2 orange bell pepper, finely chopped
3/4 cup pickled jalapeno peppers, chopped
2 cloves fresh minced garlic
1 cup Italian salad dressing
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
3/4 cup chopped cilantro
red pepper flakes (optional)
In a large mixing bowl, combine peas, beans, tomatoes, corn, onion, peppers and garlic. Add garlic salt and salad dressing. Stir in cilantro. For additional heat, add a dash or two of red pepper flakes. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips and margaritas.
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