16 September 2014

A Luck-y Win

Eagles 30, Colts 27, Monday, September 15, 2014

(I totally stole that title from Tommy, but it was too apt not to re-use.)

Oh my God, y'all. If this continues, Chef Spouse is going to have to buy me a crash helmet. Could the Birds at least think about getting in the endzone in the first half of some game some day?

Stud of the week: Darren Sproles AGAIN. Damn - he's like a freakin' pinball out there. 152 yards
receiving, 178 total yards, touchdown, he's money, and he cost the Eagles one fifth round pick? Bargain of the century. All he does is be 4 feet of awesome. Seriously - that's him actual size over there -->

I also have to give a shout-out to rookie kicker Cody Parkey. When he missed that 38 yarder, ll I could think was "Great. We cut Alex Henery, only to sign...Alex Henery, but younger and blonde." But he pulled it together to kick the game winner - twice.

Also, Zach Ertz is going to inspire a new word for "awesome" - maybe "Ertz-some." I quote Jimmy Kempski:
Zach Ertz facts:
Zach Ertz's receptions this year: 26, 25, 26, 27, 14, 21, 24.
Zach Ertz leads the NFL in yards per catch (minimum three receptions).
Zach Ertz is tied with Julio Jones for the most receptions of 20+ yards.
Zach Ertz has as many 20+ yard receptions as 20 NFL teams.
Zach Ertz has seven receptions this season. All seven were either first downs or touchdowns.
Zach Ertz smells terrific.
I can't confirm that last one, but I'm willing to take Jimmy's word for it.

LeSean McCoy remains a perennially smiling work horse. I think he'd set himself the goal of a 2000 yard season, which may not happen, but he remains studly. The McCoy/Sproles combo is nearly unstoppable.

Sadly, not everyone was ballin' on Monday night.

Why is Nick Foles playing like someone spiked his Gatorade with Nyquil? On the up side, it seems to keep him really calm and able to shake off bad plays - or bad quarters - or even bad halves. So maybe it's intentional? Hmmm....

I'm beginning to remember why I wasn't heartbroken when Jeremy Maclin went down during training camp last year. Could he drop any more passes? Yeah, he's also had two TDs, but could he maybe NOT store his gloves in a jug of olive oil?

What happened to Riley Cooper? Is he even still playing for the Eagles?

Mychal Kendricks scared everyone to death when he went down - and then we saw Casey Matthews at linebacker and got REALLY freaked out. My 9 year old nephew Duce could kick his ass.

And on those final calls that would've set Trent Dilfer's hair on fire if he had any?

Brandon Boykin did NOT commit a penalty on the Malcolm Jenkins interception. BGN breaks it down in detail, but the tl;dr version is: five yards, mo-fos.

Now, the Eagles did get an extra 15 yards on the non-existent "horse collar" on McCoy on the Eagles' next to last drive. Then again, Fletcher Cox drew a fake horse collar last week, and we weren't crying in our beer (then again, again, the Eagles won both games).

But I have to say, when the Colts got the ball back with the score tied and about 3 1/2 minutes to go, I told Chef Spouse: "They're going to run out the clock and kick the game winning field goal in the final minutes." Only by "they," I meant "the Colts." Not sad to be wrong about that one. The Eagles' D has hardly been shut-down, but they came up big with that three-and-out when it mattered. And boy did it matter to the Colts. They haven't lost two games in a row in the Andrew Luck era, it was their home opener, they're expected to win the AFC South this year, and starting 0-2 is a bad sign. And the D came up with a big stop anyway.

Stop me if you've heard this one before, but if the Eagles could ever put together a full 60 minutes of football in all three phases of the game, they'd be nearly unstoppable. Then again, the team plays for a full 60 minutes, and you REALLY start to see that late in games, when other teams are gassed, and the Eagles are still fresh as daisies - OK, big, hulking, muscular, sweaty daisies, but you get my point.

11 September 2014

2014 Week 2 Picks

Annual Stone Harbor edition!

Yes, Chef Spouse and I are at the beach on our annual trip with the fun bunch of pirates and miscreants we join here, but I would not leave you pick-less.

This week, the Eagles travel to Indianapolis to take on the Colts on Monday Night Football.

Both teams are coming off two good quarters of football: the Eagles' comeback was enough to get them past the Jaguars, while the Colts fell short against the Broncos. The Jags, you may note, are barely playing the same sport as the Broncos.

Can the Eagles beat the Colts? Sure - I think they probably *can* beat any time except the Seahawks who, at least after week 1, look legitimately like a juggernaut. But will they?

I'll tell you, the patchwork o-line is making me really nervous. So is the fact that Foles looked out of his depth in his first season opener as the starter. Going immediately to a road Monday Night Football game is not going to help with that. I would've much preferred to see the Cowboys come to Philly for a 1 pm game this week to help solidify his confidence. Then again, the Colts have problems, too, with Andrew Luck constantly running for his life (usually pretty successfully) and Robert Mathis done for the year, which means Nick should have a decent day - or at least a little time to think.

I see the teams as pretty evenly matched in level of skills and likelihood of success this year (get into the playoffs on the strength of a weak division, don't go that far), so to me that says go with the home team - and probably by 3.

Colts.

In the other matchups:

Steelers at Ravens: Steelers. Distractions, distractions, distractions. You know, y'all could've done the right thing back over the summer and have moved on - as a team - by now.

Dolphins at Bills: The Dolphins surprised the Pats last week, and the Bills surprised the Bears (and me). Who gets it this week? Going with the Bills at home.

Lions at Panthers: Everyone seems high on the Lions after they beat the Giants - convincingly - last week. Then again, that was the Giants. They will NOT put up 35 on the Panthers, who I think are going to win this one.

Falcons at Bengals: Bengals. Speaking of not being able to put up 30+ points.

Saints at Browns: Saints. Who are going to take out their anger about their divisional loss last week on the hapless Cleveland team.

Patriots at Vikings: Speaking of taking out frustration about a loss, I also have the Pats this week.

Cardinals at Giants: Cardinals. The Giants are in a world of hurt this year.

Cowboys at Titans: Titans. Same thing on the Cowboys.

Jaguars at Washington: I don't think Washington will sleep on the Jags after last week's first half showing, and I think they'll be able to take them.

Seahawks at Chargers: Seahawks, see above RE: juggernaut.

Rams at Buccaneers: Bucs. This is looking like a tough year for the Rams.

Chiefs at Broncos: Would love to pick the Chiefs, but I just can't. I'm not that delusional about Andy Reid. Broncos.

Jets at Packers: Packers. They won't start 0-2.

Texans at Raiders: Texans. The Raiders remain really bad.

Bears at 49ers: 49ers. The Bears WILL start 0-2. But it's their own fault, because they should've beat the Bills last week.



08 September 2014

A Tale of Two Halves

Eagles 34, Jaguars 17, Sunday, September 7, 2014 
 
For the first time in I don't even know how long, we had to cancel our season-opener football party because Chef Spouse had to work this weekend. Now, by Sunday, he was working from home, but he was still working. And this was for a client that is not, shall we say, his favorite. I was watching the game on the big screen in the woman cave. He was watching with the sound off on the small TV in the kitchen while he worked. His comment at half time: "You sound even more pissed at the Eagles than I am at [client's name redacted for assholery]."

Stud of the week: for a while there, it was looking like it would be "nobody." But I have to give it to
new Eagle Darren Sproles. While the team was stinking it up in the first half, he came out in the second half all "Don't worry y'all - I got you!" And then ran 49 yards for a TD on the Eagles first possession to get them on the board. FINALLY. Welcome to Philly, baby.

I have to give a pretty big shout-out to Nickfolesian Dynamite, too. He SUCKED in the first half. Pick and two sack fumbles leading directly to two TDs. I was having flash backs to that horrible game against Dallas last October. The boos as the team headed into the locker room at half time were DEAFENING. Even on TV. The entire team was playing like someone spiked their Gatorade with Xanax.

And he just shook it off. Like "whatevs, I'm cool."

It would have been easy for the team to get down after that awful first half. Allen Hurns was giving me visions of James Stark in the season opener in 2007. Foles - well, we've already talked about that. The receivers couldn't catch. The defenders couldn't defend. The coaches didn't have a good game plan against the Jaguars. THE JAGUARS. Evan Mathias went down. Lane Johnson replacement Allen Barbre went down. PICK IN THE ENDZONE. AAAARGGHHH! Did everyone have warm milk with breakfast rather than coffee?

The second half was...well, like I expected the first half to be.

Sproles scored. Ertz scored. Mac scored. Hell, even Fletcher Cox scored (love to see a fat boy lumber into the endzone). Donnie Jones was money. Brandon Boykin was money (of course). Cody Parkey's got a LEG. Connor Barwin was Captain "DENIED" with the batted passes.

It was like there was an entirely different team playing. I have visions of the Chippah's half time speech, "Did I mention that y'all could be PLAYING IN JACKSONVILLE TOMORROW if you don't shape up? Or even worse: you can follow DeSean to DC. I'll do it. Don't test me."

Yeah, if the Eagles play against a GOOD team like they did against the Jags in the first half, there will be no coming back. But they didn't cave or fall apart or mope or Manningface. They just came out and dd what they needed to do to get the expected win.

Oh - and all the McNabb agita? As I read it, all he said was that it's too early to know if Nick Foles is a franchise QB. He had an historic year last year, but we can't know yet if that was a fluke. And Big 5 is 100% right. But the stones Nick showed Sunday give me hope.

04 September 2014

2014 Week 1 Picks

In the first week of the season, the only thing we all know is that we know nothing, previous blog posts perhaps to the contrary.

All the speculation...the OTAs...minicamp...training camp...the preseason...nothing.

Truly, it all starts now. Anything could happen. Teams could be much better than last year - or much worse. Rookies, new free agents, new coaching staff, new schemes, injuries, team chemistry. It's all a mystery.

Other than this one fact: the Jaguars are barely a football team. No I don't mean "barely a PROFESSIONAL football team." I mean "barely a football team." As in my 9-year-old nephew Duce's Pop Warner team could probably give them trouble.

The Eagles will have NO trouble starting their season right with a home win.

In the other matchups, the rest of these picks are a total crapshoot:

Packers at Seahawks: The Seahawks rarely lose at home, and I expect that trend to continue this week. Seahawks.

Saints at Falcons: Saints. What on earth are the Falcons going to do without Tony Gonzalez?

Bengals at Ravens: Bengals. Distraction, distraction, distraction. Also, I wish the Ravens ill this year. Two words: Ray Rice.

Bills at Bears: Bears.

Washington at Texans: Texans.

Titans at Chiefs: Chiefs.

Patriots at Dolphins: Patriots. Just mark them down for 6 NFC East wins right now.

Raiders at Jets: Jets. The Raiders remain just dreadful.

Browns at Steelers: Steelers. They may be old, but at least they have the memory of how to play football to fall back on.

Vikings at Rams: I would've chosen the Rams before San Bradford went down, and I think I'm still going with them, but it's a much tougher call.

49ers at Cowboys: 49ers.

Panthers at Buccaneers: Buccaneers, surprising everyone. It's my upset pick.

Colts at Broncos: Could go either way on this one, so I think I'm taking the Broncos at home.

Giants at Lions: Same, so Lions.

Chargers at Cardinals: Chargers, who I picked to win the division, although the Cards could surprise us all.

03 September 2014

Picks for 2014

Welcome back, Snarkers!

Rumors of the death of this blog have been greatly exaggerated, although given my total radio silence for the ENTIRE off season, it would not have been unreasonable to think it was O-V-E-R.

But no! I am back, just in time, with my picks for the 2014 playoffs. So fire up your mocking engines, because my biz has been super-busy, which is good but also means I have literally NO idea what's happened in the off-season. You could tell me that they added a new division per conference, went to a 19 game season, and the Washington team FINALLY changed its name, and I'd be all, "Really? That's interesting!" So these are likely to be even more ridiculous than usual.

AFC East

Patriots. Playing in a division that is teh suck has its advantages. Although the Jets should be at least a little better this year, and not just because they picked up Mike Vick to help teach Geno Smith how to be a quarterback, since Rex Ryan apparently can't be bothered.

AFC North

Bengals. The Steelers are over the hill, the Ravens are distracted, and the Browns have done yet another terrible job of drafting a QB (see above, RE: Brady Quinn, Colt McCoy, Brandon Weeden). Default pick, but I think a logical one.


AFC South

Colts. Again with the weak division. Can the Texans get their mojo back? Two words for you: Ryan Fitzpatrick. Titans also look like they might not be terrible this year. The Jaguars? Are they even still a team?


AFC West

Chargers. They, like my beloved Iggles, perennially underperform. But I can't see the Broncos repeating last year, particularly since the Seahawks showed the key to defeating them in the Super Bowl (Defense: Have One). I expect good things from the Chiefs, too, but the Chargers look solid on both sides of the ball.


AFC Wildcard

Dare I go all West? Broncos and Chiefs. Yes, the Broncos can be beat, and Peyton can't play forever, but they appear to still be capable of putting up a shit ton of points. A lot of people are down on the Chiefs this year, and they did peter out after a strong start last year, but I still believe in Andy Reid.

NFC East

Eagles. Speaking of benefiting from a weak division, the Washington team, the Giants, and the Cowboys all have SERIOUS flaws (and a lot of aging players). The Eagles are pretty much the consensus pick - and the consensus pick to go down early in the playoffs. I dearly hope the defence continues their improving trend from late last year, otherwise that one-and-done prediction for the playoffs will be a lock.

NFC North

Packers. Dull pick, but ARodg and what looks, at least on paper, like an outstanding defense also make it the smart pick

NFC South

Saints. Who, much like the Broncos, can SCORE POINTS. Although I think the Buccaneers are also likely to be quite good, particularly defensively (did I mention I wanted the Eagles to get Lovie?). As are the Panthers, also on the strength of their defense. The Falcons are likely to be odd man out here, with neither a top defense or a top offense.

NFC West

49ers. Also repeating as maybe the toughest division in football, with three strong teams and one up-and-comer in the Rams, whose progress has been a little slowed down due to Sam Bradford's ACL. And how things have changed on that front! 

NFC Wildcard

Seahawks (unless they win the division) and Panthers. Although as I write this, the NFL Network is reporting that Cam Newton is injured (cracked rib), so that might turn out to be a BAD pick.


Team of Destiny

I think I'm going with the Buccaneers. They are DEFINITELY going to be better than 4-12 this year. I even debated picking them for a wildcard spot. Don't let me down, Lovie!


Think I'm full of shit? Check out what the experts have to say:

CBS Sports - John Breech
CBS Sports - Pat Kirwin
ESPN - NFL Nation
ESPN - Colin Cowherd
Sports Illustrated
More Sports Illustrated
Bleacher Report


04 March 2014

Farewell #81

We all pretty much knew this was coming, particularly after the Eagles offered Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin good deals, but Jason Avant's time with the Eagles has come to an end.

To quote Jeff Lurie:
There have not been any players who've represented Eagles with more class and dignity.
He was the first player to wear #81 after the T.O. debacle, and he also restored the class and dignity of the number.

Although he was never a flashy player, he is 13th on the all-time Eagles receiving yards list, and, at least at Chez Snark, was known as Jason "Hands" Avant, aka Mr. Third Down. He has specialized throughout his tenure with the Eagles in circus catches made above him, below him, behind him, on the sidelines, etc. for critical third down conversions.

Witness:

Once the starting QB position shifted to Nick Foles, though, the writing was on the wall. Jason never seemed to have the connection with Foles he enjoyed with Donovan McNabb and Mike Vick, and he became much more of a run blocker in 2013. He remained, however, an acknowledged leader of the locker room. By releasing him before the start of free agency, the Eagles give him the best possible shot at landing somewhere great, which I sincerely hope he will.

With that, I'll leave you with what may be his greatest play as an Eagle:


Typically unselfish, he laid the monster but clean block that sprang DeSean for the TD, giving himself a concussion in the process. (Have I mentioned that Chef Spouse and I were there? Because we were.)

Godspeed and good luck, Jason. I'll continue to wear your #81 jersey with pride.

10 January 2014

2013 Divisional Weekend Picks

Yes, my team is out of it, but I'm still watching the playoffs religiously and picking the games, same.

Last week was a tough one - I got two (49ers and Colts) and missed two (Eagles and Bengals). Let's see if I can do any better this week.

Saints at Seahawks: Because of my love of the city and writing for Chicks in the Huddle (among other things), I have many New Orleanian Saints fan friends (most of whom were very nice after last week's loss). One of them in particular was chatting with me about the rest of the playoffs. I congratulated her on her team's win and pointed out that I didn't like their chances this week. Neither did she. Seahawks.

Colts at Patriots: The Colts have been really inconsistent, particularly since losing Reggie Wayne. The Pats are REALLY young and REALLY banged up. Tom Brady plays great football in the playoffs, and they're at home. I give the Pats the slight edge because of the Brady/Belichick/selling of their souls combo, homefield, and the fact that the weather's going to be for shit on Saturday and the Colts are a dome team.

49ers at Panthers: These two teams match up really well - hot, top 5 defenses, middle of the pack offenses led by quarterbacks who can be explosive and who can also do really dumb shit occasionally. So, if this year's playoff pattern holds, that means the game will end up 51-48.  Just about everybody has the 49ers, and I think I'm on the bandwagon, too, but I think it will be a close game.

Chargers at Broncos:  EVERYBODY has the Broncos. But I remember that the Chargers won in Denver a month ago, and I also remember that while Peyton Manning may be the greatest quarterback to ever play the position, he's not brilliant in the playoffs. I'm going with the Chargers in the upset.