25 November 2015

2015 Week 12 Picks

Happy Thanksgiving, football fans!

I'm hoping you have much to be thankful for this year. I know I do: Chef Spouse, good health, nearing the end of my third year running a successful business, friends who make me laugh and think, Lifelong Eagles Fan Mom, You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I'm-Turning-Off-the TV Dad, my brother Dorkman, the lovely Mrs. Dorkman, and their kids, engrossing hobbies (some of which I'm actually pretty good at), a full wine fridge, the privilege of living in a hip and exciting neighborhood in Washington, DC, one of the prettiest and most interesting cities in the world, the three pies I baked this afternoon. Lots of good.

You notice I did not mention the Eagles there.

That was intentional.

You'll also notice that just about everyone is picking the Lions on Thanksgiving, despite the fact that they currently have a worse record than the Eagles.

I've pretty much given up on the Birds this year. I'm not in the "fire Chip!" camp yet, or even in the "fire Chip the GM!" camp. I get that he's focused on the fact that 10-6 isn't good enough and that he was willing to blow shit up to try to be better. And that it might take more than a few months to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. Intellectually, I understand.

That doesn't make this season any more fun.

Will the Birds win another game in 2015? I suppose it's possible, but I wouldn't bet the mortgage.


In the other matchups:

Panthers at Cowboys: Panthers

Packers at Bears: Packers

Raiders at Titans: Raiders

Bills at Chiefs: Chiefs

Buccaneers at Colts: Colts (upset pick)

Giants at DC: Giants (who are probably going to win the division this year, for as much good as that will do)

Saints at Texans: Saints (also an upset pick, but they're coming off their bye and firing Rob Ryan, so I'm hopeful that they'll turn it around, at least enough to beat the Texans)

Vikings at Falcons: Falcons

Rams at Bengals: Bengals

Chargers at Jaguars: Jaguars - also worst game of the week (well, other than the Eagles game, of course)

Dolphins at Jets: Jets

Cardinals at 49ers: Cardinals

Steelers at Seahawks: Steelers

Patriots at Broncos: So want the Broncos to win, so don't think they will - Pats

Ravens at Browns: A lot of people are down on the Ravens at this point, and I get that, but the ESPN analysts are UNIVERSALLY picking the Browns, and that seems crazy to me. I'm going to be contrary and pick the Ravens as a result.

23 November 2015


Philadelphia Eagles 17, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 45, Sunday, November 22, 2015

Other D words: Disaster. Disgusting. Demolished. Demoralizing. Dreadful.

Stud of week: Um....I seriously can't come up with anyone. Josh Huff had a TD and then vanished.
Darren Sproles had a TD, and then ended up in a screaming match with Mark Sanchez on the sideline. Caleb Sturgis, for making a totally pointless 43 yard field goal (what was Chip thinking?)? Donnie Jones, who at least punted well this week? Oh! I know! Walter Thurmond, who had a forced fumble and a sack. And was apparently the only member of the defense who hadn't accidentally taken an Ambien right before the game started. ("What? They told me it was a Tic-Tac!")

Look, everyone expects Mark Sanchez to do some good things, and some very, very bad things. Like throwing three picks. Comes with the territory. But I was expecting the Birds to ride their strong D to a good game - and a win.

So tell me: how did what was a well-ranked run defense allow the most ground yards since 1973?How did they only record ONE sack on a rookie QB? Why did Billy Davis not call for some blitzes? ANY BLITZES? How did they manage to make DOUG MARTIN look like freaking Emmit Smith? And Jameis Winston look like Tom Brady? THE BUCS STARTED THE SECOND HALF WITH A NEARLY TEN MINUTE DRIVE THAT RESULTED IN YET ANOTHER TD. (Yes, I know I'm shouting. You should've heard me yesterday.)

The only good thing was that yesterday was our monthly football party, so I had a large crowd of friends around me to distract and console me, and quite a few kids here to keep me from bursting a blood vessel screaming imprecations at the TV.

At this point, this team gives hot messes a bad name. You do realize that they're about to lose to the 3-7 Lions on Thanksgiving, right? Gee, that win over Dallas sure was fun. Apparently, I should've recorded that game so I could just re-watch it for the next six weeks.

And ahead? The Patriots (where the Dec. 6 game is no longer the national game and I'm thinking seriously about not watching because I don't know if my eyeballs can stand THE HORROR). The Bills (and don't think LeSean McCoy doesn't want to embarrass Chip Kelly). The Cardinals. Oh my God, SEND BOURBON. STAT.

Wait let's think: we could eat the Thanksgiving meal mid-day and skip the Lions (or just drink heavily through it). The Pats, I may just skip. Because there's no way that ends well. The Bills, I'll be at my winter dance performance. The Cardinals, I'll be in New Orleans. The DC team, well, that's Boxing Day and Rebirth is playing here in DC, which is starting to look REALLY appealing. And I'll be in Aruba on January 3 for the Giants game.  I may be able to miss most of the rest of the 2015 season! Go me!

Wow, that's Depressing.

19 November 2015

2015 Week 11 Picks

This week, the Eagles host the 4-5 Buccaneers. Much like with the Dolphins last week, this *should* be a relatively easy win for the Birds. The Bucs have a rookie QB who has been inconsistent in the first half of the season (not surprising - that's what you get when you start a rookie). They give up a lot of points and a lot of yards. Even with Mark Sanchez under center, this should be an easy win.

On the other hand, Jameis Winston is playing a lot better recently, and the Birds seem to be making losing games they should win their thing this year.

Once again, pretty much all the experts have the Eagles, and I still believe (and *last* week was Official Upset Week Of The 2015 Season, right?), so I'm picking the Birds, but this team is so damn frustrating this year, pretty much no outcome would surprise me.

In the other matchups:

Titans at Jaguars: Pretty much everyone has the Jaguars, but I'm taking the Titans with the upset. Also, I'm REALLY glad I have PFunk tickets for tonight, because this is going to be the worst game of the week.

Raiders at Lions: Raiders

Colts at Falcons:  After a strong start, the Falcons have stumbled lately, but I still think they'll be able to take care of business at home. Falcons.

Jets at Texans: Both of these teams surprised me last week, Jets with a loss and Texans with a win (and then there were two - undefeated teams, that is). Will that happen again this week? Nah - Jets.

Broncos at Bears: Is the Peyton Manning era coming to an end? Is the guy who backs him up any good? Guess we'll start finding out Sunday, and lots of people are calling the Bears as a result, but the Broncos have been winning this year in spite of Peyton and thanks to their top-ranked D, and that hasn't changed. Broncos.

Rams at Ravens:  Nick Foles has been benched, never a good sign. The Rams should be able to win this one, particularly with the Ravens in some sort of a tailspin, but I think the Ravens will pull this one out at home. Although, again, probably *not* the game to watch in the 1 pm timeslot.

Cowboys at Dolphins: Will it be the triumphant return of Tony Romo? Well, he's supposed to be back, and amazingly, although it's highly unlikely the 2-7 Cowboys will make the playoffs, in the NFC (l)East this year, it's not impossible. While it would be REALLY helpful if the Dolphins could beat the Boys for us this week (it's the least they owe us after LAST week), I suspect the Return of the Romo will give the Boys a boost. Cowboys.

DC at Panthers: Panthers

Chiefs at Chargers: Chiefs

Packers at Vikings: ARodg is hurt, too. Rough year for QBs. I like the Vikings top-ranked D and Adrian Peterson's wheels to give them the win at home. Vikings.

49ers at Seahawks: Seahawks. A year ago, this would've been a good game.

Bengals at Cardinals: Now this WILL be a good game. Will the Bengals drop two in a row? I don't think so. Bengals.

Bills at Patriots: Pats

On bye: Browns, Giants, Saints, Steelers (and this is the end of the bye weeks)

16 November 2015


Philadelphia Eagles 19, Miami Dolphins 20, Sunday, November 15, 2015

It was obviously Official Upset Sunday. Seriously, I'm at 6-7 going into MNF, which has me at my worst weekly pick record of the season regardless of what happens tonight, and I'm doing *better* than most of the experts. Why didn't someone warn me?

Stud of the week: Brent Celek. HUGE game from the veteran tight end. 4 for 134 and a long of 60.
Good to see a guy who's usually relied on to block lighting it up. For all the good it did. Not that that's Brent's fault.

The first quarter was great. The Dolphins scored a field goal, but then the Birds answered right back with a TD set up by Celek's 60 yard catch and run. On the next possession, the defense forced a safety, and then the Birds scored AGAIN, also set up by a long Celek catch and run.

And I'm thinking to myself: "We're finally going to have a win that's never in question, a game that's fun and relaxing to watch, and it looks like the fact that EVERYONE called the Birds isn't going to be the kiss of death for once this year."

Not so fast, Sparky.

First Caleb Sturgis killed us by missing a 32 yard field goal. THIRTY TWO YARDS!!! Did I mention that the margin of loss was ONE POINT?!?!?!

Then Donnie Jones killed us with a blocked punt (not entirely his fault).

Jason Kelce killed us all damn day. "That was the worst game of my entire career" indeed. Actually the entire O-line was killing us, culminating in Chris McCain killing us by knocking out Sam Bradford (both literally and figuratively), who was actually playing really well.

Miles Austin killed us by whiffing on a totally catchable long pass from Sam, by not dragging his toe on a sure TD, and by contributing to the final nail in the coffin (see below) because that end zone pick was at least partly on him.

Then Jarvis Landry killed us by making a miracle catch off a Connor Barwin batted pass in the middle of ALL THE EAGLES IN THE WORLD, including Vince Papale, Jaws, and ghost of Chuck Bednarik, and NONE of them came down with it.

Then Riley Cooper killed us by a freaking illegal shift penalty that took a Zach Ertz TD off the boards.

Finally, Mark Sanchez delivered the coup de grace, throwing (say it with me) a pick in the end zone on 2nd and goal with four minutes to go (MILES AUSTIN) and the Birds down BY ONLY ONE POINT.

Here's the real problem: the NFC East is terrible. Like, EPICALLY bad. Why is that a problem? Because in a normal year, Bleeding Green Nation could look at the 4-5 record and settle in for the final seven games, knowing that the playoffs were out of reach, so we could all just sit back, drink our beer, and enjoy the games in peace, regardless of the outcome.

This year? 7-9 could easily win this crappy division, which means the Birds are still alive, which means we all have to keep caring about whether they win or lose.

Seven more games to go.

13 November 2015

2015 Week 10 Picks, Part 2

The Birds are officially entering the second half of the season, which will see them hosting 5 of their remaining 8 games, at .500. (Not that home field seems to be much of an advantage for the Eagles these days, but I attribute that more to Chip preparing them to play in loud/hostile territory than to any lack of support from the Philly Phaithful.)

And speaking of hosting, this week, they've got the perplexing Dolphins. I say "perplexing" because they fired their head coach maybe the earliest any team has ever done that, in their early bye week, after a 1-3 start, with two of those losses being divisional games. Since then, they've beat two bad teams (the Titans and the Texans) and lost two more divisional games. I'm not sure that's progress, particularly given the fact that Joe Philbin hadn't been there very long. Looks like those big off-season contracts for Ryan Tanehill and Ndamukong Suh didn't have quite the effect the Dolphins were hoping for.

Just about everybody's picked the Eagles (although the same could be said for the Jets last night, and thanks a lot for starting me in an 0-1 hole this week, Jets), and I think the Birds should pull this one off, too, but I am worried about Jason Peters's back and Malcolm Jenkins's head and whether or not DeMeco Ryans will be good to go (because with no rookie sensation Jordan Hicks, the Birds need him). But all those situations are probably manageable, particularly since the Jenkins thing doesn't appear to be serious.

As long as the Eagles don't get caught looking ahead (to the Bucs? yeah, we're probably safe there), this should be a win, and hopefully a less "I'M ABOUT TO HAVE A STROKE" win than last week.

In the other matchups...

Damn Jets.

Lions at Packers: Packers (and man, have the Lions fallen apart this year)

Cowboys at Buccaneers: Tony Romo is the X factor here, and he's still not back. I'm taking a Bucs upset.

Panthers at Titans: 9-0, here they come! Panthers.

Bears at Rams: I'm going with the Rams on the strength of their D, because Nick Foles has  not been brilliant, but the Bears have been worse.

Saints at Washington: The Saints can still score some points, and after a promising start, the Washington defense has disappointed. Saints.

Browns at Steelers: Steelers, who just keep on rolling no matter who's on the field, which is rather extraordinary.

Jaguars at Ravens: This should be an easy pick for the Ravens, but they've been so bad this year. I think they'll probably pull off the home win, but I also think this will be the worst game of the week.

Vikings at Raider: Both of these teams are impressing this year, and I think they're pretty evenly matched, but the Vikings are shutting opposing offenses down, and I think they'll be able to do that Sunday as well. Vikings.

Patriots at Giants: The G-men are the Pats kryptonite, although Tom Brady is playing with an awfully big chip on his shoulder this year. I really want to call the upset, but I don't think I can. Pats. (watch, this will be the week I'm wrong about that)

Chiefs at Broncos: Speaking of great defense, Broncos.

Cardinals at Seahawks: Cardinals

Texans at Bengals: Speaking of 9-0, guess who else will get there? Bengals.

On bye: 49ers, Chargers, Colts, Falcons

12 November 2015

2015 Week 10 Picks, Part 1

Thursday kind of got away from me, and I have theater tickets tonight, so I'll have to write my full picks for the week tomorrow morning, but I just wanted to get this one out there before the game starts:

Bills at Jets: Jets

More to follow....

09 November 2015

Is It OK to Look Now?

Philadelphia Eagles 33, Dallas Cowboys 27, Sunday, November 8, 2015 

I have to be honest, I missed the end of regulation. When the officials called not ONE but TWO totally bogus defensive pass interference penalties on Byron Maxwell to keep the Cowboys' final drive going and send the game into overtime, I was so enraged, I thought I was going to stroke out, and I was exiled to the backyard to cool off. As I said at the time (well, once I'd calmed down): "It's one thing if the bad calls are going both ways. But when one team is CLEARLY benefitting, it's a problem."

[Side note: When it went to OT, Fellow Eagles Maniac remarked: "Byron Maxwell will probably get a PI call during the coin toss." I was seriously afraid she was going to be right.]

In the end, it all worked out, but not before I nearly set Chef Spouse's bestie's neighborhood on fire.

Stud of the game: Jordan Hicks. Who is making a strong case for defensive rookie of the year. He's had an amazing season so far, with last night's pick-6 and five tackles (and one assist) adding on to his already impressive season numbers. Hope that injury he sustained at the end of the game is just a bruise, because the Birds' resurgent D needs him.

Also, Jordan Matthews seems to have gotten over his dropsies. I don't know who threatened to trade him to the Jaguars during the bye week, but good job! Give that guy a cookie!

Also: Brandon Graham. TWO strip-sacks. Sadly, the Birds recovered neither, but that's not his fault.

Also: Caleb Sturgis. 53 yard field goal?!?!? WHUUUUTTTT??? Somebody's been eating his Wheaties. Or also got threatened with a trade to Jacksonville. Whatever - it's working.

Also: replacement o-linemen Lane Johnson and Dennis Kelly. Yes, the Cowboys' defense really is good, and yes, they were able to control both the pass rush (ONE sack on Sammy) and the LOS for the run (the Birds gained 173 yards on the ground, with several of those gains extending critical drives). I was really nervous about going into this game missing Jason Peters, and the backups stepped up in a BIG way.

Also: Sam Bradford. When the game went to OT, I was even more despondent, because I had no faith that Sam would get it done. I take it back. I was totally wrong, and Sam, I'm sorry I doubted you. You were clutch last night, all night, but particularly in OT. If this is true (and there's no reason to think it's not), THAT IS BALLER. Happy 28th Sam! (We'll talk about your need to play like this CONSISTENTLY later, after you've had a chance to enjoy your win.)

Two areas for Chip to improve on: I don't even know WTF was up at the end of the half, but whatever it was, it didn't work. And could you possibly try a different set of plays to start a game at some point, Chip? EVERYONE seems to know what's going to be called, and if I see one more 3-and-out to start the game, I think I'm going to have a coronary (at least Chef Spouse's CPR training is up to date).

Nothing else to say but: Ain't no Monday like a Beat Dallas Monday!.

Actually, there IS one more thing to say: everyone's seen the horrific photos of Nicole Holder by now. Greg Hardy is a violent criminal. The Cowboys organization should be ashamed that he's still on the field. And I *could* bitch about that all the live-long day or harass him on Twitter. Or I could follow WIP's lead and make a donation to their GoFundMe campaign to benefit the Genesis Women's Shelter in Dallas, TX. Which is what I've just done, and you should, too.