Eagles at Chiefs, Saturday, December 24, 2005
One more game. One more game until this dismal season is over. And it can't come soon enough. With no hope of a post-season, or even finishing at .500, the only role left to us for New Year's Day is to play spoiler to the 'Skins' playoff hopes (assuming Dallas beats the Rams, which they should - c'mon, we beat the Rams). And frankly, the way we're playing now, that's not likely. I'll be at the game, but if you have a choice, I advise watching the Mummers' Parade instead - it will probably be a better show. Oh Dem Golden Slippers!
So we managed to lose a game to the previously 4-10 Arizona Cardinals, who've been wretched for their entire history. Not as wretched as us on Christmas Eve, but you get my point. We've come to the pass where we can't seem to get our shiz-nit together on either side of the ball. Our previously high-powered offense has turned completely inept.
Wait. That's not fair. I'm being insulting to inept people.
Our previously top-ranked defense has fallen to 27th in the NFL - as a reminder, that's out of 32 teams. Only the Chiefs (9-6), the Bills (5-10), the Rams (5-10), the 49ers (3-12), and the pathetic Texans (2-13) rank lower. Of course, our offense is so pitiful at this point that our D ends up on the field for 56 minutes and change of a 60 minute game, so it's no wonder they're a little inconsistent - they're exhausted.
Speaking of our D, only one Eagle, Jeremiah Trotter, was selected for the 2005 Pro Bowl. Last year 10, this year 1. That seems about right, since we’re about 1/10 as good this year as we were last year.
Was I the only one who panicked when McMahon went down, Detmer came in, and he decided to block on a play. Koy! You're not that big, you're not that young, and you're our last resort. You get hurt, and Brad Childress is going to have to suit up and get into the huddle. Well, at least he'd know the plays, unlike McMahon, who still seems vaguely confused most of the time. It's a complex offense, but you've had two months to get it together there, Sparky.
And is it even physically possible to amass more penalties than we have in the past two months? I know we have a lot of rookies playing, at least on offense, but shouldn't they be getting better by now? How many false starts can you have in one game anyway? (Wait - don't answer that.) What's the record? I'll bet we hold it at this point.
Frankly, the other games were a lot more exciting this week. Not that stomping, fuming, throwing things, and swearing at the Eagles aren’t exciting, but...Going into the last game of the season, two NFC divisions - South and East - still aren't decided. No team in the NFC South has even clinched a playoff spot yet. The Giants had the chance to wrap up East with a win over the Skins in Landover Saturday, and they just couldn't get it done. Yeah, I see them going down in the first round of the playoffs.
AFC divisions are all locked up at this point: Pats, Bengals, Colts, and Broncos, with the Colts holding dome field advantage and the Broncos with the other bye. Jaguars have a wildcard, and the Steelers are looking like the sixth AFC team. So not a lot at risk there on Sunday, particularly since Pittsburgh gets to end their season against the Lions.
NFC West is owned by the Seahawks, who also clinched home field with a win over the Colts Saturday afternoon. Preview of the Super Bowl? Nah - the Seahawks played like they had something on the line - which they did, home field - and the Colts played like they had it all wrapped up (which they do), taking starters out early in the game even though it led to a loss. And the Bears own NFC North. The six remaining teams in West and North are stinkin' up the joint. The only one that even has a winning record is the Vikings.
Sunday's games will decide the East and South. East could go to Giants with a win over the Raiders, which even they should be able to pull off, or with losses by the 'Skins to us (don't bet on it) and by Dallas to the Rams (likewise). I see all three teams winning, which means Giants will take East and the Redskins will take a wildcard spot. South is down to the Panthers and the Bucs, both teams at 10-5. The Bucs will definitely beat the Saints Sunday, and the Panthers should beat the Falcons, which would give the battered Bucs the division and the Panthers the other wildcard spot. But the Bucs are so beat down they're likely to go down in the first round of the playoffs as well.
New Year's Day will also witness the Bush Bowl: the 3-12 49ers and the 2-13 Texans will play for the right to draft Reggie Bush (the Saints, Packers, and Jets are all also 3-12 at this point). Which raises the question: once your season is that far in the toilet, do you lose on purpose to improve your draft standing? I think the Texans should seriously consider it, if they haven't already.
Hey - maybe that's been AR's secret strategy since D-Mac went down so spectacularly during week 10's Monday Night Football debacle....
Deadspin Up All Night: The Sky's Falling Baby
49 minutes ago