31 December 2006

Lions/Cowboys

A. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! Oh man, that was funny!

B. Congratulations, Eagles, NFC East Champions (for the 5th time in 6 years).

Also, our practice squad is currently beating the Falcons. Hear that sound, Jim Mora? It's Art Blank packing your bags for you.

A year ago tomorrow, I was at the Linc with Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom, You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad, and Chef Spouse watching our Eagles lose to the Redskins to go 6-10 at the bottom of the NFC East. What a difference a year makes....

A vote: wildcard Cowboys, one-and-done? You make the call....


29 December 2006

2006 Week 17 Picks

This is it, football fans. All questions will be resolved in 3 short days.

Is there any way we don't beat the Falcons at home in this, our season finale? No way, man. They're a mess from stem to stern, and meanwhile, we are on a roll, baby. NFC East Championship, here we come! Better chill that bubbly, Eagles fans!

Watched SportsCenter at all this week? Then you've heard that TO's pulling the Cowboys apart right on schedule. But they do have their wildcard spot, and I just don't see them falling apart badly enough to lose to the 2-13 Lions. Of course, if they do, I will NEVER stop laughing.

Speaking of teams that are falling apart, the Giants are in a major tailspin. Major enough to lose to the Skins and miss the playoffs? Yeah, maybe. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Skins steal this one, particularly with Michael Strahan out again - maybe for good - and Shockey unlikely. Not that JShock's been any great shakes on receiving or running this year, but at least he can block. Of course, if all five 7-8 NFC teams lose this week - a distinct possibility - the Giants could squeak into the playoffs with a 7-9 record. Oh, the shame!

The Saints get to beat the Panthers at home in their season finale. Isn't that nice? They'll finish the season 11-5, looking (to me at least) like serious Super Bowl contenders (particularly given how the Bears have looked recently). Sean Payton better make a spot on his bookshelf for that Coach of the Year trophy.

Browns/Texans: MY EYES! MY EYES! AAAAGGGHHHH! Worst Game of the Week.

Jaguars/Chiefs: Jags! You were supposed to be a contender for AFC South! Two inconsistent 8-7 teams, both with extremely slim playoff hopes. Coin flip says Jags, but really, who cares? (Well, other than the Bengals, since one of their possible playoff scenarios necessitates a Chiefs win.)

Pats/Titans: yet another situation of "Team A (Titans) are in IF they win AND Team B loses AND Team C loses AND Team D wins." C'mon. And the Pats don't tend to be a "let's rest everyone now" bunch. The Titans are also on a roll and could win this game, but the playoffs are pretty unlikely.

Raiders/Jets: OK, so here's one scenario that's going to happen - the Jets WILL clinch one of the AFC wildcards. And any of those Team A --> Team B --> Team C --> Team D scenarios that necessitate a Jets loss as one of the steps? Not gonna happen.

Steelers/Bengals: Boy, I don't know. The Steelers are out of it, so all that remains to them is to play spoiler to the Bengals' playoff hopes. Which they'd love to do. Let's call it a win for the Steelers, bringing them to .500 for the season, and knocking the Bengals out of the playoffs.

Seahawks/Bucs: I've said it before, and I'll say it again: the Seahawks are lucky they play in the weakest division in the NFL. Yeah, the Bucs are terrible, but the Seahawks could find a way to lose to them, winning their division at .500. How humiliating.

Rams/Vikings: Another game where all the Vikings can do is play spoiler. Of course, the Rams need pretty much every other NFC game to fall out exactly one way in order to make the playoffs, since there's only one open wildcard, so that ain't gonna happen, but I do see them ending their season with a win.

Cardinals/Chargers: If the Chargers decide to rest everyone, which they won't since they're still playing for home field, the Cardinals might have a chance.

Bills/Ravens: See above.

Dolphins/Colts: Hey, another two teams that are both falling apart! I suspect the Colts will pull it together enough to beat the Dolphins in an attempt to get the bye (which is unlikely, since it would also require the Ravens to lose), only to lose their first playoff game. Like usual. Securing the bye only postpones the inevitable.

49ers/Broncos: the Broncos can take the other AFC wildcard just by winning, no other contingencies required. Which is exactly what they're going to do.

Packers/Bears: Does Lovie Smith decide to rest everyone? The Packers sure would appreciate it, since then they'd have a shot at winning at Soldier Field. But if the Packers take the other NFC wildcard, I'm going to have to listen to ANOTHER year of "Brett Favre this," "Brett Favre that," "Brett Favre is SOOO great," and I just don't think I can take it. Bears, do you hear me?

Want more info on the playoff scenarios? Check out The NFL Playoff site.


26 December 2006

2006 Week 16 Recap

Eagles at Cowboys, Monday, December 25, 2006

In attendance: Chef Spouse, Ex-Navy Cheesehead, Shoegal, and Everyone Should Have a General Contractor Friend.

Menu: shrimp, asparagus with prosciutto, crudities, Chef Spouse's fabulous totally-from-scratch, 3-day-process boeuf bourguignon, brussels sprouts, broccoli, chocolate torte, champagne, REALLY good red wine, eggnog. Happy holidays!

Well, Santa must have been in an especially forgiving mood this year because I got the Manolos, and the Jimmys, a DVD of Invincible (which I'm watching as I type this) and the BEST. GAME. EVER.


The football crew started the game by popping the champagne, and I made a goofy little speech about how proud I am of my team for not giving up when everyone called them dead and for still being in it in week 16. I noted that we only needed to win one of the two remaining games to secure a playoff spot, and that as a first round bye was already out of reach, while the NFC East title would be great, it wouldn't really make any difference from a playoff perspective. Chef Spouse pointed out that, ostensibly, the NFC East crown would mean playing an easier team the weekend of January 6-7. Of course, this season, who can say who's an easier team? (See below re: Texans/Colts.)

Soooo much praise to go around. It's like our whole team has found an extra gear.
Andy, Marty and Jim are calling games really well at this point. Westy had ANOTHER 100+ rushing yard game. Lito had ANOTHER key interception, as did Dawk. Aside from that one TD pass, Dawk made TO STFU. Our D has found their spine again - that goal-line stand on Marion Barber was gorgeous. Rod Hood got the first sack of his career. Matt Schobel got his first TD of the year. Even Akers seems to have his mojo back, nailing 3 FGs, including an incredible 45 yarder as time expired in the first half. Donte Stallworth even blocked efficiently! And it looked like Juqua Thomas' ONLY job the whole game was to pressure Romo. He never sacked Romo, but it seemed like he was in Romo's face every single play. Including while we were on offense. Garcia remembered that we have this guy called LJ Smith who McNabb used to hit for big plays pretty regularly, and, guess what? He hit LJ for a big play. Speaking of Garcia (who's older than I...barely), the guy's a beast. Did you see him running around the field with his arm all torn up, throwing hand STILL bandaged, buying time with his feet, throwing beautiful short and long passes, gaining 40+ yards on the ground himself and virtually always ending, not with the QB slide, but by plowing over some hapless Cowboys' defender? I'd almost think it was 'roid rage, if he wasn't way too small to be on the juice. Garcia claims to want to stay in Philly as a #2, and I sure hope he means it. "Merry Christmas, Philadelphia!" indeed.

TO's love-fest with the Ro-monster seems to be over. Did you see his post-game press conference, in which he whined about not getting the ball early, then getting thrown to late "when I'm not in a rhythm"? Waah-waah-waah. I've never been an NFL QB, so take my opinion with a grain of salt, but if I were Tony Romo, I'd be inclined to throw to guys who actually catch the ball - like maybe Terry Glenn or Jason Witten, for instance - rather than to a big crybaby who drops everything I'm putting on his numbers. Cue the shafting of the QB.

You know what else was pretty? Captain ME! gets all up in Dawk's cream cheese when he beats him for the TD, then when Dawk, total professional that he is, picks off a pass intended for TO in the endzone, he tosses the ball to the refs, turns his back on TO, and goes to celebrate with his teammates.

So what happened? Parcells made the usual noises about not preparing right and missed opportunities and whatever. But you know what I think it was? Every football pundit (other than Berman, who's gotta be from Philly originally, because he's a bigger homer than I am) called the Cowboys to win. So Tony Romo was more focused on semi-famous inamorata number 12 (and honestly, who gives a damn about frapping Carrie Underwood? Stop showing her and maybe show us some damn replays of "penalties" on the Eagles. Oh, that's right - they COULDN'T show a replay because there WAS no penalty. Biased zebras much? But I digress...) I think the whole team walked into Texas Stadium assuming it was a done deal and the NFC East crown was already theirs. Sorry, guys (no, I'm not). And more bad news? The Lions gave the Bears a run for it this week, so your final game might not be the cakewalk you're expecting. You might want to shut up and practice this week for a change.

Extra holiday love? Watching Michael Irvin eat crow on SportsCenter after the Jets/Dolphins game. Add Sean Salisbury's comments about TO on this morning's SportsCenter: "He's not a great receiver anymore. He's only one of many good wideouts." (I might not have that exact, but it's close.) Oh, SNAP! And our win secured the Saints a first round bye, which also makes me happy.

Around the rest of the NFL...

Oh crap, the Packers beat the Vikings, keeping their exceptionally slim playoff hopes alive. OK, it would take a miracle - particularly since they end their season against the Bears at Soldier field - but they are barely in the weak NFC playoff field. Does that mean another 6 months of "will he or won't he?" then ANOTHER season of paens to the Great Brett Favre? You're going to have to talk me down off the ledge. Seriously.

The Chiefs only beat the Raiders by 11 points, even though the Raiders turned the ball over basically every single time they touched it. So the Chiefs are still barely alive in the AFC race, but frankly, if you can't turn a gazillion turnovers into more than 20 points, it ain't happening.

The Ravens spanked the Steelers. Yeah, that was pretty much what I expected.

The Panthers/Falcons game was just pathetic. I can't believe we all thought the Panthers would be playoff contenders this year. I can't believe we all thought the Falcons might be a decent team. I sure hope the Eagles admin staff is on getting those "NFC East Champions" shirts and caps made up for the team, because I don't see how we don't beat the Falcons in our house next Sunday.

Excuse me, but did the 2-13 Lions almost beat the Bears? And Lovie Smith ended up pulling Rex for Brian Greise. That does not seem to be a good sign. I might be missing some of the finer points of coaching, but had Greise taken a snap all season? Is Lovie worried about the playoffs? I would be if I were him.

And speaking of upsets: The Texans led almost all game, the Colts tied it up late, and then Kris Brown knocks through a 48 yarder at the buzzer, if you'll excuse a mixed-sports metaphor. I can't figure the Texans out. They beat Jacksonville twice, Miami during the Daunte Culpepper mess, the Raiders, and then the Colts. Makes no damn sense at all. They'll probably finish 6-10 with a win over the Browns next week.

Speaking of the Jags, they dropped another game they could have won, to the Patriots this time, and will very likely miss the playoffs, although they're also still in it from a mathematical standpoint. So let's see: how many of my playoff picks punked me this year? 4? 5? All of them?

Dear Giants fans: be a man, sit down and WATCH your TEAM LOSE. At HALFTIME, people were streaming for the exits. Listen, I know it's painful, but sack up! Also, as a long-time Eagles fan I feel compelled to point out that if you leave early, you miss valuable booing time. Of course, the way things are going, you'll get a few more hours in next week as your team loses to the Skins and ends their season. I'm pretty sure the Chargers offer daily novenas in thanks that wittle Eli just couldn't stand the thought of the big, bad west coast.

Bad (Bucs) beat Worse (Browns) in the Suck Bowl.

The Titans beat the Bills, keeping their slim playoff chances alive. Look for the Titans to kick some AFC a** in the coming seasons.

Likewise, the Rams beat the Redskins on an OT TD by none other than go-to guy Steven Jackson, also keeping their slim playoff chances alive.

The Cardinals killed the 49ers' slim playoff hopes, beating them 26-20 in San Francisco.

The Broncos hung on to beat the Bengals thanks to a botched extra point. Who misses an extra point for God's sake?

And the Chargers did beat the Seahawks as I'd predicted, although the game was MUCH closer than I anticipated. Both teams looked really flat. It was not a brilliant game on either side. Too much nog?

Speaking of teams who didn't exactly look brilliant, the Jets did manage to hang on and beat the Dolphins, also staying alive in the playoff race, but at least they had the torrential Miami downpour as an excuse.


21 December 2006

2006 Week 16 Picks

Dear Santa: I have to admit, I've been a little naughty. But there are extenuating circumstances! And saucy photos (that I could send you if it might help get me off the hook). Anyway, all I want for Christmas is an Eagles' win over the Cowboys on Christmas Day. And a pair of Manolos. And Jimmys. Hey, Baby has expensive tastes.

We can totally take the Cowboys. And Garcia seems to really, really NOT like to lose. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, and my champagne chilled...

ThNF: I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus. Oh wait - it was Brett Favre. Old guy, beard - I was understandably confused. Anyway, I'm picking the Vikings, mostly because I don't like the Packers, but really put me down for "who cares?"

SaNF: Chiefs at Raiders. And the Chiefs go to 8-7. Which in the NFC would guarantee them at least a first round bye. In the AFC? They'll be watching the playoffs on TV.

Sunday games:

Ravens at Steelers: you know, in August I thought this game would be the deciding factor in the battle for AFC North. Yeah, I was completely wrong about that. The Ravens are still fighting it out with the Colts for that valuable first round bye. In other words, this game matters, big time, and I don't see them dropping it, even though the Steelers have been looking a lot better recently.

Blah blah, Steve Smith, blah blah Julius Peppers, blah blah Super Bowl. Blah. The Panthers look like a team that has given up. I'm picking the Falcons, even with an injured Mike Vick.

Bears at Lions: dude, it's Christmas Eve! Show some mercy! OK, fine, Scrooges at the NFL, force the Lions to be humiliated. On national TV. On a holiday. Big meanies.

The Colts should have no trouble with the Texans. And see above re: first round bye at stake. Which probably means they'll blow it.

Pats at Jags: let's see, the Jags played poorly last week, which means they should play well this week. And there are 4 AFC teams at 8-6 with only two playoff berths to share between them. Of course, the Pats don't have the division locked up yet, so they'll be playing like they mean it, too. Should be a good game, but if you look up "clutch" in the dictionary, there's a big old picture of Tom Brady, which means Pats win this one.

Saints, it was a one game slump. Shake it off and kill the Giants for us, OK?

Bucs at Browns, or as I like to call it, Bad at Worse. Most Painful Game of the Week. Blech.

The Titans/Bills game should be good, too. It would take a miracle, but neither team is technically out of the running for a wildcard spot yet. I'm increasingly liking the way the Titans are playing, so I'm picking them. Although I don't think either team will see playoff time this year.

Oh dear, poor Redskins. You're getting a little mojo back, way too late. Good luck against the Rams - go git 'em!

Cardinals at 49ers. Eh. But congratulations to Frank Gore on his first pro bowl selection!

Bengals/Broncos: two more of those 8-6 teams! The Bengals drubbing by the Colts last week was a shocker, but I think they're probably the stronger of the two teams (of Bengals/Broncos or Bengals/Colts). Of course, Carson Palmer's shoulder is screwed up, and Jay Cutler just got his first taste of winning and may find that it suits him. This could go either way, and they both need the win. I'll call Broncos due to the generic home team +3 points.

The Seahawks are hosting the Chargers. Man, the Seahawks' month just keeps getting worse. Lucky for them, they play with the dregs of the NFL. They should be able to take the division at 8-8, no problem. Which is a good thing, because they're going to be 8-7 after this week. On the up side, they do get to end their season against the Bucs.

MNF double-header, part 2: Jets at Dolphins. It's way more important for the Jets. Which probably means the Dolphins will pull it together and win. But I'm still calling the Jets.


18 December 2006

2006 Week 15 Recap

Eagles at Giants, Sunday, December 17, 2006

In attendance: just me & Chef Spouse. We'd just gotten back from a fantastic anniversary weekend (number 14), and thus didn't have time to set up for a crowd.

Menu: Five Guys and Yuengling!

Now, not only am I usually on the Eagles bandwagon, I'm usually the one driving. But after #5 went down, I was ready to hand over the keys. Game over. Season over. Again.

When I'm wrong, I say I'm wrong. Boy, was I wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Garcia, I apologize for thinking you were over the hill. Big Red, I apologize for not trusting. The rest of the team? Why weren't you playing like this early in the season? We wouldn't be in a fight for our lives now. Oh well, shoulda, coulda, woulda...

Who had a big day? Who didn't have a big day, other than most of the Giants? A few real standouts: Garcia. Dawkins (2 forced fumbles and a pick). Westy (2 TDs). Trent Cole (1 TD). Reno Mahe (64 yard kick off return). LJ (that gorgeous fingertip catch). Oh, and Lito? The offer of the cookies still stands. You just tell me where to send them, and they're as good as on their way. Call me, baby!

We're still making way too many dumb mistakes. 100+ penalty yards. Again. Fortunately, the Giants made more. And Eli's truly a Manning - when the pressure's on, he cracks. But our 3rd down conversion rate is getting better, and the whole team is actually playing like, well, a whole team.

Want to read something funny? Check out the Giants official fan site. Want to see something funny? Shockey getting plowed by Dawk and Mikell, currently featured on a Jacked Up near you.

Akers is starting to worry me. OK, sure, it was a 48 yarder, and he has not historically been great at the Meadowlands. But he used to be a sure 3. This year? Not so much. He's still in the top 10 kickers, but just barely. And he's not top 5 anymore. That could be a problem when we get into the playoffs. Look at how many games we've LOST be 3 or fewer points this year. I don't know what's up there, but I'm worried.

And finally, a note to the zebras: I know you're unaccustomed to calling roughing the passer against whoever's playing the Eagles. D-Mac could get the pass off, a defensive tackle could leave his receiver downfield, run the whole way back, throw him to the ground, then pick him up and pitch him into the opposing team's bench, where they'd proceed to bring the beat down, and...nothing. But, see, D-Mac hasn't been playing since week 11. We have this guy now named JEFF GARCIA. Little white guy, wears #7, freckles, kind of intense. Ring any bells? Cut us a break, here, guys.

Around the rest of the NFL...

The 49ers took the Seahawks. Yowza. In other news, the NFC sucks.

Stupid Cowboys. Stupid Tony Romo. Stupid TO. That's OK, we're gonna beat 'em in their own house on Christmas and resume our rightful place at the head of the division. And speaking of Captain ME!, why is anyone surprised about the thing with De Angelo Hall? Because he's always been such a paragon of class and restraint that no one would ever think he'd do something so childish and dumb? Oh yeah, spitting in someone's face is totally out of character. (Hope the sarcasm is making it through.)

The Ravens beat the Browns, who actually managed to make it a game. Aw - isn't that cute?

Speaking of making it a game, the Bucs definitely surprised the Bears. Chef Spouse wanted to do a shot every time there was a possession change during overtime. I know I joked about shots leading to alcohol poisoning when D-Mac went down, but this is serious. I had to veto that idea before one of us ended up in the hospital.

The Packers beat the Lions at Lambeau for the 1 billionth time. You know, I don't think the teams were even watching their own game. I could've sworn I saw Jon Kitna with a Gameboy on the sidelines.

The Pats made themselves feel better after their inexplicable shut out in Miami last week by whupping up on the hapless Texans. Which was kind of mean, actually.

And then the Bills shut out those same Dolphins. Bulletin: the AFC East makes no damn sense.

I was right! The Titans beat the Jags, thanks to about 400 David Garrard picks. Where was that guy in week 8? Did the Titans score ANY offensive points at all?

The Jets beat the Vikings. Yawn.

The Steelers stomped the Panthers. In case you were wondering, the NFC is clearly the JV conference.

What happened to the Saints? Beats me, but I sure am glad we got our two matchups with the Redskins out of the way before they decided to start showing up.

The Broncos beat the Cards. Tune in to SportsCenter to see Dennis "Wildman" Green's head do a full 360.

The Raiders got shut out. Again. How many is that for the season? 3? 4? Infinity? What's the record? Of course, that's not a record you really want to hold. The commentators don't even want to watch anymore - and they're being PAID! What about the poor fans of whatever team is playing the Raiders each week? Shouldn't they get, like, complimentary beer or something?

The Chargers beat the Chiefs. And LT set a new record for single-season TDs and for single-season points. I have nothing to add but "WOW" and "Congratulations."

And I'm not sure how MNF is going to turn out this week, but they definitely had the best lead-in so far: the cranky guy from the NFL commercials. "Snap the damn ball already!" HEE! Check it out. Week 15 isn't up yet, but it should be on the mid-left shortly. Game's tied at the moment, and surprisingly low-scoring. Go Bengals! (I just don't like the Colts. Or anyone named Manning for that matter.)


14 December 2006

2006 Week 15 Picks

GAAAAAHHHH! It's Thursday already! You know, philly.com recently hosted a panel to address the question: "Can football shoot itself in the foot?" A fellow female football fan (boy was that some major alliteration!) responded: "The NFL is already moving in a way that could remove the luster. Diluting the Sunday product, by putting games on Thursdays and Saturdays in addition to Monday night reduces the special quality of the one big day that the game used to have."

I couldn't agree more. In week 15, we move into 4 night games (Thursday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday) in addition to the more traditional Sunday afternoon games.

Now I love me some football, don't get me wrong. I'll never forget the day that I knew I'd converted Chef Spouse. It was Sunday, February 2, 2003, the week after the Super Bowl from the 2002 season, and he looked at me with this lost puppy expression on his face and asked: "Now what are we going to do on Sundays?" Indeed, my friend, indeed.

But, see, that's my point. Sundays are for football. You cook something slow-simmered and yummy, lay in a goodly supply of beer, call all your closest friends, get a fire going in the fireplace, put on your team paraphernalia, and settle in for an afternoon of good old gridiron conflict.

Now? There are more days with football than without. And it's like I explained to Chef Spouse: the Peeps are ONLY for Easter. Just Born might make ghosties and pumpkins and Christmas trees and whatnot, but if you don't keep it to just the chicks and bunnies just in the spring, it's not special any more.

But I digress. Ahem.

Tonight's game: yeah, Seattle just lost to the 4-9 Cardinals (right after beating the Broncos, and how weird is that?), but I just don't see them losing to the 49ers. What a craptacular division! I'm actually watching this game right now - early in the first quarter - and MAN is Bryant Gumbel bad. I'm going to have to apologize to the MNF ESPN crew.

SaNF (see, I have to use bizarre acronyms now, too): once again, we need both teams to lose to help us in the playoff race, but I'm always going to have to pick against the Cowboys. And at this point Mike Vick has no competition for providing the entire offense, because everyone else is injured. He's going to have to snap the ball to himself, block for himself, and then throw the ball to himself. I sure hope he can kick, too!

Moving on to the Sunday games...

Can we take the Giants? Yeah, I think so. Garcia's starting to remind me a little bit of Tom Brady: do just enough to win. It's working so far. And the Giants are still a locker room disaster, and they still have an IR list so long Tom Coughlin's had to switch to legal-size paper. If our faulty D can pull together any kind of a decent game plan, we should be able to shred their secondary on offense for enough points to win this one. And if we beat the Giants, and the Cowboys can manage to lose to the Falcons, you know where that puts us...

Edited to add: saw Jaws on Sports Center this morning in the Coors Light Cold, Hard Facts segment, and he "pulled out his Eagles pom-poms" and called for us to run the table into the playoffs. I had to laugh. I'm mean, I'm a MAJOR homer, and that took even me aback! Way to back your team, though, man!

There's no way the Ravens don't crush the Browns, even given how up and down every team but the Chargers has been this season.

Lions at Packers? Most Painful Game of the Week.

Texans at Patriots? OK, the Texans are also going to be in pain, and the Pats should enjoy picking up an easy win before the tough road stretch against the Jags and Titans to end their season.

Speaking of the Jags and Titans, I'm picking Tennessee. Talk about getting hot late in the season! They're playing at home and on a 4 game winning streak, and you have to figure the Jags' offense is still tired from scoring all those points on the Colts last week.

I should care more about the Dolphins/Bills game, but I don't.

Can the Vikings hold off the Jets? If they want to stay alive in the playoff race, they need to. But who knows if they will? More inconsistent teams. Of course, the Jets have to be steaming after that ridiculous loss to the Bills last week, so I suspect they're going to come out swinging and take the Vikings' playoff chances with them.

Who gets to beat the Panthers next? That would be the Steelers. Yeah, they've been struggling this season, but not that badly.

Bucs at Bears. Ow. Chuckie's boys gonna get KILLED with a vengeance. Even if Rex posts another 1.3.

Skins at Saints. Double ow. Bet Joe Gibbs wishes he'd never come out of retirement. Skins! Throw the rest of your games to improve your draft...oh wait, you traded away all your picks for Adam Archuleta, didn't you? Oops.

Hey! Jay Cutler should get to win his first game this week! I mean, it's just not possible for the Cardinals to post two upsets in a row, right?

The Rams should have no trouble with the Raiders - hell, my grandma would have no trouble with the Raiders - but it's too late. Do not pass go, do not advance to the post-season.

SuNF
Herm, Herm, Herm. I don't know that moving from the Jets to the Chiefs really accomplished anything. Particularly since your upcoming loss to the Chargers this week will have your team playing just well enough to miss the playoffs...again.

MNF
Now this should be a good game. Notice I said should be. But given the fact that the Colts couldn't put the hurt on a bunch of toddlers who decided to make a break for it, Rudy Johnson should have a big day. Bengals should kill, dropping the Colts within reach - possibly - of the Jags.


12 December 2006

2006 Week 14 Recap

Eagles at Redskins, Sunday, December 10, 2006

In attendance: Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom, You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad, Chef Spouse, Cool Web Dude (Skins Fan) and his spouse, Hottie Web Chick, and about 80,000 other football fans (FedEx Field was not full).

Menu: beer (we had brunch with Everyone Should Have a Good Friend Who's a General Contractor beforehand).

We won ugly. We won Jimmy Johnson's hair ugly (is that catching on with anyone else yet?), but we won. As Ex-Navy Cheesehead observed, Christmas came early for Eagles fans at FedEx Field in the form of two picks on rookie Jason "Clipboard" Campbell.

The fam sat in the loge, just below club level, which is where Cool Web Dude (Skins Fan)'s tickets are as well. He came over early in the game to heckle us, and I reciprocated in the second quarter, by which point it was 21-3. He observed that when the game achieved blow out status (in about 3 minutes), maybe we could meet up for shots.

Of course, in the second half, we demonstrated, once again, our ability to blow any lead, no matter how big.

On the up side, Garcia managed the game well, and when it came down to that critical last drive that burned the final 5 minutes, he was able to lead the offense to do what it hadn't managed all game: lead a sustained drive.

Thank God, the Skins played even dumber than we did. I don't think we can count on that happening in each of the next three weeks, but for now, at least we're still in it. If we manage to sneak into the wildcard race, we're going to get killed in our first playoff game without divine intervention, but at least we're still in it.

Or, as Paul Domowitch put it in his weekly "What Andy Said/What Andy Meant" column:

ON HOW HE [Big Red] LIKES BEING PART OF THE NFC'S MAD PLAYOFF SCRAMBLE:

What he said: "When I was 13-1 [in '04], I thought it was a pretty good way to do it. This is probably more exciting, I guess. It adds a few more gray hairs."

What he meant: "Is this a trick question?"

Around the rest of the NFL...

The Steelers beat the Browns on Thursday night. You know, I still haven't managed to watch a single Thursday night game, which I think is sparing me more bad commentating. So bonus there.

The Falcons took the Bucs, even though they were leading for the first half. Damn - that really would have helped us in the wildcard race. Oh well.

The Ravens beat the Chiefs. No big surprise there.

The Jags KILLED the Colts. KILLED them. What the hell is happening in Jacksonville? What the hell is happening in Indianapolis? Damned if I know. Up next: Peyton Manning blames global warming for the loss.

The Vikings beat the Lions. I called Lions, but honestly, at this point, who cares? Is anyone paying any attention to any NFC North team other than the Bears?

The Dolphins shut out the Pats. That was weird. How does a 5-7 team shut out a 9-3 team? Beats me, but they're now 6-7 and 9-4. I still don't think the Dolphins will catch the Pats, but thanks guys, for not making me look like a COMPLETE idiot for picking you to win the division this year.

The Giants were able to pull it together enough to beat the Panthers, those poseurs. Of course, since they're both right in the thick of the wildcard hunt with us, it only helps us if they both lose.

The Bengals beat the Raiders, but it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. 27-10 is actually not too painful. The poor Raiders - they actually have an OK defense. If only they weren't playing a bunch of numb-nuts on offense, they might be able to do something other than be 2-11 at this point. Good news for them, though, in that 2 of the 3 Heisman finalists this year were QBs. And I don't know if Detroit will be looking to pick one up, so they should have their pick of Troy Smith or Brady Quinn.

The Titans managed to beat the Texans, but it took an OT TD by Vince Young to pull it off. Bet you $10 Reggie Bush giggled the whole way through that game.

The Packers beat the 49ers in another bout of "why are these teams even still bothering to play?" Oops - given the current state of the NFC, the 49ers could, I think, still manage to snag a wildcard spot. At 5-8. Oy.

The Cardinals sure shocked the hell out of the Seahawks. In other news, the entire NFC sucks.

The Bills shocked the hell out of the Jets. Guys? This is not the way to go about making the playoffs. You know, if that's what you were after.

Congratulations to LT on getting to 29 TDs. With 3 more games to go. Yowza. Dude's just insanely good. Scary good. Ridiculously good. He's good. Sorry Jay Cutler - sucks to be you.

Also, I'm still laughing about the Saints' puttin' the whuppin' on the Cowboys. Talk about being exposed for the punks you are! Guess Vanderjagt's not the only problem at Valley Ranch. Is it just me, or does Bill Parcells mostly look like he just wants the season to be over already?

How did Rex Grossman get his groove back? By spanking the Rams. Of course, the fact that Devin Hester returns every single kick back for a TD eases the pressure on him a bit. He had a 1.3 QB rating last week and THEY STILL WON. Ponder that for a minute.

So with three games left, six teams that are not leading their divisions are at 7-6 (including us) and another six are at 6-7. Meanwhile, two division leaders are at 8-5, and two more are at 9-4. Tagliabue wanted parity, and it sure looks like that's what he got. Also, the NFC sucks. In case you were keeping track.



06 December 2006

2006 Week 14 Picks

It's divisional match up week, football fans. Our beloved Eagles travel to DC (actually to Largo, MD) to take on the Redskins. And we better win, because Chef Spouse and I are taking Life Long Eagles Fan Mom and You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad to the game. Merry Christmas, fam! It'll be even merrier if we win, which I think we have a better than average chance of doing. A lot of our season to date seems to have been about everyone waiting for someone else - presumably McNabb - to step up and make the big plays. Now it finally seems like they've realized that all 53 guys play and everyone has to be a playmaker as best he can. Garcia's a lot tougher - and has a lot more left in his tank - than many people, including me, had given him credit for. At this point, each game is win or go home. I think the whole team finally gets that - and I don't think anybody's looking to go home.

In the other match ups:

The Browns take on the Steelers Thursday night. Boy, was that a short streak. The Steelers need to win 3 of their last 4 games to finish at .500, and this is the only gimme. Enjoy it, guys.

The Falcons, despite their complete lack of consistency to date, should be able to take Chuckie's Bucs, who've demonstrated extraordinary consistency in the losing department.

After the Chiefs lose to the Ravens, d'ya think Herm might go back to Damon Huard? I would. Of course, it will be too late to catch the Chargers, and might be too late to snag an AFC wildcard spot, with 4 other teams currently at 7-5, and at least two of them (Bengals and Jets) virtual locks this week.

Speaking of, anyone think the Bengals are going to have any trouble with the Raiders? Think Ocho Cinco will even bother to play? It's not like they'll need him or anything.

The Jets are getting hot late in the year. They should extend their streak to 3 with a win over the Bills Sunday.

In the other two 7-5 matchups, the Broncos are probably going to get killed by the Chargers on the road. You know, unless LT oversleeps and Philip Rivers gets lost on the way to his own stadium and they both miss at least the first 3 quarters. Poor Jay Culter. Couldn't they ease him into the NFL with a nice game against the Raiders or something? At least he's got the Cardinals and the 49ers coming up, which should be a confidence builder, although it arrives too late for their playoff chances.

The Colts/Jags thing is a little tougher to call. A month ago, I would've said Colts no problem. Actually, that's probably not true - when they last played in week 3, I picked the Jags. Which I'm going to do again. What the hell.

The Lions gave the Pats a good scare last week. I suspect they'll do more than that against the Vikings this week. I think the Lions will win, although at this point it's in their best interest to throw games and improve their draft standing. But nobody ever seems to do that, despite its inherent wisdom.

Will Joey Harrington get it back together against the Pats? I'm going out on a limb here and saying no. No way. The Pats aren't going to wrap up the division this week (see above re: resurgent Jets), but they will get one step closer.

The Giants/Panthers thing could go either way. In common with most of the NFC this year, they're both playing up, or more often down, to the level of their competition. Which could mean a total combined score of 112 or of 3. But one thing I can guarantee is that Eli Manning will begin a string of nightmares featuring Julius Peppers likely to last the rest of the Giants' season. Which will be precisely 3 more games if they don't snap out of it. I suspect the Panthers will win this one, but I wouldn't be surprised either way.

The Titans are gonna whup up on the Texans. And I think they'll be playoff contenders in a year or two if they're able to hold the core of their team together and Vince Young stays healthy and keeps developing. Texans: you still sure about that Mario Williams pick? Yeah, that worked out great.

Packers at 49ers. You know it: Most Painful Game of the Week.

Seahawks/Cardinals is likely to be ugly as a redheaded stepchild. You know, as a redhead, I have to wonder where that expression came from. I don't think redheads are ugly. Chef Spouse doesn't think redheads are ugly. I think we need to come up with a new cliche for ugly. What about "ugly as Jimmy Johnson's hair"? Yeah, that's about how ugly this game will be.

The Saints better kill the Cowboys. That'd be sweet. Laissez les bons temps rouler! You know, this game could be a preview, much as it pains me to include the Cowboys, of the NFC championship game.

You would think the Bears would have no trouble with the Rams. Of course, you would also think that Rex Grossman would manage to hold it together as the season progresses. The Bears will still probably win this one on the strength of their D, but I think the playoffs could get as ugly as Jimmy Johnson's hair for them in a big hurry unless they straighten out their QB issues.


05 December 2006

2006 Week 13 Recap

Eagles v. Panthers, Monday, December 4, 2006

In attendance: Just Shoegal. Ex-Navy Cheesehead lives pretty far out and Chef Spouse is still in the Big Apple.

Menu: pork chops with a sour cherry pan sauce, buttered noodles, broccoli, a nice bottle of Sonoma Valley wine Shoegal supplied.

So here's what I was planning to write:

Notice what worked? Running the ball.

Notice what didn't work so well? Everything else.

Conclusion: RUN the damn BALL.

Thank you.

Also, if you decide to try to sack the QB, you really need to actually, you know, SACK the QB, otherwise, there's, like, 8 uncovered receivers downfield. And even Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom could hit one of them. And she's a munchkin.

Also, Steve Smith may have jumped Captain ME! as the receiver I most love to hate.

Also, fans? Whatever your feelings about him or about AJ Feeley, booing Garcia after he gets turfed, HARD, twice and gets back up and keeps playing and completes his next pass? Totally without class.

So here's what I actually write:

This is the second time Lito Sheppard has saved our season. And Big Red actually smiled!

Slow, slow, slow start. Slow start. SLOW. Granny slow. Yugo slow. DMV slow. We were slow. But the offense is looking better. Garcia's looking better. Our receivers are dropping fewer passes. (The fact that Garcia doesn't throw quite as hard as McNabb may be contributing.) Stallworth's a stud (or at least has the potential to be one if he can stay healthy). Westy's DEFINITELY a stud. Reggie Brown could develop into a stud. Also? Michael Irvin? HA! Moron.

But our D, man. Our D's still shaky. We blew it big-time at the end of the half, and we were close to doing it again at the end of the game. Did I thank Lito? Thank you, Lito! If you tell me where to ship them, I'll bake you some chocolate chip cookies.

And, once again, way too many dumb-a** penalties.

Still, I'm not going to nit-pick at this point. We won, we're still in the wildcard race, and even with McNabb, that was about all I was thinking we'd do this year: wildcard or NFC East, but not getting past our first playoff game due to all the new kids. So let's just enjoy it and look forward to beating the Redskins Sunday.

But that last part about the classless booing of Garcia still stands.

Around the rest of the NFL...

I am the wrongest wrong person in Wrongville. I apparently couldn't pick the winner of the average pro football game with access to Dionne Warwick's entire Psychic Friends Network and a time machine. Just call me Wrongy Wrongstein of Wrongington.

Bengals/Ravens? Wrong!

Cardinals/Rams? Wrong!

Falcons/Redskins? Wrong!

Titans/Colts? Wrong! (But that shouldn't count - EVERYONE got that one wrong.)

Browns/Chiefs? Wrong again!

Jags/Dolphins? Nope - thanks a lot, Joey Harrington.

Cowboys/Giants? Why did I have to get this one wrong? Stupid Cowboys. Stupid Tony Romo.

So did I get ANYTHING right? Well, yes, I did manage to pick a few games right. But statistically, I would have done at least as well flipping a coin.

Pats/Lions? Yes, but I didn't expect it to be nearly that close.

Bears/Vikings? Sure, the Bears won again. (Dear Vikings: you probably should have locked Devin Hester in a closet, too.) But the big question is: what the hell is wrong with Rex Grossman? A 1.3 QB rating? How is that even possible? I'm pretty sure Duce, my 19 month old nephew, could do better. Heads up, guys: a QB with a 1.3 rating in week 13 probably does not equal a Lombardi trophy in February.

Jets/Packers? I was right, but who cares? Oh wait: the Jets might actually sneak into the playoffs. Then I guess I'd have to start paying attention. Brett Favre: retiring yet, you geezer?

I also got the Chargers/Bills game right, but again, surprisingly close. Nice throwbacks, Bills. Might want to make that switch permanent.

Think we'll see the Saints in the Super Bowl? I'm starting to think maybe. Yeah, yeah, killing the 49ers isn't necessarily a huge accomplishment, but Reggie Bush finally had his breakout game: 100+ yards and 4 TDs. If we can't rep the NFC - and let's face it, this year, we can't - I'd love to see the Saints go to the show.

The Texans beat the Raiders. Of course, since they're pretty much the only two teams in the entire NFL who mathematically cannot get into the playoffs, who cares? (And actually, with the Texans at 4-8, that's not even the case - but the Raiders are definitely out.)

As predicted, we're still pretty much the only team to have trouble with the Bucs this year. The Steelers are still REALLY unlikely to make the post-season, but at least they managed to beat the Bucs.

And I did get Seahawks/Broncos right, but that was one hell of a game. The Broncos outplayed the Seahawks for most of the game and Jay Cutler did well in his NFL debut, but it wasn't enough. Still 4 quarters in football games, Broncos. And, frankly, in Denver, you pretty much have to expect 50+ yard field goals. Sucks when you lose a game to one - believe me, we know - but it's not like you could claim you didn't think Josh Brown could make it.


30 November 2006

2006 Week 13 Picks

These short weeks with the Thursday games on the NFL Network are killing me! And I'm just trying to write about the games. I feel REALLY sorry for the players.

It's been a really busy fall. Chef Spouse and I have both been going crazy with work - I was acting CEO of my org for a while and am running an office move that goes down in a week, and I've been doing a fair amount of business travel on top of that. Case in point? This week I'm in California at a conference, and Chef Spouse will be on business in Gotham by the time I get back.

My point? We're going to have to watch MNF over the phone. I'll have to put together a conference call with Chef Spouse, Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom, and You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad. My life is officially too complicated. To top if off, it's just over 3 weeks to Christmas. Envelopes full of $20s for everyone!

But at least I will get home in time to watch us play the Panthers on MNF. Who will win? Who the hell knows at this point? Our season's in the midst of going kafluie, but the Panthers can't decide from week to week whether to be great or suck royally. Our D's probably in trouble - they're likely to get seriously burned by Steve Smith. But honestly, who knows? I'm a homer (but you already knew that), so I'll call a win for us (based also on the fact that we didn't give up last week against the Colts, finally showing a little spirit), but it really could easily go either way.

OK, tonight's game: Ravens at Bengals. This is the Ravens' chance to pretty much lock up the AFC North. Yeah, they'd be at 10-2 and the Bengals would be at 6-6 with 4 games to go, so the Bengals could tie it up, but that ain't gonna happen. Neither is a Bengals win.

This week, tune in to see Dennis "Wildman" Green foam at the mouth and bite someone on stadium security as the Cards fall to the Rams, extending their losing streak to, um, pretty much the whole season.

After the way their respective seasons started, I can't believe I'm going to call this, but I think the Skins will beat the Falcons. The two teams are definitely moving in different directions at this point. You know, we haven't played the Falcons yet. I wonder if we actually have two different receiving corps, or if the NFL's been economizing and using the same set of dropsie-prone guys for both teams. I mean, once the helmets are on, it's tough to tell who's who. Think about it - it would explain a lot.

Is there any chance the Lions won't get killed by the Patriots? No, even if they have inexplicably picked up Vinny Testaverde, who could win this game for them if necessary. I could probably win this game for them if necessary. And I'm only 5' 5", so it's not like I'd even be able to see over the offensive line without a boost.

Hey look! This week the Colts get to beat the Titans! This is getting a little boring. Maybe we should start an exchange program, where teams that play the Colts get to swap players at one position for the week. So, for instance, the Titans would get Marvin Harrison, and the Colts would get, like, Courtney Roby or Jonathan Orr. The Colts would probably still win, but at least it might make the game a little more exciting.

The Chiefs should have no trouble with the Browns. I got nothin' here.

Poor Vikings! The only way they beat the Bears is if they lock Brian Urlacher in a closet.

I don't really care about the outcome of the Jets/Packers game. Oooo! I know! Let's start a pool on how many receptions the Jets' secondary will have off Brett "Will You Just Shut the Hell Up and Retire Already!" Favre! I'm in for $20 and 3.

The Bills are going to get steamrolled by the Chargers.

Oh, wait. I should've saved the "steamrolled" line for 49ers/Saints. You know, there are 1760 yards in a mile. I wonder if that's what Drew Brees is aiming for?

I'm calling Texans/Raiders the Most Painful Game of the Week. You know you agree. Ugh.

I think the Dolphins are going to take the Jags - they're on a 4 game winning streak and looking a lot better lately. The Jags, meanwhile, like so many other teams (us, Panthers, Giants, Falcons, Rams - I could go on) just can't seem to decide whether to be good or bad. Little tip guys: being good is more fun for you, but being bad is more fun for me. And improves your draft position. Just some food for thought.

The Cowboys are heading to the Meadowlands for their second meeting with the Giants this season. C'mon Giants! Pull it together! And somebody keep Michael Strahan away from the press. And Tom Coughlin away from the press AND the team. And Plaxico Burress and Michael Strahan away from each other. And get Eli a shrink. Oh, and order me a spinach and feta pizza while you're at it.

OK, the Steelers should be able to take the Bucs. They're in a complete tailspin, but the Bucs aren't a tough opponent for anybody but, um, us.

And the big one: Seahawks/Broncos Sunday night. The Broncos have lost to the Chiefs and Chargers in their last two games and switched QBs. To a rookie. Which, actually, has been working reasonably well for a lot of teams this year, but has a definite air of desperation about it at this point. Meanwhile, Hasselbeck and Alexander are back, and coming off a big win against the Packers in the snow globe last week. I don't see the Broncos pulling this one off.


27 November 2006

2006 Week 12 Recap

Eagles at Colts, Sunday, November 26, 2006

In attendance: Just me & Chef Spouse. We just barely made it home from Thanksgiving with Chef Spouse's family and a bridal shower for my high school bud Philly RN in time for the start of the game. Philly RN? Had they not moved the game to SNF, want to guess the chances I would've been at the shower? Take my advice - go with "zero."

Menu: take-out pulled pork BBQ and Yuengling.

OH MY GOD, WHAT HAPPENED TO OUR DEFENSE?

All joking aside from my picks - and believe me, you should feel free to point out that I punked myself - I figured us to lose this game when the schedules came out in the pre-season. But, seriously, what is wrong with our D?

OK, QB controversy, sure. Garcia's not exactly a young man, and you have to wonder how much gas is left in his tank. And AJ has a history with us - he carried us into the playoffs when D-Mac went down with the broken ankle in 2002. But the difference between this year and 2002 is that all AJ had to do was manage to not lose the games, and trust our defense to win them for us. This year? Not so much. Also, guys, when you blow tackles on, like, 100 plays in a row, you might want to tone down the celebration the one time you take the guy down behind the line of scrimmage.

On the positive side, we've located our running game (it was in Andy's attic, accidentally packed in with the Christmas decorations), and we managed to put up 21 points (which would've been 24 if not for a terrible snap). And our guys didn't give up. And this is a game that we would've been unlikely to win even with a healthy Donovan. So I don't think all is lost for the rest of the season. But I also don't think that the NFC East will provide both the NFC wild card teams, either. Oh well, there's always next year...

Around the rest of the NFL...

Thanksgiving Games:

The Dolphins, dressed all in white (because fugly is the new pretty), beat the Lions. The really surprising part of that game was seeing Marcus Vick on the sidelines. I'm still stunned that anyone signed him. I know the NFL tends to turn bit of a blind eye to felony convictions among players, but this guy's a rookie! How does he rate a pass? Note: you know the commentators have run out of stuff to say when they start waxing poetic about Jon Kitna and Joey Harrington.

The Cowboys beat the Bucs - well, duh. Oh, and Tony? Jessica Simpson's a moron. Aim a little higher. Maybe get yourself a nice pet rock with implants, a fake bake, and a bad dye job. At least it won't come with a creepy Svengali father. And? The Tuna cut Mike "Punk" Vanderjagt. I may never stop laughing...

The Chiefs upset the Broncos, Jake Plummer lost the starting job to Jay Cutler, and there are rumors circulating that we might try to sign Plummer next year. Obviously, our front office isn't paying attention. We need to pick up Drew Bledsoe, so we can get all the QBs who've had catfights with TO. Collect the whole set! Also, I missed the one game worth watching on Thanksgiving. But at least I got to see White Christmas, a true holiday classic. Rosemary Clooney's costumes are tha bomb-diggity.

Sunday games:

I must confess, seeing as I was at Philly RN's bridal shower and then driving home, the only game I actually saw was ours. Thanks to our friend Cool Contractor Dude, we had the use of a FY-UNE ride (rather that Harold the Hoopty, our craptastic 1997 Saturn), which featured, among many other amazing gizmos, Sirius radio. So we were able to listen to parts of the Bears/Pats and Giants/Titans games. But I didn't see any of them. So here's my unusually uninformed commentary:

OK, first of all, the Pats didn't really win the game with the Bears. They just managed not to lose. Barely. I lost count of the turnovers at around, oh, a billion. What was that all about?

The Vikings continue to be OK. Which was more than enough to beat the Cardinals, who continue to be terrible. Dennis Green is rumored to be entering scream therapy.

The Skins shocked the hell out of everyone by pulling off the upset of the Panthers. So that was this week's upset game! Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom was the only one who guessed right. Also, one has to wonder why Old Joe and Danny Boy didn't give Jason Campbell a try out before this. Kid looks pretty decent, which is a lot better than what they've had at QB in recent memory.

Did I mention that Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom was the only one who picked the right upset game? Yeah, my pick of the Browns was, um, pretty damn wrong. The Bengals managed to pull together enough defense to thoroughly spank them.

Jets beat the Texans. Whatever.

You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad was the only one who called the Bills to beat the Jaguars, but as I've been so fond of pointing out, they're so schizo anything could happen from week to week. So he can't win the "Called the Upset Win" title. Once you lose to the Texans, anything's possible.

Drew Brees had another amazing game, even without Marques Colston. In other news, Mike Vick's almost as big a punk as his brother. Nice double bird there, Mike. What a classy guy.

Do you want to call it or shall I? OK, I'll call it: time of death, 3:58 pm, Sunday, November 26. Somebody haul the carcass of the Steelers season to the morgue, huh? And after 9 sacks, grab a cart for Roethlistberger while you're at it.

I don't know what we were all thinking calling the 49ers to win. Big crash after the huge sugar rush from all the pie wore off? Good call on the Rams, Chef Spouse.

The Chargers pulled out another late-game win. Mostly because they would've been too humiliated to go home had they lost to the Raiders.

By the way, I was the ONLY one to call the Titans beating the Giants. Who blew a 21 point lead in the 4th quarter. Sound vaguely familiar? Payback's a ****. Also, as Chef Spouse pointed out, we've just witnessed the first game lost to the stupid roughing the passer rules. Kiwanuka let Vince Young go, sure, but if you can't tell if the QB has released the ball, you have to let him go or face a major penalty. Yes, we need to protect QBs - major injuries to McNabb in 3 of the last 5 seasons - but this is getting ridiculous.

And when I first turned on the Packers/Seahawks game, I was sure they must be playing in Green Bay, although it did seem a little early for such a major snowstorm. Imagine my surprise to see all those Seahawks fans in the stands! It looks like they're playing in a snow globe in the hands of a hyper 3 year old.

So how did we all turn out? Barring the results of the MNF game (where we all but You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad picked the Seahawks), Chef Spouse leads at 9-3. Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom came in second, at .500. I'm just below .500 at 5-7 (although I did call 2 of the 3 Thanksgiving games right, which does help my average, but I can't count them since no one else had the chance to weigh in - yes, I'm just trying to make myself feel better). And You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad brings up the rear at 3-9. Well played, fam, well played.


25 November 2006

2006 Week 12 Picks

Thanksgiving is all about getting together with family, eating some good food, tryptophan-induced napping, arguments, Uncle Clarence drinking too much beer, and, most of all, football. So I had the fam (Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom, You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad, and Chef Spouse) weigh in with their picks for week 12.

Game: Eagles/Colts
LLEF Mom, Y-T Dad, and me: Eagles
Chef Spouse: Colts
Commentary: We're all a bunch of freakin' homers, other than Chef Spouse, who was at least trying to be objective.

Game: Bears/Pats
LLEF Mom, Chef Spouse: Pats
Y-T Dad, me: Bears
Commentary: 50/50 split. Either way, this will be the game of the day.

Game: Cardinals/Vikings
LLEF Mom, Chef Spouse, me: Vikings
Y-T Dad: Cards
Commentary: I think You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad just likes Leinart. Or feels bad for him.

Game: Panthers/Redskins
Y-T Dad, Chef Spouse, me: Panthers
LLEF Mom: Skins
Commenary: What can I say? Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom just loves Old Joe.

Game: Bengals/Browns
LLEF Mom, Y-T Dad, Chef Spouse: Bengals
me: Browns
Commentary: Call me crazy, but the Browns have come on stronger recently. I could see them handing the Bengals a big upset.

Game: Texans/Jets
LLEF Mom, Y-T Dad: Texans
Chef Spouse, me: Jets
Commentary: Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom and You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad spent a year in Houston and are therefore not objective.

Game: Jaguars/Bills
LLEF Mom, Chef Spouse, me: Jags
Y-T Dad: Bills
Commentary: I have no explanation. Other than that the Jags are totally schizo, so anything's possible.

Game: Saints/Falcons
LLEF Mom, Chef Spouse, me: Saints
Y-T Dad: Falcons
Commentary: Boo, You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad! Also, Mike Vick's been stinking it up again recently. And Drew Brees can apparently throw for, like, 2000 yards a game if necessary.

Game: Steelers/Ravens
LLEF Mom, me: Steelers
Y-T Dad, Chef Spouse: Ravens
Commentary: OK, Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom and I are total Pennsylvania homers. So sue us! But I think the Steelers are getting back their winning form, and not a moment too soon. Have you seen the look in Willie Parker's eye recently? Steelers are winning if he has to do it alone.

Game: 49ers/Rams
LLEF Mom, Y-T Dad, me: 49ers
Chef Spouse: Rams
Commentary: Lamont, this pick's for you!

Game: Chargers/Raiders
LLEF Mom, Chef Spouse, me: Chargers
Y-T Dad: Raiders
Commentary: I think You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad just likes their bad-boy image.

Game: Giants/Titans
LLEF Mom, Y-T Dad, Chef Spouse: Giants
me: Titans
Commentary: I do have a reason for this pick other than "The Titans beat us." Vince Young is looking better each week and the Giants are SERIOUSLY banged up. Welcome to leading the division, ****.

Game: Packers/Seahawks
LLEF Mom, Chef Spouse, me: Seahawks
Y-T Dad: Packers
Commentary: Matt Hasselbeck returns and Vicodin Boy is playing hurt, because Aaron Rogers is o-u-t OUT. No contest.

You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad picked a lot of dark horses. It will be interesting to see how he does.


Thanksgiving Special: Fashion Commentary

One of the good Thanksgiving football traditions (as opposed to the stupid traditions of being forced to watch some terrible Lions game and the damn Cowboys) is the tradition of wearing throwbacks. There have been some fine moments in coaches' sartorial choices (Tom Landry), and some things that should never be seen - or spoken of - again (Andy Reid in horizontal stripes...shudder). There have been some great uniforms over the years, and some truly awful disasters that aren't worthy of the name. So in honor of the holiday and of fine and not-so-fine uniforms past and present, I bring you my top 5 and bottom 5 uniforms:

The few, the proud, the teams who actually look good:
5. Steelers: gotta love that black & yellow, particularly since all the sports teams in the 'Burgh share the same colors. If you've never been there, seeing the bridges that cross the Three Rivers painted some combination of those colors is a sight to behold.
4. It pains me to say it, but the Cowboys navy blue jerseys and white pants are a classic. Their logo design is simple and eye-catching, and I have to put their uniforms on the top 5 list, even if TO happens to be in one.
3. The Raiders: the team might be craptacular, but they rock the black & white pirate motif hard.
2. The Eagles' midnight green jerseys with white pants is a new classic. A lot of the recent uniform redesigns have been somewhat less than successful. And I was worried when I heard they were dropping the kelly green and changing the eagle. But this redesign works for me: modern, cool, menacing. Good job, guys! Plus: Vera Wang-designed cheerleader uniforms!
1. The top uniform of all time is, without a doubt, the Chargers' powder blue throwbacks. The color combo is awesome, bright and interesting, and the lightning bolts on the arms and legs are genius. Bravo, Chargers, bravo!

Bonus pick:
The Saints uniforms are great, too. The black and gold is classy, the fleur de lis is New Orleans all over, and the state of Louisiana on the jerseys is a nice touch.

But you're not here to read kudos for the good choices - you're here to read my mocking of the badness. So without further ado...

I can't believe your wife let you leave the house wearing that!
5. Anyone all in white. People! This is football! Why would all-white uniforms ever seem like a good idea to anyone?
4. The Vikings' new uniforms. Let me preface this by pointing out that I like purple, quite a bit actually. And the older, simpler design was pretty good. The new one? Way too flashy. Brad Johnson and Fred Smoot aren't Siegfreid and Roy, and shouldn't try to look like them.
3. On the topic of "way too flash," the Cardinals' all red uniforms are badness too. When small children confuse your linebackers with Santa in August, you know you've made a bad choice.
2. The Seahawks. Chef Spouse disagrees, but I just can't get behind white men wearing neon colors, even if it is just trim.
1. And the prize for the number one worst uniforms in the NFL and the complimentary palliative subscription to GQ goes to: the Bengals. Men in animal skins? Yes. Particularly if the men in question are ripped and in loin cloths. ROWR! Men in animal prints? Hell, no.


21 November 2006

Week 12 Bonus: Short Week Preview

aka, The Thanksgiving Games

Dolphins at Lions - I know it's tradition for the Lions to play on Thanksgiving, but c'mon - this is just painful. Didn't someone once say, "Traditions were made to be broken"? Or was that, "Rules were made to be broken"? Either way, why do we have to watch this dreck? Isn't being cooped up with family for hours on end enough suffering for one day?

Bucs at Cowboys - Jeez, I'm gonna have to watch the Cowboys win twice in one week? Shoot me now. Please.

Broncos at Chiefs - This will be the only game worth watching, it's only on the NFL Network, I'm going to be stuck at my in-laws, who aren't big football fans anyway (unlike my psychotically devoted Eagles fan family, to whom you've all been introduced through the medium of this blog) and I don't know if they even GET the NFL Network. Why, God, why?


20 November 2006

2006 Week 11 Recap, Part 2


Around the rest of the NFL...

The Ravens handed the Falcons their hats and said, "Don't let the door hit your season in the a** on its way out." To quote rocketman: "Ray Lewis, meanwhile, played the role of league's most menacing cheerleader." HEE! Does anyone else have this really hilarious mental picture of Ray Lewis in a little flippy skirt, matching sweater, and pom-poms?

THREE shut outs were pitched this week. Out of 15 games (so far). That's 20%, man.

Shutout one: Bears over the Jets. The Bears are perfect at the Meadowlands so far this year. Maybe they should ask if it can stand in for Soldier Field during the playoffs, since they're likely to lock up home field.

Shutout two: Pats over Green Bay. And poor Vicodin Boy hurt his arm. Maybe it will finally end his bogus consecutive-games streak.

Shutout three: Panthers over the Rams. That's pretty impressive, actually. The Panthers obviously had one of their good days. Don't worry - their bipolar disorder is likely to reassert itself any moment now.

Even though they lost to the Bucs, the good news for the Skins is that they've solved their QB problems. The bad news is that now they have to tackle their problems with the other 52 guys. And the coaching staff. And the front office. And the owner. Oy.

The 49ers sure surprised the hell out of the Seahawks. And me. And everyone else, including those Chinese farmers. The 49ers are now at .500. We are now at .500. OH, THE HUMANITY.

Drew Bledsoe threw for about a zillion yards. Which would have assured another Saints' victory had half of them not been to various Bengals.

The Browns almost managed to pull off the upset against the Steelers. Sadly for them, almost doesn't count except in horseshoes and hand grenades. The way their division is going, someone should get them a crisis counselor, stat!

The Raiders almost managed an upset over the Chiefs. At least there's somebody out there virtually guaranteed to remain worse than us! (I still think we ought to consider throwing the rest of our games to improve our draft standing. Maybe that's what the Raiders decided to do. In week two.)

And then a lot of, "Did anyone watch this game?"

Dolphins over Vikings, Bills over Texans, Cardinals over Lions. Whatever. Your own fans probably don't even care anymore. They're like: "Hey! Saved By The Bell marathon!"

Man, the Chargers are looking like the real deal! I know defense wins championships and all, but if you have a running back/receiver who can come up an average of 2 TDs a game, who needs defense? "Defense-schmefense. We'll just score, like, 75 points. No problem, right LT?" I'm starting to think we might see the Chargers in the Super Bowl. Coming from behind after being dominated in the first half and winning a tough one in Denver's a good sign for their post-season.

Stupid Cowboys.

Now I'm in the unenviable position of rooting for the Giants. I feel so dirty! But I feel better than I will if the Cowboys move to the head of the division. Then y'all really will have to talk me down off the ledge.

19 November 2006

This is not good.

Eagles v. Titans, Sunday, November 19, 2006

In attendance: Ex-Navy Cheesehead, Shoegal, Chef Spouse.

Menu: fajitas and 'ritas. And beer. And tequila shots. And hemlock (more about that later).

Oh boy.

By now, I'm sure you've heard: torn ACL, 8-12 months' recovery.

I don't mean to be the Voice of Doom, but our season is O-V-E-R.

To quote The Editor:

"When it rains

It sucks.

Who ordered the torn ACL for Donovan McNabb? Whoever it was, I say fire that
guy.

I also say, can we trade The Freak straight up with New England for Vinny
Testaverde?

Oy."

Timestamp: T-minus 5 minutes to game start. Everyone's here, the guac's on the table, grab your Yuengling, and let's go!

Timestamp: Q1 11:31 to go

Defense? THE GAME ALREADY STARTED! Where are you guys? Why did the Titans just get to waltz down the field for their first score?

Timestamp: Q1 11:25 to go

And our first major penalty of the game on the kickoff. Wow, we made it 3+ minutes in. That's got to be a record this year.

Timestamp: Q1 8:53 to go

Good job on the fumble pick up Patterson! Now let's do something with it!

Timestamp: Q1 6:24 to go

When I said "do something" I definitely didn't mean "throw a pick in the endzone." ARGH! Still, plenty of football left to play.

Timestamp: Q1, 2:39 to go

OK, we're on the board! Chef Spouse's boy David Akers: the only sure thing in life outside of death and taxes.

Timestamp: Q2, 3 seconds in

OH ****.

Timestamp: Q2, 4:06 to go

OK, Akers just might be able to keep us in this game. If the D can start pulling up some quick stops, and Reno Mahe can keep up those good punt returns, we should be able to start on offense almost within Akers' range. We just might be able to pull this off if we can get a couple of lucky breaks.

End of the half:

OK, 10-6 is not too bad. "No, Ex-Navy Cheesehead, we can't switch over to the Skins' game to see how Jason Campbell is doing. I want to get the injury report on McNabb."

Halftime's over. No injury update. That's not a good sign.

At least we get to start the second half with the ball.

Timestamp: Q3, 13:23 to go

And do nothing.

Timestamp: Q3, 12:31 to go

And immediately give up a 70 yard TD. Who wants a margarita?

Timestamp: Q3, 9:17 to go

Special teams? There's this thing that football players do called "TACKLING." You might want to try to find someone who can show you how. Who wants a shot? Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom: "How much are you drinking?" Me: "Not too much [yet]." Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom: "So you'll be looking for some hemlock after the game?"

Timestamp: Q3, 1:19 to go

Sure 3, my a**. How do we manage to screw a snap on a clear day? Do we really have to watch the rest of this? Anyone want another shot? Want to start a drinking game where we do a shot every time the Eagles do something dumb? "Alcohol poisoning"? Hey, that would probably be preferable to watching the rest of this mess.

Timestamp: Q4, 9:14 to go

Now that's what I'm talking about! Maybe all is not lost! Short passes underneath, use your head, play smart ball, let Westy and Buck run. We might be able to at least win this game! And maybe McNabb's injury's not that serious.

Timestamp: Q4, 6:31 to go

OK, good stop, still some time left. It's 24-13, but if we can score right here and get lucky...well, it's still a long shot, but...

Timestamp: Q4, around 4 minutes to go

OK, guys, dropping everything that comes near you is NOT the way to win this game. (Of course, we should have figured that out two months ago.)

Timestamp: Q4, 32 seconds left

Maybe we get at least one more score on the board, only lose by a few, fight it out when we got the toughest break of our season to date, show good character, don't give up...oh, F me! Garcia fumbles, is too dumb to fall on it, no one tackles, and the Titans run it in for ANOTHER score.

Timestamp: Q4, 20 seconds left

Of course we manage to finish out the game with YET ANOTHER fumble.

A few suggestions for Big Red:

Everyone who fumbled today gets footballs super glued to both hands. They can eat again when the glue wears off.

Everyone who dropped a pass gets tied to a chair 10 yards from the automatic ball feeder for the entire first day back at practice. On the second day, maybe they get to wear pads.

I know AR's a Mormon, but $25 says he's curled up under his desk with a bottle of Jack right now.

Additional game notes: Why was Reno Mahe the only guy playing like he wanted to win? And what has happened to our D? Clearly, this was a game where the offense was going to need major help, and Dawkins and Sheppard both drop balls that would have been easy picks for a TD, our special teams allows Pac-Man to munch the entire field, and we blow tackle after tackle on Travis Henry and allow him to spring loose for a 70 yard TD. What the hell? And then we have two bad snaps in the same game that cost us a total of 10 points (3 on the missed FG and 7 to the Titans when Jeff Garcia couldn't manage to fall on the ball)? Without the 2 big defensive mistakes and Jeff Garcia's stupidity, we actually win this game, even after losing McNabb. Of course, before today, the Titans were 2-7, so that's not saying much.

But the thing of it is, the whole team has been dependent all season long on Big D to make up for all their mistakes. And in many games, he was able to. And when he played flat (Jags) or just badly (Bucs), we looked like a bunch of punks. Which is about all we are at this point. Is there anyone else who's willing to step up and be a leader? Doesn't look like it to me. D-Mac goes down, the chips are down, everyone needs to step up their game to make it happen, and...nothing. Guys, where's your pride?

So where do you come by hemlock these days anyway?

I'll write up the rest of the NFL tomorrow. Right now, I'm just too bummed.

(But I still made Chef Spouse mend our tattered car flag, so I can fly it proudly tomorrow. They may suck, but they're my team and I love them anyway.)


17 November 2006

2006 Week 11 Picks

Two of my favorite pundits, King Kaufman and rocketman have already posted their picks for week 11. The task I've set for myself this week is to mediate the differences.

For our game, they're both picking the Eagles. Rocketman's a homer just like me, but KK is not. Go Eagles! Seriously, there is no reason we shouldn't win this game. Our D line should have no trouble getting to Vince Young (who is looking good, even though the rest of the Titans stink), they don't have any targets for him anyway, and their D is nothing to speak of. Which probably means we'll find a way to screw it up. Joking! I'm joking! Jeez, I hope I didn't just jinx us.

Falcons at Ravens. Everybody's picking the Ravens. Including me. By the way? On Mike Vick? Told you so. Pocket passer, my sweet round booty. He's a running back who occasionally gets on a hot streak, nothing more.

Bills at Texans. KK's picking the Texans, rocketman, the Bills. I pick Most Painful Game of the Week.

Bears at Jets. Everybody's picking the Bears. And why not? They're looking like a juggernaut, as long as that juggernaut includes an occasionally shaky-looking basically rookie QB. Every once in a while, Grossman gets the same look in his eye Mike McMahon had last year, and I get worried about the Bears' chances. But not for this week.

Bengals at Saints. Everyone's picking Saints in another barn-burner. That could be because the Bengals seem to have no D at all. The Saints D was enough to beat us, although not by much, and it was a fairly high scoring game, too. But I hope the Saints are able to continue their Cinderella season with a win over a team everyone (including me) would have picked to crush them before the season started.

Vikings at Dolphins. KK and rocketman are both picking the Dolphins, but I'm holding out for the Vikings to pick it back up and get to .500.

Pats at Packers. Everyone's picking the Pats, but I have to think that something we don't know about must be seriously wrong for them to have signed Vinny Testaverde. But I still can't pick the Packers while they won't dump the Old Guy. Hey! Two teams with old guys! What are the odds? Anyway, Pats.

Raiders at Chiefs. KK and rocketman are picking the Chiefs. But they've decided to sit Damon Huard in favor of Trent Green, which I think means it might be time for the Raiders to pull off another upset. OK, the Raiders aren't even as good as Michigan's practice squad, but I still think they could topple the Chiefs. And it would serve them right for benching Huard.

Steelers at Browns. KK and rocketman are both picking the Steelers. They're in another one of those situations where each week's an elimination round. Which means they'll probably do great. Assuming Troy Polamalu can remember where he left his keys. And his helmet. And his shoes. And his uniform. And his car.

Rams at Panthers. King's picking the Panthers, while rocketman has the Rams. Emotionally, I want to side with the Rams, just because I think the Panthers are over-rated. But I think they'll probably win this one, and Julius Peppers will probably double his sack total for the year in this one game.

Skins at Bucs. KK and rocketman are both picking the Bucs, and I have to agree with them. Unless Jason Campbell turns out to be the reincarnation of Randall Scramble. And if he was, they'd already have been playing him by now. Sorry Deadhead Skins Fan and Cool Web Dude (Skins Fan).

Lions at Cardinals. KK and rocketman are both picking the Lions. Maybe. Who cares? Why are these teams even still playing? Couldn't they just thumb wrestle for it, and then go out for margaritas?

Seahawks at 49ers. Everyone, including a bunch of farmers in rural China who've never even seen American football, is picking the Seahawks, who will have both Matt Hasselbeck and Shaun Alexander back. And they've been doing pretty good without those guys.

Colts at Cowboys. King's picking Dallas, and rocketman's picking the Colts. I want to be the first team to beat the Colts! And we could use a leg up in the division. Colts.

Chargers at Broncos. KK's got the Chargers, while rocketman's got the Broncos. It's a shoot-out for the AFC West, and I think the Chargers have the edge. And LT. And Philip Rivers. Who, while I don't think is the second coming of Dan Marino (unlike the pundits), seems to have a pretty good arm.

Giants at Jags. King and rocketman are both picking the Jags. Who, I still maintain, are tying us for the most schizoid team in the NFL. They beat us, they beat the 'Boys, they lost to the Skins. Who knows? But I'd love to see them beat the Giants. Once again, guys, we could use the help in the division. Also, you totally owe us!


15 November 2006

Dead, Canadian, or...

Vinny Testaverde?

In case you hadn't heard, the Pats have signed Rip van Testaverde. I haven't heard any word of anthing being wrong with Tom Brady, and Belichick doesn't seem like the type to panic over a couple of lost games - particularly since the Pats are still leading the AFC East - but signing The Old Man is never a positive sign for a football team. Maybe Belichick's hoping Testaverde can provide some inside information on the Jets' offense before the playoffs? Seems like an over-reaction:

1. Ever heard of a thing called a phone, Bill?
2. The chances the Pats will see the Jets again this season are pretty damn small, because there are at least 3 other teams more likely to take the 2 wildcard spots than they are (whichever of Chargers/Broncos doesn't win AFC West, Jags, and Chiefs - and there's still time for the Bengals - or the Steelers for that matter - to get hot).

So I'm just left wondering: why, Bill, why?


13 November 2006

2006 Week 10 Recap

Week 10: Eagles v. Redskins, Sunday, November 12, 2006

In attendance: Ex-Navy Cheesehead. Chef Spouse. FINALLY Shoegal's back. And we won. Coincidence? I don't think so. She's now locked in the basement for the duration of the season. Not really. (Or is she? I'll never tell...)

Menu: Chef Spouse's approaching-the-Platonic-ideal-of guacamole, Shoegal's tasty international snacks (courtesy of her recent travels), and jambalaya (in honor of the Saints, for all the good that did).

Man, every game on the entire East Coast was one giant mud bowl (other than in the astro-turfed Meadowlands). What a mess! Why did so many teams opt for the white pants in the horrible weather? I'm guessing they're not even going to try to get them clean. "Hey - we're all gazillionaires! Just throw 'em out and buy more!"

Considering the conditions before the game, I was worried. The Redskins pound it out on the ground because Brunell doesn't have the arm to throw downfield (and Al Saunders doesn't trust him enough to let him try). We are known for sticking with our usual plan of "go for the huge play every single play" no matter what - we did it against the Jags in equally unfavorable conditions, and look how that turned out. I was glumly predicting that the cold, wet capacity crowd at the Linc could be in for a long afternoon. (Well, me too, but I was in my nice warm, dry living room.)

And then... groovy.gif

You know, I thought Santana Moss wasn't even playing. He's been struggling with injury recently, and I thought maybe with the dicey field and bad weather, the Skins had decided to sit him on a day when big pass plays were unlikely anyway. When he popped up, the only guy on the field in a clean uniform (including the zebras), with his first major reception of the game (if you can call 8 yards major, which if you were the Redskins yesterday, you had to) in the third quarter, I was shocked. Where was he all day? Have the Skins acquired so many pricy superstars, they just can't figure out what to do with them all? Dude, if you've misplaced Santana Frapping Moss, you have problems.

Speaking of problems, Clinton Portis might want to pack it in for the year before someone drops a piano on him. We're going to have to start calling him Clinton Roethlisberger soon if this keeps up.

Did Reggie Brown actually fumble? I don't know - that looked awfully perfect for an accident. Buck's in exactly the right spot and the ball lands right in his arms? Maybe we are getting lucky again, and if we are, WHEW! Just in time. But that was looking pretty intentional to me.

And did you see that final drive? As Chef Spouse pointed out, teams have been using the "pound it out on the ground, score or not" strategy against us pretty effectively. Looks like Big Red finally took a lesson.

So what made the difference yesterday? I think Westy's post-game interview says it all:

"Donovan is a phenomenal player, a player we can depend on a lot," Westbrook said. "He's able to do so many things, so a lot of times as an offense, we tend to sit back and wait for Donovan to make the play. Today we made it a point that everybody went out there to make a play. When Donte made the big play, I wanted to make a big play. I told Greg [Lewis] to go make a big play. I told Reggie [Brown] to make a big play. We all want to make big plays.

"We don't want to wait on somebody else, particularly Donovan. We want to make big plays for ourselves, make things happen and basically take things into our own hands and create our own luck."

I'm an Eagles fan, pessimistic by nature, so there are still things that worry me. Like AR & Company's tendency to get tricky in goal-line situations. I was jumping up and down in the kitchen screaming, "STOP TRYING TO GET FANCY AND JUST RUN IT IN!" early in the third, when we were on the 3, trying to pass, and ended up taking the FG. We're still not great against the run. We got lucky in that Portis got hurt, and the Skins can't seem to do anything right anyway at this point. We still drop more passes than any team in the NFL. We still rack up a disturbing number of penalties.

On the up side, we also have the best record in the NFL in the month of November for the Andy Reid era. If history is any indication, we will get hot late in the season and play well on the road, which bodes well for us - well enough that the Colts game on Thanksgiving weekend has been moved to prime time. And thanks to the Bears (thanks, Bears!), the Giants are only one game up on us now. Lots of season left to play, football fans.

Around the rest of the NFL...

OK, I was right about the Ravens beating the Titans and the Colts beating the Bills. But those were some unexpectedly close games. Maybe there is still time for the Steelers to get hot and win AFC North. The Ravens are looking less and less like a lock. They're 4 games up on the Steelers at this point, but stranger things have happened (like the Steelers improbable run through the bottom of the season and the playoffs last year). And the Colts got, for them, pretty much shut down. Colts! It's the Patriots that are supposed to squeak out wins in close games! That's not your job. You're supposed to blow out teams all season long and then develop a case of the vapors at your first glimpse of the post-season. Get it together!

The rest of the Colts schedule is kind of soft, but most of the pundits are predicting them to drop at least one, either next week to the Cowboys or the week after to us. I think it will be to us. We're getting good assists with our divisional standing from other teams, so I figure the Colts will oblige by taking care of the Cowboys for us so the Boys drop a game behind, then cooperatively lose to us the following week. What? It could happen!

In the continuing saga of "What the hell happened there?" games of the week: the Browns beat the Falcons (so Mike Vick the Accurate Passer was an aberration after all), the Dolphins took the Chiefs (and all of a sudden we're hearing that Trent Green might be healthy again. Coincidence?), the Jets beat the Pats (who may not cruise easily to another divisional win after all), and the Texans beat the Jags (why couldn't we have played THOSE Jags? And isn't it funny that Byron Leftwich may be getting over his potentially career-ending case of... uh, chronic halitosis in time to start playing again after all?).

The Chargers/Bengals game was wild. 90 points scored? Over 1000 total yards of offense? 49-41 isn't a football score - that's more like what you'd see from two middling high school basketball teams. Did both teams' D go to the wrong stadium? Guys, you were playing in Cincinnati this week, not California! Also, how is it that the Bengals have 3 guys on offense whose last name is Johnson (WR Ocho Cinco, RB Rudi, and FB Jeremi). Are they trying to corner the market or something?

The Packers beat the Vikings. The Bears are just so dominant that I can't get too excited about any of the other NFC North teams. Nobody else there is even above .500. It's like: "Are they still playing? Why?" You know you think the same thing, and I can prove it. Did you watch a single down of the 49ers/Lions game? Do you know who won (Lions)? Do you care? Did you even remember the Lions were playing the 49ers this week before I mentioned it?

The Broncos pulled off a win against the Raiders, although for a while there it looked like the Raiders were going to pull off the upset. Broncos-Chargers? Broncos-Chargers? Broncos-Chargers? Chargers. Interestingly, the AFC West is the only other division besides ours with 3 teams above .500.

Speaking of upsets, the Steelers beat the Saints, despite the efforts of Air Bush. Did you see that 10 yard jump/flip into the endzone? If Reggie gets tired of football, maybe he could try out for Cirque de Soleil.

The Cowboys surprised no one by beating the Cards. How many teams have promoted the new young QB over the old burned out guy this season? Answer: every single team who has one to play, but the Pack and the Skins. Who as of today have now gotten with the program and benched Brunell in favor of Jason Campbell. I know, I know: Who? Good looking black kid out of Auburn, who so far has spent his entire career standing around holding a clipboard.

The Seahawks beat the Rams while they're still missing key players. Looks like they're still the boss of the NFC West.

The Bears/Giants game was cuh-razy. The 108 yard play by Devin Hester pretty much summarizes the game in one. Was he waiting for blockers? Trying to fake out the Giants? Planning to take a knee until he saw something? Who knows? Whatever it was, it worked.

The Giants are now only one game up on us around the time we historically torch it up, and they're starting to look too damaged, particularly on D, to continue their 6-2 start to a 12-4 season. With Michael Strahan, Lavar Arrington, and Amani Toomer out for the season, Plaixco Burress week to week with a bad back, and Osi Umenyiora the same with a bad hip, it doesn't look good, particularly since they seem to want to take possession of the "can't finish games" championship trophy from us. Hey, guys, it's all yours. We'll even pay for the shipping.

And right now the Bucs are up 7-0 over perennial commentator-favorite Carolina as we near the end of the half. I always love to see Coach Chuckie lose, mostly because it's really fun to see his face get all red and the spittle fly, but I get so tired of everyone lovin' on the Panthers for no good reason (Playoffs? Sure. Super Bowl? Please....), that I almost want the Bucs to win. Notice I said almost.