31 October 2006

MNF Thoughts

I wouldn't have thought it possible for Monday Night Football to jump the shark, but I'm pretty sure the presence of Paris Hilton indicates that it has. Well, that, or it's the Apocalypse.

The first Patriots series had me really confused. It bore some resemblance to what I've come to recognize as football through watching Eagles games this season, yet it was so different...what was going on? Hmmmm. And then a flash of light - that's what it looks like when receivers not only don't drop passes that are put right on their numbers but also make an effort to adjust their route or come back to the ball or jump or stretch or reach - you know, exert some effort to try to actually CATCH the ball. Wow. Cool.

Meanwhile, the Vikings looked like, well, us. Not pretty.

At least MNF seems to have dispensed with the ridiculous celebrity interviews. But if I had to hear Theisman talk about how Brady has never had the opportunity to work with a good receiver one more time... um, Deion Branch anyone? Troy Brown? David Givens? I mean, these guys may not be Randy Moss, but they're not exactly Todd Pinkston either.

And I think I've figured out what's going on with some of the penalties we've drawn in the past few weeks. Guys, "The 12th Man" is a metaphor for devoted fans. It doesn't mean you actually get to have an extra player on the field. Clear?


2006 Week 8 Recap

Eagles versus Jaguars, Sunday, October 30, 2006

In attendance: Ex-Navy Cheesehead, Chef Spouse. It's official - our recent losses are all Shoegal's fault. Thank God she's back in the country!

Menu: first chili and cornbread of the season (first cold day). Also Chef Spouse's awesome homemade guac. Also large quantities of bourbon, starting early in the 3rd quarter. Oy gevalt.

"Trick or treat?" Definitely trick. goeagles99, I'd like to revise my position: the Eagles are just 53 guys who get together on Sundays to torture the pro football fans of eastern Pennsylvania.

I have another possibility that could explain both our miscues and the Steelers' otherwise inexplicable loss to the Raiders: the people of Pennsylvania have somehow angered the football gods. We must commence with the ceremonial sacrifice of a wideout to propitiate them as soon as possible. I hear Captain ME! is free on Tuesday. Is Tuesday good for everyone?

You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad had the misfortune to be at the game, and the general response from the fans was, well, basically unrepeatable due to the filtering mechanism of this board.

It's too easy, but I'm going to say it anyway: Guys, bye week is this coming Sunday. I know "fall back" weekend gets everyone all confused, but can't y'all afford one of those big wall calendars for your fancy NovaCare training facility? Heck, I'll even spring for it personally if it will help you keep this stuff straight.

Sigh. I guess I do have to talk about the game itself at some point, don't I? OK...

HOLY MARY, SWEET MOTHER OF GOD, WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT CRAP?


Yeah, yeah, yeah, we take it one game at a time, every week's a new week, no game is more important than any other game. Whatever. This was, I'm sorry to have to point out to people who SHOULD HAVE KNOWN, a must-win. There was NO urgency at all, except very occasionally from D-Mac and Westy, and even that was not sustained for more than a few plays at a time. Have we decided, contrary to the evidence, that our O is so good we don't need to bother to show up until halftime, and we can still win the game? Because we can get behind and get back in the game, but we can't win. And if this team thinks otherwise, they're delusional.

We've had the most success when we're using D as O, attacking aggressively, creating turnovers, and then scoring off them, which we haven't done the past few weeks. Meanwhile, other teams have taken a page from Sean Payton's book and have been using their O as D - maybe they score, maybe they don't, but they definitely run nice long drives that keep us off the field. And our D seems powerless to stop them.

First Fred Taylor ran all over us. Then he got his bell rung, and Maurice Jones-Drew ran all over us. Then he needed a little breather, so David Garrard ran all over us. Who's next? One of the assistant coaches? At least we managed to get through a game with no fumbles. We didn't have any O or D to speak of, but at least we had no fumbles. I'm trying to find a bright side to look on, and I don't have much to work with here.

So was it the completely lackluster D? Did the O line fall apart? Was McNabb holding the ball too long? Were the receivers not able to get open? Did they drop too many passes...nah, too easy. Shouldn't this team be getting BETTER rather than WORSE as the season progress (or in our case, regresses)?

McNabb says he's going to fix it. How? Is he going to catch his own passes? Block for himself, so he doesn't get sacked? Start playing D? Over the past 8 years, the Eagles have asked him to win games virtually alone more than once. Looks like our luck is running out on that count.

To quote Rich Hofmann: "With their passing game neutered on a windswept afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field, the Eagles were unwilling to run and unable to stop the run. They are incapable of winning ugly. It is as if they don't know how." Actually, just read the whole article. It's excellent.

Where's the swagger? Remember "Watch this"? What happened to that coach, that team? Where's our heart? Hell, where's our SPINE? Guys, the Cowboys are supposed to be the softie glamour pusses, not us! Philly is a blue collar town! We're supposed to be bad asses! Where's our toughness?

(PS - Props to Chef Spouse's boy, David Akers. He was the ONLY player OR coach who did his job yesterday.)

Looking around the NFC, every division has at least two teams that look like potential playoff contenders at this point. NFC South has three. That means in order for us to make the playoffs, we're pretty much going to have to run the table for the rest of the season. Raise your hand if you think that's likely to happen at this point.

Around the rest of the NFL...

Boy, can I pick 'em! OK, no, I can't. I'd tally up my percentage over the course of the season, but Sunday's loss was enough of a downer, thank you very much.

So it turns out the Saints aren't unstoppable at home. We just can't stop them. Also, that decision by Brian Billick to fire offensive coordinator Jim Fassel? Looking like genius right about now.

The Chiefs did manage to beat the Seahawks, as I predicted (one of the few games I got right), thanks to big days from Damon Huard and Larry Johnson and small days from Seneca Wallace and the Seahawks running backs.

The Packers beat the Cardinals. Matt Leinart is probably wishing he'd taken more time to be with his newborn son. Like the rest of the season. Has Dennis Green started speaking in tongues yet? Brett Favre is showing some signs of life. But he should still retire already.

Mike Vick played like some other QB for the second week in a row in a tight Falcons victory over the Bengals. The whole Chad Johnson/DeAngelo Hall sideshow ended up being just that. Doesn't this mean that "Ocho Cinco" has to shave his Mohawk? And shouldn't someone tell him that it's supposed to be Ochenta Cinco?

The 49ers did not take my advice to forfeit. Am I talking to myself here? At least all their players appear to still be in possession of all their limbs, so that's a plus. Did the Bears wear the orange uniforms to dress up as pumpkins for Halloween? They may have to go on my top 10 list of ugliest uniforms, although the competition is fierce indeed.

The Titans beat the Texans. If a bad team falls in the forest and nobody cares, does it make a sound?

The Giants spanked the Bucs, as I expected them to. FYI, the Giants are now a game and a half up on us, in case you're keeping track.

The Chargers beat the Rams, thanks in large part to a hell of day out of LT - 183 yards and 3 TDs, tying legend Emmitt Smith as the second-fastest player to get to 90 career TDs right behind legend Jim Brown. Did I say "legend" enough? Get the picture? High scoring, exciting game, though. The Rams shouldn't be too down. The NFC West is still very much up for grabs, particularly with Shaun Alexander out for at least one more week and Matt Hasselback out for at least two.

The Colts and Broncos actually had a shoot-out, even though Jake Plummer is still only capable of 1 TD per game. Does he have a quota or something? That could be a problem come postseason. But the Broncos' powerful D wasn't powerful enough to stop the Colts. Who, now that they have Vinatieri, are likely to win all close games by 3 points, excepting, of course, the playoffs. You let Payton Manning on the field too often, he'll burn you. Until, of course, the playoffs.

The Browns beat the Jets. To quote Oz from Buffy the Vampire Slayer: "Hunh."

The Raiders beat the Steelers. I know I referenced that above, but I had to type it twice before I could believe it. All joking aside, seriously, Roethlisberger, you have apparently gotten on the bad side of someone - or something - really nasty. I suggest you take whatever steps are necessary to ameliorate that as soon as possible. Ouch. How do you lose to the Raiders? I guess I shouldn't say that too loud, or we'll figure out a way to do it, even though we're not scheduled to play them this year. Not a good Sunday for residents and ex-pats of the Keystone state.

And finally, the Cowboys, as I'm sure you all know by now, seem to have found an answer to their QB problems and pretty effectively demolished the Panthers. Stupid Panthers. It's never an entirely bad week as long as the Cowboys lose. Why couldn't y'all pull it together to give me at least that? Punks.

Poor Chef Spouse! One of his contracts experienced a major meltdown today, so I will be watching MNF alone while he suffers though an unexpected downtime. You know, somebody around here has to make the big bucks to keep me in expensive shoes (and it ain't gonna be me; I work for a nonprofit), but some days, it truly does suck to be him.


26 October 2006

2006 Week 8 Picks

Let the battle of the two most schizophrenic teams in the NFL commence! Will we be the Eagles who beat the Cowboys, or the Eagles who screwed up everything there was to blow in the first half, fought back in the second half, and still managed to lose to the Bucs? Will the Jags be the team who shut out the Steelers and crushed the Jets, or the team that inexplicably lost to the Texans last week? Will Byron Leftwich play? What about Donte Stallworth? Who knows?

To quote philly.com: "As disturbing as the defeats have been, the Eagles are not in unfamiliar territory in one respect. This is the fifth time in the last seven seasons that coach Andy Reid's team has opened the season 4-3." Leaving aside the anomalous mess that was the 2005 season, that means in 4 of 7 seasons under Big Red, the Eagles have started 4-3, and in 3 of those seasons, we've gone to the playoffs anyway. In 2 of those seasons, we've gone to the NFC Championship game. So we're a long way from "game over."

All I know is that I don't want to go into the bye week at .500, so guys, please pull it together and stop the carelessness! Defense: let's try getting OFF the field on 3rd down. Receivers: let's try CATCHING the passes and then HANGING ONTO THEM. Backs: same deal. NO fumbles. O- and D-lines: y'all are doing great. Keep it up! (But D-line, I'd like to see some more sacks this week, please.) D-Mac: you had one bad half. Shake it off, man.

There's no reason we can't beat these guys. Then again, there was no reason we shouldn't have beat the Bucs and the Giants (I'm willing to let the Saints game go, because they just had our number from the get-go). Let's not let the Giants get too far up on us, OK?

In the other matchups...

In the Cardinals/Packers game, look for the Cards to squeak their first win of the Leinart era. This game almost won Most Painful Game of the Week if it weren't for...

The Texans/Titans game. Watch the dregs of the AFC South duke it out. Or not. Ugh.

The Falcons/Bengals game should be interesting. What happened with Mike Vick last week? All of a sudden, he actually looked like a QB, not a running back who just happens to throw the ball every once in a while. Usually when he starts airing it out, you see something more like the Giants game, where he threw some picks. Of course, he threw picks against the Steelers, too, but they just seem jinxed this year. Putting up 38 points and still losing? That's some crazy #$%^ right there. The Bengals haven't exactly been brilliant this year, either, but look for home field to provide the advantage.

The Ravens are playing the Saints at home. The AFC is the tougher conference, blah, blah, blah, yackity-smackity. Fact is, it's damn hard to beat the Saints at home this year. I don't expect that to change Sunday.

In the battle of the second-string QBs, I'm going to have to go with the Chiefs. Damon Huard's having a good year, and Seneca Wallace didn't exactly look commanding when he took over for the injured Matt Hasselback in the Seahawks loss to the Vikings last week.

49ers: you know how I advised the Raiders to just go ahead and forfeit in, like, every game so far this year? Two words: Brian Urlacher. One word: Decapitation. Three words: game-time 2-for-1 Buds (at your friendly neighborhood sports bar). You do the math.

Calling a winner of the Bucs/Giants is painful. Both teams have spanked us with a great deal of assistance from our very own selves, so once again, I'm in the position that I want them both to lose. The Bucs have posted two surprising wins under Gradkowski, but I think that streak's coming to an end in the Meadowlands this weekend.

The Rams/Chargers game should be a good one, too. Both are #2 in their respective divisions, and both are legitimate playoff contenders. Should be a great game. They're playing in San Diego, but Charger fans are not known as a menace, so I'm not sure how much of a bump that will give the home team. This one could go either way. Coin flip says Rams.

The Broncos have mustered a very tough D this year, but I just don't see how 13 points is going to be enough to beat the Colts.

I can't think of a single reason why the Jets shouldn't kill the Browns. Which probably means the Browns will win. That would be funny.

Even without Big Ben (and frankly, Charlie Batch is a GREAT backup), look for the Steelers to post their first road win of the 2006 season against the Raiders.

Tony Romo: Welcome to the NFL, ****. See the Cowboys season sink into Redskins territory as they lose to the Panthers Sunday night. I wonder if Captain ME! will cry.

I have to pick the Patriots for Monday Night Football, but the Vikings could surprise them, particularly as they're playing in Minnesota. Say, who's playing for the Patriots these days? Other than Tom Brady, Corey Dillon, Kevin Faulk, Tedy Bruschi, Jabar Gaffney, Mike Vrabel, and Rodney Harrison, I've never even heard of most of these guys.


25 October 2006

One bright spot...

...in an otherwise down week (Dear ESPN: I will pay you $1000 to stop showing footage of Bryant's game-winning FG. I will pay you $2000 to stop showing footage of Ronde Barber's picks): the Cowboys lost, and lost BAD, on MNF.

Chef Spouse, still on business in the Big Apple, was unable to watch the game, so I was sending him text messages of all the key plays. The Cowboys boneheaded decisions were, at some points, coming so fast and furious I could barely keep up. Their O-line leaks like a sieve, Drew "Statue of Liberty" Bledsoe is about as mobile as my 83 year old grandma who's due to have knee replacement surgery this Friday, TO whined and complained and then dropped a CRITICAL 4th down pass that landed right on his numbers while he was wide open (and, as Chef Spouse noted, Coughlin could have challenged his one TD, since he didn't maintain control of the football to the ground), if Tony "Pick, Pick, Pick" Romo is the future of the team, that bright light is in fact an oncoming train, the D gave up WAY too many big plays (and Eli Manning is not exactly, well, D-Mac) - even their "directional" place kicker screwed up.

It was a through disaster - and I was ready with my marshmallows to toast over the conflagration of their season. The cheerleaders looked good, though.

At one point (I think after Romo's third pick), the camera panned to Parcells. Now normally, he's a pretty expressive guy. Last night, he just looked stunned. You could almost see a thought-bubble forming over his head: "WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS?"

You know, there were rumors that Parcells was going to retire after last season. Bet he's wishing he could get a do-over on that decision right now.

And Drew Bledsoe's just been massively humiliated on national TV. Even if Parcells isn't planning to make Romo his #1 after last night, what do you think are his chances of getting good effort out of Bledsoe again this season? I think "zero" might be too generous.

In conclusion, I like Emmit Smith, too, but could we PLEASE stop talking about DANCING WITH THE censored.gif STARS? There's a GAME going on. If your commentators don't know enough about football to actually CALL the GAME, maybe you should think about REPLACING them. MNF is starting to stand for MUTED Night Football chez Angry Redhead.


24 October 2006

The Technicolor Yawn

Lots of people are slamming D-Mac for upchucking on the field yesterday. Not to be Ms. Obvious here (OK maybe), but it was 110 degrees! Does anyone besides me ever get off the couch? I know I've barfed a few times after races in the heat. You run hard, it's really hot, you toss your cookies. Hey, it happens.

Does it excuse the first half? No - although if you pay attention, you might notice that on at least one (possibly two) of the picks, it sure looks like the intended receiver might've run the wrong route.

Does it excuse leaving points on the field at the half? No. That was just a brain fart.

But the man lost his lunch and then led two scoring drives, putting us in the lead. If our D had been able to hold for 30 crummy seconds, 21-20. If our D hadn't fallen apart in the 4th quarter of the Giants game, we don't lose The Freak (or the game). If our D had been able to put the stop on an 8 minute drive in the Superdome, we might have had a chance to get the ball back and put up some more points.

So it's all the D's fault, right? No, it's a team game, and it takes a team to lose a game - or win a game. And let's face it - luck has not been with us in at least two of our losses, and even great teams need some of that, too. Which is hopefully what we'll start getting again next week against the Jags.


23 October 2006

2006 Week 7 Recap

Eagles at Buccaneers, Sunday, October 22, 2006

In attendance: just Ex-Navy Cheesehead. Chef Spouse is in Gotham on business. Shoegal's been on vacation for the past two weeks. The Eagles have lost the past two weeks. Coincidence?

Menu: Lasagna. Bonus round: I don't have to cook again while Chef Spouse is gone. After the game? I put on a big pot of bourbon.

From the Land of Duh: Turnovers killed us, we have to stop leaving points on the field, and we have to stop making dumb mental mistakes at critical times (12 men last week, McDougal's 30 yard penalty this week, the entire 4th quarter of the Giants game).

How does a team manage to put up over 400 yards of total offense and still lose? Beats the hell out of me, but we've done it in 2 or our 3 losses so far this year. McNabb's had over 300 yards passing in 2 of our 3 losses. Westy's had over 100 total yards in 2 of our 3 losses. This is maddening. We have flashes of brilliance followed by flashes of complete idiocy. This team is schizophrenic. Forget the coaches - we need a shrink!

For example, McNabb: passes for over 300 yards and rushes for over 75 yards in 110 degree heat, barfs on the field, after tossing his cookies, leads the team in two great scoring drives, throws for 3 TDs - and yet, 3 picks, 2 that lead to defensive scores (thank you very much Ronde Barber - wouldn't you like to retire, too?), and a brain fart at the end of the half that ended up costing us the game. Dude, if LJ Smith is not IN the endzone, throw it away and take the 3. Margin of victory. Y'all know I'm not a hater, but come on! Could we get a little consistency?

But it's scarcely all Big D's fault. How many passes were dropped today? 400? 500? Infinity? I know it's hot, but concentrate, people! And again, our D - 80% of the time, we make great plays, 20% of the time, we give up HUGE plays. At least the receivers have an excuse - a lot of them are new. The D's experienced. So why do they make these rookie mistakes? ARGH!

Yeah, I know - who could have predicted a 62 yard field goal would be made by a guy whose long before today was, like, 20 yards? But why couldn't we come up with the big stop when we needed it? This is really, really frustrating. And my back door is not happy, as it's now dented (is that the right word for a wood door? dented?), through no fault of its own. The Angry Redhead's back door thinks the Eagles should give me a try out at punter, since Dirk Johnson is no great shakes this year, and it can attest that I have a big leg.

How can we be so great one series and so terrible the next? My head hurts.

And it doesn't get any easier - next week, we face the Jags, who will be out for blood after their embarrassing shellacking by the Texans.

Speaking of, around the rest of the NFL...

The Jags lost to the Texans. Yeah, I know I just mentioned that, but I still can't believe it. They said Leftwich wasn't going to play because of that ankle, and then he did, and it didn't help anyway.

In other news, I did not do well in my picks. I was right in picking the Jets over the Lions, and the Pats over the Bills (but that was a gimme). But I got 3 of the early games wrong by a field goal (4 if you count us).

The Bengals beat the Panthers. Hm. Did they just throw everyone at Steve Smith? Delhomme's pick in the endzone sure didn't help, and Rudi Johnson had a big day for the Bengals. But the Panthers just couldn't get anything going in the second half, which was enough to kill 'em in a low-scoring game.

The Falcons took the Steelers in OT in a high-scoring game. Did I speak too soon on calling the Steelers troubles passed? How did Mike Vick manage to throw 4 TD passes and not get picked off? That's on the Steelers. In related news, Roethlisberger got knocked out, Charlie Batch came in and did well, and it still didn't matter. Dear Big Ben: that mirror you broke/black cat you kicked/ladder you walked under? Biting you in the a**, man. Maybe you should try burning some sage or something.

Despite rocking the awesome powder blues, the Chargers couldn't get past the Chiefs, who are now only at .500. Dear pundits: are you sure the Chargers are the most complete team in football? My money's on the Bears.

The Packers beat the Dolphins. Yawn. Dolphins? Y'all suck. I can't even be bothered to mock you at this point. You're just pitiful.

Skins were hanging with the Colts until the 3rd quarter. Then...yikes. That was NOT a good 15 minutes for the Skins. Giving up 3 unanswered TDs? Ow. Only we can manage to lose after an offensive quarter like that. And how does Novack manage to miss from 49 and 35 (35 yards people!), but Bryant nails one against us from 62? AAAHHHHH!!!! But thanks for helping us out in the division by dropping another game, guys! More bad news for the Skins: Clinton Portis and Santana Moss both got hurt.

The Broncos are a real puzzler. Good team, bad team, doesn't matter. They win, but not by much, and they can't really ever seem to get their O going. I guess their D is good enough that it's not a factor. I wonder what that's like?

The Vikings beat the Seahawks at Qwest. The Seahawks hadn't lost at home in, like, EVER. And in worse news for the Seahawks, Hasselbeck sprained his knee. And the game was tied at the time. Not good. Chester Taylor had a HUGE day for the Vikings. Picking him up from the Ravens was a good move. But if the Seahawks hadn't been down to their #2, it never would have happened. Still, yay, Brad Childress!

THE RAIDERS censored.gif WON A GAME. This is not going to do much for Matt Leinart's confidence. $20 says Dennis Green throws a chair in his Monday press conference.

Stupid World Series. No late game.

And now we look forward to the Giants/Cowboys. Are you POSITIVE they can't both lose? Damn.


22 October 2006

Big highs....

... bigger lows.

I'm done kicking the back door (what? it totally deserved it), punching the refrigerator (OK, it's done nothing wrong, but I know it can take it), and swearing until I'm hoarse. Now I'm just shaking my head until my brain's about to fall out.

So much blame to go around, and it will be meted out in the full recap, but what's the common thread in our three losses (so far) this year? Regardless of what else has happened in the game, our D has fallen apart at the end of the 4th quarter, allowing a lot of points (Giants), a long drive (Saints), or a big score with almost no time (today, when the Bucs started their final drive with about 25 seconds left on the clock). Well, that and leaving points on the field. More about that in the full recap.

For now? To the bourbon, Batman.


20 October 2006

2006 Week 7 Picks

The Bucs are definitely looking better, and they sure handed the Bengals the surprise of the week last Sunday. Gradkowski's strong and elusive, and we've had some trouble finishing tackles and sacks. Their D's not nearly as punishing as it's been in the last few years, but they're still pretty decent against the pass, which could present some problems for our pass-happy offense.

The X factor? Gruden knows how to coach against us. He's 3-1 against the Eagles, including our 2nd of 3 NFC Championship Game losses in 2002 and the loss of our very first game at the Linc to open the 2003 season.

We need to do a better job of converting 3rd downs, and our D needs to stop playing great 80% of the time and giving up HUGE plays 20% of the time.

On the other hand, D-Mac is still the #1 QB in the NFL. Stallworth's likely to be back. Big Red has publicly committed to try to get Westbrook, Buck, and Moats more touches. Our D is going to give the Bucs' relatively inexperienced O line and very inexperienced QB fits. Look for Jim Johnson to throw everything including the kitchen sink at the kid. We've done a decent job of shutting down running backs, so Cadillac should have a Yugo day. If JJ lets the D attack, and AR doesn't insist that every play be a 50 yard bomb, look for us to win comfortably.

In other matchups...

Panthers haven't lost since Steve Smith came back. Bengals are banged up. How do you see that playing out? Me, too. Panthers go to 5-2.

The Jets have been better but not great (or even really good) this year. But that should still be plenty good enough to take the Lions.

Packers/Dolphins is my official pick for Most Painful Game of the Week. Also? Please retire already, Favre. Seriously.

Aw man, now the poor Texans have to play the Jags. Couldn't they get a week where they get to play the Frankfurt Galaxy or something? I'm starting to feel bad for David Carr. He's been down so much, his skin's probably turning green.

No reason to think the Patriots won't easily handle the Bills. Likewise Steelers, the Falcons. Steelers have their mojo back, and they should have little trouble shutting down Mike Vick.

The Chargers are good even when they're bad, and Chiefs are barely good even when they're great. The AFC West is all about the Broncos and the Chargers this year.

Speaking of the Broncos, the Browns...are also having a really bad year. Which will not improve this week. And they already burned their bye. Oy.

Cardinals, fresh off the almost-upset of the Bears, will surprise no one by killing the Raiders.

Vikings are actually looking pretty good (yay, Brad Childress!), but probably not good enough to beat the Seahawks, even without Shaun Alexander.

The Skins prospects aren't looking up this week as they face the Colts. Although, the Colts' big weakness is defending the rush. Which means, given the way this year's going for them, the Skins will probably decide to sit Clinton Portis because, oh hell, I don't know - Al Saunders didn't like his Thursday press conference outfit. I'd love to see somebody beat the Colts sooner rather than later, but I don't think it's going to be the Skins and I don't think it's going to be this week.

And the big Monday night: Giants/Cowboys. Can't they both lose? Are you sure? Damn.


16 October 2006

2006 Week 6 Recap


Week 6: Eagles at Saints, Sunday, October 15, 2006

In attendance: we were in Pittsburgh, so us and about 250 screaming football fans (a large chunk of them in midnight green) at Sports Rock. Plus some people I dragged along from the conference. Chef Spouse very much enjoyed listening to 200+ people shout "E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES!" every time we did something good.

Menu: Bar food. Of course. And Yuegling!

Friends! Romans! Eagles Fans! Let's not panic! We over-react faster than anyone but Cowboys fans. I'm not sure which is worse - our irrational pessimism (we lose one game to a good team and we think the season's over) or the Skins' fans irrational optimism (they lose to the Titans and still think they're going to the Super Bowl this year).

It's not yet time to have the "what's wrong with the Eagles?" conversation (although I am taking notes for that eventuality, should it manifest). The Eagles are right on target with my pre-season prediction to finish in the 10-6 or 11-5 vicinity, get into the playoffs but not get very far (promising receivers are too inexperienced), and be a contender next year.

The real surprise here is the Saints. Could Sean Payton be nominated coach of the year? The Saints are certainly the biggest turn around team in the NFL at this point. By the way, Texans, Sean says thank you for passing on Reggie Bush. He's still thanking God every day for that brain fart. The case of Abita is on its way. I was wishing a Cinderella season for the Saints last year. Apparently I was a little ahead of the curve.

Anyway, on to game notes. Upon further review, I had it right - we came out slow, the D fell apart on that long 4th quarter drive, and we got outcoached. But the Saints are hard to beat at home this year, no doubt about it. Sure, we mostly beat ourselves, with dumb penalties and mistakes at critical times (Ryan Moats causing Dexter Wynn to muff the punt return, 3rd & 10 sack negated by 12 men, etc.). And there were some bad calls, as always (OK, maybe more than usual). And Lito couldn't quite manage another miracle this week.

But why, for the love of God, are we still completely unable to manage the clock? Oops - I said I wouldn't get into the "what's wrong with the Eagles" thing at this juncture. And inconsistency, especially on D, is killing us. ARGH! I did it again. Change of topic...

What is up with the stupid human interest stories? So Joe Horn's kid fell off his bike. Who cares? Seriously, kids fall off their bikes all the time. I probably fell off my bike once a week as a kid. That's mostly because I never met a dare I wouldn't take, but I digress...Of course, had he decided to go on home, it would have been to our benefit. I change my mind - bad father!

Around the rest of the NFL...

Panthers squeaked by the McNair-less Ravens. Funny, the Ravens are 4-2, too, and everyone's still on the playoff bandwagon for them. Why is everyone talking smack about us? We have the #1 ranked offense in the entire NFL, for God's sake!

Dear Giants: told you Mike Vick's passing was a disaster waiting for you to take advantage of. You're welcome.

The Titans posted their first win over a Skins team that can't seem to find its own a** with both hands. I know just how Dan Snyder will fix it: throw more money at the problem. "Let's see, we already have salary cap problems and the highest paid coaching staff in the universe. Maybe I should start handing out cash to the fans?" Everything about Fed Ex Field is such a rip off, they certainly deserve it.

In a major shocker, the Bucs posted their first win, and it was over the Bengals. Gradkowski is playing really well, and is good at bobbing and weaving. Of course, the Bucs were helped by a COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS roughing the passer call. (Am I the only one who's noticed that opposing defenses can do pretty much anything they want to McNabb any time and it NEVER gets called? Have I mentioned that already - like maybe every week - in this blog?) Are they planning to outlaw sacks entirely next? But the Bucs may be starting to get some momentum. It's our job to put a big stop on that next week to hold onto our 1/2 game lead on the division.

Seahawks/Rams game was crazy. I thought Mike Holmgren was going to pass out right there on the sidelines. The pundits are saying this proves that the Rams can't play with the big boys. Dude! They lost by 2 points, and that was one incredibly lucky field goal. Let's not write them off just yet, hm?

Hey! Detroit won a game! And the Tigers are in the World Series! Good week, peeps!

Ooo, Dallas ran all over the Texans. Big whoop. Dear TO: STFU. Any team on the recently released BCS top 10 list could beat the Texans. My moms could put up two TD receptions against them. And please note, she's tough, but she's also only 5' 2".

Chargers killed the 49ers, as expected. Although if they have such an unstoppable D, how did the 49ers manage 19 points?

Chef Spouse got to go to the Steelers/Chiefs game. I got to watch it from Sports Rock. I didn't miss much. Big Ben's obviously feeling better, but what a blow out. Yay for The Burgh, but dull, dull, dull viewing. Poor Herm Edwards - Vinny Testaverde and the Jets last year, and now he's having QB problems again. Maybe it's him.

Dolphins almost won one. Y'all suck.

But not as bad as the Raiders. They are seriously stinkin' up the entire NFL. Of course, the Broncos only managed to put up 13 points on them. I know D is usually their strong suit, but that's pathetic. Game was so dull, I actually fell asleep.

And MNF...

Interior, Bears locker room, half time. Team sits around, looking dejected. Lovie Smith is crying. Rex Grossman is hiding in a locker. Henry Winkler peeks out from behind a towel and asks: "Anyone have an idea? Anyone?"

Cue the theme from Rocky.

Brian Urlacher stands up to deliver the pep talk of his life.

"We are currently UNDEFEATED. We are NOT going to lose our first game to the ARIZONA CARDINALS. Have we no SHAME? We are winning this game if I have to do everything MYSELF. Run, kick, pass, block, get picks, score TDs. I don't care! I won't be able to live with myself! Now let's go put this thing away!"

Fourth quarter? Mr. Toad's Wild Freakin' Ride. Yowza.

Bonus round? Dennis Green's hilarious press conference meltdown. Now that's what I call Must See TV.

12 October 2006

2006 Week 6 Picks

When the schedules were set up, I'm guessing the NFL brain trust figured a mid-season Eagles/Saints matchup to be a real dud. Both teams were dead last in their divisions last year. The Eagles didn't win a single divisional game, and the Saints won only one - their season opener against the Panthers. Sleeper of a game between a team widely viewed as past its prime and a team widely viewed as never having had a prime to get past.

Now? Both teams are 4-1 and are leading their respective divisions. Hot damn! The big question about both at this point is: are they paper tigers or the real deal?

The Eagles are playing great - record-settingly great, as a matter of fact. But we've beaten the Texans (1-3), the 49ers (2-3), the Packers (1-4), and, in a killer and emotionally charged game, the Cowboys (2-2), losing only to the Giants (2-2). In other words, we've only beat 1 team that's at .500, and none with a winning record.

The Saints, meanwhile, finally seem to have their act together. Sean Payton's got them playing decent ball, and the addition of Drew Brees and Reggie Bush is looking like genius. Deuce McAllister's return to good health hasn't hurt them any, either, and former Eagles Hollis Thomas and Mark Simoneau seem to be fitting in as well as former Saints Donte Stallworth and Darren Howard are in Philly. But the Saints have beaten the Browns (1-4), the aforementioned sad sack Packers (memo to Favre: RETIRE), the Bucs (0-4), and, in a killer and emotionally charged game, the Falcons (3-1), losing only to the Panthers (3-2).

See any similarities?

Some rookie kid from Toledo lit the Saints up last week, so look for D-Mac to have a big day. But the Superdome is a hostile environment for visiting teams in a way it hasn't been in years (maybe ever), and the denizens of Crescent City, having few other bright distractions, are in a fever pitch of team spirit familiar to, well, Philadelphians. Do we win? I think so - the Falcons are a paper tiger - but I'm expecting another nail-biter.

In other matchups:

The Bills, on the heels of a humiliating thrashing at the hands of the Bears, meet a Lions squad that seems to be improving. They led the Vikings for 3 quarters last week, and had they remembered that football games REMAIN 4 quarters, would have pulled off the upset win. Call it Bills in a close one.

I expect the Ravens to kill the Panthers, not only because the AFC is generally the tougher conference, but also because they have to be smarting after that ugly MNF loss to the Broncos.

Look for the Bengals to whup up on the Bucs. Although I bet rookie QB Gradkowski has another good game. Gruden might not be in such a hurry to get Chris Simms back if the kid keeps playing this way.

Cowboys better beat the Texans, or the Tuna will probably have a coronary right on the sideline, and fire everyone from the assistant coaches to The Player to the towel boy from the ambulance on his way to the hospital. I'll tell you what, though, the Texans, although they're still losing, are looking somewhat better and are coming off a bye. If the Cowboys lose, $50 says Jerry Jones fires the Tuna if he refuses to bench Bledsoe.

Despite the Giants' total lack of consistency this season (and the fact that they can't seem to remember to take the field until the fourth quarter), I figure them for a win over the Falcons, as long as they can keep Vick from running. A bit of advice? Let Vick pass all he wants - he has a lousy completion rate, and every time he airs it out it presents the possibility of at least an INT if not a defensive TD. Vick's 24th out of 30 in passer ratings, has thrown only 3 TDs, and has thrown 2 picks. The only reason it's not more is that Vick only has 90 attempts, lower than anyone but Vince Young, who's only played two games.

The Seahawks take on the surprising Rams in a battle for the NFC West (since neither the 49ers nor the Cardinals will be in the running unless both other NFC West teams mysteriously disappear off the face of the earth...soon). The 4-1 Rams, as you may recall, finished 6-10 last year. Know who else finished 6-10 last year and is now 4-1? The Eagles! Of course, unlike us, the Rams weren't at the bottom of their division last year, but that's only because the NFC West stinks. Before the season started, I would've called this a gimme for the Seahawks. Now, without their #1 offensive weapon, who knows? I'll take the Rams, just to be contrary.

Speaking of Vince Young, the Titans almost dealt the Colts the surprise of the year (no, the Colts' impending loss in their first playoff game doesn't count, because we're ALL expecting that). The Skins D can't seem to pull it together this year, and as Deadhead Skins Fan's Spouse observed, Brunell seems to play up or down to the level of whoever's playing around him. Clinton Portis and Santana Moss, take note. You're gonna have to pull his a** out of the fire, not the other way 'round. I'm going with the Titans on this one, partially because the Skins are L-LW-W-L so far, which, if they keep the pattern means they're due a loss, then two wins (Colts and Cowboys), and then a loss to us. If they can keep this up all season, they'll drop both of their matches with the Eagles, so I'm rooting for that.

The Chiefs are playing the Steelers in Pittsburgh, and I might get to go to the game! I'll be in The Burgh for a conference this weekend, and a good friend who lives up there is trying to score some tickets. Since I might be there, and the Steelers are my AFC team, now would be a good time to pull it together, Roethlisberger. If not, Coach Cowher, please reconsider Charlie Batch. He QBed your only win so far this season. That has to be worth something. But hopefully Big Ben will be feeling better after the bye week and will lead the Steelers to victory. I hate going to games where my team loses!

The Dolphins/Jets game is my official pick for Most Painful Game of the Week. Yikes.

The Chargers will crush the 49ers, and Raiders, seeing as you're facing the Broncos in Denver, you might want to take my advice and look into that forfeiting thing. You're gonna get creamed anyway, and Denver has some GREAT bars and clubs. I'm just sayin'.

Poor Cardinals. I predict that you'll be humiliated by the Bears on MNF. Hey! Maybe they can snatch the "worst loss in the history of MNF" crown from us! If you guys could manage that, we'd REALLY appreciate it.


09 October 2006

2006 Week 5 Recap

Eagles v. Cowboys, Sunday, October 8, 2006

In attendance: Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom, Man of the Hour You-Two-Calm-Down-Or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad, Shoegal, Ex-Navy Cheesehead, Chef Spouse, Deadhead Skins Fan and Deadhead Skins Fan's Spouse. Full house.

Menu: I outdid myself. Chef Spouse didn't cook this week. Brats in beer, sauerkraut, homemade bread, homemade apple pie, vanilla ice cream - all the birthday boy's favorites.

It's a good day any time Dallas loses. It's a great day when we're the ones who beat them.

Skins fans and Eagles fans sharing a living room in harmony. "C'mon people, now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, gotta hate on the Cowboys right now."

What a hot start! Although I hated settling for 3 when it should have been 7 on the second series, there's not a lot you can do when the zebras totally ignore BLATANT holding (Ware) on the guy who was CLEARLY the intended receiver for the play (LJ Smith). D-Mac was steamed about the missed call, too. And he's usually good about rolling with whatever the calls are.

D-Mac must be giving opposing D coordinators fits this season. "OK, I have to bring pressure on McNabb. But that leaves too many people open downfield. So who's their number one wideout, so I can double-cover him? Hmm...I need to double-cover everyone. Uh-oh. And what about Westbrook? OK, so jam Westbrook at the line. But if we over-commit, McNabb will just run it himself. Or complete a 60 yard bomb to some rookie I never even heard of. ARGH!!! I need a drink!"

I think I've figured out why the no huddle works so well for us. McNabb is #1 in the NFL in passes over 20 yards, TDs over 20 yards, passes over 30 yards, and TDs over 30 yards. What's the point of huddling up when every play is: "Westy and Buck, you guys hang back in case I have to dump it. Everybody else, hit the afterburners and go long. Break." Who needs a huddle?

Downside? Exhausted D. You could see it on their faces: "Aw man, I just sat down. Y'all scored already? I haven't even had a chance to get me some Gatorade!" Mondays for the O: Party at Runyan's! Mondays for the D: Sleep late. Breakfast. Nap. Lunch. Nap. Dinner. Nap. Dessert. MNF. Halftime nap. Bedtime snack. Lights out. So THAT'S why we have two entire starting-level defensive lines.

One thing everyone Chez Angry Redhead remarked on after the first quarter is that neither team seemed to be playing much D. And then we came out after the half and said "NO MORE" and made it stick. At some point, I just wanted to yell, "Stay down!" to Bledsoe, like Burgess Meredith in Rocky. Does anyone hang tougher than us in the red zone? You may get close, you may get a field goal, you MAY NOT get in the endzone. Do not pass go, do NOT win that game.

Our receiving corps is really young, which is why I'm not tearing them a new one for all the dropped passes. Yet. Guys, you KNOW that D-Mac throws HARD. Don't act surprised and flake out every time he zings a hot one right into your hands.

You know TO has to be going crazy after all the smack he talked last year about Big D - that he was washed up and the Eagles would be better with Favre at QB and whatever other dumb a** stuff came out of his constantly yapping mouth. McNabb's leading the league in passing yards and TDs, throwing to Westy, a second year guy, two rookies, a new guy who came in one week before the season started, a guy who before last week had only caught one TD pass in entire his career, and LJ Smith. So it turns out that D-Mac can make it work with pretty much anyone...except big whiners. Could've been one of the great QB/WR pairings in history, but T-NO was just too dumb to see it.

Meanwhile, The Player was a total non-factor. JJ held Dawk back for help, but had Captain ME! covered all game by Joselio Hanson, a second year guy we picked up from NFL Europe. He spent his rookie year on the 49ers practice squad. And got cut. By the 49ers. That's the killer who jammed TO all day.

As an astute Eagles fan observed on WIP, "There's no 'I' in team, but there IS an 'I' in idiot."

Stats? TO had 3 catches for 45 yards and no TDs. Lito Sheppard had 2 catches for 102 yards and a TD. Guess that ankle's feeling better. Did you see everybody lovin' on him (including the normally unflappable AR)? Awwwww....group hug!

In the post-game interview, Bledsoe, referring the final Cowboys play, in which he was clearly trying to stick it to Philly by throwing the game-tying TD to TO, remarked, "That's not what it looked like in practice." You're kidding! You mean you didn't plan to say, "Hey, Philly, up yours," only to have Lito Sheppard respond, "Ha-ha. Not in MY house," and make your big crybaby look bad?

To quote Pouty McWhiney Pants' postgame interview: "You watched the game? Who is pulling the trigger? I'm just out there doing my job. I'm not trying to point any fingers at anyone. But you guys know just as well as I know." Let the savaging of the QB begin! Have fun, Tuna. He also remarked: "Like I said, we win together, you lose together." Interesting Freudian slip there, hm? We win, but you lose.

To sum up, I quote Andy Reid: "I might be the happiest chubby guy in Philadelphia right now - especially since Shawn Andrews lost all that weight." Amen, Big Red (particularly because You-Two-Calm-Down-Or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad was in DC at the time). innocent.gif

Around the rest of the NFL, I did better in my picks this week. Go me!

Deadhead Skins Fan and Deadhead Skins Fan's Spouse were here for the 1 pm Skins/Giants game. Yikes, did the Skins look flat. That big win last week just cost too much.

The Bears, as predicted, stomped the Bills. I think that late 7 points was pity - or maybe the Bears just didn't bother to take the field on that series. My crystal ball predicts we'll see the Bears in a tough post-season matchup. Vikings had more trouble than I thought they would with the Lions, but had a HUGE 4th quarter and pulled it out.

Just in case I didn't say it enough times last year (because apparently I didn't), BRETT FAVRE, PAY ATTENTION: RETIRE ALREADY. THAT IS ALL. Move into the old QBs home. Start building model airplanes. Count your millions. Learn flower arranging. Get ESPN to hire you - they LURVE you. Do I need to book a sky writer?

Big shocker of the day? Titans almost beat the Colts. I know! Freaky, huh?

Panthers beat the Browns, as expected. Saints beat the Bucs, as expected. Props to Reggie Bush on his first NFL TD. (Know who else had his first NFL TD? Mr. Hank Baskett! Go Hank!) I love me some Saints, but we're coming for y'all next week! YOU SHALL NOT PASS!

Dolphins pulled Culpepper "for injury" (yeah right - too embarrassed to admit you blew $8 million on a dud is more like it) and Joey Harrington didn't fare much better against the Pats. Who else you got?

The Raiders actually scored some points, against the somewhat-less-terrible 49ers. Didn't help. Congrats to Randy Moss on his 100th TD though.

The Jags went buck-wild on the Jets. Did the Jets go to the wrong stadium or something? They scored NO points. It was almost as bad as our MNF debacle against the Seahawks last year.

Chiefs beat the Cards. Yawn.

OK, what the hell is wrong in Pittsburgh? Guys, it's supposed to be the Super Bowl losers who come back and stink up the joint, not the winners! Has Big Ben not recovered from all his off- and early-season mishaps? Have they just lost too many players? Is Cowher eyeing the door? Shout out to the Chargers for rockin' the groovy throw-backs.

And it's POURING in Denver. Tough defensive game so far, as expected. Could go either way, but I think the Ravens will take this one. But I do have one question: WHY ARE THEY INTERVIEWING SOME censored.gif FROM DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES?!? WHO FRAPPIN' CARES?

Edited to add: Boy, was I wrong about that one! Did the Ravens and Broncos switch QBs at some point? Because McNair sure looked a lot more like Jake the Mistake than himself at the end of both halves. And who thinks anyone, up to and including Superman, is going to beat Champ Bailey on a jump ball? What kind of boneheaded call was that? Bears and Colts are now the only undefeated teams, but that won't help the Colts when Peyton Manning falls apart in the playoffs as usual.


08 October 2006

Boo-YA!

Now that's what I'm talkin' about!

Dear TO - you suck.

Bledsoe's gonna need some All-Tempa-Cheer to get that grass stain out. Of his a**.

Troy Aikman: you're an idiot. FYI.

D-Mac is the class of the NFL.

Andy Reid actually smiled. Check out your recording of the game if you don't believe me. Oh, go on - you know you recorded the game, too.

Mmm-hmmm: long flight home to Dallas. Wonder if TO is crying?

Full recap to follow, but right now I'm savoring victory over a foe I hate with the fire of a thousand suns.



05 October 2006

2006 Week 5 Picks

What happens when a big rivalry gets even bigger? $25 says TO never even makes it to the stadium. And someone should probably check the fans' trunks for evidence before everyone's allowed to leave the Linc.

Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom and You-Two-Calm-Down-Or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad are coming down to DC for the weekend to celebrate Dad's (mumble mumble) birthday, and Chef Spouse and I will be hosting a big crowd. This should be a great game. Both teams have played well but inconsistently this year. Dallas is coming off a big win in a game that wasn't particularly challenging, and so are we. (Well, OK, our game was more challenging than it should have been, but that was entirely our fault.) And both teams need this win - we need it to stay on top of the division, to improve our divisional standing to .500, and to slay some ghosts. Dallas needs a big game to prove that they're a contender in the NFC and that all the money they spent and mess they've put up with in acquiring TO wasn't just a big mistake. I believe we'll win, but I don't think it will be easy. I just want to survive the game without suffering an aneurysm. But I'm fully stocked on crazy (and beer)! Go Eagles!

[PS - The Phreak Report's got it in one. If we can give D-Mac time and get pressure on Bledsoe, this game is ours.]

In the other games, the Bears should stomp all over the Bills. I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it again, but the Bears are the real deal, baby. Poor Browns! They got to win one, and now they have to face the Panthers. Sorry, guys. No streak for you. And has anyone checked Keyshawn Johnson's stats lately? Dear Jerry Jones: That off-season wideout switch may not have been the smartest move ever.

Vikings should improve to 3-2 over the Lions. Bet the bye week can't come soon enough in Detroit.

Dolphins, you are officially pathetic. And you'll get no love from the Patriots. Or me. What was I smoking when I picked them for AFC East?

Favre should fare better against the Rams than he did against us. And look for the Saints to resume their winning ways against the Bucs in the Superdome this week. The hapless Titans head to Indiana for the latest episode in their continuing saga: "Who Are We Going to Lose to Now?"

Redskins are looking a lot better and Giants are looking a lot worse than they were two weeks ago. Of course, the Skins are still without Sean Springs in their secondary, and Manning's not afraid to air it out. This one could go either way.

Chiefs/Cards - eh, who cares? But Damon Huard has a great QB rating right now (of course, so does David Carr and look how much good that's done the Texans). Jags should be ready to avenge their OT loss last week on the Jets. Both teams are 2-2 at the moment, and the Jets have been surprisingly improved this year, but I think the Jags should win this one.

Raiders/49ers is my official pick for Most Painful Game of the Week. But the 49ers should go to 2-3 without too much trouble. Randy Moss seems a little, um, cranky these days.

Hopefully, Big Ben and Hines Ward will have benefited from the bye week and will return to their winning ways Sunday night against the Chargers, who lost a tough one to the Ravens last week. If the Steelers are on the healthy bus again, this should be a good game. And Monday night's Ravens/Broncos game should be pretty good, too, with the rested Broncos facing the hot 4-0 Ravens, who are looking like the team to beat in the AFC (based on the presumption that the Colts will once again fall apart in the playoffs).


03 October 2006

2006 Week 4 Recap

Eagles v. Packers, Monday, October 2, 2006

In attendance: Only Chef Spouse (I try to discourage a MNF crowd - I tend to watch the game in my pjs).

Menu: Duck. Tasty, tasty duck. MMMmmmm...

Highlights of the first half...

Ummm...

Well there was that...no.

Uhhh...

And then the...

Mmm...not so much.

Oooo! McNabb TD!

Unh...and then the...

Yeah, that wasn't good.

Ugh...are we gonna lose to the Packers?

THE PACKERS?

Brett Favre has never won in Philly!

Y'all planning to screw that up?

Yikes.

Is it just that we can't play 4 quarters of good football all in one game? At least now we've silenced the "can't come from behind" naysayers. Of course, we were only down 9 to 7.

Life Long Eagles Fan Mom and You-Two-Calm-Down-Or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad went to bed at the half, and who could blame them? It looked like we were going to get killed.

And then, the sweet siren sound of momentum change. I swear, the hurry up offense really seems to suit us. I hear "The West Coast offense is about timing and rhythm" all the time, and I've never played football, so I don't really know what that means, but no huddle really seems to get things going for us. Downside? Makes it hard to burn the clock.

Anyway, it was refreshing to see D-Mac decide to put the game on his own shoulders and carry it through. "Well, if my receivers can't catch and my tailbacks can't hang on to the ball, I'll just do it my own damn self!"

Mike McCarthy has apparently been working on some of Favre's weak spots. Dude, you can't throw the long ball accurately anymore. So retire or cut that out. But McCarthy's tutorials only go so far. So if you hang in with Brett Favre long enough and he gets behind, he's going to start throwing some jump balls that even our depleted secondary can come down with.

Ramsey INT: Can't. Make. The. Turn. Beep-beep-beep-beep-beep. Did anyone else flash on a garbage truck trying a three-point turn in the alley behind your house? Only me? OK.

And then it was ON, baby. No huddle just works for us. McNabb has more freedom to call the plays and run with the ball - you know, whatever works. And the Pack were looking TIRED, man.

It seriously all went downhill for the Pack after that. Yes, Chef Spouse, it should have been 41-9, as we left points on the field with fumbles and odd trick plays, but it just got painful to watch. Two TD strikes to Greg Lewis in, like, a minute. And then D-Mac nailed the coffin shut himself with another TD to bookend the night. To finish it off, our scrub D kept the Pack out of the end zone on their final drive. Humiliating.

Chef Spouse: "You're so quiet tonight!" Me: "I'm saving all my crazy for next week."

So here's the interesting thing: in post-game interviews, many other QBs (Favre included - who left the field before the game was even officially over, unlike McNabb, who spoke to many of the Packers after the game) blame everyone but themselves for losses. McNabb post-game from Monday night? To paraphrase, "If I want to speak honestly about the game, I have to place blame for the first half where it belongs - all of us needed to step it up, including me." He is the class of the NFC, if not the entire NFL. Who wants Ricky Williams now, ****?

Around the rest of the NFL...

Thank God I got the important game right, because I was basically completely wrong about everything else. Good thing I do this for love rather than for money. (Not really - I'd give my right arm to be a sports writer. Ah well.) Games that I thought would be close were blowouts. Games that I thought would be blowouts were close. Teams I thought would win lost, and vice versa. Life Long Eagles Fan Mom is right - week 4 is way too soon to count any team out. Except the Raiders and the Dolphins. Sure, there might be 15 slower QBs in the league, Culpepper, but the difference between you and them is that some of them can actually complete a pass occasionally. Dude, what the hell is wrong with you? You lost to the Texans. The TEXANS, man. Oh, the shame.

The Saints lost to the Panthers, who have their act back together. I wouldn't be sad to see the Saints at the NFC Championship game, but realistically, I think we'll be seeing Chicago there. Rex Grossman is having one hell of a year so far. Last year, the Bears got deep into the playoffs on D alone. This year, they have O. As the Seahawks discovered. Bears are the real deal, peeps.

Vikings dropped one to the Bills, and both teams are OK this year. OK being damning with faint praise in the NFL. The Ravens/Chargers game was a rocker, with the Ravens winning it in the last seconds. But it wasn't as exciting as the end of the Colts/Jets game. Dude, that 8-lateral play was THA BOMB. Too bad it didn't work. And it was almost as exciting as the Redskins win over the Jags in OT, with Brunell's sweet pass to Santana Moss for the TD. Hope they get that winning thing out of their systems before November 12.

The other big surprise was the Pats beating the Bengals. Hunh.

And then a lot of "who cares?" Cowboys over Titans - big shock. Falcons over Cards. Yawn. Chiefs over 49ers. Did the 49ers even take the field? That was embarrassing. Rams over Lions. Whatever. The Browns/Raiders game was actually surprisingly close. That does not bode well for the Browns.

And next week? Well, Tony Kornheiser can actually talk about nothing but T.O. for three solid hours without it being completely beside the point. I'm going to have to deliver the smackdown to every single MNF commentator shortly, or my head may just explode. It's so bad I miss Madden. Oy.