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.