27 December 2007

2007 Week 17 Picks

I can’t believe it’s already the final week of the 2007 season. It seems like only yesterday I was full of hope for another NFC East title and another trip to the playoffs. Now I'm just hoping to finish at .500. Where does the time go? Sigh…

Eagles/Bills: I sure would like to see us win this game and, as I mentioned above, finish the season at .500. I’d also like to see Kevin Kolb get a little time in a Real Game during the 4th quarter. But I’d give that up to get the win. We have identical records, which should give the AFC Bills the edge, except for the fact that the Bills play in the AFC East which, aside from the Pats, is a truly lousy division. So it could go either way. Let’s finish strong, Iggles, and launch ourselves into the 2008 season on a positive note. Eagles.

The following games have playoff implications...

Pats/Giants: OK, this doesn’t really have playoff implications. But it does have Greatest Team in the History of All Sports History, Past, Present, and Future (and boy am I sick of hearing about how great the Pats are. ESPN has resorted to setting up these totally hypothetical – and redonkulous – matchups. Like "What if the 2007 Patriots faced the 1985 Bears?” Um, WHO CARES? This is exactly what’s wrong with fantasy football. Other than that people like Lil’ Danny Snyder think it’s real, of course. But I digress…) implications. I really hope the Giants win. (In other news, I think God’s going to strike me dead for writing that sentence.) But if they’re smart, they’ll keep their starters out and try to get healthy before the playoffs. Stupid Patriots. We all already know Belichick won’t back off. Say it with me: "I-N-J-U-R-I-E-S! INJURIES! INJURIES! INJURIES!”

49ers/Browns: OK, given the fact that the final AFC wildcard spot comes down to the Browns, who get to end their season against the 49ers, and the Titans, who have to face the Colts, it should be obvious who will go to the playoffs. Should be. But the Browns look to me like they could blow it, and lose to the 5-10 49ers (how humiliating). I see this game going to the 49ers, but the Browns squeaking into the playoffs anyway on a Titans loss to the Colts.

Saints/Bears: The Bears screwed up hopes of home field for the Packers last week. Think they can make it a two-fer and knock off the Saints? Probably depends on the weather in Chi-town. Right now, weather.com is calling for mostly cloudy and 35 degrees. That’s probably not enough to stop the Saints. I predict a Saints win, but it won’t be enough to take the final NFC wildcard spot.

Cowboys/Redskins: This game is meaningless for the Cowboys, which should make it a relatively easy win for the Skins. Except for the fact that this is one of the most heated rivalries in sports, so the Cowboys will probably bring their A game out of pride, and a desire to finish a franchise-best 14-2. A Skins’ win is certainly possible, but they’re going to need some good luck. Skins, on a hunch, which would earn them the final NFC spot, thus firmly re-establishing NFC East as the platinum division in the conference, which is as it should be.

Vikings/Broncos: The Vikings screwed up a chance to lock in the final wildcard spot against the Redskins last week, and Champ Bailey should be able to exploit Tavaris Jackson’s weaknesses even better than the Skins secondary was, particularly as the Broncos are strong against the pass. But if the Vikings are smart, they won’t pass. They should – and I think they will – hand off to Adrian Peterson about 96% of the time, as the Broncos are 30th in the league at defending the rush. That translates to a Vikings win, but again, it won’t be enough to secure the final wildcard spot.

Titans/Colts: You know, if the Titans can win this, they’ll steal that final AFC spot right out from under the Browns. And the Colts certainly have plenty of reasons to rest a bunch of their starters. But it doesn’t look like Egghead Dungy’s going to. Which probably means the Titans’ playoff hopes are in the crapper. Of course, the Titans will know the outcome of the Browns 1 pm game by the time they face the Colts at 8 pm Sunday night, so who knows?

On to the meaningless games…

Seahawks/Falcons: Seahawks, even if they rest all their starters. Yes, the Falcons really are THAT bad.

Lions/Packers: Bet Vicodin Boy’s eager to wash the taste of that ugly loss to the Bears out of his mouth. Look for the Pack to whup up on the hapless Lions, who after starting the season strong had a second half fade of NY Giants-level proportions.

Jags/Texans: The Jaguars are cruising into the playoffs and should probably take a rest Sunday. But they won’t, and as a result will very likely crush the Texans.

Panthers/Bucs: Now, the Bucs probably will let up Sunday – hell, they let up last Sunday and lost to the 49ers. Which probably indicates a loss to the Panthers is in the offing. Anyone know if Vinny’s playing?

Bengals/Dolphins: The Fins have already locked up the #1 pick in the 2008 draft, so neither of these teams has ANYTHING to play for at this point. Maybe Ocho Cinco will do something funny! The Bengals will win, not that it matters, and the Dolphins will finish 1-15, which is awesome in its nearly perfect awfulness, if you know what I mean.

Chiefs/Jets: Oh the humanity!

Rams/Cardinals: My eyes! My eyes!

Chargers/Raiders: I’m betting that the rest of the Raiders veterans were paying attention last week and will follow Warren Sapp’s lead in getting bounced from the game. I’m also betting those same wily vets will have arranged to have at least one of the Gatorade coolers stocked with margaritas instead. Guys, the fine you’d pay for forfeiting will be far less painful than actually playing this game. Trust me on this one.

Steelers/Ravens: Maybe the Steelers will be nice to the Ravens and not totally demolish them in a season finale that’s meaningless to both teams? Mike Tomlin seems like a reasonable guy. Yeah, I don’t buy that, either. This promises to be another ugly game to round out a truly ugly season for the Ravens. Steelers.


26 December 2007

2007 Week 16 Recap

Eagles at Saints, Sunday, December 23, 2007

In attendance: Ex-Navy Cheesehead (bearing his cheesehead, for all the good it did the Packers), Chef Spouse, and Steely McMeow

Menu: Tex-Mex again. Chef Spouse has been working on perfecting his fajita recipe this fall. On the up side, MARGARITAS!

Happy holidays, Eagles fans. I wished for an early Christmas gift for us, and we got it, in a nice win over the Saints at the Superdome, a feat we were unable to accomplish last season. Sorry this recap is running a little late, but I was too busy making merry (and fighting with the insurance company about the status of The Money Pit on Christmas Eve, which is a WHOLE ‘NOTHER story) to sit my butt down and write up this thing. Be thankful I took an extra day off work this week, otherwise this would’ve probably been a combo week 16 recap/week 17 picks post. And that would just be confusing.

As philly.com notes, lots of things went well Sunday. But I think the key to the victory was demonstrated in that first offensive series. The pressure comes, the pocket collapses and McNabb breaks free (rather than getting sacked) and rips a 40 yard run (rather than getting tackled), and then fumbles. It bounces into the end zone (rather than into a Saint’s arms) and is recovered by Kevin Curtis (rather than a Saint). Touchdown, Eagles! (rather than Turnover, Eagles!)

What does that all add up to? The return of our luck. Even beyond all the other problems we’ve had this year, the thing that’s killed us the most, in my opinion, has been that pretty much every single break has gone against us. Sure, we’ve never been one of those teams with the magic touch, where every risky decision seems to pay off. But we’ve been way under 50% for most of this season. WAY under. WAY, WAY under. We’ve lost 4 games by 3 points. Three points isn’t in the range of skill, it’s the range of luck. Two of those games go our way, we’re at 9-6 and have locked up the second NFC wildcard spot. Just sayin’.

Another thing that went right on Sunday is that Big 5 is clearly feeling better. So of course the question is: did he come back too soon from the ACL tear? Yeah, I think he probably did, but there’s a big BUT here, and it’s BUT the receivers. For significant portions of this season, it’s seemed like McNabb and our receiving corps are operating out of completely different playbooks. I think it’s because only one of our five receivers (Greg Lewis, out of Avant, Baskett, Brown, and Curtis) has been with the Eagles more than three years. What’s the common theme of the past three years? McNabb’s been injured for significant portions of each season, and in fact missed the majority of the 2007 off-season. Of course they’re only now starting to get their timing down. Unlike West 36, these guys actually need to practice, and they’ve had relatively limited reps with the starting QB.

Another thing that went right on Sunday was the return of big plays on defense. Our turnover ratio this season has been, um, not good. To say the least. In fact, the less said about that, the better. Forced fumbles? Not our thing. Picks? Yeah, Lito was out a lot. 3rd and 4th down stands? We could NOT get off the field to save our lives at times. But not Sunday. The Saints 3rd down efficiency was only 25%. Now that’s more like it.

And finally, West 36 is a pair of yards away from wresting the Eagles’ single season yards from scrimmage title from Wilbert Montgomery. And he totally deserves it. And he’ll get to do it at home on Sunday. What a rock star!

Around the rest of the NFL…lots of games with playoff implications.

Steelers over Rams: The Steelers have looked intermittently shaky this year. But not Thursday night. They won when it counted and secured their fifth trip to the playoffs in seven years. The Steelers are currently in the lead for "team I’ll root for through the playoffs.” Hopefully, they’ll get another shot at the Pats and it will go better this time.

Cowboys over Panthers: The Cowboys locked up home field advantage due to another sorry outing from the Panthers. Sure hope they manage to get their QB troubles figured out before next season. Anyone interesting coming out in the draft and likely to still be available by the time the Panthers get to make a selection? Because about 25 out of the 32 teams need a QB.

Giants over Bills: Another NFC East rival solidifies their playoff spot. Sigh.

Colts over Texans: Surprisingly, Dungy kept his starters in for most of what was a meaningless game for both teams. Maybe he was worried about them getting rusty with too much down time? I don’t know, but given all the injury problems the Colts have faced this year, it seems like a risky move to me. But then again, Dungy’s the (literal) egghead making all the money, not me.

Lions over Chiefs: Whatever. What is it now, 10 wins guaranteed for 2008? 2009? Never? How long does Rod Marinelli get to keep his job, anyway? Actually, that’s not fair – it was Kitna who guaranteed the wins. And given the dearth of good QBs, I doubt he’ll be getting fired as long as he’s still ambulatory.

Jags over Raiders: Warren Sapp, exercising the wisdom that comes with age, got himself kicked out of the game. Too bad he couldn’t get himself sent home, where he could’ve drowned his sorrows in a nice, cold brewski or 10.

Bears over Packers: The Packers needed the win to have any chance of securing home field advantage in the playoffs, which has now been locked up by the Cowboys. The weather was terrible in Chicago Sunday – wind, rain, snow. It was pretty much like the average day at Base Camp I on Everest. It has been suggested that the Packers dreadful performance may have been intentional. At 38 years old, Favre may have observed the lousy conditions and decided that heading to Texas for the NFC Championship game might not actually be such a bad idea. Seems far-fetched to me, but then again, I wouldn’t want to spend 3½ hours trying to connect with receivers in the middle of an ice storm, either.

Bengals over Browns: Another team that needed a win and didn’t get it. The Browns had a chance to secure a trip to the 2007 post-season and blew it to a team that has been, shall we say, a little inconsistent this year. To quote Bryan Lee, "You gotta want it!”

Cardinals over Falcons: Who cares? Oh – and two more teams with QB problems!

49ers over Bucs: OK, the Bucs (yet another team that’s suffered on the injury front this year) took out their starters early in favor of the practice squad (which is about everybody they have left) and the 49ers still barely squeaked a win. That doesn’t bode well for 2008.

Pats over Dolphins: Couldn’t the Pats all get food poisoning or something? I don’t want them to die – I don’t think – but getting them out of the way for a while would be nice. I can’t believe I’m going to have to root for the Giants Sunday night. I hate the Patriots.

Seahawks over Ravens: A year ago, who would’ve thought I’d be writing that during week 16? In other news, some "beautiful idiot” (to quote Deadspin) is sitting on the roof of a Bal’mer bar until the Ravens win. That’s, um, INSANE. But dedicated! I think – I hope – he’s planning to come down during the off-season.

Titans over Jets: The Titans took a close one over the pathetic Jets and kept their playoff hopes alive – barely. If you can only put up 10 points on the Jets, dude, getting TO the playoffs is not going to benefit you much.

Redskins over Vikings: Even though we won’t be involved, wouldn’t it be cool if the NFC East ruled the NFC playoffs again? Looks like it might happen, particularly after that flaccid performance by the Vikings Sunday night.

Chargers over Broncos: No real surprises here, other than that Mike Shanahan still has a job. And that Norv’s team is actually doing pretty well.

Playoff picture heading into week 17...

The Pats had locked up AFC East, the first week bye, and home field before week 16.

The Colts had locked up ACF South and the first week bye before week 16.

The Chargers had locked up AFC West before week 16.

Due to their win over the Rams and the Browns inexplicable loss to the Bengals, the Steelers have locked up AFC North.

Their expected win over the Raiders brought the Jags the first AFC wildcard spot.

The Browns and the Titans are still alive for the second AFC wildcard spot.

The Cowboys had locked up NFC East and the first week bye before week 16. With their own win over the Panthers and the Packers inexplicable loss to the Bears, they’ve now locked up home field, as, regardless of what happens in week 17, they own the tie breaker win over the Packers.

Speaker of, the Packers had locked up NFC North and the first week bye before week 16.

Likewise, the Bucs and Seahawks had locked up NFC South and West prior to week 16.

The Giants’ win over the Bills secured them the first NFC wildcard spot.

The Vikings failure to secure a win over the Redskins means that both teams and the Saints are vying for the final NFC spot. For those who, like me, were confused about why we’re out of the playoffs when the Saints, also at 7-8, are still in, it has to do with the tie breaker rules. The Saints have more divisional wins. Ah well.

21 December 2007

2007 Week 16 Picks - Naughty & Nice Edition

Eagles/Saints: When you're out of the playoffs, it can be NICE to spoil someone else's chances. It would also be NICE to finish at .500. But the Saints are still in it, and they're playing at home. Eagles (I need a NICE present, guys), but it could go either way.

Steelers/Rams: As indicated earlier, the Steelers got a NICE present in getting one step closer to locking up the AFC North, although Santa also dropped off a big lump of coal when Willie Parker went down with that broken leg. I had, of course, called the Steelers, and they won, but things look pretty shaky for them now for the post-season.

Dallas/Panthers: Wouldn't it be NICE if the Cowboys fell apart at the end of the season again? Panthers (I hope 'cause I'd really like to see Captain ME! lose it and Tonyboy cry).

Browns/Bengals: NICE job this year, Romeo. See you in the playoffs, Browns.

Texans/Colts: The Colts don't need this game, which I'm guessing translates to "rest your starters," since unlike some Belichicks I could name, Tony Dungy's not crazy. Could be a NICE win for the Texans.

Giants/Bills: The Bills are out of it, and the Giants are still fighting to hold onto the #1 NFC Wildcard spot. Those NAUGHTY boys might just lock it up this weekend. Giants.

Chiefs/Lions: Two teams who've been very NAUGHTY the past two months. It's the battle of the losing streaks! I'm calling "let's see what our rookies have got!"

Raiders/Jags: Someone's been on a NICE roll lately and has the added motivation of being completely passed over for the Pro Bowl. Jags.

Packers/Bears: Wouldn't it be NICE to see the NFC Championship Game played at Lambeau? What a NICE way to go out (just a little hint-ski). Packers.

Falcons/Cardinals: Worst Game of the Week. Very, very, NAUGHTY. And not in the good way.

Bucs/49ers: NICE season, Jeff. Now rest up for the playoffs. Bucs anyway (the 49ers are terrible, despite beating the Bengals last week).

Jets/Titans: The Titans are still alive, barely, while the Jets have been NAUGHTY pretty much all season. Titans.

Dolphins/Pats: Wouldn't it be NICE if the Dolphins could get two wins? And it would be a NICE present for their new EVP of Football Operations, the Tuna. It would be even NICER if that NAUGHTY Bill Belichick finally caught some bad luck with a serious injury to a key player or two. But none of that is very likely. Pats.

Ravens/Seahawks: Aw! Isn't it NICE that rookie QB Troy Smith will get to make his first start for the Ravens this week? And the Seahawks have nothing to play for at this point. Should make for a dull game, unless Troy turns out to be the second coming of Rocks Brady. Which is always possible. Ravens (just a hunch).

Redskins/Vikings: Both teams are playing for that final NFC Wildcard spot. Vikings are leading, but Tavaris Jackson seems pretty rattle-able. Wouldn't it be NICE if the NFC East sent 3 teams to the playoffs again this year, re-assuming our rightful role as premier division in the NFC? Redskins.

Broncos/Chargers: Two more teams that have nothing to play for at this point, as the Chargers can't do better than locking up AFC West (which they've already done) and the Broncos are out of it. And it's Christmas Eve. Be NICE to your family, turn off the TV, and do something together 'cause this ain't gonna be worth watching.


Hints of Greatness?

A timely and relevant email from Shoegal earlier today:
"For some strange reason, I've been pondering the Eagles season. I find it interesting that the Eagles really gave the Patriots (#1) some serious competition (which no other team had done by that date) and recently defeated the Cowboys who were #2 in the overall rankings (until this latest loss). OK, you could argue that they stepped up their game (mentally and physically) for these opponents - to avoid being embarassed by the Patriots running up the score on them like they did with every other team they played to that point and because it's the despised Cowboys and they just hate to lose to those ****s. But why can't they get juiced for every game? Why so mediocre some weeks and so damn good/tough on others? But hey, it's been one of those weird seasons where nearly every team is pretty damn mediocre at one time or another."
Aside from the fact that I find it amusing that my Eagles mania is rubbing off on her, the only explanation I could come up with is that we're playing up - and down - to the level of our competition this year. What say you, Eagles nation?

PS - (likely highly abbreviated) week 16 picks will go up later today


19 December 2007

Congrats to Our Pro Bowlers

The 2008 Pro Bowl nominees have been announced, and the following Eagles have been selected:

Brian Westbrook - Running Back (reserve)
Shawn "The Big Kid" Andrews - Guard (reserve)

I know Adrian Peterson is having one hell of a rookie year, but how is it that West36 is passed over AGAIN? What does he have to do to get selected, PAY you people?

Anyway, although it was a slim year for us, congratulations to both.

Also, I may not have time to pull together a full picks post before tomorrow night, so let me just say:

Steelers/Rams: Steelers. Duh.


17 December 2007

2007 Week 15 Recap

Eagles at Cowboys, Sunday, December 16, 2007

In attendance: just me & Chef Spouse. We literally walked into the house as the game was starting

Menu: Thai takeout. Hey, we were out of town this weekend.

Every week, I choose a new desktop background from among our previous game’s photos. Each week, I pick the standout player of the game and choose the photo of him making the standout play. This week, the photo decorating my desktop is West36’s booty as he slides down at the 1, ensuring an Eagles victory over the Cowboys.

Here’s the thing about BWest. We’ve all known for years that he’s a great player. (It hasn’t been until the last two years that the rest of the sports viewing world has caught on, but whatever.) And he’s a smart guy – honor roll at DeMatha, degree in MIS from Villanova, MBA program, Wharton program. But this is the first time he’s demonstrated that he (with a little assistance from old timer Jon Runyan) is smarter than the head coach. Which he – and everyone else – should remember when he decides to retire. Not only was it smart, it was unselfish. West36 gave up adding a TD to his own stats to think of the team and of the win.

There was other good stuff. Our D played one of their best games this season. They had three takeaways, which has been a real problem for us this year. Lito completely shut down Captain ME! How a 5’ 10” cornerback manages to shut down a receiver who’s almost 6 inches taller than he is a mystery to me, but TO probably has recurring nightmares that feature Lito picking off passes intended for him.

Nobody did anything stupid after the refs whiffed the call on Ken Hamlin’s helmet-to-helmet hit on Matt Schobel. AR looked about as pissed as I’ve ever seen him – I think he actually FROWNED. And there’s more good news! Roy Williams has been suspended for his latest horse collar tackle, which thankfully doesn't seem to have had any lasting ill effects on D-Mac, because that is the ABSOLUTE LAST THING he/we need in the world. OK, it’s only for one game, but all right-thinking football fans should rejoice, because Roy Williams is a tool who’s also unable to play without cheating, so every team that faces the Cowboys is only one play away from a career-ending injury on . How do we get rid of this guy?

And speaking of getting rid of people, why is Troy Aikman is allowed to call Cowboys games? Why is Troy Aikman allowed to call Cowboys DIVISIONAL games? Am I the ONLY person who thinks this is just wrong? How do we make him go the way of Michael Irvin? People, let’s put our heads together and work this problem!

Around the rest of the NFL…

Texans over Broncos: The Texans are a team heading in the right direction in a tough division. The Broncos are a team heading the wrong direction in a weak division. Which means plenty of chances for the Texans to be frustrated and the Broncos to show up in the playoffs undeservingly in years to come.

49ers over Bengals: Wait – what? Oh Chad, why don’t you come play in Philly, as the people next to us at dinner Saturday night suggested? We could use a decent receiver, and you clearly need to get away from the BS in Cincinnati.

Packers over Rams: No surprises there. And Vicodin Boy passes DMar on the all-time yards list. Yay. He’s been playing since the discovery of fire. What took him so long? Also, any chance he’ll go away NOW? No?



How ‘bout now?





Now?

Bucs over Falcons: Way over. WAY over. Congrats to Jeff Garcia, who returned to the starting lineup just in time, on his second divisional title in two years.

Jags over Steelers: I expected a close, hard-fought game. And it was. I just didn’t expect it to turn out this way. Could the Browns overtake the Steelers for AFC North? The Steelers finish their season with the Rams and the Ravens. Talk about going out with a whimper! The Browns face the Bengals and the 49ers. So it’s not a stretch to think they will both win out. In which case, the Steelers own the tie breaker, but the Browns will head into Wildcard Weekend with a very strong 11-5 record.

Saints over Cardinals: Damn. The Saints are still right in the NFC wildcard hunt. I don’t want to lose, but I also don’t want to spoil their playoff chances next week. But most of all, I really don’t want to finish under .500. OK, Saints, that’s it – we’re coming for you. Hopefully it will go better than our matchups last year.

Panthers over Seahawks: Wow. Not to beat a dead horse or anything, but the NFC West is BAD. Horrible. Terrible. No good. Muy malo. Wretched. Craptastic. Who’s even playing QB in Carolina these days? (like it matters...)

Browns over Bills: I’ve already talked about the Browns, but was that a game a mess or what? Watching Derek Anderson slide through the snow on his stomach like a penguin was pretty funny, though. He was probably practicing for when he’ll be doing that with piles of money next year.

Titans over Chiefs: Titans aren’t out of the post-season yet. But I think the Jags and Browns are basically a lock on the two AFC wildcard spots, so it’s sort of pointless at this point.

Dolphins over Ravens: I have no response to this. I thought we were having a bad year.

Pats over Jets: OK, so now that the Dolphins have won a game, the pressure’s off. No time like the present to get on a roll!

Colts over Raiders: Yawn. Although the Raiders did lead…briefly.

Chargers over Lions: The Chargers are starting to look like we expected them to look in September. They’re one of the few teams that was looking disappointing but has managed to turn it around. Unlike some Eagles I could mention. I don’t think Norv’s going to fare any better in the post-season that Marty did, though.

Redskins over Giants: Nice! And that redneck trash Shockey is out for the rest of the season. Boo-hoo. The Giants will once again be eliminated in their first playoff game. HA! It would’ve helped our hanging-by-a-thread playoff hopes if the Skins had lost, but we’re not going to the playoffs this year, anyway, and I don’t dislike the Skins nearly as much as I dislike the Giants.

At half time, the Bears are beating the Vikings, which is pretty surprising, but is probably not going to last.

PS – Look, I think Jessica Simpson is an annoying dolt, don’t get me wrong, but if people don’t stop blaming her for Tonyboy’s bad game, I am going to get seriously stabby. You know what? Maybe it’s NOT the woman’s fault. Maybe he’s just an inconsistent, untried, over-hyped, about-to-be-a-bust QB who's been getting fat on a soft schedule. Ya think?


13 December 2007

2007 Week 15 Picks: The Home Stretch

"Home stretch” as in "the Eagles will be stretching out at home watching football from their couches in three more weeks.”

Sigh.

Eagles/Cowboys: Chef Spouse and I celebrate 15 big ones this weekend. We’re headed back to the place we spent our wedding night, as we traditionally do every 5 years, which means, particularly with a potential Nor’easter about to hit, we may end up watching the game with Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom and You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I’m-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad. Ain’t gonna matter. We still gonna get creamed. With a vengeance. Oy.

[Aside: these tools on the NFL Network are trying to be Jaws. I know Jaws, and you, Sir, are no Jaws.]

ThNF Broncos/Texans: Two under-performing teams, one with an excuse (the Texans are an expansion team – you though I was going to say "Mike Shanahan,” didn’t you?). The Texans will likely win (although the all red uniforms make them look like they’re taking the field in footie pjs), but Shoegal recently loaned us Ocean’s 13 and it’s looking REAL tempting. I do love me some Cloones. Ah, Cloones. You say the word, Chef Spouse is history. (Just kidding, babe. OK, not really.)

SaNF Bengals/49ers: It’s the 49ers. Even the Bengals should have no trouble with them. Notice I said should have no trouble. Bengals.

Sunday games

Cardinals/Saints: Man, do the Cards suck, other than when they play the AFC North, when they manage to look half-way competent. Unfortunately for the Cards, the Saints don’t play in AFC North, either. Stay in that wildcard race, baby! Saints.

Titans/Chiefs: Vince Young is just falling apart this season. Of course, since the ENTIRE Chiefs roster is also falling apart this season, it may not matter. Titans.

Jaguars/Steelers: Steelers, I think, but it’s gonna be close. This is the 1 pm game to watch.

Ravens/Dolphins: Because this is (one of) your alternative(s). Aw! The Ravens will get to win a game! Isn’t that nice?

Packers/Rams: KGB SMASH! Packers. Brock Berlin’s gonna need a body cast. "Who’s Brock Berlin?” you ask. The Rams current QB. No, I’m not fooling.

Bills/Browns: Browns. Who are going to the playoffs this year, I think.

Jets/Pats: $10 says Belichick spits on Mangini. Any takers?

Seahawks/Panthers: How’s ole Vinny doing these days? Oh yeah – the Panthers are 5-8 in the craptastic NFC South. The West is equally craptastic, but the Seahawks are 9-4. 10-4 after Sunday.

Falcons/Bucs: The Falcons don’t even have a freakin’ COACH any more. Forfeit. And start drinking heavily. I would aim to be unconscious until after the Super Bowl at least, maybe until Mike Vick is released in 2009. Bucs.

Colts/Raiders: You know how I mentioned in my week 14 recap that the Raiders should be able to handicap the other teams? Even that wouldn’t help them this week. You know, unless they handicap the Colts by swapping uniforms. Colts.

Lions/Chargers: Why do I NOT think this is the week the Lions right their ship? Chargers.

SuNF Redskins/Giants: Boy, I really hope the Skins pull off the upset. I don’t think they will, but I really hope they do.

MNF Bears/Vikings: Brad Childress will get to take his team to the playoffs in his second year as head coach, just like his coaching papa, Big Red. Hope it turns out better for the The Purple People Eaters. Vikings.


12 December 2007

Bye-bye Bobby

After Monday night's embarrassing loss to the Saints, Bobby Petrino decided he was done coaching NFL football. RIGHT NOW.

Dude, come on! At least finish the damn season!

The funny part is, I would've picked Cam Cameron's to be the first head to roll. Of course, I would've figured it to roll at 12:01 am December 31. Who just up and quits with 3 games left? Sheesh...no guts, no glory. I almost feel sorry for the University of Arkansas at this point.


10 December 2007

2007 Week 14 Recap

Eagles v. Giants, Sunday, December 9, 2007

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

Menu: yummy homemade chili, Chef Spouse’s rockin’ guac, margaritas, cranberry-studded goat cheese, cruditĂ©s

For the first 3 minutes and 15 second of the game, it looked like we were going to get a little Christmas miracle in the form of a return to competence. We looked like The Class of the NFC East once again. Alas, it was momentary. And the thing is, I knew they were going to lose. I knew it. It’s just been that kind of year. But that doesn’t make it any easier to take.

Gotta love philly.com today: "Birds wanted a flag on fourth-down pass." Um, yeah, that would be because Antonio Pierce totally cheated and was ALL OVER Jason Avant. Like Sam Madison did moments before, holding West36 down. Like the Giants O-line was doing, once again, all game long, holding the hell out of our guys to keep them off lil’ Eli. Sour grapes? Damn straight.

A few bright spots in the game: West36 just passed Randall Scramble on our all-time rushing list to take the number 4 spot. West 36 is having an amazing year, and we’ve got him sewn up for at least a few more. Takeo Spikes sacked lil’ Eli, and then sacked Trent Cole just for fun. Duce Staley retired as an Eagle at halftime, despite getting his ring in Blitzburgh.

I don’t even want to talk about Akers missing that kick. He doesn’t either. This season, all of our losses but 3 games (first Giants, first Skins, and Cowboys) have been by 4 points or fewer. To me, that speaks not of a failure of SKILL, but a failure of WILL. We lack the focus – perhaps our coaches lack the focus – to be able to pull out the close ones. And so we lose games we should win. At least I can trust ge99 to keep me from jumping off the roof (actually, my house isn’t that tall – I’d probably just break a leg or something equally irritating).

As this dismal season whimpers to a close, at least I can take comfort in the fact that I’ll be able to relax and enjoy the playoffs, cooking big, yummy, complicated meals for my friends, since I’ll have nothing at stake. Other than fervently wishing for someone to knock off the Pats and the Cowboys so I can actually watch the Super Bowl without barfing.

Around the rest of the NFL…

Skins over Bears – I’m glad the Skins managed to pull this one out. It’s been a tough few weeks for the Redskins, and now that we’re all but mathematically eliminated from the post-season, it doesn’t bother me that the Skins are still in it. It’s not like they’re taking our spot or anything.

Bills over Dolphins – the Dolphins haven’t quite locked it up yet. Locked what up? Why, the #1 draft position of course! The Falcons, 49ers, and Rams are still in contention, with 3 wins each. Of course, in order to get to 3 wins, the Dolphins will have to beat the Patriots, so actually, yes, they appear to have a lock on the top draft pick. They could really use a QB, but I doubt Tim Tebow will be coming out just yet – he’s only a sophomore. He’d be virtually guaranteed to start, which would actually be terrifying. Imagine facing Troy Polamalu and Tedy Bruschi at 20 years old.

Texans over Bucs – OK, Bucs, you’re leading NFC South, and it is a weak division, but don’t get all complacent on me. Or wait – DO get all complacent on me so the Saints can win the South again. Yeah, that ain’t gonna happen, but humor me. Just so long as it’s not the Panthers or the Falcons. Which it won’t be.

Packers over Raiders – I’m not even sure you need a QB to play the Raiders. Shouldn’t they get to handicap the other teams? Like they have to play without helmets, or a defensive coordinator, or access to the locker rooms or something. At least the games might be a little closer.

Bengals over Rams – Somebody get Chad Johnson a decent team. Please. ‘Cause he’s funny and I like him and he doesn’t deserve this shiz-nit.

Seahawks over Cardinals – Have I griped lately about how bad NFC West is? Yeah, you’re 9-4. Big whoop. No other team in your division even has a winning record. No wonder you keep getting punked in the playoffs.

Cowboys over Lions – DUDE! You guys were so close! And it’s not like the Cowboys didn’t give you plenty of chances to take the game – fumbles and dropped passes and mis-cues, oh my! Probably shouldn’t have guaranteed 10 wins this year.

Chargers over Titans – What is happening to Vince Young? I blame Jeff Fisher. He seems to want Brett Favre and doesn’t realize that he has Michael Vick (without the whole dog fighting/the Chronic/jail mess, of course). It’s good news for the Chargers, though, who will probably take AFC West almost by default after a truly dreadful start to the season. Seems like it was just a few weeks ago LT was regularly bemoaning how terrible they were.

Vikings over 49ers – Yeah, that happened around the same time I called the Vikings season dead. Oops! Now, mostly I’m thinking they’re going to the playoffs.

Jags over Panthers – Speaking of going to the playoffs, the Jags are primed to take an AFC wildcard spot. For all the good it will do them. Could somebody please, please, PLEASE beat the frappin’ Patriots?

Pats over Steelers – Because now that they blew past the Steelers, they aren’t going down in the regular season. Speaking of the inherent dangers of guarantees. The thing that really annoys me about this situation is the sports bloviators are all, "Don’t say anything mean to the Patriots! That just sets them off!” What planet are you living on? Football is ALL ABOUT the trash talking. Whatevs. Steelers, you’ll get another shot during the playoffs. Don’t blow it. Tape Tony Smith’s mouth shut or something. Or make him spend a weekend with Freddie Mitchell.

Browns over Jets – The MOST PATHETIC thing about this game? The Jets nearly pulled off the upset win. In a mostly empty stadium. Did you see? It was ridiculous. They didn’t even have enough guys there to spell out J-E-T-S on their chests. The J and S guys blew it off for an exciting afternoon of VH1 Celeb-Reality TV. Because who DOESN’T have love for New York’s ghetto-fabulous self? Also, the Browns might go to the post-season for the first time in…ever?

Broncos over Chiefs – Like it matters. Neither of these teams is going anywhere this year. How long does Jay Cutler get to "develop”? How long does Mike Shanahan get to "coast”? Oh wait - Norv Turner can answer that one.

Colts over Ravens – Yeah, we quit watching this game after the first quarter. It was just too awful. Also, were there any Ravens players who didn’t go down? Because I lost count at about 27, 28 downed players. The Ravens sideline was like that scene in Gone With the Wind when Sherman is marching on Atlanta (and why would anyone think that burning Atlanta to the ground would be a BAD thing?) and Scarlet goes to the train yard to look for a doctor because Melanie’s gone into labor, and there are just writhing bodies as far as the eye can see. It was bad.

And at the end of the half, the Saints are up over the Falcons. Who the hell is Chris Redman anyway? I know I joked about this earlier this season, but, dude, we are seriously COMPLETELY OUT of quarterbacks. The cupboard is BARE, man. Somebody call up arena football and see if we can get a loaner or ten.


07 December 2007

Once an Eagle...

...always an Eagle.

According to philly.com:
"Sunday's halftime festivities will feature a tribute to running back Duce Staley, who will officially retire as a member of the Eagles. Staley, a third-round draft choice by the Birds in 1997, played in 98 games with the Eagles and ranks third in team history with 4,807 career rushing yards. He left in 2004 as a free agent and signed with the Steelers, where he played his final two seasons. Staley won a Super Bowl with Pittsburgh in 2005."
Welcome home, Duce!


06 December 2007

2007 Week 14 Picks: Shoegal Edition

Given the straitened financial situation that has resulted from recent events at The Money Pit, my social activities have been somewhat curtailed this fall. So Shoegal invited me over tonight to ply me with free (to me) alcohol. Yay, Shoegal! As a way of saying thank you, I am ceding control of this week’s picks to her.

Shoegal says:

Bears/Redskins: Guess which team is pulling games out at the last minute? Guess which team is losing games where they’re leading at the half? You guessed right! Bears.

Giants/Eagles: It pains both of us to say this, but honestly, the Giants are going to win, barring a miraculous return to competence on the part of the Eagles.

Panthers/Jaguars: To quote Shoegal: "I don’t have a clue.” Me: "You can always go with the AFC trumps NFC rule.” Shoegal: "Jags.”

Buccaneers/Texans: Go Philly South! Bucs.

Raiders/Packers: It’s a sad day if the Pack can’t take the Raiders, even if Brett Favre circa 2005 is playing.

Cowboys/Lions: Cowboys. The Lions are in a death spiral.

Rams/Bengals: Bengals offense trumps Gus Frerotte. If Gus Frerotte is your solution, you’re screwed.

Dolphins/Bills: It’s the anti-perfect season! 0-16, baby! Bills.

Chargers/Titans: Chargers, who may be pulling it together just in the nick of time to win the woeful AFC West.

Vikings/49ers: Vikings. Talk about teams pulling it together just at the right time!

Cardinals/Seahawks: Ken Whisenhut has been a genius against the AFC North this year. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, the Seahawks do not PLAY in the AFC North. Seahawks. Or, as Shoegal put it: "Go with the hot jockey.”

Chiefs/Broncos: Such mediocrity! This comes down to who’s going to NOT lose, not who’s going to win. The Broncos have recently lost to the Bears and the Raiders (oh, the humanity!). The Chiefs have lost their LAST FIVE (probably because I’ve been picking them to win). Shoegal says Broncos (which probably means it’s finally the Chiefs’ week).

Steelers/Patriots: The Steelers are the last team that stands between the Patriots and 16-0. The Eagles and Ravens provided the plan. Let’s see if the Steelers can execute it. And hope for mud. (It’s probably still Patriots, but we’re being hopeful and calling) Steelers. And a career-ending injury for Rocks Brady.

Browns/Jets: Man, could the Jets be any worse? Well, actually, yes – they could be the Dolphins. Browns.

Colts/Ravens: Gotta go with the Colts. That was an impressive effort the Ravens put up against the Patriots last week. You know who else put up an impressive effort against the Pats? Surely you remember – and you also remember who went on to lose to the freakin’ Seahawks.

Saints/Falcons: Geaux Saints! We still believe.


03 December 2007

2007 Week 13 Recap

Eagles v. Seahawks, Sunday, December 2, 2007

It’s a banner day for this blog. I announce my VERY FIRST official nickname change. Steely McGeek petitioned the League, and, after careful consideration, we agreed to accede to his request. He shall henceforth and forever more be known on this blog as Steely McMeow.

In attendance: Steely McMeow, Chef Spouse, and me.

Menu: homemade bread, turkey noodle soup, and bitterness.

You know how I was worried about a letdown game? Yeah, that was prescient.

Two things killed us this weekend:

AJ’s bad decisions. QB controversy? What QB controversy? Even the people who hate him are now counting the minutes until D-Mac can come back. Except those crazy few who, as the WaPo helpfully pointed out, will find SOME way to blame him for the loss. AJ, seriously, you’ve thrown more picks in 2 games than D-Mac has in his last…season? Career? Either way, dude, after last week some teams desperate for a QB (like 1/2 the teams in the NFC at least, and about 1/3 of the teams in the AFC) might have been looking at you as a possible replacement. Not anymore.

Dumb-ass play calling. Going for it on 4th and 1 at the goal line? Brilliant. Giving it to West36 in the backfield? WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING? Ever heard of a little thing called the QUARTERBACK SNEAK? You’re on the freakin’ TWO INCH line! Also, when your QB seems to think that Lofa Tatupu plays for the Eagles, you MIGHT want to try some running plays. Like ALL the plays.

And even with all that, our entire D, particularly one Mr. Sheldon Brown, worked really hard to keep us in the game. (And Sheldon, given how many times you got beat in coverage earlier in the game, it is only that pick that’s keeping you off Santa’s "naughty” list.) And West36 left nothing, up to and including a 64 yard punt return that SHOULD have set us up for the winning TD. But no, AJ killed us. Again.

So at this point, we’re technically still in the wildcard race, but we’re at the bottom of a VERY long list of teams. Realistically, it’s over for 2007. So everyone’s talking about playing "for pride.” I say forget pride and play for draft position. If we’re going to miss the playoffs – and we are – let’s not just be middling-bad. Let’s go for stinking it up and drafting high. Seriously.

Around the rest of the NFL…

Cowboys over Packers: What a lousy time for circa 2005 Brett Favre to reappear. It’s tough for your team to win a game when you throw a million picks. Just ask AJ.

Bills over Redskins: Class move on the Skins part? Sending out 10 men on the first defensive series. Not so class move? Joe Gibbs blowing the game for them because he couldn’t remember the rules. Time for Old Joe to go back to NASCAR? Past time.

Vikings over Lions: Guess which team on the cusp is going to make the playoffs?

Chargers over Chiefs: The Chargers are almost starting to look like they’re NOT being coached by Norv Turner. Won’t last.

Rams over Falcons: Whatever.

Panthers over 49ers: Likewise.

Jets over Dolphins: by a LOT. Could the Dolphins go without a win all season? Yes, yes, they could. They could – maybe – take the Bills. And before the past two hours (otherwise known as the first half of the Pats/Ravens game), I would have said the Ravens might be vulnerable. The Pats are not vulnerable, at least not to the Dolphins. Although it would be great if Belichick decides to pull his usual crap and plays Box o’ Rocks Brady in a meaningless game when they’re up by, oh, a million points, and Rocks gets seriously injured, just in time for the playoffs. But I digress. I doubt the Bengals will have too much trouble with the Fins either. So they could go 0-16. Which would be the kind of great that’s not.

Titans over Texans: Apparently, the surest way for an AFC team to score a win is to convince me to pick against them. Just a tip.

Colts over Jaguars: Like I was saying….

Raiders over Broncos: Did I mention that I get a LOT of AFC picks wrong? A LOT. Then again, did anyone call this one right?

Cardinals over Browns: Ok, the Cards are not good. They’re at 6-6 in the NFC West, the Pop Warner division of the NFL. But Ken Whisenhut seems to have the AFC North’s number. He’s led his cobbled-together offense to shocking wins over 3 of the teams (Steelers, Browns, and Bengals) this year.

Giants over Bears: Damn. Not that it matters to our post-season at this point, but I still hate to see the Giants win. And it sure looked like lil Eli was going to pull his usual mid-season high jinks up until he morphed into Dan Marino. Alas, the Bears were totally robbed.

Bucs over Saints: The Saints HAD that game and threw it away on an inexplicable trick play. See above re: bad play calling.

Steelers over Bengals: No surprise there. Well, OK, minor surprise. I was getting a little worried about the Steelers after the past two weeks and given that it was pouring at Heinz Field – again – but they pulled it together. If they can keep playing like that, they’ll do well in the playoffs. Not well enough, but well.

So on the MNF pre-game show, it was nice to hear Steve Young give props to the 1991 Eagles D! Reggie White…Randall Scramble at QB…and Rich Kotite. Sigh. Why can’t we ever seem to pull ALL the elements together at once?

Tony K’s weekly pre-game scripted piece was, as usual, the only time he should be allowed to speak all night. I loved his equation of Bill Belichick with Snidely Whiplash. "The villain can’t be Tom Brady - he’s too cute.” Also, it’s mean to hate on the mentally challenged. But he’s right – we can ALL hate on Belichick without feeling the tiniest bit guilty.

And at half time, the Ravens are making a game of it. Too bad Ed Reed dropped that pick, but at least they stopped the Pat’s scoring drive and will get the ball after the half. On the other hand, the second half is generally where the Patriots start whipping up on their opponents. Good luck, Ravens. You’re gonna need it.


29 November 2007

2007 Week 13 Picks

We played SO well last week. And we’ve been SO inconsistent this year. I’m really hoping that this week isn’t the big let-down, or, even worse, that we peaked for 2007 in the game against the Pats. The playoffs are, amazingly, still a real possibility for us, if we can win at least 4 of our last 5. And every single one of them - Seahawks, Giants, Cowboys, Saints, and Bills – is winnable. But only if we play like we did last Sunday night. I think we beat the Seahawks, even with Mr. Lazy Bones Alexander returning to the lineup, but I also think this game will be a signifier for the rest of our season. Fight the temptation of the trap game, guys! Finish strong!

Packers/Cowboys: I think I’m officially rooting for the Packers to win the Super Bowl from here on out. Realistically, the NFC is going to be represented by one of these two teams, and if it’s the Cowboys facing the Pats, I’m officially rooting for Career-Ending Injuries. And that’s just not as much fun. Anyway, Packers, mostly because the experienced gunslinger should win out over the (nearly) rookie gunslinger. Also? Still hate the Cowboys more than anything.

Lions/Vikings: OK, a month ago, I definitely would have picked the Lions. Now I’m not so sure – they started the season hot, at 6-2, but have lost their last 3 games in a row. Meanwhile, now that Tavaris Jackson has rejoined the lineup, the Vikings seem to have some momentum. And a head coach who’s desperate not to be fired. To me, that says Vikings.

Chargers/Chiefs: Two AFC West teams? Who the hell knows? I’m calling Chiefs, but I’m probably wrong.

Jets/Dolphins: OH. MY. GOD. Worst Game of the Week. Also the best remaining chance for the Dolphins NOT to go 0-16.

Jags/Colts: I think Jags, for no reason other than a hunch that the Colts are still too banged up and the Jaguars are on a hot streak.

49ers/Panthers: Wait, maybe this is the Worst Game of the Week. Panthers. Like it matters.

Texans/Titans: I’m officially hopping off the Titans bandwagon. Which means they’ll probably start winning again. Texans.

Falcons/Rams: THREE. THREE TERRIBLE GAMES in the 1 pm timeslot. Oh, the humanity! Rams? Falcons? Who gives a shit?

Bills/Redskins: Redskins. Win one for Sean, fellas.

Browns/Cardinals: Browns. Who may be my pick for AFC North next year, if they can hang onto Derek Anderson.

Broncos/Raiders: The Broncos may be inconsistent, they may have inexplicably lost to the Bears last week, they may not make the playoffs, but they WILL beat the 3-8 Raiders. Speaking of the Bears…

Giants/Bears: Mid-season slump now arriving, track 10? You know it! Bears.

Bucs/Saints: Bucs. Sorry Saints.

Bengals/Steelers: Steelers. But it’s not as much of a lock (in my mind, anyway) as it would have been had the Steelers not just played two terrible games against the Jets and Dolphins and had the Bengals not just smacked the Titans around to the tune of 35-6 last week.

Pats/Ravens: Bill Belichick finally decides to get all warm and fuzzy about someone and it’s Ed Reed? WHATever. It’s not going to help the Ravens, though, who will be lucky to score at all. Maybe if the Pats offense gets really tired from running up and down the field and is all like, "Look, D, just let them complete ONE GOOD drive. We need a break over here, yo!” Pats.


27 November 2007

2007 Week 12 Recap

Eagles at Patriots, Sunday, November 25, 2007

In attendance: Shoegal, Steelers Transplant, Steely McGeek, Chef Spouse

Menu: Thanksgiving leftovers for the early game, then Steelers Transplant provided chili for the late game.

How can I feel so good after a loss? I don’t know, but I do. We are, as I mentioned in my immediate post-game recap, the ONLY team that’s hung with the Patriots so far this season. The only other team that scored within 10 points of the Pats was the Colts, and they were outplayed and outclassed for an entire half. We weren’t. We all pulled together and played great. I know AJ’s really upset about that last pick, but I really don’t blame him. I blame the coaches. That was some dumb play calling. Lets say AJ hits intended receiver Kevin Curtis. We then hand the ball BACK to the Pats up by only 4 with 4 minutes left. Like they’re not going to pull ahead in that amount of time? Once again, AR’s lack of clock understanding bites us. Not that AJ was blameless – that was one really rotten time to throw a pick – but come on, Big Red. Gotta put the guys in a position to win.

Speaking of being in a position to win, the sports bloviators keep talking about how we’re provided the blueprint (Steelers) for every other team (Steelers) that’s playing the Pats this year (Steelers) to win (Steelers). Yeah, it comes down to "shut down Randy Moss.” Every head coach the Pats have faced who WASN’T able to figure that out, raise your hands.





Y’all are fired! Actually, that’s not fair – shutting down Randy Moss may require resources their teams don’t have, namely Lito Shepard and Brian Dawkins/Sheldon Brown/JR Reed. Box o’ Rocks Brady (“dumber than a…”) can’t just throw up a million jump balls like he’s been doing all season when Randy’s being covered by Lito in combination with one of those other three guys, since they’ll come down with a reasonable percentage of them. So other coaches, if you lack Lito and the three-headed monster that is Dawk/Sheldon/JR, you may be SOL. Sorry.

Anybody feeling some 2006 deja-vu all over again? We’re now 5-6 after losing to a really good team, we have our backup QB at least temporarily at the helm, and we need to run the table to have a hope of getting to the post-season.

I’m about to advocate something radical: we need to bench McNabb for the rest of the season.

Now, before y’all think I’ve become a hater, it’s not entirely – or perhaps even largely – McNabb’s fault. He’s having a hard time adjusting to the fact that he’s not 23 any more (aka, he holds the ball way too long assuming he can avoid the sack which, at least this year, he can’t) and he’s still rehabbing a pretty serious injury, but most of the fault lies with the coaches and the rest of the team. The coaches call the game differently – and better – when he’s not in the lineup, and the team plays the game differently – and better – when they aren’t relying on him to save their bacon no matter what dumb stuff they pull on the field.

I definitely loved all the wacky trick play stuff though. When you’re the underdog by 24 points, you gotta pull out all the stops, and we did. And we got closer to pulling it off than any team has so far this season. Suck on that, Cowboys. If we can GET to the playoffs, we’re coming for you.

Speaking of the playoffs, joining us at 5-6 in the hunt for that final NFC playoff spot are: Vikings, Redskins, Bears, Saints, and (believe it or not) Cardinals. December is going to be interesting.

Around the rest of the NFL…

Packers over Lions: As I’d predicted, this was the only game worth watching on Thanksgiving. How long y’all think the Lions are going to hang onto that last wildcard spot, facing the resurgent Vikings (more on that below), the Cowboys, the Chargers, the Chiefs, and the Packers (again)? Yeah, they’re going down. In the meantime, I sincerely hope the Pack beats the Cowboys in the NFC Championship Game preview on Thursday, beats them again in the ACTUAL NFC Championship, and goes on to the Super Bowl so Vicodin Boy will JUST RETIRE ALREADY. Sheesh. It’s like trying to get rid of a Jehovah’s Witness!

Cowboys over Jets: Surprised? Yeah, me neither. Fortunately, we ate around 6, so I was spared watching the end of this stinker.

Colts over Falcons: We spent Thanksgiving at the home of my brother, Dorkman and his wife, the lovely Mrs. Dorkman. Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom and You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I’m-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad joined us. And the Terrible Three (nieces Ms. Lily Fantastico and Red and nephew Duce) provided the entertainment. And thank God for that, because this game required distractions. Yuck.

Browns over Texans: No surprises there. Steelers better watch your back. Raise your hand if you think Derek Anderson is GETTIN’ PAID next year. Me, too.

Vikings over Giants: WAY over. Looks like the annual Giants collapse is rearing its welcome head. It’s about 2-3 weeks late, so I was getting a little worried. But you know what they say: better late than pregnant. How long do you think they’ll keep their tenuous hold on the OTHER NFC wildcard spot? HA! Nah-nah-nah-nah, nah-nah-nah-nah, hey-hey-hey, GIANTS SUCK.

Bengals over Titans: Huh. I can’t figure the Bengals out. I can’t figure the Titans out. I give up. Loved Chad’s taking over the camera TD celebration, though. Glad to see he has his sexy back.

Jags over Bills: You know, you might take it as a bad sign if your QB’s last name is Losman. Just a thought.

Bucs over Redskins: BOO-ya! Go Jeff! Go Bruce Gradkowski! Also, two out of three NFC East losses in one week is not bad. It would’ve been better if at least one of them was the Cowboys, but you can’t have everything I guess. I do have to give props to the Skins for making it a close one after SIX turnovers, though. That’s not easy.

Saints over Panthers: C’mon Saints! It’s you and us for the wildcard spots! You gotta believe!

Seahawks over Rams: And Gus Frerotte is back at QB! Guess that spark the Rams showed in beating the Saints has already fizzled out. No, the win over the 49ers does not count. My regular Sunday crew could beat the 49ers. AFTER we start drinking.

Raiders over Chiefs: OK, last week the Chiefs nearly manage to upset the Colts. This week, they lose to the (now) 3-8 Raiders. The whole damn NFL makes no damn sense this year!

49ers over Cardinals: See? Like I was saying, NO DAMN SENSE.

Bears over Broncos: Again with the NO DAMN SENSE. And just when I was starting to buy the Jay Cutler hype. Of course, the Broncos, with the same record as our beloved Eagles, are only 1 game out of leading their division. I think we should revisit that idea of relocating the Eagles to Vegas so we can switch conferences. Who’s with me?

Chargers over Ravens: The real shocker of this game? The Ravens scored into the double-digits.

Steelers over Dolphins: Cool Web Dude (Skins Fan) and Hottie Web Chick invited us over to watch the Mud Bowl. We reminisced fondly about other games that took place in terrible weather, notably the 1988 Eagles/Bears Fog Bowl, ate a yummy Caribbean-themed dinner, and consumed many Red Stripes and much wine. Chef Spouse and I had planned to be good and split at the half, it being a school night and all, but Cool Web Dude broke out the Wii at half time. Buzzed Wii boxing? Hilarious. By the time we got back to the game, it was mid-way through the third quarter, it was still scoreless, and neither team had managed a SINGLE trip to the red zone. You have to stay to see the end of that mess, right? So on the Steelers SOLE trip to the red zone with fewer than 20 seconds left in the game, Steelers kicker Jeff Reed finally managed to knock one through leading to a win in one of the lowest scoring contests in recent memory. I think the highlights video on nfl.com is about 2 seconds long. What a mess. And the Dolphins fall to 0-11. What are the chances they’re the team that ends the Pats winning streak? Yeah, I know it’s REALLY unlikely, but wouldn’t that be cool?

Final note: I don’t know what happened in the Sean Taylor situation. Could’ve been engineered by his fiancĂ©/baby momma, could’ve been thug life catching up with him, could’ve been supremely bad luck. And, don’t get me wrong, I hated facing him on the football field. But it’s a shame to see a young man cut down like that. My thoughts are with his family, friends, and team mates.


26 November 2007

So proud...

I'll write a full recap of our game and all the others later this week, but before I go to bed tonight I wanted to post something about how proud I am of our guys. That was THE CLOSEST game the Pats have played all season. We led until late in the 4th quarter. Tom Brady looked seriously worried (at least as seriously as that box of rocks can look). In the end, the Patriots were still the Patriots, Bill Belichick's still an ass, and it's our karma to lose to the Pats by 3. But aside from a few breaks that we just can't seem to get to go our way ever this season, we played a great game. We didn't manage to pull off the HUGE upset, but we DID manage to provide the blueprint every other team that faces the Pats will follow this season. Tonight, I'm more proud than usual to be an Eagles fan.


21 November 2007

2007 Week 12 Picks

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

Eagles/Pats – Do I REALLY have to watch this game? Sigh. Pats.

Packers/Lions – Hey! A Packers/Lions game is going to be GOOD! When’s the last time that happened? Oh yeah – early in Clinton 42’s first term. I think the Pack’s going to take this one. I also think this will be the only Thanksgiving game worth watching…

Jets/Cowboys – because this one sure won’t be. (Cowboys) Another slice of pie?

Colts/Falcons – nor will this one. (Colts) How about a turkey sandwich for the road?

On to the (rest of the) Sunday games…

Texans/Browns – two teams with the same record (6-4) in equally tough divisions. Now THIS will be a game. I’m going with the Texans to stretch their winning streak to 3, although I am loving some Browns this year.

Bills/Jags – Talk about teams that are getting hot at the right time! Jags.

Raiders/Chiefs – Oy. I think nearly beating the Colts last week, rather than giving a boost to the Chiefs, will have knocked the stuffing out of them. See that? Stuffing pun! Thanksgiving week! I got a million more like that one. Thanks. I’ll be here all week. Don’t forget to tip your waiter. Raiders.

Vikings/Giants – Giants. And the Vikings might be down to Koy – or worse – once Osi Umenyiora’s done with their QB corps.

Seahawks/Rams – Dear DirecTV: I know it’s not your fault, but can I get some of my Sunday Ticket Super Fan package refunded? Because there is no way in hell I’m ever going to watch an NFC West divisional matchup this year. You can go ahead and blackout the games. I won’t mind.

Redskins/Bucs – Go Jeff! They just lost to Philly North. Now Philly South needs to come in for cleanup. OF THEIR SEASON. MWAHAHAHA!

Saints/Panthers – lose 4, win 4, lose 2…win 2? Saints. I hope.

Titans/Bengals – Despite their recent shellacking by the Broncos on MNF, I’m still bullish on the Titans. Also, as the Bengals still have no appreciable defense, Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom would be able to score a pretty high completion rate against them, so Vince Young should be good to go.

49ers/Cardinals – Worst Game of the Week. (I’m going to have to place a moratorium on games that involve NFC West teams, or they’ll ALWAYS be the Worst Game of the Week.)

Ravens/Chargers – And it’s a race to the bottom! Who will get there first? Tune in to our next less-than-exciting episode of As the Disappointing Teams Crumble. Or not. Even the fans are checking out. Hey, how ‘bout that NHL? Oh right – neither city has a hockey team. Oh well. Amazingly, the 5-5 Chargers are tied with the Broncos for the lead in AFC West. Hey! Maybe the Eagles should relocate. Doesn’t it seem wrong that Las Vegas, betting capital of the US, doesn’t have a pro football team? Just a thought. Chargers. Mostly because I think the Ravens are about to give up on 2007, if they haven’t already.

Broncos/Bears – Yet another team getting hot at the right time. Which has historically been us. But not this year. Broncos.

Dolphins/Steelers – Dolphins. SIKE! No way the Steelers drop two in a row to inferior teams.


19 November 2007

2007 Week 11 Recap

Eagles v. Dolphins, Sunday, November 18, 2007

In attendance: Just Shoegal, Chef Spouse & me. Ex-Navy Cheesehead and Steelers Transplant bailed on us.

Menu: burgers and snackies. But we classed it up with an appetizer of prosciutto-wrapped asparagus.

What does it say about our season when we’re playing an 0-9 team and I’m worried? What does it say about our season when we’re playing a team that’s fielding a rookie QB, and I’m convinced that we’re going to find a way to lose? What does it say about our season when Ted Ginn Jr. runs a punt back 87 yards for the first score of the game in the first minute of the second quarter, and I become convinced we’re going to lose? What does it say about our season when I, (normally) proud owner and wearer of a #5 jersey, see Big D go out and think, "Hey, maybe we actually have a shot now!”

Once again, it wasn’t a pretty win, but at least it was a win. Against a team that shouldn’t have been a problem. To get us to .500. Finally. And to get us 2 in a row. Finally. But I’ve given up on the playoffs. I’m just hoping to wrap up the season at .500. And frankly, even that’s not going to be an easy task – ahead of us, we have the Pats (10-0), the Seahawks (OK, they have a better record than we do, but their division is seriously terrible, so we should be able to take them), the Giants (uh-oh), the Cowboys (UH-OH!), and then the Saints and the Bills to end the season. So, like I said, I think at this point, we’re just hoping for a .500 season.

As I’m listening to Monday Night Countdown, the sports bloviators are discussing the differences between Vince Young and Jay Cutler, both draft class of 2006. And another answer to "what’s wrong with the 2007 Eagles?” occurs to me: in previous years, opposing teams had to hold back a linebacker or two in case D-Mac decided to make a run for it. This year, he’s no threat on the hoof, and the sad fact is, we don’t have a receiver who merits double coverage. So opposing teams can cover everyone and/or bring the house to our gimpy QB without worrying about him escaping. Maybe that – plus the lack of defensive takeaways – is our answer.

And D-Mac is maybe out for the Pats. Raise your hand if you think it would matter one way or the other.

(cue the howling coyotes and the tumbleweed)

Around the rest of the NFL…more wacky high-jinks.

Vikings over Raiders – Welcome home, Daunte. NOT! OK, maybe the Vikings do have offense without Adrian Peterson, aka Chester Taylor. Fortunately, it didn’t require a change in the game plan: QB (whoever manages to play that week) takes snap, hands ball to running back, duck & covers. Did you know Koy Detmer’s been signed by Minnesota? The way things are going, they might need him.

Colts over Chiefs – How did the Colts only manage to beat the (now) 4-6 Chiefs by 3? Oh right – Adam Vinatieri’s in a big slump (what’s the over/under on how long it be until Peyton Manning throws him under the same bus he tossed Vanderjagt under in 2005?), and everyone else other than Peyton is injured. Don’t feel too bad for the Colts – they’re 8-2, and the last season we survived with everyone injured (2005), we went 6-10.

Giants over Lions – Of course. We can’t catch a freakin’ break this year. One of my fellow bloggers observed that the Giants need to step it up if they don’t want to lose their coach in the off-season. Why wouldn’t they want to lose their coach in the off-season? Tom Coughlin’s mom doesn’t even like him!

Browns over Ravens – The Ravens finally figured out how to score some points! Clue #1: bench McNair. I actually didn’t expect this game to be this close. And talk about wacky high-jinks! I’ll bet next year, field goals will be reviewable. Although the zebras did make the right decision, despite (purportedly) not being able to review the play. Yeah, that time head zebra Pete Morelli spent under the hood? He was developing his vacation snaps. Really. Took the fam to Yellowstone. Great trip. Oh, and Ravens? Maybe heading to the locker room in a nanosecond was not your best choice ever. If Ray Lewis had still been in his uniform rather than a towel, you might have had a chance in OT. Hard to tackle people when you’re worried about an imminent wardrobe malfunction.

Texans over Saints – I called it, but I’m still not happy about it. Of course, the Saints could still take NFC South. Easily. Sigh. I miss the days when our division sucked.

Packers over Panthers – In the battle of the Old Guys, the Not Quite Older Than God Old Guy won out over the Older Than God Guy. Maybe I should start wishing for the Pack to win the Super Bowl. Maybe then Vicodin Boy would GO AWAY. Yeah, that seems pointless. Can we just give the freakin’ Lombardi trophy to the freakin’ Pats already and get it over with?

Jaguars over Chargers – Told ya! How does Norv! get to be a head coach and I can’t get a job as a sports writer? Man, there is no justice in the world.

Cardinals over Bengals – Yawn. I guessed right. Who cares? Oh wait – at .500, the Cardinals can probably win NFC West. Sigh. I REALLY miss the days when our division sucked.

Bucs over Falcons – How bad do you have to be to get yanked in favor of Joey Harrington? Byron Leftwich can tell you. I always suspected that the Falcons were a bunch of frauds with a terrifyingly gifted jerk leading the pack. Now everyone knows I was right.

Jets over Steelers – Speaking of wacky high-jinks, all I can say to this is: WHAT THE F***?

Cowboys over Redskins – Given that one of the teams had to win, I’m ALWAYS going to root against the Cowboys. Cowboys versus Giants? Root for the Giants. Cowboys versus Redskins? Root for the Skins. Cowboys versus Packers (aka the NFC Championship Game 2007)? Root for the (gulp) Packers. Cowboys versus Pats (aka Super Bowl XLII)? Root for (hated, but not as much as the Cowboys) Pats. Cowboys versus Satan? Go, Beelzebub! To quote the Dead: "A friend of the devil is a friend of mine.” Sad thing? The Skins had a shot to win it and blew it. How much longer do you figure Ole Joe to put up with lil’ Danny Snyder? Even more news of the weird? Captain ME! seems to be turning into a grown up. Who woulda thunk it?

Seahawks over Bears – The Bears needed a miracle, and they got Rex Grossman. Somebody has a hell of a sense of humor.

Rams over 49ers – You didn’t WATCH the game, did you? Did anyone? I’m pretty sure watching something that horrible could in fact be dangerous to your health. These are teams that require a Surgeon General’s warning.

Speaking of needing a Surgeon General’s warning, I may not watch any more Pats games this year, including ours against them next Sunday. It’s just too painful. The only good thing that happened to the Bills last night was Kevin Everett’s pre-game broadcast. Amazingly, he’s walking, albeit shakily. He needed a miracle, and he got it.

And right now, at MNF halftime, the Broncos are up over the Titans, 20-10, but I still think the Titans will pull it off.


17 November 2007

2007 Week 11 Picks: Just the Facts, Ma'am

aka, How Did It Get To Be Saturday, Already?

Eagles/Dolphins: Watch out, guys. A game against an 0-9 team has "trap" written all over it. First of all, it's extremely unlikely the Fins will go a whole season without winning a game. Secondly, they're getting desperate. They have to be. Third, West36 didn't practice this week. I'm calling Eagles, but please don't let this be the week the Fins figure out a way to win.

Pathers/Packers: Love ya, Vinny, and it looks like even though David Carr's purportedly healthy now, that starting spot may be yours, but y'all have NO chance. Packers

Raiders/Vikings: With Adrian Peterson playing, the Raiders also had no chance. Now? I'm going out on a limb and picking the Raiders, seeing as the Vikings have literally no offense without AP.

Chargers/Jags: There's a reason last week's win over the Colts was viewed as a huge upset. Jags.

Cardinals/Bengals: Yeesh. Two teams that play like contenders one minute, pretenders the next. Coin flip says Cardinals, who do have a slightly better record (4-5 versus 3-6), but in a much easier division.

Chiefs/Colts: The Colts will throw of the slump of the last two weeks with a win over the Chiefs.

Saints/Texans: Same record, NFC South versus AFC South? Texans.

Giants/Lions: So which Lions will show up? Don't know, but it probably won't matter. Giants.

Browns/Ravens: The Browns are one of the big positive surprises of this topsy-turvy season. If McNair were still taking snaps, it would be a lock. Kyle Boller's a bit more of a cypher, but I still think the Browns will take this one.

Bucs/Falcons: Apparently, Bobby Petrino's not sure whether he's going to start Byron Leftwich or Joey Harrington. Bobby? It won't matter either way - you might as well save yourself the trouble, flip a coin, and use the spare time to make your kids pancakes. Bucs.

Steelers/Jets: Ouch. Jets will be getting stomped. EEK! 1-9. Steelers.

Bears/Seahawks: Worst Game of the Week, largely because both teams are such huge disappointments this year. Oh? And Shaun Alexander? Quit your whining and play, you big, overpaid baby. Rex Grossman should be able to lead the Bears to a win, but then again, there's a lot of things he *should* be able to do that he doesn't seem *able* to do.

Skins/Cowboys: Much as it pains me to say it, the Cowboys will strengthen their lead in the East with a win tomorrow afternoon.

Rams/49ers: Can I take back what I just said? THIS will be the Worst Game of the Week. My advice to both teams' fans? Skip the game, take the fam out for pizza.

Pats/Bills: Another win for the damn Pats.

Titans/Broncos: Titans. They're inconsistent, but the Broncos are inconsistent-er.


12 November 2007

2007 Week 10 Recap

Eagles at Redskins, Sunday, November 11, 2007

In attendance: Ex-Navy Cheesehead, Shoegal, Chef Spouse – the regular Sunday crew

Menu: grilled cheese and cream of tomato soup. YUM! First really chilly weekend of the 2007 season. Plus assorted snacks courtesy of the gang.

We won. We finally won our first divisional game of the 2007 season. McNabb passed for over 250 yards and 4 TDs, and had a QB rating of 138.5, passing Jaws to take the top spot on the all-time Eagles completion list in the process. Trent Cole and Joselio Hansen both picked up fumbles, Cole at a really key time, on the Skins 10 with just over 2 minutes to go, and the Eagles only up by 1. The D had two key goal-line stands, forcing the Skins to take 3 when they were first-and-goal both times. West36 rushed a century and received almost another, putting us in the lead for good with some sweet moves that turned a little screen pass into a 57 yard TD with about 3 minutes to go. To quote NFL.com: "Apparently stunned by the play, the Redskins never recovered -- and never came close to scoring on their final two possessions.” I got to talk smack to Cool Web Dude (Skins Fan) and New Boss. Almost a perfect Sunday, right? (Not quite perfect – the Cowboys won – but still.)

So why am I not more excited? Could it be because, as I noted to Cool Web Dude, it seemed like the Skins changed their minds with about 5 minutes to go and said, "Nah – we really don’t feel like winning today. Here you go [handing over the game] – you go ahead and win” more than us taking a win? As Chef Spouse observed, sometimes, it’s better to be lucky than good. Most of this season, we’ve been neither. And we got some lucky breaks when Sean Taylor and James Thrash went down, and when Jason Campbell just seemed to lose it in the last two minutes. But still, it seems more like the Skins lost than that we won.

While watching the game, Shoegal and I were discussing potential causes of our 2007 doldrums, and, near as I can figure, the big change this year seems to be a lack of big plays on both sides of the ball. McNabb is checking down way too much to guys who are two yards short of the down. The defense is holding teams to low points totals (we’re 12th, 10th out of teams that have actually played 9 games so far), but we’re used to seeing some defensive scoring, and we just haven’t seen any of that this year. Our team chemistry is built around big plays. For good or ill, we’re not a grind it out on the ground bunch. So when we lose those big plays, it really kills us.

Also, did I miss something this past week? Several commentators were talking about McNabb being in danger of losing the starting job? To whom? AJ Feeley? A rookie who’s never taken an NFL regular season snap? Is someone completely crazy?

Around the rest of the NFL…

The Packers pitched a shut out over the Vikings. Also, given that Adrian Peterson’s season may be over, so go the Vikings. It won’t be the Game of the Century, but it will be the NFC game of the season when the Pack faces the Cowboys on November 29. Yep, I’ll be rooting for the Pack.

The Broncos over the Chiefs. Seriously, the AFC West sucks. Y’all are being demoted to become the NFC West. The NFC West is being demoted to Canadian football.

The Steelers squeaked a win over the Browns, despite the Browns leading for three quarters. Unfortunately for the Browns, football games remain (say it with me) four quarters. So what does this mean for AFC North? Are the Steelers weaker than their 7-2 record? Nah – it just means that the dominant teams in the AFC North may be shifting from Steelers-Ravens to Steelers-Browns. Also, Mr. Restricted Free Agent Derek Anderson is gonna get PAID next year.

Speaking of the Ravens, they LOST to the Bengals. Yeah, Steve McNair is D-O-N-E. He’s only 34, but he looks about 104 lately. The Bengals have no D, the Ravens have no O. Maybe they should merge into one decent team, and one team that’s guaranteed the top draft pick for about the next decade.

The Saints lost to the Rams, who were once again enjoying the services of Steven Jackson, back from an early season groin injury. Oh well, you can’t lose every game, right?

Or maybe you can, as the Dolphins dropped #9, this one to the Bills. Of course, I shouldn’t speak so soon, as we play the Dolphins next week. Watch them find a way to win...against us.

The Falcons won out over the Panthers. Sorry Vinny! Amazingly, the 3-6 Falcons still have a chance to win NFC South. Speaking of bad divisions, the South is bad. B-A-D. BAD. BAAAAAAAAAAAD.

The Jags over the Titans. That was fairly surprising, at least to me. Now the AFC South has three teams with winning records. And the Texans would likely make the playoffs in the NFC. No wonder the NFC hasn’t won a Super Bowl in, like, a million years.

The Cardinals over the Lions. Huhn? Just when it was starting to look like Jon Kitna and Rod Marinelli were pulling it together in the 313.

The Cowboys won out over Giants team that managed to hang in there for the first half and then promptly fell apart. I’d say that the Giants might be regretting the Philip Rivers/Eli Manning trade, but did you see the Chargers game? The Chargers’ Midget Mac, Darren Sproles, returned one kickoff and one punt for TDs, Peyton was throwing to a bunch of guys the Colts signed from the practice squad on, like, Thursday (when he wasn't throwing picks), and the Chargers still almost managed to blow a 23-0 lead. Norv! maybe shouldn’t be a head coach.

The Bears managed to squeak by the Raiders, but only by bringing back Rex Grossman. The Raiders are now 2-7. In AFC West. Another 2-14 season on tap? Could be...

And of course, the Chargers hung on to beat the Colts. Did Peyton Manning and Brett Favre switch teams for the week? I would think so, if both of them weren’t so recognizable. Peyton threw 6 INTs. He’d only thrown 4 ALL SEASON before last night. In the meantime, speaking of being lucky rather than good, did you see that amazing catch Ruvell Martin made? OK, it wasn’t an amazing catch – it was being in the right place at the right time with Vikings Darren Sharper and Cedric Griffin unable to decide who should intercept Brett Favre. So what’s the Peyton connection? That’s usually the kind of catch/luck you see Marvin Harrison having. The same Marvin Harrison who’s hurt now. Along with Dallas Clark. And the overwhelming majority of the rest of the Colts. I’d talk more smack about the Colts if it wasn’t for the fact that the last time we were dealing with that level of injury was 2005, when we went 6-10. The Colts have already bettered that record, even if they don’t win another game. Which they will, because the rest of their schedule is Chiefs, Falcons, Jags, Ravens, Raiders, Texans, Titans. Yeah, even if nobody heals up, that’s another 5 wins, easy. As long as Adam Vinatieri can throw off his funk. Peyton was a man and took the lion’s share of the blame for last night's loss (um, yeah, those 6 picks might have hurt your chances to win), but I guarantee that if Vinatieri has another game like he did last night, it’ll be more "our kicker’s a punk” interviews.

The Seahawks are currently up 10-0 over the 49ers in the first quarter. The Eagles have a better chance of winning Super Bowl XLII than I have of staying up to see the end of this stinker. Not even Jaws' stellar commentary is sufficient inducement.


08 November 2007

2007 Week 10 Picks: Midseason Malaise Edition

aka "Shula Unloads on the Patriots"

My feelings for the Pats are well-documented on this site. I have no love for New England. But putting an asterisk beside their potential undefeated season? That’s just silly. We’d have to put an asterisk by everything. All those modern rushing, receiving, and passing records? Hey, the season used to be 14 games. That’s not fair! The players used to wear leather helmets and wool uniforms. Don’t even get me started on the advances in athletic shoe technology. In the early years, most of these guys weren’t even full time professional athletes – they held other jobs in the off-season to pay the bills. Coaches didn’t used to be able to watch game film obsessively. Players are bigger, stronger, and faster that ever before. What about the coked-up Cowboys of the early 1980s who won all those games? Or should we put asterisks by all the football dynasties that pre-date the salary cap/free agency era: the Steelers in the 70s, the Packers in the 60s, the 49ers in the 80s, the Redskins of Gibbs 1.0? And why would we put an asterisk by the Patriots this year? This is the year they got caught! Wouldn’t it make more sense to put the asterisks by their recent Super Bowl wins? Who knows what they’ve gotten away with? What about the asterisk that comes from the fact that they’re guaranteed 6 wins every year because their division is terrible? And does that taint our recent string of NFC East victories because our division went through a rough patch? Once you start looking for reasons to discount athletic accomplishments, nothing’s pure. And frankly, the whole reason records exist is to be broken. But I still hate the Patriots.

Ahem.

Earlier this week, Shoegal emailed me to suggest that I write a mid-season "State of the Eagles” post, analyzing what the hell is wrong with the team. It’s a good idea, but honestly, damned if I know. She suggested many options: personnel, injuries, schedule, play calling, attitude. Um, yes. Yes, it’s at least one of those things, maybe all of them. I really have no answers. D-Mac’s still recovering from a very serious injury. Big Red’s at least somewhat distracted. We’ve been missing some key players for sizable chunks of the season – Dawk, Lito, LJ. Jeremiah Trotter’s gone. We picked up another good receiver, but he’s new, several of our other receivers are still fairly new, our QB missed the second half of last season, and they all missed a whole lot of off-season "let’s work on our timing” time. The coaching staff tried to get cute with a few positions (KO and punt returners, punter) and it hasn’t been 100% successful. Everyone’s been consistently inconsistent. And the NFC East is resuming its rightful place as the top division in the conference.

All these factors combine to leave us possibly a footnote to the 2007 season. You know, some teams – like the Redskins – find a way to win close games. Yeah, you could argue that some of those games – Dolphins, Jets - never should have been close in the first place. But the point is, they’re finding a way to win. We’re finding a way to lose. Doesn’t bode well for Sunday. Yep, I’m picking the Skins.

This week is heavy-duty on the divisional matchups. By the end of this weekend, we should have a pretty good idea of who will come out on top of most of the divisions. Yeah, yeah, I know that the Cowboys will top NFC East. Don’t remind me.

Rams/Saints: And the Rams go to 0-9! Will their bye be the only week they don’t lose this season? Could be…Saints.

Bills/Dolphins: Speaking of fond memories of the bye week, the Bills aren’t great, but they’re a hell of a lot better than those poor Floridian mo-fos. Bills.

Jags/Titans: How do you win games with no discernable offense? Beats me, but maybe we can get Vince Young and Jeff Fisher to explain it to us. Titans.

Browns/Steelers: The Browns do look a hell of a lot better this year, no doubt. Some people are starting to bandy Romeo Crennel around as coach of the year. Personally, I’m loving Rod Marinelli for most improved. But I digress. The Browns may be a completely different team this year, but unless that team is the Colts, it ain’t gonna help. Steelers.

Falcons/Panthers: This could be the Worst Game of the Week if it wasn’t for…well, you’ll see. Panthers. But honestly, who cares?

Broncos/Chiefs: I’m going with the Chiefs. Go Herm!

Vikings/Packers: The NFC North is surprisingly good this year – two teams with winning records, one team that could have a winning record despite their complete lack of a QB, and the Bears. You think if the Packers make the Super Bowl this year, Vicodin Boy will finally retire? Oooo! Now I have something to hope for!

Bengals/Ravens: Even as depleted as they are, the Ravens should be able to pull this one off. Feel better, Chad!

Lions/Cardinals: Lions. See above re: Rod Marinelli.

Bears/Raiders: Is this the Worst Game of the Week? In an average week, sure, but not this week. Bears.

Cowboys/Giants: You’re sure there’s no possible way for them to both lose? Really? 100% certain? You looked it up? Damn. Cowboys.

Colts/Chargers: You know, this was looking like a much better game until the Chargers got killed by the Vikings last week. Now? Hmmm, what’s come in lately from Netflix?

49ers/Seahawks: GAH! Worst Game of the Week. We’ll be hanging with Cool Web Dude (Skins Fan) and his hottie wife Monday night, which is a good thing, because this game is going to be a DOG. We’ll distract ourselves with wine and good conversation. Wanna bet this year's NFC West winner is below .500?