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?


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