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?


05 November 2007

2007 Week 9 Recap

Eagles v. Cowboys, Sunday, November 4, 2007

In attendance: Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom, You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I’m-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad, Steelers Transplant, and Chef Spouse

Menu: lasagna, garlic bread, salad, wine, Ben & Jerry’s

This was the Big Work Weekend on The Money Pit. Man, did we get a lot done! We got insulation up in the kitchen (that had been destroyed by water), put the porch ceiling insulation and the ceiling itself back up (that had been destroyed by water, and thank God because it's starting to get cold, and the the porch ceiling is the underside of the bathroom floor), painted the security iron that the slacker painters we hired blew off, painted the porch ceiling, painted the garage walls, and built the framing for our new garage door, scheduled to be installed later this week.

Why do we need a new garage door? For the past 8+ years, Chef Spouse and I have had a craptacular Saturn SL2. Good basic transportation for city living. But this spring, we had to get a second vehicle. Chef Spouse told me I could get ANY car I wanted. "Any car?” I asked. "Any car,” he assured me. So I got a real cutie that really needs to be parked inside in the winter (soft top and all). Only the crazy people who owned our house before us shrunk the garage door opening so tiny that even a bitty little car like mine couldn’t get in and out. So we had to make some changes, with the assistance of family and friends, without whom we’d have been completely screwed. And they all read this blog. Seriously, people, I cannot thank you enough. As Chef Spouse pointed out earlier this evening, although it took nearly 3 solid days of hard physical labor, we managed to build a really nice hole that’s all ready to receive our new garage door. Good work, people!

Sigh.

Do I really have to write about the game?

Because that was not good work. By anyone.

Ok, to be honest, I did not expect us to win. Really. Check the picks in the previous post. But McNabb giving up the ball during a sack about 10 seconds into the game? Yeah, I knew then and there we were in for a bad night.

How bad? Game highlights: Lito Sheppard was back and had a pick. David Akers hit a 36 yard field goal. West36 and Baskett both had TDs (Baskett’s when it was meaningless). That was it. All of them. Every single highlight. By the Cowboys’ next to the last possession, they’d pulled Tonyboy in favor of Brad Johnson. I think that's an insult. As Madden observed, by the end of the game, there weren’t even enough fans left to generate a decent booing of the team off the field. It was like our guys forgot they were playing this week. Or didn’t care it was Dallas. Or didn’t care about anything at all. I can understand AR being distracted – his druggie kids are being sent to jail – but what’s everyone else’s excuse? Too much Halloween candy? Yeah, You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad still acts like a 10 year old around candy (eating it until he's sick, that is), but y'all are professional athletes! Pull it together!

Between the time change and the aforementioned several days’ worth of hard physical labor, I did not manage to make it through to the end of the game. We TiVoed it, but I haven’t been able to force myself to watch the fourth quarter yet. I never enjoy losing a game, but losing to Dallas? Worst. Feeling. Ever. The NFC East goes through Philly? Yeah, on the express train on its way to Texas. We don't even merit a stop this year. This sucks.

Around the rest of the NFL…

Redskins over Jets. How bad are the Jets this year? So bad that, although they could have gone for the win, they went for the tie, got it, got to receive first in over time, punted rather than going for it, and lost the game. You’re 1-8! What do you have to lose (other than your dignity, which frankly is already in shreds)? Show some balls, Mangini! Jeez!

Falcons over 49ers. Who cares? Oh wow, now they’re *both* 2-6. Big whoop.

Titans over Panthers. No surprise there.

Lions over Broncos. Big time. To the tune of 44-7. I told you I had a hunch. Also, now that he has some receivers to throw to, it seems that Jon Kitna’s not a bad QB.

Bucs over Cardinals. Go Jeff! Your division sucks! You’re probably going to the playoffs! I still hate Coach Chuckie, but I do love me some Jeff Garcia. Let’s hear it for the old guys who have no running backs to rely on. Which is a club of pretty much just Jeff Garcia, but that’s OK.

Bills over Bengals. Can anyone figure out the Bengals this year? Because I sure can’t. They have flashes of brilliance, interspersed with long dry spells of sheer stupidity. Who else does that sound like? Could it be…THE EAGLES? Anyway, I’m glad to hear that Chad Johnson’s OK. That was a scary few minutes.

Saints over Jags. Well, I got one wish this weekend. If I could get that $1 million dollars I asked for, the Eagles’ loss would be forgiven.

Packers over Chiefs. The Pack is chewing up the NFC North, closely pursued by the Lions. You know who else is surprising everyone at 3-5 at this point? The Bears. I’m guessing that neither of us gets to the playoffs this year. At least January will be a low-stress month. And Chef Spouse will feel free to select highly complex recipes for our delectation. So I have that to look forward to.

Vikings over Chargers. Wha…? I hear Adrian Peterson had a good day. I guess so. But *we* beat the Vikings last week. What the hell is going on this year? Is it really the case that there are only two remaining decent teams in the NFL? Speaking of….

Pats over Colts, aka Super Bowl XLI.V. How much do I hate the Pats? I hate them extra super much because they made me root for the Colts and THEY STILL WON. Patriots, my hate for you is big.

Texans over Raiders. Yawn.

Browns over Seahawks. Double yawn. The NFC West sucks. The Seahawks are leading the division at 4-4. Cards are 3-5, 49ers are 2-6, and the Rams would lose in Europe. And the NFL disbanded NFL Europe! And the Rams would still find a way to lose.

Right now, I’m watching the Steelers kill the Ravens on MNF. They say revenge is a dish best served cold. It must be yummy in the freezing rain in Blitzburgh tonight. Gotta love the fact that Heinz Field is packed, even though the weather is beastly. Those are some real football fans. Miami, I’m looking at you.


01 November 2007

2007 Week 9 Picks

League-wide, the quarterback situation is at DEFCON 4. Don’t believe me? You know Dolphins coach Cam Cameron has a coin out, and on one side is "Bench Cleo Lemon in favor of rookie John Beck” and on the other is "Call up Dan Marino and see if I can talk him into suiting up again.” Hey, Testaverde’s still playing…

As much as it pains me to say this, and anyone who reads any of these blogs on a regular basis is right with me, I think the Cowboys are gonna win this one. Remember how I pointed out that we haven’t managed to beat a good team yet? Yeah, that hasn’t changed in the last 4 days. Oh! And we’re playing on Sunday Night Football. Even better! I’m really looking forward to losing to the damn Cowboys on national television.

On the other hand, Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom and You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I’m-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad are coming to town this weekend to help us with The Money Pit, and they tend to bring us good luck. And we have to have a break out game at some point, right? So why not this week? Right? RIGHT? Who’s with me?

Redskins/Jets: Skins, all the way. That DEFCON 4 QB situation? Hitting the Jets, too. Kellen Clemens, people.

49ers/Falcons: 2-5 versus 1-6. Worst Game of the Week? You got it.

Cardinals/Bucs: Bucs, baby! Go Jeff! Who needs a damn running back anyway? Yeah, that’s not going to work forever. But it should work OK this week.

Packers/Chiefs: Packers. Although, as you may or may not have noticed, the Chiefs are currently leading AFC West. Of course, the Raiders were leading AFC West a few weeks ago. Just sayin’.

Bengals/Bills: How are there so many teams that are so bad so early? How come I end up asking this same question year after year? Sigh. Bills.

Chargers/Vikings: Chargers. They definitely have their mojo working again.

Broncos/Lions: I’m going with the surprise pick of the Lions. But wait! They have a much better record. Of course, it’s in the NFC North. Still, I stand by my choice.

Panthers/Titans: Titans. Although David Carr may be back. Or maybe not. And Vince Young will probably be playing. Or maybe not. Dude, I need some sort of a chart here. Possibly with different colored markers.

Jags/Saints: I’d really like to see the Saints win this one. I’d also really like to see us beat the Cowboys. And I’d like a million dollars. I don’t think I’m getting any of those things, though. Jags.

Seahawks/Browns: Oh wait! Maybe THIS is the Worst Game of the Week.

Texans/Raiders: No, no, THIS is the Worst Game of the Week. Can there be 3 Worst Games of the Week? Well, whether or not there can be, there certainly are this week.

Steelers/Ravens: Grudge match! Not that the Ravens have a prayer. Steelers Transplant will be Steelers Homecoming King for this game, and will be enjoying the Steelers win from beautiful Heinz Field.

And the only game anyone’s actually talking about…

Pats/Colts: I already called this one for the Colts. Why? Tougher division, defending Super Bowl champs, the Pats are evil, and karma should bite you in the ass at some point, right?