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, crudités

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.