31 December 2008
TO thinks we want him back, which raises the question: is he COMPLETELY mental?
Congratulations to BDawk, NFL Defensive Player of the Month for December, and Chris Clemons, NFL Defensive Player of the Week for Week 17.
Congratulations also go to Matt Ryan for his totally deserved Rookie of the Year win.
Check out rocketman's End of Season Awards. I think history bears out the truth of his Worst In-Season Turnaround and Biggest Disappointment picks, since three of the six head coaches have already been fired, and I wouldn't put money on Jerry Jones not changing his mind about Wade Phillips now that Shanahan's available.
And finally, Tommy breaks down the awesomesauce that is our D right now.
30 December 2008
I called: Patriots
Actual winner: Dolphins
NOW the Dolphins win the division!
I called: Browns
Actual winner: Steelers
Not only did the Browns not win the division OR make the playoffs, Romeo Crennel just got fired.
I called: Jaguars
Actual winner: Titans
Which, given me and the Dolphins, means the Jags should be good to go in, like, two seasons.
I called: Chargers
Actual winner: Chargers!
Hey, I got one right. I got one right as of 11:30 pm on the final Sunday of the season.
1-3. That's not bad for me for the AFC. And I did call Colts & Steelers as the wildcard teams - or to win their divisions and the Jags & Browns would be wildcard.
I called: Eagles
Actual winner: Giants
But we're in the playoffs, and I would've given us a snowball's chance in hell after the Ravens game. But I quote myself: "The only team I don't think we have to worry about at all is the Skins (see above), but I still think we can take the Giants, because it's really hard to repeat and I think last year's playoff run took a lot out of the team, and the Cowboys, because Tonyboy is arrogant and mentally weak, and the rest of the team takes its cues from him."
And that's all basically still true.
I did buy the Cowboys hype enough to call them for a wildcard spot. Silly Snarkin, being taken in like that!
I called: Vikings
Actual winner: Vikings!
I called: Saints
Actual winner: Panthers
But I did think that the Panthers were the other team to watch, although I picked 'em for wildcard. Turns out I was wrong - both the Panthers AND the Falcons were teams to watch.
I called: Seahawks
Actual winner: Cardinals
Whatever. The whole division's terrible.
So I was 2-6, leaving aside the wildcards (which didn't really help me that much). I think that's a new low. And would get me fired - if anyone was paying me for this - unless I was Wade Phillips.
29 December 2008
Eagles v. Cowboys, Sunday, December 28, 2008
In attendance: Chef Spouse, Shoegal, Ex-Navy Cheesehead
Menu: leftover boeuf bourgignon from Christmas dinner, YUMMY wine from Shoegal, and chocolate covered strawberries from ExNCH
Stud of the Week: There were a LOT of choices. Wolverine. Big5. Westy. Buck. Chris Clemons. Joselio Hansen. Sheldon Brown. David Akers. But in the end, it had to come down to the man who put it all together and got our guys ready to play their best game of the year at a critical time. Big Red. He may not be here next year, but if not, that was one hell of a way to go out. And how much do I love the shots of our usually stoic coach leading cheers on the sidelines?
So wow. Over 24 hours later, there still are no words. Although if you'll recall, I did predict that we'd win. The Cowboys can definitely be counted on to self-destruct in important games. But the best I thought could possibly happen was that we'd keep them out of the playoffs in favor of the Bucs or Bears. I was already a freakin' mess by the time the game started, knowing that we were back in it.
And in the first quarter, I was worried that the Cowboys were FINALLY going to break through their big-game-choke problems. 3-3. I should've known better.
Let the WHUPPIN' COMMENCE!
So many great moments - Dawk causing TWO fumbles that were run back for TDs, including the one on Marion Barber where he just sat there on about the 10 smiling while everyone else took off. Andy Reid leading cheers. DMac hugging Buck in the endzone after his TD. David Akers knocking through a 50 yarder in heavy winds. Hank was out, so Brett ran that pretty fade route. Peanut getting over his dropsies and coming up with some big catches. Demps rockin' it out on special teams again.
And then - Tony lying on the ground with his head in his hands. TO being a non-factor. BDawk leaving the field for some fluids, and the peanut gallery joking that Wade Phillips paid for him to be escorted out, because otherwise Tony was too scared to go back on the field. Pacman slinging Reggie Brown down out of bounds (and RIGHT in front of the officials) and giving us 15. Terence Newman blowing coverage in the endzone and giving us a first-and-goal on the 1.
Like I've been saying all along, it comes down to character. The Cowboys have none. Our team came together, played as a team, and won. I'm not crazy enough to think that we'll go all the way - I'm happy, but I haven't lost my mind - but I am looking forward to seeing the Giants in two weeks.
Around the rest of the NFL...
Falcons over Rams - but not by much. Which was pretty surprising.
Colts over Titans - but I think that's because the Titans paid some college team to go out there in their uniforms so they could enjoy some waffle madness at Jeff Fisher's.
Panthers over Saints - which I expected, but what a shame that Drew Brees missed the single season passing yards record by
Vikings over Giants - we'll see YOU next week. And by "we" I not only mean the team, I mean about 20,000 crazy fans in midnight green, too.
Raiders over Buccaneers - damn. Thanks, y'all! Talk about an epic collapse.
Steelers over Browns - I'm not sure why Big Ben was playing at all, but Tomlin was incredibly lucky it was just a concussion. And Romeo's already fired.
Texans over Bears - as AR would say, "I would like to thank the Raiders and the Texans, they did a heckuva job."
Patriots over Bills - one of my co-workers (a Bills fan) bet one of my other co-workers (a Ravens fan) that the Bills would win the division this year. Yeah, he's losing that bet. But either way, the Pats are out of the playoffs, so HA!
Bengals over Chiefs - did anyone watch this game? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
Packers over Lions - Rod's gone. But how can you fire someone who's managed to be that perfectly awful? Just seems wrong somehow.
Ravens over Jaguars - surprising no one and wrapping up the #6 AFC seed. Good rookie year there(QB and coach).
Dolphins over Jets - how awesome is that turn around? Go Tuna! The revenge of the Pennington. And Mangini's out, too.
Cardinals over Seahawks - yeah, that's the last game they'll be winning this season.
49ers over Redskins - I called this one, too. And I think Mike Singletary's job is secure. But he could use a QB.
Chargers over Broncos - I KNEW it! But LT's hurt, which is going to REALLY hurt the Chargers against the Colts next week.
28 December 2008
27 December 2008
Eagles/Cowboys: OK, guys, it would take not just one, not just two, but SEVERAL miracles, a total eclipse, an alien landing and probably a sizable bribe to Roger Goodell to get us into the playoffs at this point. HOWEVER, we can STILL ruin the COWBOYS' chances. You know what you have to do. At this point, it's all about grudges. And continuing Tony Romo's pathetic December streaks of suckitude.
Rams/Falcons: Did you know that if the Falcons win and the Panthers lose, the Falcons will win the division? Talk about a turn around! And the Falcons will have no trouble keeping up their end of that bargain.
Titans/Colts: Two good teams, but neither has much to play for at this point. Snarkin' predicts that we'll see the Battle of the Practice Squads (well, I won't, but presumably someone will be watching this game).
Panthers/Saints: You know how if the Panthers lose and the Falcons win, the Falcons win the division? Yeah, probably not gonna happen. The Panthers will win NFC South, but the Falcons are still an amazing story this season, and will take the #5 spot in the NFC.
Giants/Vikings: Giants are playing for nothing, Vikings are playing for the division. Who do you think wins? Yeah, I'm going Vikings, too.
Raiders/Buccaneers: If the Cowboys lose and the Bucs win, the Bucs go to the playoffs. Also, the NFC South dominates. Yeah, have fun Jeff - and good luck, because I don't think you have too many more post-seasons in you.
Browns/Steelers: Whatevs. Neither team cares at this point, but it still won't matter. Yes, the Browns are THAT bad. Bye, Romeo.
Bears/Texans: The Bears are also fighting for their playoff chances, and they will beat the Texans. But it won't matter. For perspective, in order for us to get into the playoffs at this point, both the Bucs and the Bears have to lose AND we have to beat the Cowboys. Like I said, never gonna happen.
Patriots/Bills: I really want to see the Dolphins win AFC East, which I think they will, and the Ravens get to the playoffs. And I think that as long as the Ravens win this week, it doesn't matter what the Pats do. But I'm gonna call the Bills my upset pick anyway.
Chiefs/Bengals: Worst Game of the Week. Bye, Herm.
Lions/Packers: PLEASE let the Lions go 0-16. 'Cause that would be awesomesauce. Bye, Rod.
Jaguars/Ravens: The Ravens will beat the Jags and take the #6 AFC seat.
Dolphins/Jets: The Dolphins will beat the Jets, winning AFC East in another AMAZING turn around, and the Pats will miss the playoffs. HA!
Seahawks/Cardinals: Whatever. Who cares. The teams involved are probably trying to figure out a way they can settle this with a coin toss and still get paid, and skip the whole thing in favor of a BBQ and beer bust at Kurt's place.
49ers/Redskins: I think the 49ers might sneak this one. I'm mostly picking that because I'm still pissed at the Skins for all but ending our playoff hopes last week. Also, I like Mike Singletary. I think the 49ers have their new head coach, at least for a while.
Broncos/Chargers: I think the Chargers pull it out to win AFC West.
26 December 2008
1 pm - Giants/Vikings (but there are a number of games I'll be keeping tabs on)
4 pm - Eagles/Cowboys
8 pm - Chargers/Broncos, which will decide AFC West
Menu: Julia's Boeuf Bourgignon, leftover from Christmas dinner, and extra delicious due to the few extra days resting time. Bring something to go with (someone should def. bring some nice wine!)
Picks coming shortly....
22 December 2008
Eagles at Redskins, Sunday, December 21, 2008
In attendance: just me, Shoegal, and Chef Spouse
Menu: the long-promised etouffee. And Shoegal brought a bottle of rose champagne, being hopeful. Hm. Tequila might've been a better choice, given what happened.
Stud of the Week: Brian Dawkins, who was the ONLY one who seemed to give a damn what happened. In a further indignity, there were NO photos of him from this week's game, so I had to go to the archives to get the bad-ass image to your right.
"Hello, my name is Snarkin' and I'm an Eagles-aholic."
Or maybe the 12 steps won't help me at this point. Maybe I'm more into the stages of grief. I think I'm past denial, but I'm not sure if I'm at anger or bargaining. Or possibly depression. Or maybe all 3.
I swear this team is just schizophrenic. We'll KILL the Rams, just lose a shoot-out to the Cowboys, and beat the Steelers, for chrissakes. Then we lose 2. Then win 3 in the row, including one over the very good Falcons. Then lose to the Giants. Then the effing tie. Then we get our asses handed to us by the Ravens. Then I give us up for dead. Then we reel off 3 wins and crawl back into the playoff race. Then blow it.
Did D-Mac not understand that his job could be on the line? Did Big Red? The Cowboys and Buccaneers handed us control over our own playoff destiny, and we're all, "Nah, we'd rather play like we just don't care."
The Worst Team in Football, Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, kept talking about what a great job the D was doing. Really? How come they couldn't get off the field on 3rd down? How come we ended up with shit field position on pretty much every single possession? What about that 8 1/2 minute drive in the second quarter? Sure, they turned up the heat in the fourth quarter. By which point it was too late. "Well, they held the Redskins to 10 points." This is the Redskins 20th ranked offense we're talking about.
D-Mac was off, sure. Why the hell did Andy dial up a play calling ratio of 46 pass plays - on an extremely windy night - to only 16 run plays. "Well, they had Westy blanketed." True, true. But have you ever heard of this other guy who plays for us called CORELL BUCKHALTER? Or what about trying a little wildcat with Peanut? And what about all the damn drops? You CANNOT be dropping passes in a key game like this! For such a pass-happy coach, it MYSTIFIES me that AR's never seemed to think it was important to have a class receiver. Guess what? After 10 years, I think we can conclude that receiver by committee does not work.
My point is that we played tight and scared and flat and just not good. Inside the Eagles and Eagles Blitz break it ALL down. And Bleed Eagles Green has a nice seasonal rant. I'm too pissed off.
We're not going to the playoffs. Again. But if we can't bring it to a big game, a game we HAVE to win, we don't deserve to go and even if we did, little would result other than disaster. And when a clearly talented team shows up for a key game unprepared to play and when the game plan isn't working and no one bothers to adjust, well, that's when I blame the coaching. So does Poor Sports. Call me on-board for a coaching change and on-board for McNabb going to some other team where he can get his well-deserved Super Bowl ring.
Around the rest of the NFL...
Ravens over Cowboys - thanks, Ravens. You helped us out as best you could, and we were owed after November 23. Only downside? No Romo tears. But there's always next week...
Colts over Jaguars - as predicted. By me and every other person who makes picks even occasionally.
Bengals over Browns - whatever. There's a decent chance both coaches lose their jobs in the off-season.
Saints over Lions - oh MAN do I want to see an anti-perfect season! Talk about coaches likely to lose their jobs....
Patriots over Cardinals - I know you're from Phoenix, but how can an entire team completely fall apart just because of a little snow? Oh right - another all-passing offense.
49ers over Rams - this is turning into a "let the beheadings begin" post, because Haslett's gonna be out, too. Singletary probably won't though.
Chargers over Bucs - once again, thanks for the help. Which we promptly dissed. In other news, Jeff Garcia is one bad-ass mofo. That looked to me like a broken nose, blood pouring out every which way, and he just popped back up and kept on playing. Didn't even need an injury time out. And he's 38! Unbelievable!
Dolphins over the Chiefs - another coach that's likely to be out. And the Dolphins may win the AFC East the season following their 1-15 year. That is one hell of a turn around. Guess Chad Pennington's not looking so bad now, hm Man-Genius?
Titans over Steelers - with Albert Haynesworth out, I figured the Steelers had a pretty good shot. Nope. Poor Groceries. If they can't protect him a little better, he's not going to make it through the playoffs.
Bills over Broncos - this made me happy. I don't like Jay Cutler. And getting bounced by the Bills has to be embarrassing. HEE!
Seahawks over Jets - speaking of embarrassing. And we're now starting the annual "Will he or won't he?" conversation about Vicodin Boy and retirement. Advice? JUST GO AWAY ALREADY. Haven't you earned enough money so that you can just hunt and fish full time? Jeez!
Raiders over Texans - I think it must be written somewhere that the Texans are not allowed to finish over .500. EVER.
Falcons over Vikings - talk about a turn around! Between their lousy record, Michael Vick, and Bobby Petrino, they were not only bad last year, they were a laughingstock. Who's laughing now? That would be Matt Ryan and Mike Smith, all the way to the playoffs.
Giants over Panthers - the Panthers totally outplayed the Giants for 3 quarters. And in the end, it didn't matter. Still, my sleeper team will be going to the playoffs! So yay me!
MNF is about to start. I can't believe this is the last MNF of the 2008 season. Where did the time go? I'm pulling for the Packers, because we still have a totally outside chance to get into the playoffs, so a Bears loss can't hurt. And it should be an interesting game, with two cold weather teams playing in frigid conditions in Chi-town tonight. Good way to end this season of MNF.
19 December 2008
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18 December 2008
Colts/Jaguars: Um, Colts.
Ravens/Cowboys: Ravens. Who are whuppin' up on the NFC East big-time this year (except for the Giants, who exceeded my expectations a few weeks ago).
Bengals/Browns: Will anyone outside of Ohio watch this game? Will anyone INSIDE Ohio watch this game? It would be Worst Game of the Week, were it not for....
49ers/Rams: Ouch. Worst Game of the Week.
Steelers/Titans: It's a bare-knuckle brawl for homefield. I'm going with Titans, mostly because Groceries only has so many knock-downs in him.
Chargers/Buccaneers: Chargers. Please. We need the help.
Saints/Lions: Saints. Not that it matters at this point.
Dolphins/Chiefs: Dolphins. Hang in there, guys.
Cardinals/Patriots: Pats. Although it would really help the Dolphins if they could manage to lose. But the Cards are coming east, which is Not A Good Sign.
Bills/Broncos: Probably Broncos, who will sneak into the playoffs by virtue of a weak division and immediately get their asses handed to them.
Jets/Seahawks: Jets. What a heinous last year for Mike Holmgren, who apparently checked out in August.
Texans/Raiders: Texans. Whatever. Al Davis is psychotic. Which almost - almost - makes me feel bad for the team.
Falcons/Vikings: Vikings. Please. Seriously, guys. This weekend is our last chance, because there is no way the Falcons lose to the Rams or the Bucs lose to the Raiders with the playoffs on the line. TENSION!!
Panthers/Giants: Grudge match for homefield. Panthers. Because the Giants are playing like I expected them to in September. Finally.
Packers/Chicago: Bears. But the Vikings will still win the division.
17 December 2008
1 pm - Steelers/Titans in a battle for home field
4 pm - Eagles/Redskins - y'all are going DOWN, Skins!
8 pm - Giants/Panthers in a battle for home field
Menu: OK, this week we REALLY ARE making etouffee. REALLY.
Good day of football coming up!
16 December 2008
Eagles v. Browns, Monday, December 15, 2008
In attendance: for MNF, just me & Chef Spouse. But on Sunday, we had Shoegal, Steelers Transplant, and his friend I'm Just Here for the Bourbon Bar Wench.
Menu: MNF? Chicken soup (I wasn't feeling good- got a cold I just can't shake - so Chef Spouse started homemade chicken stock in the afternoon to make me soup). Sunday? Steelers Transplant is about to MOVE TO GERMANY, and this was his last Sunday for football, so he went all out on the brisket, ribs, and bourbon. Shoegal brought some nice wine to go with.
Stud of the Week: Asante Samuel. We FINALLY get a pick 6. Was it worth $57 million? No, but it WAS worth some screaming and jumping around. I'm starting to get that post-season kind of feeling, so I'm hoping we get to see a lot more of this in January. Also, congrats to Asante and to WOLVERINE (who broke Harold Carmichael's record for games started as an Eagle last night) for their Pro Bowl selections. Once again, Westy is dissed. And what about one Mr. Trent Cole? Which, as Chef Spouse points out, is the EXACT reason why popular voting for the Pro Bowl is bogus.
Edited Wednesday, December 17 to add: Good stuff about Dawk and his future with the team on Eagles Blitz.
OK, I was a little worried about this being a trap game. But despite a variety of boneheaded plays, the QB-less Browns were just too, too awful.
"What boneheaded plays?" you ask, flushed with the glow of victory.
- DeSean Jackson throwing wildcat straight into a pick. How do you let someone who's, like, 5' 7" try to THROW? He can't even clear the O-line without a box to stand on. And I didn't see a box on the field!
- Asante? Hold onto the ball until AFTER you cross the goal line. What is this problem that we have? Good thing Stewart Bradley was there to remind him to pick it up....
- That pick on the fade route to Hank Baskett at the end of the half. Actually, that wasn't boneheaded - just a little underthrown. What was boneheaded is that we're down at the goal line with 43 seconds left in the half and come away with nothing. Good hustle by BWest and HBask to save the TD, though.
Around the rest of the NFL...
Bears over Saints: Man, the Saints just CANNOT win in Chicago in cold weather. CANNOT. They were close this time, but they never quite get there. Shame. Both teams are in our review mirror, though, so I have no time for them.
Dolphins over 49ers: the Dolphins might make the playoffs this year. Might. They need a little help in the form of Ravens and Pats losing, but still. What a turn around! Go Tuna!
Falcons over Bucs: Speaking of needing some teams to lose to get into the playoffs, why couldn't the Bucs manage to pull this one out? Oy. Thanks a lot, Chuckie.
Bengals over Redskins: OH. MY. GOD. Who LOSES to the BENGALS? I mean, we TIED them, but come on! Think Danny Snyder lets the Zornmeister finish the season? And by that I mean no knock on the Zorn, who I think is doing a pretty decent job for a rookie head coach (despite his own unwarranted recent self-criticism) with a locker room full of past their prima donnas. That's a knock on Snyder, aka the Third Worst Owner in Football (behind, of course, Jerry Jones and Al Davis). Speaking of fading down the stretch...
Jaguars over Packers: Yikes. Letting A. Rodg. start was still the right decision, though. Gotta see if the kid's got it at some point. And if it turns out he doesn't, better to know now.
Chargers over Chiefs: How do the Chiefs manage to blow YET ANOTHER huge lead? How does Herm still have a job? Actually, now that Carl Peterson has resigned, Herm might not still have a job for long. Even weirder? I think it's still possible for the 6-8 Chargers to win their division, if they win out and the Broncos lose out. Some divisions are barely worthy of the name.
Texans over Titans: Hunh.
Seahawks over Rams: Whatever.
Colts over Lions: Raise your hand if you think Tim Tebow's going to be a Lion next year. Think they can pull off the anti-perfect season? It's looking likely to me, although they do finish their season with two teams who are out of contention - Saints and Packers. Then again, one would hope they still have *some* pride.
Jets over Bills: I thought for sure we'd see the Bills in the playoffs this year. Um, yeah. No.
Vikings over Cardinals: Dominating the NFC West does not translate into winning anywhere else. Sorry, guys.
Patriots over Raiders: Unsurprising. What is surprising is that the Raiders scored 26 points. I guess the Patriots offense was getting tired of running up & down the field and asked the D to at least let the Raiders score some so they could get a break.
Steelers over Ravens: Yeah, that wasn't a TD. Sorry, Steelers Transplant. It's conceivable that y'all still would've won anyway. But that was not a TD.
Panthers over Broncos: Dominating the AFC West does not translate into winning anywhere else. Also, Jay Cutler's an arrogant tool.
Cowboys over Giants: ARGH! What a time for the Giants to start playing like the mediocre team I thought they were all season (until they racked up 11 wins). Well, the last game of our season will at least be exciting, since I suspect we'll be fighting over the last NFC wildcard playoff spot.
11 December 2008
We're getting hot, and not a moment too soon.
The Browns suck, which, if this were November of this season, would mean we'd lose to them.
But they will be NO MATCH for our resurgent Iggles.
(Who have to win out to even have a chance at a post-season.)
(And don't think they don't know that.)
EAGLES ALL THE WAY, MAN!
(Do the Browns even have a QB any more?)
Saints/Bears: Hey! It's the first Thursday night game (other than us on Thanksgiving) I care to watch! Cool! As long as we can win out, neither team can catch us. (And if we don't win out, we don't have a chance, anyway.) Geaux Saints! (Actually, I think the Bears are going to win this one. But I'm rooting for the Saints anyway.)
Bucs/Falcons: (OK, we probably can't catch the Bucs.) So go Bucs! Beat the Falcons down for us! (The Bucs will win this game.)
(Apparently, I'm feeling very parenthetical this week.)
49ers/Dolphins: And the surprising 49ers upset wins end at one. (Particularly since they have to come east to play.) (So if the Dolphins win the AFC East this year, does that redeem my cracklicious pick of the Dolphins to win it in the 2006 season?) Dolphins.
Seahawks/Rams: Who wins? (Who cares? ) Worst Game of the Week. (Perhaps it's time for a Worst Game of the Week drinking game. I'm taking suggestions in the comments. But would that require me to WATCH the game? I'd have to drink in that case...)
Bills/Jets: How the mighty have fallen (on both sides). The only role the Bills can play at this point is spoiler. (And I don't even know if they have the stones to do that.) Jets. (I guess.)
Chargers/Chiefs: Chargers. (But only by default. De fault of the Chiefs in continuing to employ Herm Edwards.)
Redskins/Bengals: The Redskins are struggling right now. (But not that bad.) Redskins.
Titans/Texans: Titans. (Nothing parenthetical about it.)
Packers/Jaguars: (Two months ago, I would've thought this would be a good game. Now I know it's going to be a dog.) Packers. (Like it matters at this point.)
Lions/Colts: (I'd like to pick the Lions in an upset.) (But I'm not completely insane.) Colts.
Vikings/Cardinals: The Cards locked up the division last week! (The division was NFC West.) Vikings.
Steelers/Ravens: Steelers. (But I don't think the Ravens are going down without a fight.) (Unlike ole Groceries. ) (I'll be here all week. Don't forget to tip your waiters!)
Broncos/Panthers: (Much as we need the help in the NFC, it's not going to matter.) (Because the Broncos are only leading their division because it's West.) Panthers.
Patriots/Raiders: (The Raiders are the suck.) (But you knew that.) Patriots.
Giants/Cowboys: Go Giants! (We need the help!)
10 December 2008
We're on MNF against the Browns, but we'll be watching the games Sunday too, and hoping for Cowboys and Falcons losses:
1 pm - I know the Skins are playing, but I'm probably watching Buccaneers/Falcons, because I think it will have more impact on us.
4 pm - Broncos/Panthers. Steelers/Ravens will probably be a better again, but again, it's crunch time for our playoff hopes.
8 pm - Giants/Cowboys. BIG game. Go Giants!
Menu: etouffee, mes amis! Amener quelque chose pour aller avec ("bring something to go with" in French).
08 December 2008
Eagles at Giants, Sunday, December 7, 2008
In attendance: Chef Spouse, Ex-Navy Cheesehead, Shoegal, Steelers Transplant - the whole gang
Menu: chili, yummy cranberry goat cheese (thanks Shoegal), wine & bourbon (S.T.), and a fab homemade chocolate bourbon pecan pie (ExNCH). YUM!
Stud of the Week: It's a first for StN! BWest reigns two weeks in a row. I was thinking about nominating David Akers who, although he did have the bad luck of having two field goals blocked putting him at 2/4 for the game, make his first 50+ yarder of the season INTO the wind at the Meadowlands. But Westy broke Harold Carmichael's long-standing Eagles yards from scrimmage record, and in only 7 seasons, so sorry, David, BWest wins it again. Trent Cole also gets a nod for the awesomesauce that was the leap frog field goal block.
Hmmm - you know, I feel like I've seen this team before somewhere. Oh yeah, that's right - it was earlier this season before we entered the Slough of Suckitude that was November. Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom has pointed out that when McNabb goes down, it's always in November. He didn't get injured this year, but he sure played like something was wrong with him. If it was the worries about the wife and the impending twins, so be it and family's more important than football and whatnot.
It wasn't a flashy game - aside from Trent Cole's flying leap and Dawk leveling a few guys like was 10 years ago - but we got it done. The Giants couldn't run. We could. Eli didn't spend much time on his ass, but he didn't have time to sit back and pick out his receivers, either. Our O line and D line did their jobs. So did McNabb, taking care of the ball, taking what plays the Giants D gave him, and making it happen on his own a few times. The final score, as everyone has pointed out, doesn't really reflect the way we dominated the entire game.
The thing is, we generally play well in December. Take that, all those who say that we aren't a clutch team. But there may not be enough time. I don't know that 10-6 (or even 10-5-1) is going to be enough to get into the playoffs in the NFC this year. OK, if we were in the West or North, we would cruise to win the division with 10-5-1. But in East and South, it's not looking good. We're finally playing like we're back in it, but we're going to need a lot of help to see the post-season. Like at least two of the Panthers, Falcons, and Cowboys to lose it. And we need to win out. I can virtually guarantee that the Cowboys will lose it - that's how Tonyby and Captain ME! roll in December - but those other three? Who knows. Man, the NFC is tough this year. The AFC has eight teams under .500. NFC? Five, and none in the East or South.
So I'm savoring the win today, but I'm not sure what it means in the larger sense. Well, OK, it means that Antonio Pierce got SCHOOLED by West36. It means that all the losers who were giving McNabb shit all season (OK, for the past decade) have been proved wrong. Again. It means that, and I'll say it for the 9 millionth time, the Giants are NOT all that. It means that Plax's idiocy is hurting his team, whether they'll admit it or not. And it means that, like usual, I'm biting my nails through December hoping for the playoffs. More stressful, but also more fun, than sitting around watching us shuffle through a meaningless month, like some teams (Lions, NFC West) have been doing oh, since about Labor Day weekend.
Around the rest of the NFL...
Chargers over Raiders. Whatever. Did I watch the game? Hells no - I'd rather watch reruns. On QVC.
Bears over Jaguars. Yeah, in retrospect, that was one dumb-ass pick for AFC South.
Vikings over Lions. Once again, the Lions lead for 3 quarters and it DOESN'T EVEN MATTER. What is WRONG with them? Poor Tim Tebow....
Texans over Packers. Huh. I don't follow the Packers that closely, so I'm curious. Did Aaron Rodgers' arms fall off? Did someone lock Al Harris in a closet? Did the Packers get confused about what time the game started? The Texans turned over the ball about a bazillion times. How did the Packers not win? Guess the Texans are glad to have Matt Schaub back.
Saints over Falcons. Thanks y'all! If we can win out, you can't catch us, and taking a game from the Falcons sure helps.
Colts over Bengals. The Bengals are so bad, they're almost the Lions. Almost, but not quite. Which means they'll lose the Tebow Bowl. Man, aside from that tie against us, they cannot catch a break with a net and one of the those fancy live traps.
Dolphins over Bills. How crazy would it be if the Dolphins won the AFC East this year? If they do, Wayne Huizenga owes Bill Parcells something nice. Like his own tropical island. And a yacht to get there.
Patriots over Seahawks. The wild part is that the Seahawks almost upset the Pats. With Seneca Wallace at QB. Who maybe needs to be taking the snaps most of the time.
Broncos over Chiefs. The Chiefs led for the entire first half and still lost. There are so many teams that are literally not even competitive this year. Hell, the Chiefs wouldn't be competitive with most high school teams. Yes, I know they gave the division leading Broncos a run for their money. The Broncos aren't that good, either. They're leading the division by default.
(I just realized I missed making a pick for the Titans/Browns game last week. Or possibly my subconscious realized it was a waste of time and prevented me from writing: Titans. So, you know, Titans.)
49ers over Jets. Remember how, when the Jets beat the Titans three weeks ago, the sportscasting world was all up on their bandwagon? Yeah, they're not even waiting for the Jets bandwagon to slow down for an intersection before jumping off. On the up side, Mike Singletary might get another season. Which would be fun, not least of which because he makes C-R-A-Z-Y faces on the sideline. After 10 years of Mr. Deadpan Reid, I enjoy the variety of facial expressions.
Cardinals over Rams. Congrats on your first dvisional title in like 30 years. Can we say "going down in their first playoff game"? I think we can!
Steelers over Cowboys. Cue the violins! The annual Tony Romo sob-fest is about to begin! Oh yeah, he's a GREAT QB - as long as you play in a division whose season ends in November. Oh wait, that's right. EVERYONE'S season runs through December. See you in 3 weeks, punk. Where we may or may not get into the playoffs, but you definitely won't. I can haz three losses in a row, pls? With the Boys entering their annual meltdown and the Giants, Ravens, and rollin' Eagles on tap, you know it!
Ravens over Redskins. I have a lot of Skins fan friends. Guys: calm down. Rookie head coach, entire offense learning a new system. Sometimes you get Sean Peyton, sometimes you get Cam Cameron. It's too early to tell which mold the Zornmeister was cast from, but give the guy a little time. Oh wait! Your owner has the patience of the average two year old. Yeah, good luck.
All right, time to enjoy the Panthers/Bucs slugfest.
04 December 2008
Chargers/Raiders: Chargers *should* be able to win this one. Shoegal just dropped us off Kung Fu Panda, Tropic Thunder, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Why am I telling you this? Because I'm looking for opinions: which one should I watch rather than this game?
Jags/Bears: Bears. I'm watching the Jags on MNF while writing this, and they're TERRIBLE. For chrissakes, they're down 10-0 to the Texans just outside the two minute warning in the first half.
Vikings/Lions: Vikings. Also, shouldn't the NFL invoke the mercy rule for the Lions and re-jigger their season so they only have to play the Chiefs for the last 4 games? Then they *might* win one.
Texans/Packers: The Packers will be looking for some payback after that loss to the Panthers last week. Unfortunately, the Texans aren't much of an opponent. Back to MNF - Jaws and Tony K have been talking about all these overlooked decent players on the Texans (tip? Sage Rosenfelds is not one of them) and how excited they are to be playing on the national stage. And I'm thinking, "Sure, because they're hoping this is their ticket out of town. 'I'll play for the Raiders if it will just get me the hell out of here!'"
Falcons/Saints: Falcons. Sorry NolaChick.
Bengals/Colts: Colts. I can't even think of anything funny to say about the Bengals, and that's a damn shame.
Dolphins/Bills: Dolphins. What has happened to the Bills? They looked so strong at the beginning of the season, and then they COMPLETELY fell apart in November. In October? Talking about winning the division. Now? Talking about watching the playoffs from the couch again.
Patriots/Seahawks: Talk about whipping up on some poor little team to erase your bad feelings about a bad loss! Patriots. Also, poor Seahawks. Also, sacrificing the paycheck for the game that comes with a forfeit might be worth the hit. There must be a place in Seattle with 10 cent wings and $2 longnecks for Monday Night Football, right? So that balances out.
Chiefs/Broncos: You know who's not as good a team as people keep saying they are? The Broncos. Unfortunately for the Chiefs, the assessments of them are correct - they suck. Broncos.
Jets/49ers: Once again, taking out a bad loss on a crap team. Why is the NFC West everyone's butt monkey (well, everyone except the Bills)? Oh yeah - that's right - it's because all the teams out there are HORRENDOUS.
Rams/Cardinals: Speaking of, Cards. Because they're now back in a game where their 7-5 record is actually meaningful.
Cowboys/Steelers: Oh man, will I be cheering my brains out for the Steelers. Also, for Troy Polamalu to kill TO. (Joking! I'm joking!) (OK, not really. Take him out Troy. ALL the way out.) Steelers.
Redskins/Ravens: The Skins are on a slide, and I think it's likely to continue this week. Remember how I pointed out that the Skins have two offensive plays: hand off to Portis and "Crap, Portis is taking a breather! Now what do we do?" Yeah, Clinton's been struggling with injuries for a while now, and it might be as simple as that. The Skins sure as hell aren't putting up a lot of points these days.
Bucs/Panthers: Now THAT'S what I call a Monday Night Football game! I'm calling Bucs because, true to form, Jeff's getting his team hot at the right time. 9-3 and on a 4 game winning streak. Go Philly South!
03 December 2008
Big week for the NFC East!
1 pm - Eagles/Giants
4 pm - Steelers/Cowboys
8 pm - Redskins/Ravens
Menu: first chili of the 2008 season (this has got to be the latest first chili EVER). Bring something to go with.
01 December 2008
Eagles versus Cardinals, Thursday, November 27, 2008
In attendance: Just me & Chef Spouse, who came down with a cold on his trip to Pittsburgh, so on Thursday morning, we made the game-time decision to stay home and confine the germs to our particular twig on the family tree. (Shoegal joined us on Sunday for a little football, a little bourbon, and a little noshing of the leftovers.)
Menu: It was Thanksgiving, yo. Turkey, all the trimmings, pumpkin pie. I keep a well-stocked larder. And I wasn't going to let my poor ailing baby down.
Stud of the Game: B-West of course. 4 TDs in one game? LOVE! Running a very close second, Big5. Who showed, for only the 9 millionth time, what a class act he is.
Myth: Donovan McNabb is done. Finished. Over. He might as well not even play the rest of the season. He'll probably never play anywhere again. He's a nice guy - maybe he should look into broadcasting. Starting December 4.
Busted: 27/39 for 260 yards, 4 TDs, no picks, and 24 yards rushing.
Why do the Eagles torture me so? Just when I was ready to give up on them, they come through with a complete game and raise my hopes. Again. I know, it's probably just so they can dash them. Again. But damn it! I was ready to treat the wreck of our season with quiet dignity and grace. Why do they do this to me?
So once again, we've whupped up on a hapless NFC West team, bringing our record to a perfect 4-0 on the season. Going into the game, I should've remembered that 7-4 in the NFC West is like 3-8, at best, in any other division.
Myth: West teams don't play well when they come east because of the travel. Or the time zome changes. Or recycled plane air. Or the weather. Or all the outdoor stadiums. Or the mean fans. Or solar flares. Or changes in barometric pressure. Or they don't get their wake up calls. Or alien abduction.
Busted: West teams don'tplay well when they come east because the WEST TEAMS (in both conferences) SUCK. NFC West? A combined 15-33. AFC West? A combined 16-32. And in each division, only ONE TEAM is over .500. Dear sportscasters: Ocham's razor. Look it up.
But the thing is, we've managed to whup up on some hapful teams, too. Remember the Steelers game back in week 3? Or what about the Falcons just a month ago?
But as has been the case for the last several years, our lack of consistency just kills us. We didn't really do anything terribly flashy Thursday night. There were a very few "wow" catches (Kevin Curtis and Hank Baskett, I'm looking at you), but generally speaking receivers just caught the balls they should've caught. The offensive line provided a little pass protection and opened up some holes. We ran the ball. We converted third downs (and who is this kid Kyle Eckel, and where has he been for the past 12 weeks?). Our defense finished tackles. And grabbed 3 picks. And forced 2 fumbles. And consistently pressured Kurt Warner, even though we didn't register any sacks. The guys pulled it together and played a complete game. Why they can't do this every week I do not know.
We were THE talk of the NFL this past week (at least until Plaxico Burress decided to blow a hole in his leg and potentially his career with an illegally concealed gun), and the general consensus was: you don't bench your 10 year veteran franchise QB just because he has two down games (or, to be more precise, 1.5 down games). Tony never would've done that to Peyton. Bill never would've done that to Tom. Bill and Mike never would've done that to Ben. Tom never would've done that to Eli. [insert name of all the various head coaches here] would've never done that to Brett. And yet Andy does that to Don, and without even talking to him about it. Jackass move.
So did AR's benching of McNabb not have anything to do with McNabb? Did he do it to try to shake up the rest of the team? For the past 10 years, too often, the Eagles players (with a few notable exceptions) seem to feel like if they muff their assignments on a play or two (or ten or an entire half), it doesn't matter, because Big5 will figure out a way to win the game anyway. Was it more about finding out what the rest of the team has (if anything) and trying to get them to step up than anything Don did?
I don't know, but I think the rest of the season will provide some clues.
In the meantime, let me leave you with what may be the wackiest post-game interview I've ever witnessed. I'm so thankful my office was closed Friday so I could stay up to see it without worrying about not being able to get up the next morning...
Around the rest of the NFL....
Titans over Lions. Myth: after that loss to the Jets, the Titans are done for. Busted: the Lions are done for.
Cowboys over Seahawks. Myth: the NFC West is Roger Goodell's idea of a cool practical joke. Busted: no, it's an actual NFL division. No, really!
49ers over Bills. Myth: the Bills will make the playoffs. Busted: well, neither will the 49ers. But the Bills should still be ashamed of themselves, not least of which because they ruined the perfect 0 win record of west teams coming east this year. Damn you, Bills!
Ravens over Bengals. Myth: rookie QB and rookie head coach equals disaster. Busted: the Ravens will see you in the playoffs, homes.
Colts over Browns. Myth: Peyton's done for after his first real injury (I bought that one). Busted: the old dog still knows a few tricks. Also, the Browns are now officially out of QBs. Help us, Obi Wan Testaverde. You're our only hope (since the Lions beat us to Daunte Culpepper).
Dolphins over Rams. Myth: the Dolphins only beat good teams. Busted: well, after this week, we can definitely lay that one to rest.
Giants over Redskins. Myth: it's all about emotion. Busted: not when you're facing the 11-1 Giants, it's not. But, in all seriousness, the pre-game tributes to Sean Taylor were very moving. In far less seriousness, how big a douchebag is Plaxico Burress? I'm going with BIG. REALLY REALLY BIG. GINORMOUS.
Buccaneers over Saints. Myth: you can be season MVP even if your team doesn't make the playoffs. Busted: OK, actually, that's probably true. Sorry Drew Brees. Now if y'all could scare yourselves up some defense, you'd be unstoppable.
Panthers over Packers. Myth: the Packers are unbeatable in Lambeau in cold weather. Busted: tell that to Jake Delhomme.
Falcons over Chargers. Myth: Norv Turner is a valid choice for head coach. Busted: Marty's Chargers in 2006? 14-2. Norv's Chargers in 2007? 11-5. So far this year? 4-8. And yet people keep hiring him...
Broncos over Jets. Myth: the Jets are the best team in the AFC (hey, I didn't say it, but pretty much all the sportscasting world did after they beat the Titans last week). Busted: they lost. Badly. At home. To a team that's 7-5. In the AFC West.
Chiefs over Raiders. Myth: anyone cares about this game, or either of these teams. Busted: I haven't checked, but I'm guessing this was blacked out. Possibly even on the DirectTV Sunday Ticket. The NFL had to pay companies to advertise during this game.
Steelers over Patriots. Myth: Matt Cassel's just as good, if not better, than Tom Brady. Busted: how many times did he turn the ball over today? I lost count at a bazillion. Also, the Patriots' fans just might be bigger idiots than all the Eagles fans who've been hating on my boo Don for the past 10 years.
Vikings over Bears. Myth: the Vikings aren't that good, and Gus Frerotte's the poor man's Vinny Testaverde. Busted: well, the Vikings may not be that good. They're leading a division that's middling at 7-5. But Frerotte's not looking too bad, particularly compared to Kyle Orton last night. But Adrian Peterson and Devin Hester are two of the most exciting and explosive players in football, and that's NOT a myth.
Jaguars/Texans. Myth: the outcome of this game matters to anyone who doesn't live in Texas. Busted: trick question! Some inhabitants of Florida probably care, too. But I don't and am unlikely to stay up to see the end of the game. Jaguars, I wish I knew how to quit picking you to win AFC South.
27 November 2008
You've heard my rant about how we're a total disaster at the moment, right? So this won't come as a surprise.
Eagles/Cardinals: Cardinals. Kurt Warner is hot-hottie-hot. Our entire team is not-nottie-not. And we tend to have trouble going west. And playing at night. And McNabb's confidence HAS to be shaken. And Reid may have lost the locker room. Come on in - I'll put on a nice pot of bourbon....
Titans/Lions: The Titans will have no trouble rebounding from their loss to the Jets. And the Lions will continue their glorious tradition of losing on Thanksgiving. Firing: one turkey.
Cowboys/Seahawks: Speaking of turkeys, the only way the Cowboys lose this game is if the team eats their bird before the game and falls asleep.
49ers/Bills: Bills. They've been inconsistent this year, but not that inconsistent.
Ravens/Bengals: Ravens. The only chance the Bengals have is another tie, and they already played us.
Colts/Browns: Colts. Don't worry Browns - you get to play us in two weeks, so there's one likely win coming up.
Dolphins/Rams: Dolphins. How much do you want to bet the Rams are trying to figure out a way to get out of playing the rest of the season and still get paid? Suggestion? Get mono. You're welcome.
Giants/Redskins: Giants. They really are looking pretty solid this year, unfortunately.
Saints/Bucs: This could go either way, but I'm keeping the faith and calling Saints.
Panthers/Packers: Another game that could go either way. I'm calling Panthers, mostly because they have a better record in what, I think, is a better division this year.
Falcons/Chargers: Another interesting matchup. I'll stick with NFC South and call Falcons.
Broncos/Jets: OK, so the Jets beat the Titans and everyone's all, "They're the best team in the AFC!" Prove it. Two QBs who drive me up a wall. Who do I root for? I-N-J-U-R-I-E-S! INJURIES! INJURIES! INJURIES! Also, probably Jets.
Steelers/Patriots: As much as I want the Steelers to win, I think it's probably going to be Patriots.
Chiefs/Raiders: Oh my God. Worst Game of the Month.
Bears/Vikings: I think the Vikings are on an upswing. Vikings.
Jaguars/Texans: The Jags have been a real disappointment this year. But they'll still manage to beat the Texans on Monday night.
26 November 2008
We're playing on Thanksgiving, and Chef Spouse and I are heading out of town. We'll be back by Sunday and will be watching football, of course, but things will be pretty low-key.
1 pm - Giants/Skins
4 pm - Steelers/Patriots
8 pm - Bears/Vikings
Menu: everyone bring your Thanksgiving leftovers, we'll make some cocktails and we'll eat 'em up!
25 November 2008
Yes. Thank you. Not McNabb's fault. You think if Peyton Manning or Tom Brady had to run for their lives half the time and throw to Freddie Mitchell, Todd Pinkston, and Reggie Brown the other half, they'd do any better? No way, man.
Anyone could see McNabb played poorly in this [Sunday's] game. What is debatable is how this very talented, very successful quarterback got to this point. The short answer from here: He has been ground down by a coach who refuses to run the ball, who seldom keeps extra blockers in to protect him the way other elite quarterbacks are protected and who, with one notable exception, has insisted upon stocking his team with the most mediocre receivers available.
The offensive line is in marked decline. Brian Westbrook is at half speed due to injury. The play calling is hilariously bad. The tight end situation is incomprehensible. The defense is outstanding against rookie and backup quarterbacks. McNabb played poorly.
24 November 2008
Eagles at Ravens, Sunday, November 23, 2008
In attendance: me, Chef Spouse, about 70,000 screaming Ravens fans, and somewhere on the other side of the stadium, Fellow Eagles Maniac. With whom I spent large portions of the game texting.
Menu: crappy stadium hotdog, overly salty pretzel, beercicle.
Stud of the Week: Well, this is pretty obvious: Quitin Demps, whose 100-yard kickoff return was the longest ever by an Eagles rookie, provided our ONLY points, and was the first kickoff run back for a TD since the days of Brian Mitchell.
It was a weird day all around. It started off with a drive to Bal'mer for a tailgate that wasn't with some Ravens fans who couldn't get straight what lot they were in. We walked around M&T Bank Stadium for an hour trying to find them, carting two six packs and some really good brownies. By the time we found them, they were packing up. One of my co-workers had sold us his tickets, and when he gave them to me, he warned me that, while most of his neighbors were pretty decent, the guy to the left was "a real tool" and that the best we could hope for would be that he'd get drunk and pass out by halftime. Actually, turned out he has a lot of friends in Philly, likes the Eagles, and, while he was drunk & noisy, he was also really funny and nice to talk to. Fellow Eagles Maniac had a slightly different experience - she almost had to thrown down with an asshole Ravens fan who assumed that, since she's a girl, she wouldn't know what a safety was. And then finally, when we were on our way out of the stadium (about 1/2 way through the fourth quarter, because we were clearly not going to pull it out and Chef Spouse and Steelers Transplant had to get up to the Burgh last night), I GOT HIT IN THE FACE BY A RAVENS FAN. Lady, you're WINNING. Maybe popping the opposing team's fans one when they're minding their own business and leaving your stadium is a LITTLE EXCESSIVE?
Yes, I'm fine. She didn't hit me hard, and, I regret to say, I didn't hit her back, mostly because I was so shocked. I've been a sports fan for decades and attended all kinds of games in all kinds of stadiums and NEVER had anything like that happen. It was a strange end to a strange day.
I can't delay any more, can I? Do I I have to talk about the game?
Our team is just a hot mess right now. And I think our head coach may have lost his mind. If you look up "flailing" in the dictionary, there's a big picture of Andy Reid next to it. Look, having NO clue what you're doing is fine when you're 14 and it's career day. When you're the head coach of the franchise that USED TO BE the class of the NFC, it's a problem.
First half: not good, not awful. Strong offensive series killed by a fumble. D-Mac has the best record in the NFL on picks to TDs. How many turnovers in the past two weeks (aka 6 quarters of football)? I think 5 picks and 2 fumbles, but feel free to correct me in the comments if I got that wrong. But the defense was playing well, and we were only down 10-7, thanks to Mr. Stud of the Week up there.
And then, I look at the huddle on the first offensive possession of the second half, did a double take, and texted "OH MYGOD. KOLB IS IN." to pretty much everyone I know. We were only down by THREE GODDAMN POINTS. Had Kolb even taken any snaps in an actual real game prior to Sunday? Had he had ANY reps with the first team offense since the pre-season? That reads like the act of a desperate man, and I can't for the life of me figure out why Andy would be that desperate. THREE GODDAMN POINTS.
Even I was calling for change, but I didn't expect that. Did Jeff Lurie threaten his job or something? Because Big Red is usually anything but rash.
So what' s my evidence that he's lost his mind? Today's press conference. I could understand if Andy took a look around the NFC (well, excepting the West, where only 1 team has anything close to a winning record), realized that, even with 5 games left to play, there is NO WAY we see the postseason this year, and decided to give the kid a shot. Which would've meant that today's PC went something like, "Who's the QB on Thursday? Kolb. Let's be realistic. It would take a miracle to get us into the playoffs this year. And by 'miracle' I mean the Redskins go to the Cowboys/Giants game on December 14 and an earthquake swallows Texas Stadium. So we're going with the kid for the rest of the season so we can see what we have here, if anything."
But, no! Don's back for Thursday and there's all this random talk about taking a step back to take a step forward and yackity smackity I don't know what all. Has Andy gone off his meds? Does he need meds?
I don't know.
But I do know that the team is in disarray, and I blame the coaching. You know how most teams achieve success? Sticking with what works. The Bengals kept throwing to TJ Houshmandzadeh last week. We weren't gonna cover him, it was working, why not? The Redskins have two offensive plays: hand it off to Clinton Portis to run and "Crap! Clinton needs a breather! What are we gonna do?" The Colts ALWAYS go to Tony Gonzalez on 3rd and long. The Eagles? "Hey, Buck had two good runs! That's it - you're done for the game, buddy. Miller time!" (Yes, I know about the MCL injury this week. That does not explain the previous 10 games.) Another example? It's 1st and goal, we need about 2 yards, Marty dials up a QB sneak that gets us about 1 1/2 yards - why not run it again? Oh no, not us! We have to get all tricky with the pass play and look how that turned out (Ed Reed running back the longest pick for TD in NFL history, for those who've blocked out the memory or killed those brain cells with booze in the past 24 hours). And then Kolb comes back with, "I should've tackled Ed Reed." Ya think?
One area where we are consistent? We have a strong defensive start, but then the offense can't sustain drives, so the guys get tired and eventually start giving up big plays. You know what you need to sustain drives? A running game. BWest is still struggling with a panoply of injuries, and so we go into Baltimore with ONE other running back and Lorenzo Booker inactive for the game.
But I have to come back to: who goes with someone totally untested at QB against the #3 ranked defense when you're only down 10-7? That is just crazy talk. Sure, the team needed a spark. Yes, McNabb has been struggling recently. Yes, he has a history of confidence problems (who wouldn't, with the Philly sports media and fans breathing down your neck all the damn time?). You know what's NOT going to help his or the team's confidence? Benching your starting, 5-time-pro bowl, acknowledged leader of the locker room franchise QB in favor of some kid who's barely taken a snap in a real game.
In the meantime, we have lots of vets with no contracts for 2009. Which may not be such a bad thing, but to me, signals some upcoming wilderness years.
Will McNabb be an Eagle next year? Sadly, I think probably not. And as much as I'd hate to lose him, I almost wish, for his sake, that he can go somewhere like Chicago where they have all the elements but a top QB and he can get his ring already.
Has his erratic behavior lost Andy Reid the locker room? Maybe. What do I think are the odds of AR losing his job in the off-season? A lot is going to depend on the next month, but I don't think it looks very good for him. There really is no way into the playoffs for us this year, even if we win out and end up 10-5-1, unless we manage to get shifted to NFC West in the next 5 weeks.
So now I'm looking forward to Cards on Thanksgiving...with dread.
Around the rest of the NFL...
Steelers over Bengals. Dear Eagles: THAT's how you're supposed to handle a bad team.
Pats over the Dolphins. Damn it! Why will Bill Belichick never suffer the way he deserves to? How does everything always work out for him? I hate that guy!
Texans over Browns. Remember when the Browns beat the Giants back in September? Neither do they.
Cowboys over the 49ers. Is it just me, or do the Cowboys not seem to have much in the way of defense? How on earth did the 49ers manage to score 22 points against a team NOT in their division?
Jets over Titans. It was bound to happen eventually. If we have a Subway Bowl in February, though, I may have to boycott in protest. Ok, not really. But I would be tempted.
Bills over Chiefs. 54-31? What is this? College? Did all the defensive guys on both teams have a big bowl of Xanax for breakfast on Sunday? Washed down with a quart of bourbon?
Bears over Rams. Well, yeah.
Vikings over Jags. When you lose to Gus Frerotte, you know you're having a bad season.
Bucs over Lions. Hey! The Lions scored 20 points! In the end, it didn't matter, but apparently even a 17-0 lead is not enough to help the Lions this year. I think they need an act of God - or at least an act of Congress.
Raiders over Broncos. WHAT? Maybe everyone will finally stop kissing Jay Cutler's ass. Ego of TO, talent of Dan Marino. Now. I was right about the averting your eyes part, though.
Falcons over Panthers. Remember when we beat the Falcons in October? Neither does the team.
Redskins over Seahawks. I got home from Baltimore in time to catch the very end of that game. Two turnovers inside the last two minutes kept it exciting, but in the end, the outcome was never *really* in question. Time of possession doesn't lie.
Giants over Cardinals. The Cards played tough, particularly at the end, but they just couldn't pull it out. Don't worry, Cards - you'll probably pull it back together next week against us, pretty much locking up the NFC West I think.
Colts over Chargers. That was a pretty good game. Peyton's looking better. It's probably too late for the division, but it's definitely not too late for wildcard, with 3 AFC teams at 7-4.
And, as predicted, the Packers/Saints game is a shoot-out (at least through the first half). And I'm pulling for the Saints to stay up. Geaux Saints!
20 November 2008
The Ravens have beaten the Browns (twice) and Bengals, the Texans, the Raiders, and the Dolphins. They've lost to the Giants, Colts, Steelers, and Titans.
So it's not hopeless. We did beat the Steelers - man, does that seem like a million years ago - and the teams the Ravens have beat don't have the best combined record. The Dolphins are the only team they've beat that's won more than 3 games.
Sigh. I'm calling an Eagles win, but it's more out of hope than anything else.
Bengals/Steelers: Steelers. Wouldn't it be funny if they tied, too? Yeah, there's no way Mike Tomlin lets that happen. He'd put his foot up someone's ass first.
Jets/Titans: Titans. Dear Brett Favre: you, sir, are no Kerry Collins. Hee!
Buccaneers/Lions: Man, why don't we get to play the Lions this year? We could use an extra bye week. Buccaneers.
Vikings/Jaguars: Jaguars. I think. Or maybe Vikings....no, Jags. Probably.
Bills/Chiefs: Trent Edwards can throw as many picks as he wants - it won't matter. Bills.
Bears/Rams: Well, at least the Bears will get to recover nicely from that drubbing they took at the hands of the Packers last week, when they spank the Rams.
Patriots/Dolphins: Oooo - two rules in conflict. Never pick against Bill Belichick when leading the division is on the line versus the Dolphins only beat good teams. This is the real test of the theory. I'm going with the bold pick of the Dolphins.
49ers/Cowboys: Even if the Cowboys hadn't gotten their season back on track Sunday, it wouldn't matter. They'd beat the 49ers with my cat under center. Sigh. Cowboys.
Texans/Browns: I'm going with the Texans. What the hell - they have to win some games, right?
Raiders/Broncos: Oh, this is going to be FUGLY. Broncos. Also, avert your eyes.
Panthers/Falcons: OK, Panthers, if you're the real thing, this is the time to show it. I don't know - I have a feeling about this one. I think the Falcons are going to pull off the upset. Apparently, this is Offical Upset Pick Week here at the Snark. Should I switch that pick above to the Raiders? Nah - I'm not crazy.
Giants/Cardinals: OK, I'm putting my money where my mouth is. Well, not my ACTUAL money, but my reputation. Oh yeah - I usually get punked by both my divisional picks and my weekly picks. So really nothing's on the line here. Cardinals. I have to believe the Giants are not the behemouths everyone seems to think they are.
Redskins/Seahawks: Chin up, Skins! You'll win this week!
Colts/Chargers: Remember when this used to be a good game? Colts? Chargers? Who cares? This isn't the Worst Game of the Week, but it is going to be the biggest disappointment.
Packers/Saints: Two 5-5 teams, NFC South is looking tougher than North this year, could go either way....who am I kidding? I'm calling Saints! And probably etouffee for Monday Night Football.
19 November 2008
No football watching party this week. We'll be up in Baltimore at the game. About which I'm not feeling particularly sanguine at the moment. But maybe the team will surprise me and play well in all 3 phases. Or maybe the Ravens will forget to show up, or think that it's a 4 pm game. Or maybe I'll be really drunk Sunday by the time the game starts and won't care. Maybe I should start drinking Saturday just to be sure. All in favor, raise your cocktail glasses!
14 November 2008
Eagles at Bengals, Sunday, November 16, 2008
In attendance: Shoegal, Ex-Navy Cheesehead, Steelers Transplant, Chef Spouse, me, and Jack. Jack Daniels that is.
Menu: guacamole, chips, and fresh from Pittsburgh salsa (surprisingly good), shrimp, crudites, Popeye's friend chicken, beer, and bile.
Stud of the Week: Trent Cole. Who keeps getting unfairly penalized for roughing the passer when he's not and keeps bringing the heat anyway. He's a bad ass.
Sunday's game brings to mind a whole host of questions. To wit:
So what the hell was that steaming pile of crap?
A TIE? Who TIES the Bengals? The 1-8-1 Bengals?
Who was that guy wearing #5, and what did he do with Donovan McNabb?
3 picks and a fumble? Who do you think you are, Brett Favre?
How did DMac not know that a regular season game can end in a tie?
Did he think they were just going to let them keep playing until the Bengals gave up?
Was that the strategy?
Is there something wrong with Westy or is there something wrong with Marty or is there something wrong with Big Red? He had 14 carries for 60 yards, which...wait, actually that's not too bad. WAY too few attempts, but 4.3 yards per attempt. Not many receptions either.
How was T.J. Houshmandzadeh open on EVERY SINGLE PLAY? Who was supposed to be covering him? JJ?
On Sunday Night Football, J.Mad. asked the rhetorical question: "What's the opposite of playing with urgency?" May I offer the Philadelphia Eagles by way of a reply?
When you look at the game stats, they aren't horrible - other than that glaring 3 in the Interceptions column. Does that explain it all? This particular group of Eagles generally isn't a team that's great at battling back from adversity. But your QB should be able to have an off day once in a while without the entire team collapsing like wet tissue paper. And if the QB *is* having an off day, why not, oh, I don't know, try RUNNING THE BALL A LITTLE?
Looking at the post-Super Bowl years, in 2005, everyone was injured. Everyone. Even the guy who hands out the Gatorade spent two weeks on IR with carpal tunnel syndrome. In 2006, McNabb tore his ACL, the team came together under Jeff Garcia, and we did surprisingly well in the playoffs. In 2007, McNabb came back too soon from the ACL tear, The Powers That Be set us up with short bus-style "special" special teams, and we still managed to pull it together in the stretch and finish 8-8, out of playoff contention, but not bad after our slow start. What's our excuse this year? Solar flares? The guys are mostly healthy, but they're playing like there's an unlimited number of games/amount of time left for them to pull it together. Guys! Wake up! Only 6 more games! Do you WANT to watch the playoffs from David Akers' rec room?
I quote goeagles99:
I spent much of the game staring at the TV with a sense of disbelief. We've all seen a good team struggle against a bad team. The good team normally wakes up at some point and pulls out the win. That's what I was waiting for.Aw hell, just go read the whole post. Tommy says it beter than I could. And don't skip the comments - they're worth it.
IgglesBlog has some good stuff, too, particularly this comment:
Anyone who's been reading this blog for any length of time knows that I'm not one to call for regime change. I don't start throwing people under the bus left and right if things start going wrong. I'm usually Little Miss Stay Calm, Everything Will Work Out. I'm a loyalist, a homer - a pessimist, but a true fan. If we miss the playoffs again this year - which is looking increasingly likely - I'm thinking there have to be some major changes in the F.O., among the coaching staff, or on the team. Or all three.
They are choosing to be one dimensional!
It's also why this team is presently incapable of winning a close game. Either Plan A works (let's call it the Shock and Awe Pass Attack) or we see three and outs. They'll either jump out to huge leads and take teams out or lose the tough, grind it out kind of games.
Around the rest of the NFL....
Jets over Patriots: In OT. In what was apparently a pretty exciting game. I don't know. I skipped it in protest because of those annoying NFL Network "HERO" spots about Brett Favre. Hero, my sweet round ass! Will he never just GO AWAY?
Broncos over Falcons. Hm. Surprising. Particularly given all the injuries the Broncos are battling.
Panthers over Lions. How the hell did the Lions manage to put up 22 points against the Panthers? Think they can go totally defeated? The Dolphins did manage to win *a* game last year - and they're a LOT better this year, so maybe the Lions should intentionally try to win only one game in hopes they'll follow in Miami's footsteps? How long does Rod Marinelli get to keep his job, anyway?
Colts over Texans. Have the Texans *ever* beat the Colts? Poor Texans.
Saints over Chiefs. Well, yes.
Giants over Ravens. Damn. Which probably means they'll be pissed next week, when we play them. Great. More good news.
Buccaneers over Vikings. Go, Jeff, it's your birthday. We're gonna party like it's your birthday. OK, not really, but he's having a Kurt Warner-like career revival. Speaking of Kurt Warner....
Cardinals over Seahawks. And the way the rest of the NFC West is playing this year, they could probably lose all their remaining games and still win the division.
Dolphins over Raiders. OK, so I was right. Which means I'm wrong about my "the Dolphins only beat good teams" theory. Unless that theory only holds for teams that are actually professional football teams. Maybe the Raiders are playing like this in an attempt to hold on to their amateur status in case American football ever becomes an Olympic sport?
Packers over Bears. WAY over. WAY WAY over. Yao Ming over. I wasn't watching the game, and when I was following the score, I assumed that Turnoversaurus Rex was playing. Uhn-uh. Or if he was, he was wearing a really good Kyle Orton disguise. My prediction about this being a good game? Not so much.
49ers over Rams. Well, duh.
Titans over Jaguars. Going up by 11 points is clearly not enough. Chef Spouse was telling me that what he really hopes happens is that the Titans go undefeated all season, and then go on to lose to the Giants in the Super Bowl. While that would be funny, what would be better is if the Titans were to go undefeated all season and then lose to the EAGLES in the Super Bowl. But I think our chances of going to the Super Bowl this year are about the same as President-Elect Obama naming Bill O'Reilly to be his press secretary.
Steelers over Chargers. What an odd ending to the game. And the cavalcade of officiating problems continues! Are the officials just not paying attention? Have the rules gotten too complicated? I think Big5 would probably say, "yes," although that OT rule has been in effect for some time now. But old Groceries is still ending up ass over tea kettle way too often. Yes, he's a big, tough guy, but he's not indestructible, for God's sake!
Cowboys over Redskins. Damn. You know, at least when the Eagles and the Skins both lose on Sunday, I can distract myself from the weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth in the Philly media with the weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth in the WaPo. It's pretty cold comfort on a day when we TIED THE BENGALS and the Skins dropped one to the DAMN COWBOYS, but at least it's something. A very, very tiny something.
And I'm now watching Trent Edward's 4 millionth pick of the game. In the first quarter. And the Browns have only managed two field goals out of it. That's almost as pathetic as, well, the Bengals. Sigh.
13 November 2008
Jets/Patriots: Patriots. Who are looking pretty good, Rocks Brady or no Rocks Brady.
Broncos/Falcons: Are the Falcons for real? I think we find out this week. Falcons.
Saints/Chiefs: OK, Saints, shake it off. You can DEFINITELY beat the Chiefs. Saints.
Ravens/Giants: If they weren't playing opposite us, this is the game I would watch. Ravens. Please. We need the help.
Vikings/Buccaneers: You know how I said Gus Frerotte wasn't the answer? Bucs.
Raiders/Dolphins: Ah - this will be a good test of my theory. If, in fact, the Dolphins do only beat good teams, there's no question. The Raiders are not anyone's definition of a good team. Then again, Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom could lead pretty much any team (other than the Lions) to victory over the Raiders. Dolphins. Which means if I'm wrong and they lose, I'm right. Or something like that.
Lions/Panthers: Jeez! When do the poor Lions get their bye week? Oh wait - they already had it. Man, this just keeps getting worse and worse. Panthers.
Bears/Packers: Can Good Rex keep it up (maybe)? Or will Kyle Orton be back (probably not)? Should be a good game. Bears.
Texans/Colts: Colts. Duh. Even if Marvin Harrison is concussed. Or out. Or out cold.
Rams/49ers: What did I say about all-NFC West games? Worst Game of the Week.
Cardinals/Seahawks: OK, this isn't funny. Think of the children!
Titans/Jaguars: Titans. Hope the Jags enjoyed that one-game winning streak.
Cowboys/Redskins: Go Skins! We need the help in the wildcard race! And we might not be able to catch you, either! So take down the Cowboys for us, aight?
Edited Friday, November 14 to add: Also, no more bye weeks, so now's the time to go all in, fellas.