The Giants got off to a hot start, winning their first five games. But in that five game stretch, they beat only one team with a winning record (Cowboys) and four dogs (Bucs, Skins, Raiders, Chiefs). Don't get me wrong, we couldn't handle one of those dogs, so my house is far too made of glass to run around throwing stones. But since then, they've played two good teams - the Saints, who also beat us, but by nearly an identical margin with K2 making his very first start, and the Cards, who we haven't faced since the damn NFC Championship game last year - and dropped both games.
So they're not nearly as unbeatable as they looked on November 12 - that sobriquet is reserved for the Saints in the NFC this year - but coming up as Giant-killers will not be easy.
Many people have said that the NFC East has two good teams, one schizo team, and one bad team this year. Now's our chance to prove that right. I think we can do this. Chef Spouse is not feelin' the love, but he has pointed out that it's a matter of which team shows up. And he's not loving the play calling this season, and, as you know, neither am I. But I think this Sunday is when Andy and Marty quit screwing around and get serious. Chef Spouse is not so sanguine.
I'm calling the Iggles, partially but not totally because I'm a total homer. And for it to happen, Winston Justice needs to have a BIG game containing Osi Umenyiora. Did you hear that, Winston? I'm expecting big things of you.
Broncos/Ravens - If we weren't playing opposite, this would DEFINITELY be on the big screen. As it is, this will DEFINITELY be on the 'puter on SuperCast. I think the Broncos take this one, but this is going to be a gooooooood game.
Texans/Bills. Texans! Team of Destiny!
Browns/Bears. I think the Bears have finally found an opponent they can handle. Bears.
Seahawks/Cowboys. I SO want to call Seahawks, but I just don't see it happening. Sigh. Cowboys. (Seahawks, please PLEASE PLEASE pull it together and prove me wrong.)
Dolphins/Jets. Record says Jets, but the Dolphins did pull off the win against them on MNF 3 weeks ago. Then again, that game was at home. This one is not. I think I've just talked myself into calling Jets.
Colts/49ers. I don't have to talk myself into anything here. Colts.
Rams/Lions. OH. MY. GOD. This is the official The Worst Game of the Week. For my pick, I'd like to choose "who cares?" but I guess I have to pick the Lions, who have at least won a game this season.
Chargers/Raiders. The Raiders were a trap for us. They will NOT be a trap for the Chargers. Who will win. Big time.
Titans/Jags. How the mighty have fallen! I'm calling Jags, mostly because I think it would be hilarious if, after the first 0-16 season in NFL history, we had another right away. Go for the goat spot, Titans!
Vikings/Packers. Brett Favre returns to Lambeau Field in purple. I hope the Packers SLAUGHTER the Vikings. I hope they send the team home in body bags. I hope Brett Favre is LITERALLY in PIECES at the end of this game. Think THEN he'd finally retire? You know, if he's, like, decapitated and stuff? Revenge is a dish best served cold. Which it usually is at Lambeau. Packers.
Panthers/Cards. Um, Cards. Jake Delhomme has HAD IT.
Falcons/Saints. I'm sure the Saints will have to lose a game eventually, but it won't be this week. Saints.
On bye: Patriots, Chiefs, Bengals, Steelers, Bucs, Redskins (just in time....to fire their head coach)
In attendance: For MNF, me, Chef Spouse, Deadhead Redskins Fan, her friend the season ticket holder, Cool Web Dude (Skins Fan), Hottie Web Chick, and a Fed Ex field that looked about 1/2 and 1/2 to me.
Sunday football was a whole new crew - McLovin, Wingman, Mr. Wingman, and Tweety Monster (all friends from my professional me life)
Menu: Potage au pistou, a really yummy French veggie soup with white beans and pesto, lots of different cheeses and olives, rosemary bread, the infamous guac, the equally infamous garlic crack, and lots of fun cocktails - Chef Spouse was on a roll.
Stud of the Game: You know it's gotta be #10, DJax, the Dime of 5 & Dime, your favorite and mine, DeSean "Peanut" Jackson. 67 yard rushing TD, 57 yard receiving TD, 29 yard punt return. My man is bringing it in his sophomore season! Honorable mention goes to new Eagle MLB Will Witherspoon who created two turnovers last night, one that went for 6 and the other for 3. Welcome to the Eagles, Will! We're glad you're here.
So we won, which is good. And our D looked pretty solid, particularly on that goal-line stand (which was helped by Jason Campbell's fumble). And we held Clinton Portis to 43 yards on 14 attempts (he's not the threat he once was, but that's still pretty good). And our O line looked better. And when BWest went down, our offense didn't completely fall apart, as we often have in previous years.
Our offense was completely out of sorts other than the two big 5 & Dime hookups. In my totally-has-no-effect-on-anyone-who-could-make-a-difference opinion, the problem is that Andy and Marty keep screwing around with trick shit every third play. Here are other items on Andy's Chinese food menu laminated play card that he just didn't get to last night:
Have DMac line up at tight end
Bring Trent Cole in as a receiver
Lineup BWest at center
O-line and receivers switch places
EVERYONE lines up to the left, including Stacey Andrews and Winston Justice
Everyone moves one position to the right
All 3 QBs on the field at once
Once DMac has the ball, he fakes to the left. No! He fakes to the right. He doesn't fake. He thinks about faking. He pretends to fake. (extra points if you recognize the reference)
It's one thing if your QB is Chad Henne. But here's a thought: have you heard of this guy named Donovan McNabb? 5 time pro-bowler, as of last night, only the 21st player in NFL history to have 200 TD passes and 30,000 passing yards? One of only FOUR players to have 200 TD passes and 3,000 rushing yards? Maybe you might want to consider just LETTING HIM PLAY QB. Sorry, haters, but when he's on the field, he's our best offensive weapon. Why in the hell are we taking him out of the huddle every third play? I know Vick is Big Red's community service project, and that's lovely, but we need to win some f-ing games here! We ALL know that one of DMac's problems is that he's streaky. He can't get ON a streak if he's constantly coming off the field.
We won, but we won ugly. A fellow Eagles fan emailed me earlier today asking if the Iggles had their first quality win. I'm sure my Skins fan friends appreciate the upgrade, but the Skins are no one's definition of a quality team. We're still - STILL - looking for our first quality win. Next week would be a GREAT time for it to show up.
And in injury news, there's more bad news for the Skins. Not only do they have the third worst owner in football and a TOTALLY ineffective GM (seriously, I think I'd do a better job than Vinny Cerrato), but Chris Cooley is out, maybe for the rest of the season, with a broken ankle. He's one of their few reliable players at this point. And as for Westy, thank God it's just a concussion. Not that they aren't serious, but when he wasn't moving we were ALL freaking out. I thought it was really nice that DMac stayed with his brother Byron (who, as you may recall is a Redskin) after Andy motioned for him to stay on the field.
Are we playoff material this year? Going into the season I thought "for sure." Now, I'm not so convinced. One thing in our favor is that we do tend to get hot at the right time (November/December) - and next Sunday is Nov 1. We'll know in just under 6 days if we *are* playoff material this year.
Around the rest of the NFL...
WHAT WAS WITH ALL THE BLOWOUTS!?!? Geez - BOOOOOO-RING! Sigh.
Packers over Browns. I have no comment about this. NO ONE has a comment about this. The Packers didn't even feel like finishing the game, but they were contractually obligated.
Texans over 49ers. It was a close game. Shaun Hill's been benched. Alex Smith got to play. Good for him! After the big Alex Smith/Aaron Rodgers draft in 2005, it was like both of them died. Or went to play in the CFL. Or decided to trek in Nepal for a while. It's nice to see them both playing. Mike Singletary obviously hopes Smith will play *better* but maybe he will when he actually gets the reps with the rest of the first team offense.
Chargers over Chiefs. Which team is the biggest whipping boy so far this season? I would say the Chiefs, but they have actually won a game. Over the Redskins, true, but in the race to the bottom, they aren't leading. That dubious honor would be reserved for....
Patriots over Buccaneers. Yes, the Bucs are the worst team in football. Except for maybe...
Colts over Rams. Hm, maybe the Rams are the worst team in football. What do y'all think? In other news, the Colts have lost Adam Vinateri for 3-7 weeks and have signed Matt Stover as a replacement. Why did they bother? All Peyton does is throw TDs. A placekicker seems superfluous.
Steelers over Vikings. Now THAT's the Brett Favre I love to hate - no TDs, a pick, and a lost fumble. Let the suck begin (I hope)! And the rest of us learned a valuable lesson. Want to beat the Vikings? Shut down Adrian Peterson (only 69 yards), and make Favre do it. Because the old man CAN'T.
Bills over Panthers. Speaking of teams that suck...well, it's probably not the *whole* team. Actually, it's mostly Jake Delhomme. At least he's really fun to watch while he's losing. Once he's out of football - which at the rate he's going could be next week - he should definitely not look to get on the professional poker circuit.
Jets over Raiders. What was I smoking when I picked the Raiders to win? Must've been the same thing as Wilbon. Apparently, we're BOTH knuckleheads.
Bengals over Bears. Man, was that embarrassing. The Bengals put up 45 points on the Bears. How's that bend-don't-break D working out in Chi-town?
Cowboys over Falcons. Damn it! We had the chance to go up one game on the whole division, and the stupid Falcons couldn't pull it together for us! ARGH! It looked pretty promising for the first half, and then Tony Romo remembered that this guy named Miles Austin is supposed to be his #1 wideout and, hey, he actually played like a #1 wideout! Damn.
Saints over Dolphins. 46 to 34. That's like a high school basketball score. 80 points? BOTH teams defenses should be embarrassed.
Cardinals over Giants. I punked out and couldn't stay awake to see the end of this game and I am SO PISSED. I even said to Chef Spouse: "This is a great game, but the Giants will pull it together, and I'm beat. I'm going to bed." STUPID STUPID STUPID. And if you look at the stats, it looks like it should've been all Giants. Other than those 3 picks Eli threw. Will Witherspoon and Asante Samuel, are you paying attention? Also, I do believe that Fitz has the best butt in football. Crucial to the game? No, but nice to look at!
Man, did we stink it up last week. Yes, I'm still on that. Does that mean that we aren't who we thought we were? Nah - just usual Eagles mid-season weirdness. They want to keep it interesting for the fans. If you recall, our Phillies had a mid-season slump too, and look how that's turning out!
Meanwhile, the Redskins have stripped head coach Jim Zorn of his playcalling duties. Zorn, as you may recall, was originally brought in to be the offensive coordinator, aka The Guy Calling The Plays. Sherm Lewis will be calling the plays now. He's had an illustrious career, but he's also been calling nothing more important than bingo games recently, and he's been in DC with the Redskins for approximately two weeks. I'd be amazed if he even knows all the players' names yet. "You! Tall skinny African-American receiver! Run a go route!"
What's really going on? I'm guessing that Snyder and Cerrato are trying to force Zorn to quit so they don't have to buy out his contract when they fire him. Because it's inevitable. As a matter of fact, I'm guessing it goes down Tuesday morning, October 27, after we humiliate the Redskins on national TV. You heard it here first.
In the rest of the matchups:
Packers/Browns - Packers. (Yes, no comment. No comment needed.)
49ers/Texans - You *know* I'm calling my Team of Destiny, the Texans!
Chargers/Chiefs - Dear Chiefs: hope you enjoyed that big one game winning streak, because it ends this weekend. Chargers.
Colts/Rams - Oh my God. Really? I know I joke about this a lot, but I'm totally serious now - the Rams should just forfeit. Even though it means they won't get paid. Trust me, no amount of money is worth what they're going to go through Sunday. None. Besides, they'll be able to to apply to FEMA for disaster relief funds. Do I even need to say "Colts"?
Pats/Buccaneers - Sigh. What is up with the games in London? This is such a dumb gimmick. And jet lag is no joke, both going and coming. Do I really have to talk about the game? The poor Bucs - they're not going to get their first win this week, either. Bucs Chick, you're definitely winning the suck fest. Patriots.
Vikings/Steelers - I'm picking against the Vikings. Again. Since I want them - or more precisely, Brett Favre - to lose, I should probably start picking for them. Yeah, not gonna happen. Steelers. (who have Troy Polamalu back, by the way)
Bills/Panthers - Both teams are bad. Both teams are *not* going to the playoffs this year. Yes, it's only week 7 but I already know. So do you. Bills. But does it really even matter?
Jets/Raiders - Raiders, if you do to Mark Sanchez what you did to DMac last week, you won't even need to score to win. Call it a Raiders win, score 2-0.
Bears/Bengals - This is an interesting matchup. Are the Bengals for real? Well, you know what happened last week. Are the Bears for real? Two words for you: Jay Cutler. Coin flip says Bengals.
Falcons/Cowboys - Falcons. You know it, baby! Cowboys continue to disappoint. YAY!
Saints/Dolphins - The Saints will see something they haven't faced so far this season - efficient wildcat. It's a different look for them. But the result will be the same - Saints win.
Cardinals/Giants - Cards, do you think you can manage to beat the Giants for us? Please? Pretty please? There are homemade cookies in it for you if you do. Not buying it? Me, either. Giants.
On Bye: Ravens, Broncos, Jags, Lions, Seahawks, Titans
The Iggles face the Skins on national TV on MNF this week, and Chef Spouse and I are going with Deadhead Redskins Fan and her friend, who holds the season tickets. After week 6, two things are true: the Iggles are PISSED and the Skins are imploding before our eyes. Should make for an interesting evening at FedEx Field.
Anyway, for your Sunday viewing pleasure:
1 pm - Steelers/Vikings - Go Steelers! 4 pm - Cowboys/Falcons - Go Falcons! 8 pm - Giants/Cardinals - Go Cardinals! (even though I think you're gonna lose)
Menu: It's going to be chilly and we have some yummy leftover pesto a friend brought to a recent potluck, so Chef Spouse is thinking potage au pistou (a French veggie soup with white beans and pesto), accompanied by homemade baguettes (if I can get my act together to start them Saturday) and other yummy snacks. Bring something to go with! (like maybe wine :)
In attendance: Chef Spouse, Ex-Navy Cheesehead, Shoegal
Menu: Jambalaya. Geaux Saints! Plus lots of yummy treats.
Stud of the game: there were no Eagles studs. We stunk it up from A to Z. This week's stud? Chad Ocho Cinco, who put up his OWN money to buy (and give away) 1200 tickets so the Bengals/Texans game would sell out and be broadcast locally. That's for the love of the game.
Speaking of stinking it up (cover your eyes, Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom), what THE FUCK was that?
There are (at least) two voices in my head. Voice 1, Ms. Rational, says, "Hey, it's just one game. We always come out totally flat and blow a game we absolutely should have won at least once in the season, usually in the middle third (hello, week 6), and it usually doesn't hurt us. This is just that game. Don't panic. Things in the NFL are never as bad - or as good - as they seem on first view."
That's Ms. Rational.
Ms. Not-So-Rational is PISSED.
No one played well - receivers couldn't catch, McNabb threw some bad passes in the 4th quarter, Akers missed two field goals (margin of victory? 4 points), defenders couldn't get to JaMarcus Russell. Bad all around. But the worst? The real reason for our loss? Two factors:
Axeman, I love you, but the Raiders targeted you all day. And you weren't up to it. We're glad to have you back in Philly (for the third time), we love you, we think you're great, but you're not a great linebacker any more. I hear Hugh Douglas's old Bad Assador job is open. You might want to think about moving over to that. It didn't help that everyone else was blowing tackles, too, but dude, I could outrun you at this point.
The O-line. OH. MY. GOD. They were so full of holes they make swiss cheese look butch. Yeah, McNabb was off target in the fourth quarter. That's because Mr. Broken Ribs was running for his damn life for 45 minutes. And the play calling! Westy was getting big yards almost every time he touched the ball. Why in the hell did Big Red call so many pass plays with a QB who's still banged up and an O-line that couldn't stop my 86 year old grandmother who only has one good eye? Maybe we should've asked the pigeon to help out.
And I don't think it changed the outcome of the game, but let's talk about the bad officiating. JaMarcus Russell was clearly and obviously guilty of intentional grounding AT LEAST twice. Called? Nope. DeSean Jackson got hit out of bounds - taken to the ground on the OTHER SIDE of the paint - on a kick return. Called? Hells no. DAVID AKERS got taken to the GROUND and got up with GRASS all over his ass and back after a FG attempt. Roughing the kicker? NO. Seriously? Dude's on his back.
Oh well, it could be worse - I could be a Redskins fan.
Around the rest of the NFL...
Texans over Bengals. You know, after Ocho Cinco bought all those tickets, the least the team could've done was win, for chrissakes! Maybe what killed them was me finally getting behind them? Sorry, guys.
Packers over Lions. Well, yeah. Shut out. Ouch.
Jags over Rams. Took 'em to overtime, though. Gonna be a long season in Jacksonville. Gonna be longer in St. Louis.
Vikings over Ravens. Damn. It came down to a missed FG. Killer. And will the bad Brett hurry up and show up already?
Saints over Giants. I did call this. What I got wrong was the whole "close game" thing. Not so much. And the Giants even had their starting QB, unlike certain Philadelphia teams I could name. Is it too early to use the term "juggernaut" to describe the Saints?
Steelers over Browns. Well, again, yeah.
Panthers over Bucs. I really thought the Bucs had it in them to win this week. Apparently I was wrong. 0-6 hurts. Just ask the Titans. Or their fans. I really think they should stick with Josh Johnson at QB, but what the hell do I know? Oh! Actually I do know this: the Panthers need to find Jake Delhomme's successor ASAP.
Chiefs over Redskins. See, Eagles fans? It *could* be worse. We're homicidal, but Redskins fans are suicidal at this point. Looks like the Zornmeister is going to be fired, although I still think they'll wait until the bye. But as long as Snyder and Cerrato are running the team, they could have God coaching and it wouldn't make a difference. I absolutely think that the Zorn should shock the hell out of them and just quit. He's gonna get canned and take the blame anyway. Why not go out with a bang?
Cards over Seahawks. See, I should've let myself talk myself into calling the Cards!
Pats over Titans. Why does Bill Belichick's asshatness never bite him? The Pats were up about a million points, it's snowing, and TOM BRADY IS STILL IN THE GAME. Honestly, I was cheering for a career-ending injury at that point, just to punish Belichick for being a dick. Of course, it didn't happen. It never happens. I hate that guy. And what is up with the Titans this year? I'm sorry, but that's not just the loss of Albert Haynesworth. No way.
Bills over Jets. So it turns out that teams have figured out that Mark Sanchez only makes one read. Looks like the honeymoon's over, rookie. Things in the NFL are never as bad - or as good - as they appear at first. But 5 picks looks pretty damn bad. So do the Bills, who still almost lost the game.
Falcons over Bears. Speaking of picks! But still, that was a GOOD game. Very much enjoyed watching both teams, who played well for the most part. Talk about some serious goal-line D? The Falcons allowed one Chicago TD, then forced a fumble, got a pick, and got a turn over on downs. Falcons are looking good (again) this year!
MNF? Tied up. Game's been pretty exciting. Dawkins is out with a hamstring injury. That could hurt the Broncos.
So I'll close with a little something for Chef Spouse:
My prediction as we face the Raiders this week is that the Eagles will continue to make hay in the sunny part of their schedule. Which lasts precisely two more games. On the upside, Vick should see a lot of playing time, since we're likely to be so far ahead that McNabb won't take a snap after the half. My other prediction? This game turns into a Dullsville blow out, and we start watching one of the other games at some point. Eagles. Of course.
Texans/Bengals. I'm still not sure I buy the Bengals, but I'm at least renting this week. Bengals.
Lions/Packers. I so want to call Lions, but I just can't bring myself to. Packers.
Rams/Jaguars. If the Jags can't pull it together to beat the Rams (who might end up owned by Rush Limbaugh - as if they didn't already have enough problems), put a fork in them, because they are D-O-N-E. Jags.
Ravens/Vikings. A. Someone needs to take Brett Favre down a peg. B. Who better to do it than a team that's got to still be smarting after their surprise loss to the Bengals last week? Ravens.
Giants/Saints. I said it before, I'm sure I'll say it again - this is THE game of the week. I am so psyched! And I think the 2009 season NFC picture is going to come into very clear focus in the next few weeks. I can make an argument for this one going high scoring. I can make an argument for this one going low scoring. But either way, I'm positive it's going to be close and MEGA exciting. And I'm calling the Saints, and not just because I love New Orleans. Geaux Saints!
Browns/Steelers. Luckily for the Steelers, there's still ONE easy team in their division. (In case you were wondering, it's the Browns.) Steelers.
Panthers/Bucs. The Bucs gotta win some time, right? I think it will be this week. Bucs.
Chiefs/Redskins. The Chiefs also gotta win some time. And after almost taking down the Cowboys last week, I also think it will be this week. Chiefs.
Cardinals/Seahawks. Matt Hasselbeck had a hell of a game last week. OK, it was against the Jags, but still. On the other hand, the Seahawks are running out of O-linemen. But the Cards aren't exactly burning up the pass rush wires. I'm thinking Seahawks, but I could probably be convinced to change my mind, particularly since they don't exactly have a lock-down secondary, and the Cards still have Larry Fitz last time I checked.
Titans/Patriots. The Titans gotta win some time, right? Ain't gonna be this week. Pats.
Bills/Jets. Jets. The loss to Miami on MNF was pretty crushing, but it wasn't that bad. I don't think it's really going to matter than Mark Sanchez seems to only make one read. The TO cancer has already infected the locker room, and the only possible salvation is to remove the tumor. Barring that? Long season up in Buffalo.
Bears/Falcons. Since losing their season opener to Green Bay, the Bears have been on a 3 game 1 bye week winning streak. Of course, they've played the Lions, the Seahawks, and the Steelers (who are normally a lock, but no so much this year, at least so far). The Falcons WHIPPED UP on the 49ers last week, and, after their early bye week, are also 3-1, losing only to the Pats and beating the Dolphins and Cardinals. Hm. Reviewing that list leads me to call the Falcons to win this one, but I honestly could see it going either way.
Broncos/Chargers. I predict the winner of this game will win the AFC West this year. And I predict that, on both counts, that will be the Broncos. Kyle Orton, Ex-Navy Cheesehead always believed in you. Just wanted you to know. You know, in case famous NFL quarterbacks happen to be reading this blog. Stranger things have happened.
1 pm - Giants/Saints. This is the game of the week. 4 pm - Eagles/Raiders. This is not the game of the week. 8 pm - Bears/Falcons. This is going to be pretty good, too.
MNF - Chargers/Broncos. Another solid match up.
Menu - TBA. I've been on the road this week and haven't had a chance to confer with Chef Spouse. Requests? Put 'em in the comments.
Edited to add: Chef Spouse informed me that, as it will be miserably cold & rainy in DC all weekend AND as we are rooting for the Saints to beat the G-men, this would be an excellent weekend for JAMBALYA, baby! Oh yeah - it's on!
In attendance: not me! I'm in Orlando at a conference, so it was just Chef Spouse and Ex-Navy Cheesehead. Insult to injury? I only managed to watch the second half, due to conference responsibilities.
Menu: Chef Spouse tells me he made burgers and oven fries, and Ex-Navy Cheesehead brought us a bunch of fine tequila. Me? Green salad with salmon and club soda. Sigh. Conference.
Stud of the week: Jeremy Maclin, who had his first breakout game. Also AR, who's now one of only 4 active coaches with 100 or more wins. Also DMac, who came back from a broken rib and a month off to post a nearly-perfect 157.2 passer rating. But I have to pick Maclin for the photo, since this is his first time.
So the good about the game is that we're 3-1, second in the NFC East behind the Giants (more about them later), and we did what good teams are supposed to do: beat the teams we're supposed to beat. Also, McNabb looked great - so great, in fact, that he was taken out about 1/2 way through the fourth quarter in favor of getting Vick some snaps. Some people (Bob Ford, I'm looking at you) complained that the offense was only effective while McNabb was on the field, so why are we wasting time with Vick? Um, I don't know - maybe to see if he has anything left after two years in the pokey, when the outcome of the game has already been determined? Some people - and by that I mean Philly sportswriters - aren't happy no matter what happens.
More good? Kolb has put in enough time that if Big 5 goes down again this season(which he won't, knock wood), we're not SOL. And we're overloaded with talent on O. 6 guys with notable receptions yesterday? So much talent that Westy and Peanut were basically able to kick back all game? Are you familiar with the term "embarrassment of riches"? Because that's us.
You want the bad? (you know there's bad) How many penalties can one team commit in a game? I don't know, but I think we were going for the record. Playing that sloppy against a team that's now 0-5 won't kill you, but try pulling that shit against the Giants, and we'll be in BIG trouble.
Also, our defense was not brilliant against the Bucs yesterday. Sure, picks and sacks, but also unable to get off the field on 3rd down. Remember how we got bitch-slapped repeatedly by the Saints in week 2? In week 1, I thought the Panthers were a test, based on last year's record, and that we passed with flying colors. That was before they proceeded to go 1-4. The Chiefs test no one, except, apparently, the Cowboys. Who are enjoying their annual meltdown a little on the early side.
And that is the big problem - are we making hay of our early soft schedule? We haven't really been tested yet, other than by Saints, and we had a guy making his first start under center, so that's a tough call, too (although I will point out that our special teams and defense gave K2 NO help whatsoever that week). And our schedule continues to be forgiving, with the Raiders next week and the rapidly imploding Redskins the week after. Our first real test will be against the aforementioned Giants on November 1. That will tell us a LOT about how the NFC East and potentially the post-season are likely to fall out.
My advice? Enjoy the wins now, and keep your fingers crossed.
Around the rest of the NFL...
Bengals over Ravens. The Bengals are 4-1 and are LEADING the AFC NORTH! Just sit down and absorb that for a minute. The Bengals are finding a way to win this year. And it's not due to an easy schedule. The only game they've lost so far is to the also-surprising Broncos. They've beat the Ravens, Steelers, Browns, and pre-decimated-offensive line Packers. There's lots of football left to play in the 2009 season, but color me shocked about this one.
Browns over Bills. Also, the suck. Defensive battle? Uh, no. Sheer incompetence on both sides.
Panthers over Skins. On Monday Night Countdown, they're all, "Zorn may get dumped during the bye week if the Skins lose to the Eagles on Monday Night Football." Um, if? The only way the Skins win that game is if the Eagles can't find the stadium. I'm in FLORIDA and I can hear the wailing in DC FROM HERE. From where I'm sitting, regardless of what they do at this point, the Redskins are pretty much f-ed this season.
Steelers over Lions. As expected, although the Steelers don't seem to be quite themselves this year, and it once again came down to the 4th quarter. This week, the Steelers kept it together in the 4th, but I'd still be pretty concerned if I were a Steelers fan. Polamalu comes back soon, and that should help, but it can't all be one player, particularly if that one player isn't the QB.
Cowboys of Chiefs. They needed overtime to do it. OVERTIME. HA! We blew the Chiefs out with our making-his-second-start virtual rookie AND no BWest. The Cowboys are NO threat to us this year. Not that they have been in recent memory, but still. OVERTIME. To beat the CHIEFS. If they'd managed to lose, I'd still be laughing.
Giants over Raiders. You know what's amazing about this game? That the Raiders scored at all. The Giants offense must've needed a rest and Eli was like, "Could you please just let the Raiders stay on the field for a while? My boys need a minute to send out for a pizza here. They're hungry from all that running around and scoring."
Vikings over Rams. The Rams merited, like, 7 shout-outs on "C'mon man!" tonight. That's not a stat you want to be winning. Who celebrates in the end zone when you're down by 20+ points? Oh right - Donnie Avery. Tool.
Falcons over 49ers. You know who else is a tool? Dre Bly. The Niners are down 35-10, he manages to pick Matt Ryan, and rather than secure the ball and try to score, he showboats, gets the pick knocked out of his hand, and the Falcons go on to score. Again. Idiot. He should be fined for stupidity.
(Mark Anthony just sang the national anthem to start MNF. He has a REALLY nice voice. I was impressed!)
Cardinals over Texans. I have no idea what happened in this game (other than that I called it wrong). Hey, I'm in Florida here, with no Sunday ticket. Anyone?
Broncos over Pats. OK, so maybe the Broncos are for real. Maybe Josh McDaniels is the second coming of Vince Lombardi. Maybe Dawk really was the answer for their D. Maybe Kyle Orton's only problem all those years was that he was playing for the Bears. That's a lot of maybes. But I'm pretty sure the Broncos are for real. If we play them in the Super Bowl, and Dawk's in orange and blue, I will seriously cry. If we don't get to the show this year, and the Broncos do, I'll bet they win. Deserving Eagles always seem to get their rings elsewhere. Maybe because we've yet to win a Super Bowl. Damn it.
Seahawks over Jaguars. OK, how did the Jags manage to keep it close in the 12-14 loss to the Colts, beat the Titans and the Texans, and then get SHUT OUT by the Seahawks (and spanked by the Cards in week 2)? Again, didn't see the game. Can anyone explain this to me?
Colts over Titans. It's gonna be a LOOOOONG season in Tennessee.
The Bucs have some problems. They just fired their kicker (who, in all fairness, deserved it). QB controversy? Hell, yeah. Josh Freeman, a rookie who's supposed to be the face of the franchise...later...Josh Johnson, a virtual rookie who did the best he could against the Redskins...Byron Leftwich, who...nah, too easy. And Luke McCown. Unlike Luke and Owen Wilson, who are easy to differentiate, I can never remember which McCown QB is which. No one has that problem with Peyton and Eli Manning. Or even had that problem with Tiki and Ronde Barber. What does that mean? The McCown brothers aren't worth paying even enough attention to to know where they're currently playing/holding clipboards. And I'm obsessed with football! If I can't be bothered to remember where you play, that's a problem. Add to that the second worst defense in the entire NFL (second only to the Browns), and there should be plenty for the Eagles to feast on this week.
Actually, the entire NFC East is feasting on a relatively weak schedule this year. The only decent team in the AFC West is the Chargers and MAYBE the Broncos (but I'm not completely convinced yet), and the NFC South is relatively easy pickings other than the Saints. Well, a soft schedule other than the fact that we have to play each other, of course. For more on this, check out Tommy's most recent post on Eagles Blitz (good stuff, yo!).
All our dinged up starters are back, the Bucs are in serious trouble this year. I'd call it a potential trap game, but c'mon man. There's no way we lose this one, particularly given that Andy Reid pretty much ALWAYS wins the game after the bye week.
Edited to add: Big Red is also going for win #100 as head coach of the Iggles this weekend. Assuming he's successful - as he's likely to be - he will go to a 12-0 record after the bye week, and will join a list of only FOUR active coaches with more 100 or more wins (Jeff Fox, Bill Belichick and Tom Coughlin are the others). Philly fans complain about everything - it's our nature - but good job, Andy!
Ravens/Bengals. Both teams are 3-1, but there's a BIG difference between the Ravens 3-1 and the Bengals 3-1. Sorry, OC - you're still my psycho ego-maniacal-yet-hilariously-funny secret wideout boyfriend. But I'm calling Ravens.
Bills/Browns. The Bills are managing to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory so far this season, but I don't think that will be a problem on Sunday. Bills.
Redskins/Panthers. The Skins have yet to face a team with a win. And yet they're 2-2. Losing to the Giants, sure. Losing to the Lions? Oy. I think the Panthers will get their first win this week.
Steelers/Lions. Oh my. Poor Lions. How did they get stuck playing the Steelers? Oh - that's right. NFC and AFC North play each other this year. Ouch. Steelers.
Cowboys/Chiefs. OK, the Cowboys are a mess this year - at least so far - and with what excuse? No more TO - no more Jessica. The problem is Tony Romo. Or possibly Wade Phillips. Or both. But even Tony and Wade can lead the team past the Chiefs. Cowboys.
Raiders/Giants. OH. MY. GOD. Eli Manning has plantar fasciitis, which hurts list a mo-fo and there's no real cure other than rest, which he's not going to get until, God willing, January. But Raiders, seriously, just "miss" the flight, stay in California, and spend the weekend doing shots. The hangover after a 3 day bender will be WAY less painful than the reaming you're going to take Sunday. Giants.
Vikings/Rams. I think the Vikings have been more lucky than good so far this year. See above RE: Lewis, Greg and Vicodin Boy tossing up a pass where he didn't even know where it was going. But they're not going to need luck or skill to get past the Rams. All they have do is show up. Vikings.
Falcons/49ers. This is my official upset pick. 49ers. I just have a good feeling about them this week.
Cardinals/Texans. Texans, baby! Because I'm picking them every week this year, damn it. Unless we face them in the Super Bowl.
Patriots/Broncos. I think we're going to find out of the Broncos are for real this week. And (sorry Wolverine), I think the answer is that they're not. Patriots.
Jaguars/Seahawks. Jags. Please.
Colts/Titans. This looked like a much better matchup when the schedules came out this summer. That was before the Titans were 0-4. After this week, they'll be 0-5. Colts.
Jets/Dolphins. I suspect Mark Sanchez will get over last week's loss against the Saints and whup up on the Dolphins. Jets.
I'll be at my organization's annual meeting in Orlando starting Saturday, but while I'm stuck in The Land of Mickey, Chef Spouse will still be hosting the weekly football party. Game schedule:
1 pm: Eagles/Bucs (which thankfully should be on broadcast down in Florida) 4 pm: I would guess Pats/Broncos (since that looks like the best game in the time slot) 8 pm: Colts/Titans (unless Chef Spouse, realizing that it's likely to be a blowout, decides to head to Bohemian Caverns to hear Rebirth Brass Band) MNF: Jets/Dolphins
Menu: Since it's likely to be a small crowd, with Shoegal still on vacation and me stuck in screaming kid-ville, Chef Spouse is thinking burgers.
In attendance: Just me & Chef Spouse, thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I got home from a 4 day conference in Orlando mid-afternoon Saturday and was in need of a little downtime.
Menu: Chef Spouse's super-yummy cream of tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches. Yum!
Stud of the Week: DirecTV's Supercast, hands down. Sunday was killing me - Pats/Ravens playing opposite Bucs/Redskins AND Saints/Jets playing opposite Broncos/Cowboys. Short of running back and forth between the kitchen and the living room, what's a football fan to do? Chef Spouse's big brain to the rescue. "Wait! Grab one of the laptops!" Within minutes, TWO games on at once IN THE SAME ROOM. Did you hear that singing? It's the football angels. I'm usually the farthest one can possibly get from being a corporate shill, but that seriously made my whole damn day.
In Eagles news, we managed to avoid the cavalcade of injuries that hit the NFC East yesterday by conveniently not playing. Good move, team! We have enough injured players, thank you very much. And with the Axeman back, it's like old home week. Who's next? Hugh Douglas? Wolverine will decide he's sick of the thin air in Denver and come on back? Jaws decides to drop the microphone and suit up?
In other news, it's great that the NFL strongly supports Breast Cancer Awareness month. Really - there are lots of of female football fans, and the males all at least have a mother, if not sisters, wife, girlfriend, cousins, nieces, daughters, etc. What's not great? Pink gloves and/or shoes with red uniforms. Purple? Sure. Green? Yeah, but not Jets green. Blue? Fo' shizzle. Orange? HELL NO.
OK, enough foreplay - on to the games.
Skins over Bucs. The Skins did EVERYTHING they could to hand that game over. Jason Campbell had an 18 QB rating in the first half. 18! It was painful to watch. And yet, they won. Conclusion? Yes, the Bucs really are *that* bad. Dear Josh Johnson: look down at your chest. Is it covered in a midnight green jersey with a big #5 in the middle? No? They don't expect to scramble around for 8-10 seconds and then make something happen, with your arm OR your legs. If you ain't McNabb, it ain't happening, son. Edited to add: the Bucs have fired placekicker Mike Nugent. Not surprising given the fact that he couldn't find the middle of the uprights with graph paper, a protractor, and his high school geometry teacher. Not that a few field goals would have helped against the Giants, but it made the difference Sunday.
Pats over Ravens. OK, am I the ONLY ONE who noticed that the officiating was TERRIBLE in that game? Look, if you want the Pats to win so bad that you're willing to call roughing the passer on any defender in the same ZIP code as Rocks Brady, you really need to quit being a zebra and run a Tom Brady fan club full time. Meanwhile, the refs were too busy passing Rocks mash notes to actually call anything on that Pats. Meanwhile? Coming after DMac? Chainsaws are allowed (on even-numbered weekends). By the way, Trent Dilfer is freaking out on this topic on Monday Night Countdown as I type this. You know what's common in all the roughing calls? White QB. You know what's common in all the calls that weren't made and should have been? Black QB. I'm just sayin'.
Bears over Lions. Do *either* of those teams have any defense at all? Has the NFC North become the "no D" zone? 48-24? And all the Lions games have been like that so far. Unfortunately, the Lions may have lost their rookie QB to a knee injury. OK, maybe NEXT year is the year they get it together.
Bengals over Browns. It took them all but 4 seconds of the ENTIRE overtime to do it, but the Bengals are 3-1, kids. Yep, leading the tough AFC North with the Ravens. Hm - that whole tie thing? Maybe it's the Bengals....
Texans over Raiders. Well, yes. Good teams beat teams they're supposed to beat. Average teams beat teams that really suck (see below: Redskins over Rams). Did you hear? Texans are showing signs of H1N1. That's not good.
Colts over Seahawks. Is anyone else worried about the fact that Peyton Manning just plays on, no matter what? No Tony Dungy - no problem. No Marvin Harrison - no problem. Is he actually the Terminator?
Jaguars over Titans. Man. The Titans were a sexy pick for AFC South this year. Not for me - I picked the Texans. Because I'm crazy like that. But still. 0-4 is not good. Ouch.
Giants over Chiefs. Um, yeah. But they only beat them by 11 points. Slackers. Also, they're reporting that Eli Manning's heel problem is plantar fasciitis. I've had that, and it hurts like a mo-fo. And can take MONTHS to go away (particularly if you're still active). Good news for us!
Dolphins over Bills. Just when I give up on the Dolphins, they win a game. What's the over/under on TO throwing Trent Edwards under the bus?
Saints over Jets. Drew Brees had a relatively bad day, and the Saints made Mark Sanchez look like the rookie he is anyway. Call me crazy, but I see another post-season Eagles/Saints matchup in this year's NFC Championship game. You know how I was all "the Ravens have O - be afraid." Well, the Saints have D, so you know what to do. Duck & cover.
Broncos over Cowboys. Kyle Orton did everything he could to lose that game, and Champ Bailey and Wolverine were all, "No way, man." And thank you for that. It wasn't pretty, but it was a win. And Tonyboy had another bad game, which always makes me happy, because it's bad for his fragile ego. Edited to add: Wilbon's column this morning reminded me of something I should have mentioned - THE play of the game was Brandon Marshall's sweet go-ahead touchdown, where he smoked about 1/2 the Cowboys defenders, slipped about a dozen tackles, and found the end zone. Wanna watch it again? Me, too.
Wilbon also wondered why Romo chose to throw at Champ Baileyso much. I don't think Romo *wanted* to throw at Champ. I think his thought process went something like: "Hmmm - where to put the ball? Option A: throw towards Champ. Damn, he's be to, like, 9.7 million Pro Bowls. That's not good. Option B: Shit! Is that Brian Dawkins?!? When did he become a Bronco? I'm still having nightmares about him from the last game of the 2008 season. And the last game of the 2006 season. Is he stalking me? Isn't that illegal? Champ it is."
49ers over Rams. On Football Night in America, Keith Olbermann was all: Spags is like, "Is there a spot on your coaching staff?" to Mike Singletary. HEE! Also, true. Poor Spags. The Rams are epically bad. Hey, they lost to the Redskins.
Steelers over Chargers. So the Steelers problem this year has been blowing 4th quarter leads. And they went into the half at 21-0. And the Chargers had a terrible first possession after the half. And the Steelers scored again, going to 28-0. And Chef Spouse and I went up to bed, thinking the game was O-V-E-R. And the Chargers brought it back to 38-28. The Steelers are not getting past the Ravens (who should have won their game with the Pats this week had everyone not been too busy kissing Tom Brady's ass) this year.
Final thought: Go Pack! Edited to add: the Pack, sadly, did not go. Their main issue seems to be that their QB has trouble completing passes from a sitting position. I know they've had some injuries, but their O line is REALLY bad. Y'all need to give that boy some protection, or he'll be on IR by week 8! And even with that, they ALMOST pulled it off. Damn. Another week (or maybe season) of "That Brett Favre. Isn't he DREAMY?" from all the commentators.
NEVER have I been so glad to see an early bye week. Lots of guys need to get healthy, starting with Big 5...Westy...Peanut...Kevin Curtis...Celek (how could he not need a week off after the pounding he took against the Chiefs?). And did you see the Axeman is back? Dude, he's almost as old as I am. Hope his bionic knee holds up better than Westy's new ankle.
So, on to the picks (which are going to be brief this week, because I'm at a conference):
Lions/Bears: I'm pulling for the Lions to extend their streak to 2! Go Lions! (it's pretty unlikely, but I need an upset pick, right?)
Bengals/Browns: One of these teams is looking like they might not be too bad this year, and it's not the Browns. Bengals.
Raiders/Texans: The Raiders have the beginnings of a team if they could just fix their QB. The Texans have the beginnings of a team if they just had some defense. Fortunately, lack of defense won't be a problem this week. Texans.
Seahawks/Colts: Colts. Anyone who will wear lime green jerseys doesn't deserve to win.
Titans/Jaguars: There's NO way the Titans go to 0-4, right? Right? Titans.
Giants/Chiefs: Chiefs. SIKE! Giants.
Ravens/Patriots: Ravens. Patriots, your time at the top of the AFC has come to an end.
Buccaneers/Redskins: The Redskins will continue their new tradition of handing teams their first win. Bucs.
Bills/Dolphins: Bills will get to .500 against a Pennington-less Dolphins.
Jets/Saints: Damn, should this be a good game. Can anyone shut down the Saints blisteringly hot offense? The #3 ranked Jets defense stands the best chance of any of their opponents so far, but the thing is, the Saints D ranks a lot higher than the Jets O. To me, that says Saints, baby!
Cowboys/Broncos: Wolverine has had some of his best games in recent years picking off Tony Romo. I don't see that changing this week. Broncos.
Rams/49ers: Even without Frank Gore, the 49ers should walk all over the Rams.
Chargers/Steelers: C'mon Steelers! Pull yourselves out of your early season slump! Steelers.
Packers/Vikings: Oh man, do I want the Pack to win this week! I might have to borrow Ex-Navy Cheesehead's cheesehead to wear for the Monday night game. Bring it, Packers!
Other teams watching from the couch in the man cave this weekend: Cards, Falcons, Panthers