In attendance: Just me & Chef Spouse for the historic Tuesday Night Football game
Menu: Chinese, because I was running around like a crazy person trying to get theater tickets exchanged while the box office was closed for the holiday on Monday, so there was no time to plan anything else.
Stud of the week: ...
Damn. Even David Akers missed a field goal. Even Sav Rocca had a bad punt.
I think I'm going to have to go with Chad Hall who, while he didn't do anything particularly amazing, did manage to earn himself a place in training camp then on the practice squad then on special teams by sheer heart. We're probably not going to be talking about retiring his number in 10 years or anything, but you gotta love the little guy anyway.
Man, did I get killed in my picks this week. And not just on this game.
I also have a confession to make. I didn't watch the end of the game. About mid-way through the 4th quarter, the following things happened in quick succession:
- Video paean to Brett Favre. WHO WASN'T EVEN PLAYING.
- Cris Collinsworth started in on how Asante Samuel should have been ejected for helmet hit on Sidney Rice. Leaving aside the fact that Rice was the one who ducked his head and that both of them walked away from it, what is up Collinsworth's ass with regards to the Eagles this year? Is he like a huge dog lover or something? Even PETA's Ingrid Newkirk is cutting Vick some slack these days (although she continues to entertain by comparing dog fighting to pedophilia. Um, Ingrid? No. Just no.). Get over it, man.
- The defense couldn't come up with a crucial 3rd down stop.
The offensive line couldn't protect Vick. And he couldn't run away like usual. Apparently, he has a quad injury, and watching him last night, you could tell something wasn't right. In the second half, and after pitching a first half shut out (that fumble recovery TD wasn't THEIR fault), the defense couldn't make key stops. They'd managed to virtually shut down Ahmad Bradshaw AND Brandon Jacobs last week, but then they couldn't handle Adrian Peterson. Or Joe Web. Also, DeSean, don't run your route and then just stand there. The defensive secondary will jump you every time, and you're not tall enough to compete for jump balls. And did anyone notice that the only thing that seemed to be working on offense was running Shady? SO WHY IN THE HELL DIDN'T THEY DO IT MORE?
Just an overall sloppy game. The team played like they'd had too much Christmas turkey. Or, to quote Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "as if they had fat Polish sausages tied to their fingers."
Thanks to the always-sensible BGN for talking me down off the ledge.
The key point is this: 3 games in 12 days. And the Eagles could've gone all out last night and Sunday against the Cowboys...and still missed the #2 seed. I'm hoping it really is better this way. At least we know most of the starters will get next Sunday off and get a chance to heal up and prepare for the wildcard game. (Well, they better. If Andy Reid plays the starters Sunday, he's going to need to hire bodyguards to protect him from the irate fan base. Big ones.)
But to all the people who've been talking Super Bowl, you might want to check yourself. By my calculations and projecting/guessing just a little, that will require a home win against the #6 Packers (who, you might remember, almost beat the Pats with their backup QB), a road win against the #2 Bears (and remember what that field was like the LAST time we played there), and then a road win against the Falcons (and both of those teams have SIGNIFICANT home field advantages) or a home win against the Saints (not impossible, but then again, Drew Brees). I'm not saying there's no way, but it's pretty damn improbable, particularly considering that we got whupped by a team that was 5-9 going into last night's game and was led by a rookie QB and an interim head coach.
Unless last night was all a calculated plan, in which Andy Reid, knowing the #2 seed was far from assured, intentionally had the guys play crappy so that next week wouldn't matter, he could rest the starters without criticism, and he could lull the entire rest of the NFC playoff teams into believing that the Eagles aren't a threat. In which case, it worked perfectly, because no one looking at the team that played last night would consider them a threat to anyone.
Also, I think the Vikes might have the answer to their QB question.
Around the rest of the NFL...
I was not the only one who got a lot of picks wrong. Wacky week.
Steelers over Panthers: OK, this one went as expected. Turns out, the Steelers can't win without Troy Polamalu...unless they're playing the Panthers. In which case they probably only need about 12-15 guys total.
Cardinals over Cowboys: Who misses an extra point? Seriously? Not that I'm sad the Cowboys lost (other than it's not good for my picks stats), but C'mon Man!
Pats over Bills: Another one that went as expected. Lots of people have mentioned to me that they would love to see another Eagles/Pats Super Bowl. All I know is that, if that happens, the result better be different or I'm going to start taking hostages.
Bears over Jets: I can't decide if the Jets are a good team that's maddeningly inconsistent, or a bad team that manages to overperform on a regular basis. I know what I think of the Bears - they're damn good. Cutler seems to have found the system, the coaches, and the team that will help him start living up to his potential, Devin Hester remains a major threat on returns, and if the Brian Urlacher/Julius Peppers combo doesn't scare you, you might want to check for a pulse. I don't want to see the Giants again in the playoffs, but I'm not very enthusiastic about seeing the Bears again, either.
Ravens over Browns: The AFC playoff picture is coming into focus, with most of the in/out teams decided, but the seeding is still almost totally open. In week 16. LOVE!
Redskins over Jaguars: OK, had I known that MJD was going to be out, I might've picked the Redskins. Right. Who am I kidding? Did the Jags not know that they had to win to keep pace with the Colts? In the meantime, Redskins fans seem shocked that a bunch of no-name young guys won a game. Because that whole "overpaid guy at the end of his career" thing has been working out so well for them. Here's a tip: those young guys care more, because that game was their job interview to play somewhere, if not in DC. And they haven't already made their fortunes. Also they're far less likely to be gassed by the 4th quarter.
Chiefs over the Titans: Taking care of business, and winning the AFC West. Wow. Chiefs. Not Chargers. Chiefs. How weird is that?
Lions over Dolphins: Did I mention that I think the Lions are on the cusp of being really good? Not that a win over the Dolphins is necessarily indicative of that, but they are.
Rams over 49ers: Did you hear that Mike Singletary got fired? He and Dennis Green should totally hook up and do an NFL-only version of PTI for the NFL Network. Genius!
Bengals over Chargers: Did the Chargers not realize that they had to win this game to stay in playoff contention? Guess not.
Broncos over Texans: Oh, former Team of Destiny. You let me down this year. And I'm not even one of your actual fans. Fortunately, they seem possessed of the same spirit as the Saints fans back in the Aints days. Either that, or they're all hammered all the time.
Colts over Raiders: The Colts also had to win, and this was a close, close game. Which makes sense given that the math said the Raiders would win. But never count Peyton Manning out. Well, until the playoffs. Although I suspect not hitting cruise control by Thanksgiving will actually help the Colts in January.
Packers over Giants: And the December melt down continues. Adding insult to injury, the Giants are stuck in Wisconsin (as of Monday night, when I'm writing up this part of the recap). Given how badly things have gone for them in the past two weeks, they might just want to stay there. I think there's a real possibility the Redskins beat the Giants next week. Plus, cheese!
Bucs over Seahawks: So the Seahawks and the Rams will be playing for the NFC West on Sunday Night football next week. And if the Seahawks win (say it with me), the West will be won by a team under .500. Ugh.
Saints over Falcons: A great road win by the Saints secures at worst the #5 wildcard slot and gives them an outside shot at the #1 seed. OK, the Falcons would have to lose to the Panthers for that to happen, and that is quite literally impossible, but the #5 seed is like getting a bye week, since the Saints will play either the Rams or the Seahawks in the Superdome.