In attendance: Shoegal, Fellow Eagles Maniac and her fiance, and The Bronx Bomber. Chef Spouse was on a plane.
Menu: my "Thanksgiving leftovers" idea didn't quite go off as planned. Everyone's relatives ate up all their leftovers. I had a little stuffing and some cranberries, but I ended up making a fresh turkey breast, potatoes, and brussels sprouts. Fellow Eagles Maniac contributed a pie and Shoegal brought the wine.
Stud of the week: David Akers. He was the only one who seems to have showed up to play, doing everything that was asked of him, including placing an on-side kick where someone could've gotten it. Notice I wrote "could've." As in, had this not been the "sometimes you're the bug" part of the equation. Brent Celek also gets props for that amazing 4th quarter TD catch while triple covered. That was nice to see, since the LAST time I saw Celek, he was on the back of a milk carton. Also a little love for LeSean McCoy who prevented a return TD on the pick at the end of the half, and to Jason Avant, who, all things considered, had a decent game.
Let's see - what all went wrong? The defense made Jay Cutler look like Peyton Manning. (Hm, Peyton Manning didn't look like Peyton Manning Sunday. Coincidence?) Guess Asante is the difference after all. Hurry up and get well, homes. Special teams reverted to the short-bus kind of special. The offense went 1 for 5 in the red zone, including Mike Vick's first pick of the season. Soldier "Field" was basically a marsh. DeSean Jackson IS on the back of a milk carton now. But that's only because Andy Reid has him locked in the basement, after apparently going postal on the whole team. "Red-faced and shaking"? Not quite what we've come to expect from Big Red. But I'm not so sorry to hear it.
Here's the thing: the Eagles were not going to go 13-3. Even I'm not that much of a homer. And after two solid weeks of people kissing their asses, a little reality check was probably well-timed. Also, the guys didn't give up. Had that onside kick worked, you never know. But there are just days when your team can't seem to do anything right and the other team can't seem to do anything wrong. That's not to take anything away from the Bears - they game-planned well and executed their plan even better. It may be better to be lucky than good, but it's best to be both, and that was the Bears on Sunday.
Anyway, no time to waste crying over spilled milk - the Texans await in three days.
Around the rest of the NFL...
10 right so far this week, with the 49ers up on MNF possibly pushing me to 11.
Patriots over Lions: Why did I pick the Lions? Why is the sky blue? Why do cats always land on their feet? Why is Michael Irvin on national TV?
Saints over Cowboys: Roy Williams is taking all kinds of shit for getting stripped while fighting for unnecessary yards. Speaking of Asante Samuel...the thing is, he had a pretty decent game up to that point. But that was the game we ALL got to watch on Thanksgiving, and I couldn't have asked for more - close game, exciting, the Saints won, the Cowboys lost, clearly God is a Saints fan, amen.
Jets over Bengals: Wow. Could the Bengals look any worse? I didn't even bother to watch the end of the game. And could Rex Ryan be any more entertaining? I love footage of his press conferences.
Falcons over Packers: Hell of a game. The Falcons don't look quite so scary on the road, though. Then again, it looks like the NFC path to the Super Bowl might just go through Atlanta, so road wins might not matter for the dirty birds. And the Pack needs to find some kind of a ground game even without Ryan Grant, which is easier said than done.
Steelers over Bills: In OT. Because a rookie wideout dropped a perfect TD pass. On the bright side, the Bills might be able to score the first pick in the 2011 draft! But Steelers, really?
Browns over Panthers: Yawn. Actually, it was a very close game. But no one cares.
Texans over Titans: This was not a close game. The wheels seem to be coming off the bus in Tennessee. Jeff Fisher needs to get a handle on his team immediately. And the Andre Johnson/Courtland Finnegan altercation was just ridiculous.
Giants over Jags: In a come-back win. Don't worry - they'll still have a late-season crumble like usual. This win was just delaying the inevitable.
Vikings over Redskins: When the game is won by Brett "Methuselah" Favre successfully rushing for 8 yards to allow the Vikings to run out the clock, you know your defense is in trouble. Also, Redskins wideouts are dropping passes left and right. You know DMac's gotta be like, "Not this again!"
Dolphins over Raiders: Just when I give up on the Dolphins and start believing in the Raiders, they both screw me. Jeez.
Chiefs over Seahawks: The NFC West is going to be won by a 7-9 team this year. You heard it here first. I'm pretty sure the NFL needs to put in some sort of "law of maximum suckitude" such that if no team in a division finishes above .500, they give it to a more deserving team and go with 3 wildcards.
Ravens over Bucs: Big-time showdown next week as the Ravens face the Steelers for the lead in the AFC North. Another big game next week? Jets/Pats. Now THAT's a MNF matchup!
Rams over Broncos: In other news, Josh McDaniels learned more than how to give terse press conferences all those years under Belichick - he also learned how to cheat. Not cool. And you know he's got to be laughing about the $50,000 fine, since that's like lunch money to a pro football coach.
Chargers over Colts: The Chargers are clearly gearing up for their annual end of season awesomeness. And Peyton Manning played like, well, Jay Cutler. Again, coincidence? Speaking of teams that need a run game.
Final note: good to see Brian Westbrook getting some carries on MNF, particularly since I have to assume this will be his final year in the NFL. Until he starts coaching running backs, of course.
Happy Thanksgiving y'all! Things I'm thankful for this year include:
The Eagles are, in case you forgot, currently leading the NFC East.
Geekman, The Lovely Ms. Geekman, and their brood Ms. Lily Fantastico, Duce, and Emmelia Bedelia will be joining us Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom and You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad's for Thanksgiving, which means I can check to make sure my brother is properly schooling his offspring in all things midnight green.
Chicks in the Huddle, and therefore I, got picked up by Yardbarker this year.
In a season where people are dropping like flies, the Eagles are mostly healthy at this point (knock wood).
The Cowboys don't get to play the Lions this year and thus are VERY likely to lose.
All the great people who read this blog, here or in its various other locations.
The Cowboys are currently last in the NFC East. And there's only ONE team in the NFC with a worse record. And for that, we must give thanks.
And did I mention that the Eagles are currently leading the NFC East?
Up until I went 10-6 last week, I was thinking seriously about abandoning The System. I will say that that 12-1 week may have given me too much confidence. But I'm sticking with it for my picks at least one more week.
Eagles at Bears. I really hope Asante Samuel can go, because he'll have a field day picking off Jay Cutler assuming he makes it ON the field. The Bears do have the #3 defense, and that's something to be concerned about. Except the Eagles beat the team with the #2 defense last week, and that after cornering the market on dumb mistakes.
Oh - my pick? Eagles all the way, baby.
In the rest of the matchups:
Patriots at Lions: The System says Lions. Hm. Maybe the Pats are due a letdown after whupping the Colts last week? Lions (gulp).
Saints at Cowboys: Saints. Which should stop all the "maybe we WILL be able to play a Super Bowl in our own stadium after all" foolishness dead in its tracks.
Bengals at Jets: Jets. Who should be able to win by more than a field goal this week.
Vikings at Redskins: The System says Vikings. Does it realize that Chilly just got fired and they're in the middle of a HUGE QB controversy caused by the fact that their professed starter has basically given up? Also, I think WaPo sports columnist Sally Jenkins must be a huge Snarkin' fan, seeing as her column today is basically just a recap of everything I've been writing about The Favre for the past 3 years. Of course, speaking of people who are done, maybe The System got the news about Clinton Portis's season being over. Anyway, I gotta go with the Vikings. Who might want to consider giving Tavaris Jackson a shot. Just for shits & giggles.
Titans at Texans: Texans. C'mon guys! I still believe! And the Colts are looking mighty vulnerable.
Jaguars at Giants: Giants. Even though Tom Coughin's team tends to peak by October, they do win *some* games after that, and I can't see them dropping 3 in a row.
Panthers at Browns: The one NFC team with a worse record than Dallas? Carolina. But The System is picking the Panthers, so I am, too.
Steelers at Bills: Steelers. Duh.
Packers at Falcons: Falcons. Who are looking like the team to beat in the NFC, at least this week. Oh wait - the Eagles DID beat them. HA! But speaking of injuries, the Pack has been hit hard and it's got to show at some point. This is a close call, though.
Chiefs at Seahawks: Chiefs. Also, West versus West? Ugh.
Dolphins at Raiders: The Fins are another team that's running out of players. This one's a push, but I'm going to go with Raiders. Home field and all.
Rams at Broncos: Broncos. Another West versus West. More ugh. Even The System agrees that AFC wins those.
Buccaneers at Ravens: The Bucs are looking like the real deal this year, but I don't think they're real enough to take the Ravens. Ravens.
Chargers at Colts: You know how some teams are really struggling with injury? The Colts are struggling with injury on an EPIC scale. Peyton's probably like, "Put a motor in a tackling dummy if you have to, but please God, give me SOMETHING to throw at!" Fielding a 53 man roster is going to be a major issue for the Colts if they're current trajectory continues. Chargers. Who should riding high after spanking the Broncos on MNF.
Speaking of MNF...
49ers at Cardinals: Really? Really? Other things you could do on Monday night: start your holiday shopping. Or decorating. Or card writing. Go for a walk. Clean your gutters. Call your mom. Catch up on all that filing that's been piling up. Work late. Just about anything would be preferable to watching this mess. 49ers.
In attendance: just me, Chef Spouse, and Shoegal. Sunday night games are tough, and Ex-Navy Cheesehead is recovering from getting a bionic ankle.
Menu: duck, chestnut soup, cauliflower and green beans, apple pie. Fall deliciousness.
Stud of the week: LeSean McCoy, who put the Eagles ahead for good with his 50 yard TD run on an almost-botched 4th-and-1 conversion attempt with about 4:30 left in the game. Shady had a good day, with over 100 yards, although most of them came on two big plays. I'm not complaining, though.
In some ways, this felt like the game where the Eagles couldn't do anything right. Well, except win. There was an awful lot of "YES!!! Wait! NOOOOOO!" in my living room last night. The receivers had the dropsiers, most notably with both DeSean Jackson and Jason Avant dropping TDs. Even Al Michaels pointed out that Avant is one of the most sure-handed wideouts in the NFL, so that was just bizarre.
The game also saw Michael Vick's first 2010 season turnover, although he still hasn't thrown any picks (knock wood).
Speaking of turnovers, Asante Samuel created one only to turn the ball over himself with a completely unnecessary run just after the Shady TD. Fortunately, as Shoegal observed, Eli Manning clearly doesn't know how to slide, either, leading to the Akers' field goal that iced the game with under 30 seconds left.
Speaking of, how often does Akers end up with a blocked kick? Of course, stats on SNF revealed that Akers has trouble against the Giants. It occurs to me, though, that the Giants' field goal coverage is what every team should study against the Eagles, since Akers holds the all-time franchise record for points scored. Good tackle, Sav. I guess that's why you want an Aussie rules punter - he's not afraid to knock guys down if it comes to it.
And the Eagles almost killed themselves with dumb penalties. There were like 120 yards of Eagles penalties. That is not good.
Of course, how many times did Trent Cole get obviously held and it's wasn't called? More than once, I saw a Giants lineman have him in a half-nelson (and to his credit, he just kept on driving his legs). I'm pretty sure that's not kosher.
Now, this game WOULD be a great example for other teams of how to defend Mike Vick...if it wasn't for the fact that the Eagles won anyway. The Giants certainly did a good job of limiting the big plays, and amazingly, this season, smart teams go ahead and let Mike Vick run, since he's changed his game so much that his arm is more dangerous than his legs.
A quick note: I've been very impressed with Dimitri Patterson over the past two weeks. It's not hard for a corner to impress against the Redskins, but remember that the Giants have the #2 ranked offense. Maybe he's finally found a home with the Eagles. One team's (well, actually three teams' - Redskins, Vikings and Chiefs) trash is another team's treasure.
The thing to take away from this, though, is that too many times over the years it's felt like the Eagles couldn't win close ones. DMac was always great at putting up a ton of points, but he wasn't necessarily always clutch (although he was more clutch than a lot of people give him credit for). It was good to see the team overcome some mistakes that really could have been devastating to gut out a tough win over one of the best teams in the NFC.
Around the rest of the NFL...
9 and 6 with MNF in progress, and although there were a lot of combacks this week, my pick of the Chargers is looking pretty solid so far, which would put me at 10-6 on the week.
Bears over Dolphins: The Bears pitched a shut out. That's gotta hurt. Having no Chads and no Brandon Marshall may be too much for the Fins to overcome. Plenty of teams are struggling with injury (see below, Colts, The), but the Fins are pretty much in the "decimated" category.
Ravens over Panthers: Duh.
Bills over Bengals: Oh my God. The Bills scored 35 unanswered points. 35! The Bengals couldn't hold a 28-7 lead. That's just pathetic. To quote TO: "We are terrible." Yes, TO, you are.
Cowboys over Lions: And in predictable fashion, many Cowboys fans are calling Jason Garrett the second coming of Tom Landry and talking about the playoffs. Sorry kids, 9-7 won't get you in this year. Your only possible role in the next 6 weeks is to play spoiler.
Jaguars over Browns: MJD is looking good. I know everyone's already heard this one, but rumor is that tackling him is like trying to tackle a Coke machine. Looking at him bull ahead, I believe it.
Chiefs over Cardinals: Speaking of rumors, I heard that Fitz might leave the Cards? I think he only has one more year on his contract, and since the Cards don't have anyone who can get him the ball...I'd suggest Philly, but the Eagles are actually pretty loaded at receiver at the moment. Wow. Feels weird to type that. I'd love to see what Fitz, DJax, and Vick could do together, though. Talk about explosive offense.
Packers over Vikings: Rumors of Ellis Hobbs' death have been greatly exaggerated (although he is out for the rest of the season - again - with a neck injury) - rumors of Brad Childress's have not. He's the second head coaching head to roll this season. Brett Favre may be done, too. And frankly, I blame him for a lot of the mess in Minnesota. I know - Chilly's to blame, too, because he made the decision to bring Favre back. But NFL.com is right - in this situation, either the QB gets benched or the head coach gets fired. Did the Vikings make a mistake? Let's put it this way: I think it's time to go to Tavaris Jackson.
Jets over Texans: Hey! The Jets managed a win in regular time! It was the very end of regular time, but still. You know what worries me? Playoff games tend to come down to the wire, and the Jets are getting PLENTY of practice winning those games. That means trouble for whoever faces them come January, which could (cross fingers) include the Eagles at the Super Bowl? That might be too much to ask, but a girl can dream right?
Steelers over Raiders: Oh, The System, why did you tempt me into picking the Raiders? Also, on the whole Richard Seymour smacking Big Ben in the head, Roethlisberger's all "I didn't say anything." I call bullshit.
Redskins over Titans: Center Casey Rabach went down, and that seems to have been a good thing, since the replacement center quit stepping on McNabb and knocking him over. It's not good when your center is the sack leader. People keep talking about Randy Moss not contributing, but what I see is that he's fulfilling one of the key roles of a #1 wideout: drawing double and triple coverage so OTHER guys can get open. Not that that was enough Sunday. And how odd is it that the Titans beat every other NFC East team than the Redskins? Who, by the way, need a new kicker. Again. Well, actually, still. Also, did you hear Vince Young threw a hissy fit when Jeff Fisher wouldn't let him and his busted thumb back in the game, reportedly throwing "part of his uniform" into the stands. I gotta figure that was a helmet, because most other uniform parts don't travel so well. Or maybe it was a shoe? You could probably fling a shoe for pretty good distance.
Saints over Seahawks: Of course. Even without Reggie Bush. But resting him one more week was a smart decision when the opponent is from the NFC West.
Bucs over 49ers: Another shut out and speaking of "the NFC West" and "stinks," case in point.
Falcons over Rams: The Falcons, at least as of last week, are still above the Eagles in the power rankings. Think that will continue to hold? They are one game up, but the Eagles did beat them back in week 6 and it was with K2 under center. I'm just sayin'.
Pats over Colts: Speaking of decimated by injury, the Colts have run through the active roster, the practice squad, the CFL, and most of the nearby colleges. I think they're starting to scout some Pop Warner prospects at this point.
The Eagles host the Giants this week in a prime-time battle for the lead in the NFC East. I'm hoping the Eagles repeat their recent beatdown of the Redskins, although I suspect the Giants will not be such easy pickings.
ThNF: Bears/Dolphins (Once again, the NFL Network manages to score a good game. Now if we could just do something about their booth crew...)
1 pm: Redskins/Titans (with Cowboys/Lions on as the secondary game)
Menu: Chef Spouse needs to make another run at chestnut soup before Thanksgiving, and he's thinking duck with a sour cherry pan sauce too. I'll be making pies this weekend, so there will be an apple to enjoy.
All the bye weeks are over. Now it's a race to the playoffs. And surprisingly (or at least, surprising me), the Eagles are in it.
This week the Eagles host the Giants, in a battle for the lead in the NFC East.
So far, the Giants have beat the Panthers (1-8), the Texans (4-5), the Bears (6-3), the Lions (2-7), the Cowboys (2-7), and the Seahawks (5-4, but in the JV division), and lost to the Cowboys, the Colts (who the Eagles beat two weeks ago), and the Titans (who apparently own the NFC East this year). So 2 wins against teams that are over .500.
The Eagles have beat the Lions (2-7), the Jaguars (5-4), the 49ers (3-6), the Falcons (7-2), the Colts (6-3), and the Redskins (4-5), and have lost to the Packers, the Redskins, and the Titans (see above RE: owning the NFC East). So 3 wins against teams that are over .500
The System says Giants, and after Monday on a short week, we could be due for a let down.
On the other hand, Michael Vick has clearly been eating his Wheaties and may, in fact, actually BE Batman. If he can keep playing like he did Monday, the NFL should pretty much call off the rest of the season and give the Eagles the Lombardi trophy.
Of course, he's not going to play like that every week. And the Giants - or at least Antonio Pierce - seem to think they can stop him.
But I just can't find it in myself to pick the Giants. Not after what I saw in Largo. Eagles.
In the rest of the matchups:
After last week's 5-9 debacle, am I abandoning The System? No, but it's definitely on notice that it needs to perform better, or I'm benching it favor of my usual completely unscientific method of picking: which team do I hate more?
Bears at Dolphins: Dolphins. Even though they're nearly out of Chads.
Ravens at Panthers: Ravens (didn't need The System to tell me that).
Bills at Bengals: Bengals. Kills me to make this pick, particularly after TO was tweeting smack about McNabb's new contract on Monday night. Dude, let it go. He doesn't love you any more. It's time to move on with your life!
Lions at Cowboys: The System says Cowboys and by a lot, although I'm really tempted to pick the Lions anyway, because they've owned the Cowboys lately. Oh wait - Romo's not playing. The System must know.
Browns at Jaguars: Jags by a nose. And they are at home, although I'm not sure how much of a 12th man Jacksonville is actually able to field.
Cardinals at Chiefs: Chiefs. Well, yes.
Packers at Vikings: The System says Vikings, but it hasn't seen Brett Favre's recent press conferences. I'm going with the Packers.
Texans at Jets: Jets. But the real question is: can the Jets win a game WITHOUT going to OT?
Raiders at Steelers: All my Steelers fan friends are going to kill me, but Raiders.
Redskins at Titans: So far the Titans have owned the NFC East. I don't see that stopping this week. Titans.
Seahawks at Saints: Saints. Again, didn't need The System to tell me that one, particularly with Reggie Bush back in the huddle.
Buccaneers at 49ers: 49ers. Hmmmm - interesting.
Falcons at Rams: Falcons. Again, fairly obvious choice even without the math.
Colts at Patriots: Colts. Also, this is going to be a great game.
Broncos at Chargers: Chargers. And since it's MNF, it will be broadcast whether or not the Chargers fans step up and the game sells out.
In attendance: On Sunday, me, Shoegal, and Chef Spouse's friend The Underwear Model (yes really, and he also looks a LOT like Mike Tomlin. Only younger and more ripped.) MNF? Cool Web Dude, Hottie Web Chick's brother, Chef Spouse, me, and a sell-out crowd at FedEx Field.
Menu: chili, jalapeno cheese scones and margaritas. Shoegal brought salad fixin's so we'd have at least one really healthy thing.
Stud of the Week: Michael Vick. No contest. Threw for 4 TDs and over 300 yards, ran for 2 TDs and 80 yards. He was out of control good. Scary good (well, at least if you're a Redskin). If you look up "off the hook" in the dictionary, you'll see his picture.
So I've been getting emails and texts all day to the effect of "I can't wait to see your recap of the game!"
Here it is:
Redskins get WHOMPED. Film at 11.
Seriously, what else is there to say?
Eagles first series? Well, it wasn't a series - it was one play, an 88 yard TD hookup between Vick and DeSean Jackson.
Redskins first series? Three and out.
Eagles first quarter? 4 TDs.
Redskins first quarter? No first downs.
As Cool Web Dude observed: the Redskins scored all their points in junk time. Which was pretty much the last 3 quarters of the game.
I don't know what happened, but the Eagles were BALLIN'.
Actually, I might know what happened (although I didn't see it, because it takes a million years to get anywhere in DC during rush hour, and it takes two million years to get to FedEx, so we just got to our seats in time to see the DJax TD) - apparently during warmups, there was some jawing and a little fracas that got the Eagles' dander up. So I think what we learned last night is that you don't want to see these guys pissed.
The other big story of the night was, of course, McNabb's new contract. Although additional details have come out at this point that make it not quite as jaw-dropping as it initially looked (they can cut him after this year and only own him another $3M in addition to his salary for the year), it is a clear demonstration of organizational schizophrenia. Two weeks ago, Kyle Shanahan benches him for Rex f-ing Grossman, Pops Shanahan spends two weeks coming up with increasingly implausible cover for Junior, then they write DMac a $78M "I'm sorry" check. Yeah, for Dan Snyder, that amounts to the change in the sofa cushions, but still, if you manage to figure out what the Redskins are up to, do let me know, because I don't have a clue.
Around the rest of the NFL:
The System really let me down this week. In other news, there were a fair amount of upsets. Those two may be related. I only got 5 right. Yikes. I guess anyone can have an off week.
Falcons over Ravens: 9 times out of 10, if I offered you odds on the Ravens D being able to protect a lead with 1:05 left, you would be safe betting the mortgage on the Ravens. But not Thursday night. The big question now is whether or not they continue to be a dominant defense. It kills me when the Eagles let players go who are maybe just starting down the slope. But they do. And they don't end up with legends that are losing it. I'm looking at you, Ray Lewis.
Bills over Lions: Well, we knew they couldn't lose forever.
Bears over Vikings: I know I've been looking for this for a long time, but is it just me, or does Brett Favre look TOTALLY done at this point? Too bad he might take Brad Childress down with him. And he was a mess Sunday - three picks. Return of the old Brett. Not sure how dumping Randy Moss makes you better, particularly when you're #1 wideout is out for the season. And apparently someone forgot to remind the Vikings that it's still really not a great plan to kick to Devin Hester, particularly if your coverage team is completely asleep.
Jets over Browns: But it took overtime. Again. Finding a way to win is good. Taking a full extra quarter of football to do it week after week is not, particularly if you hope to go deep into the playoffs, which Rex's guys certainly do. The ESPN Sunday NFL Countdown team all gave their "bold" predictions for the second half of the season. I can't remember which one, but one of them (maybe Ditka?) predicted the Browns would win the AFC North. They certainly aren't as bad as their 3-6 record, but win the division? Well, it's certainly a bold prediction. One could also go with "crazy." Berman's "bold" pick? Same as always - Eagles in the Super Bowl.
Colts over Bengals: The Bengals may have Batman and Robin, but I guess that makes Peyton Manning The Joker. Or maybe Commissioner Gordon. Not 100% up on my Batman mythology. Anyhoodle, the Bengals are not good this year. The Colts aren't quite themselves either, but the Bengals just suck.
Jaguars over Texans: C'mon guys! You're killing me! Didn't you just hear me say that the Colts aren't as strong as usual? This could be your year. Only you have to actually win some games, for chrissakes!
Dolphins over Titans: Told you. Also, Randy Moss is, like, on the back of a milk carton at this point. I know all that moving around has to be confusing (literally - I'll bet he hasn't gotten his copy of GQ in months), but where did he go? The Dolphins are in trouble, though, as BOTH the Chads went down, leaving them with Tyler Thigpen. No, he's not retired. Yet. At least they had someone to go to - the Titans had to put an injured Vince Young back in because they've got a guy named "Rusty Smith" as their 3rd. Who? Exactly.
Buccaneers over Panthers: There are an awful lot of teams with decent records at this point (basically everyone bunched up at 6-3, which is a LOT of teams), and we're all sitting around going, "Yeah, but who have they beat?' The Bucs are one of those, but then again, this seems to be one of those years. Which means the playoffs should be wild.
Broncos over Chiefs: Just when I start believing in the Chiefs, they completely forget to show up. Maybe it's time to get on the Raiders' bandwagon? They are leading the division - for the moment.
Seahawks over Cardinals: Yawn. OT game? Still yawn. The NFC West also sucks.
Cowboys over Giants: As The Underwear Model (Who is also an Eagles fan. Did I mention that? He really is yummy...) observed, a Cowboys win helps the Eagles. I still couldn't root for them, but he's right. Unless of course, this either pisses off the Giants so much they stomp the Eagles next week and/or this is the beginning of a Cowboys' resurgence, just before the Eagles have to face them twice. But I'm hoping for the Cowboys are too far gone to save and this is the beginning of the Eagles resuming their rightful place at the top of the NFC East. I hope.
49ers over Rams: Remember that whole "NFC West sucks" thing? Applies here, too. Also, I think Alex Smith is done. Also, Sam Bradford, despite this loss, is still in contention for rookie of the year, at least in my book. I think the Rams have already won more games this season than about the last 3 years combined.
Patriots over Steelers: What happened to the Steelers? They completely fell apart - and in prime time. I initially ended this recap: "How embarrassing!" But after MNF, I'm guessing the Steelers are mostly thinking, "Thank GOD and Vince Lombardi we're not the Redskins!" today.
Thursday night football already? I know the teams get a short week, but those guys get paid millions of dollars. What about us poor sports bloggers?
Speaking of, though, way to get the party started, NFL Network! Ravens at Falcons! After the kind of crap matchups they've seemed to get in past years, I was almost expecting something like Cowboys v. Panthers. But this is a real game! That you want to watch! Pick? Below, after I talk about the really important issue:
Eagles at Redskins, MNF, it is ON.
Did you hear that there's a QB controversy? And it doesn't involve the Eagles? That by itself is enough to get to me to do The Happy Dance.
So do I think it's possible there's a racial angle? Sure, it's possible - Shanny's never worked with a black QB, and the Skins franchise doesn't have the best record on racial issues. But I think it's FAR more likely that Pops is trying to save Junior's nepotistic ass. Because I'm a better QB than Rex Grossman. And I'm a 5' 5" 39 year old white woman.
But still, QB controversy that's NOT taking place in Philly is good by me. And did you hear that the Eagles are in first place in the "who gets Mike Vick" sweepstakes? More good news! Since I'm pretty sure we've all concluded that Kevin Kolb is not the future.
Also? I'm going to the game. 8th row endzone tickets, bitches! FedEx is a lousy stadium but since I'll practically be ON the field, I doubt I'll notice.
In case you forgot, when the Redskins faced the Eagles in Philly about a month ago, Mike Vick got pancaked, neither McNabb nor Kolb played brilliantly, and the Redskins ran ALL OVER the Linc.
This time? Turn about is fair play, y'all. Time to lose in YOUR home stadium. The System? TOTALLY with me on this one. Eagles all the way, baby!
In the rest of the matchups:
Ravens at Falcons: Possible Super Bowl preview? Maybe. And if it is, I predict it will have the same result as I'm seeing for tonight: Ravens win.
Jets at Browns: Jets. The Browns did shock the hell out of the Patriots - and everyone else in the football viewing, playing, and commentating world - but lightning isn't going to strike twice.
Texans at Jaguars: Texans. C'mon guys! You want to stay competitive with the Colts, right?
Bengals at Colts: To quote our former Preznit: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...you can't fool me again." Actually, this one was clear. But I'm still bitter about being led astray on the whole Steelers thing last week. Colts.
Lions at Bills: Will the Bills go 0-16? Not sure, but I predict they WILL go 0-9. Lions.
Panthers at Buccaneers: Hm. The System says Panthers. Which when you look at the standings seems crazy. On the other hand, the Bucs have been feasting on a soft schedule. Panthers.
Vikings at Bears: Vikings. Sigh. Do you think if Brett Favre dies on the field, he'll finally retire? Or will they just hook up the Postmortem Biomechanics Set and turn him into a zombie? Actually, are we sure they haven't already done that?
Titans at Dolphins: Randy Moss is now a Titan. Chad Pennington is now the starting QB of the Dolphins, for the first time in over a year. In other words, everyone's probably a little rusty/unsure. But the Dolphins still have Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, so the QB is probably fairly irrelevant. Dolphins.
Chiefs at Broncos: Chiefs. Who would've thunk it 6 months ago?
Rams at 49ers: This is a close one, but The System gives a slight edge to the Rams. Will it be enough to offset homefield? We shall see, but I'm going with the Rams and Sam Bradford, who's having a terrific rookie year.
Cowboys at Giants: Giants. Duh. I picked that before I did the math, but The System agrees. The System also agrees that the Cowboys suck.
Seahawks at Cardinals: Seahawks, who welcome Matt Hasselbeck back, and not a moment too soon. Also? Worst Game of the Week. Great work as usual, NFC West.
Patriots at Steelers: Steelers. Also, what a great Sunday Night Football pairing!
In attendance: Chef Spouse, Shoegal (after a month's absence), Ex-Navy Cheesehead, two nOObs who are good friends but only made it for the first half of the game and have to at least hit a full game before they get named.
Menu: roast chicken, French style green beans, potatoes with butter and garlic, really good wine, chocolate chip cookies.
Stud of the week: Asante Samuel, who picked off Peyton Manning twice. Peyton only has four INTs on the season. And, less obviously but more importantly, Asante shut down Pierre Garcon. Kurt Coleman gets a shout-out too for being a gentleman about a BS "penalty."
This was an all-out team effort. Mike Vick was impressive, throwing for a TD, running for a TD, and racking up nearly 300 yards in total offense, also taking him within about 25 yards of overtaking Steve Young to go to #2 behind Randall Scramble on the all-time rushing list for QBs. LeSean had almost 100 yards and DeSean had over 100 yards. Maclin added another 50. Akers hit everything.
And our D. Well, let's talk about that for a minute. I was FLIPPING out about the bad officiating. Chef Spouse was all "calm down." HELLS no. During the Packers' shellacking of the Cowboys, I popped over to Blogging the Boys to see how the fans were taking it (unprintably not well, for the record), and COWBOYS FANS were talking about how the Eagles had gotten totes screwed on the officiating. When your biggest rivals are all, "Dude! That's not fair!" you know you're getting wrecked. It was epic. There's bad calls, and then there's bad calls that hands the Colts 14 points.
Austin Collie? Yeah, I'm sorry he got knocked out, and I'm glad he's OK, but he caught the ball, started running, got hit, coughed it up, and Quintin Mikell recovered and took off. Or not. Maybe you give the ball back to the Colts, who go on to score. And Trent Cole BRUSHING PEYTON MANNING'S HELMET?!? C'mon man! I'm sorry he's such a little girl that he gets upset if you muss his hair, but give me an f'ing break. Not only was it 4th down, which would've produced a turnover on downs, but Peyton then fumbled and once again, the Eagles recovered. Or not. Once again, maybe you give the ball back to the Colts, who SCORE AGAIN. Are we sure this team of zebras hadn't bet on the game?
Andy's now a perfect 12-0 after the bye. So clearly, if he's got two weeks to get the team ready for any opponent, he's unstoppable. Hm...what if all the teams played every other week? Between that and a proposed 18 game season, we could have football nearly year-round! Who's with me?
Oh - and that Sunday Night Football matchup with the Giants in two weeks? Epic. Can I get an "amen"?
Around the rest of the NFL...
I'm 10-2 on this week so far. Love The System. The System is the boss of you.
Falcons over Buccaneers: OK, so there's 5-2 and then there's 5-2. (Well, actually, now there's 6-2 and 5-3.) The Bucs are a nice story this year, but their schedule's about to get a lot tougher.
Ravens over Dolphins: One of my misses this week, and it wasn't even close. The Dolphins looked completely out of sorts all day long. Chad Henne threw 3 picks, and the Fins were only able to rush for about 20 yards in the entire second half. Not pretty.
Bears over Bills: The thing about the Bills is that they're mostly not getting blown out this year (other than the Jets and Packers, of course), but they just can't seem to win games. 0-8 is U-G-L-Y.
Saints over Panthers: Did I mention that the Panthers are really bad this year? I think John Fox is the second longest-tenured head coach in the NFL to Big Red, and the way things are going this year, Andy's about to be the undisputed king of that hill.
Browns over Patriots: OK, I missed this one, too, but did ANYBODY have the Browns? ANYBODY? (cue the tumbleweed and the coyotes)
Jets over Lions: The Lions are another team that's way better than their record. But Matt Stafford's shoulder is f-ed up again, and I'm starting to wonder how long his career's going to be. Also? Jim Schwartz? If your place kicker goes down, you might want to give your punter a shot at the extra point, rather than having Ndamukong Suh try it. Because, you know, your punter actually KICKS FOR A LIVING, rather than being a fairly talented defensive tackle. Really, DTs spend VERY little time kicking footballs on a regular basis. Trust me on this one.
Chargers over Texans: Told you so! Also, poor Former Team of Destiny. Also, you're welcome for the thing with the Colts, keeping you in the race for AFC South.
Vikings over Cardinals: I can't get excited about this. Funny how Brett Favre always seems to feel just fine when they win, and whine about how this, that, and the other thing hurts when they lose. Also, I don't know what's going on between him and Chilly, but it ain't good.
Giants over Seahawks: Man, I thought this was going to be the worst beat down of the week.
Raiders over Chiefs: Third OT game of the day, and apparently the officiating there was pretty poor, too. Think Jason Campbell's glad to be the hell out of DC? I'm going to go with "yes."
Packers over Cowboys: You know how I was saying just a minute ago that I thought the Seahawks' loss was going to be the ugliest of week 9? Not so much. Wade Phillips has been kicked to the curb, but frankly, I don't see that Jason Garrett is an upgrade. Also, looking at the even-worse disaster in Dallas since Tony Romo went down, I've really come to appreciate the fact that AR always seems to have a good QB in waiting. Well, other than in 2005, but that was some kind of cosmic thing, so I can't really blame him. Kitna? Not a good QB. Good luck, Jason Garrett (not really), and if I were you, I'd freshen up my resume.
Edited to add two things:
1. I would be remiss if I didn't give a big shout-out to the Eagles' offensive line. They busted ass to keep Dwight Freeney off Michael Vick. I'm pretty sure at one point, I saw SIX guys on Freeney. I'm not sure how that left anyone to do anything else, but they were largely successful. Good job, y'all!
2. Steelers over Bengals: SO close. Then again, there's a reason they're known as "The Bungles."
Remember this one? Not dumb enough to make the list, though.
There are a number of things that I say nearly every week in the course of the games (no, not bad words -well, I say those, too, but they aren't unique to me). Shoegal suggested I might want to collect them into a list.
The Snark's Advice to Football Players
CATCH first, THEN run.
When tackling, remember to use your arms.
Stop juking - just secure the ball and run. This ain't college honey - the other players are fast, too.
When the QB puts the ball on your numbers, catch it donkey.
Pull off a GREAT play? Down by 20+ points? Don't celebrate - just don't. You look like a moron.
New Picking System, Week 2: the Return of 12 of 13 (I hope)
Andy Reid is in his 12th season as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. So far, he's 11-0 the week after the bye, including 2005, aka The Rearranging Deck Chairs on the Hindenberg season.
Mike Vick will be back under center, hopefully sporting some sort of super special Under Armor that can repel knives, bullets, and Dwight Freeney.
DeSean Jackson is likely to return to the lineup, hopefully sporting a helmet made of magic clouds that will prevent him from becoming 2010's Brian Westbrook.
Then again, Big Red is also 0-3 against the Colts. And McNabb's Redskins lost the Colts (that just feels relevant to me, but I'm not sure why).
Basically all the analysts (other than Jaws, who, let's face it, is biased) are picking the Colts. Who have this guy - you might've heard of him? - Peyton Manning? Rumor is, he's pretty good. He's currently the #4 ranked QB in the league. And he's throwing to the #5 receiver, Reggie Wayne. They also have some pretty good guys on the other side of the ball, defensive end Robert Mathis and the aforementioned Dwight Freeney.
None of these facts is in dispute.
So what does The System say? Eagles, baby! Seriously. It does. And I'm picking the Eagles. God have mercy on my soul. And my system.
In the rest of the games:
Saints at Panthers: Saints. This pick surprises no one.
Patriots at Browns: Pats. But it wasn't as obvious as you might think.
Jets at Lions: Jets. This one was obvious (according to The System).
Buccaneers at Falcons: Falcons
Dolphins at Ravens: Dolphins. Don't question me. Actually, you can question me all you like. Dont' question The System.
Cardinals at Vikings: Wanna bet McNabb plays in this matchup next year? (Yes, I do realize these two teams may not face each other next year. Just play along.) Vikings. Oy. Does The System know Brett Favre's leg is about to fall off? And Randy Moss isn't there any more?
Bears at Bills: Bears. Poor Bills. This is not a good year for you. Next year's probably not looking great, either.
Chargers at Texans: Chargers. Hm. Interesting.
Giants at Seahawks: Giants. Who are looking like the team to beat in the NFC East this year.
Chiefs at Raiders: Raiders. Hey, Jason Campbell! How's Cali treating you?
Cowboys at Packers: The System says Cowboys, but I just don't think so. I'm going against The System and going with the Packers. And Clay Matthews, aka Mean Girl (thanks to Chef Spouse for that one).
Steelers at Bengals: Bengals. Boy, if I get this one right, I'm going to look like a freakin' genius.
On bye: Broncos, Jaguars, 49ers, Rams, Titans, Redskins
In attendance: just me and Chef Spouse. And NINE MILLION trick-or-treaters. Seriously, I've never seen so many in my life. We gave away every bit of candy we had the in house before 9 pm, at which point it became "turn out the lights and hide" versus "start handing out potatoes." We opted for #1.
Menu: shrimp etouffee and absinthe frappes. Since we couldn't be in NOLA for the weekend, we decided to pretend we were.
Stud of the week: my system for my picks. With the MNF Texans/Colts matchup in progress, I'm 11 for 12 on the week. No, I did not use a Magic 8 Ball. I was going to tell you how I did it, but Chef Spouse said I should preserve the mystery. So you'll just have to marvel.
In other news, it was the week of 2 points: safeties, made two point conversion attempts, missed two point conversion attempts, you name it. If it was possible to get 2 points in there some way, teams did it. Even when it made no sense, like early in the 3rd quarter.
On to the results:
49ers over Broncos: I called it. Also, I think Mike Singletary still thinks his 2-6 team is going to the Super Bowl, God love him.
Jaguars over Cowboys: I called it. So one of the questions of the week is will there be a coaching change in Dallas? Amazingly, enough other wackadoo stuff has happened that it's barely in the top 5 though. The thing about switching coaches DURING the season is that it's a pretty dicey proposition - if the Cowboys were going to do it, they should've done it a month ago, before their bye week. I think they're pretty much stuck with Wade for the rest of the season, although I'd be shocked if he's still coaching in 2011. I've heard Cowher and Gruden both floated as possible replacements, but I don't think either of them is dumb enough to want to work for Jerry Jones. Also, Gruden gets credit as a coach he doesn't deserve - he won the Super Bowl with Tony Dungy's team. And Cowher has repeatedly said he doesn't want to leave North Carolina until his kids are grown, which to me indicates that his only possible coaching destination, at least for a while, would be the Panthers. Anyway, moving on...
Dolphins over Bengals: I called it. But TO got two TDs, so he may not even be aware the Bengals lost.
Chiefs over Bills: I called it. Won in OT on a field goal that literally went through the uprights as time expired, the Chiefs leave the Eagles still holding the dubious distinction of the last tie.
Lions over Redskins: I called it. I don't know what reality Mike Shanahan lives in where Rex Grossman is a better option than Donovan McNabb to run the two minute offense down by 5. Even weirder? Now Shanny's changed his tune to "McNabb's too fat to run the two minute offense." RIIIIIIIGHT. All I can think is that he's thinking, "Well, after McNabb got benched against the Ravens in 2008, he played like a house afire for the rest of the season, taking the Eagles to another NFC Championship game that they only lost because them damn defense fell apart." Can I point on that on his VERY FIRST play from scrimmage, Sexy Rexy got sacked, coughed up the ball, and the Lions put the game away? And this is supposed to be coaching genius?
Rams over Panthers: I called it. The Panthers stink this year. Hmmm, about Bill Cowher....
Packers over Jets: This is the one I missed, although in my defense, I did say that according to my system, it was a push. I went with the home team. Oops. Who would've guessed it would be the PACK who pitched a shut out?
Chargers over Titans: I called it, even though I could hardly believe it. The Chargers are probably gearing up to pull their annual, "You gave us up for dead. But wait! We're not! We're resurrecting your hopes! Until the playoffs. Then we really are dead."
Patriots over Vikings: I called it. You did hear that Randy Moss got released today? Dude hadn't even had time to get his cable hooked up yet! His post-game press conference love-fest for the Pats sure didn't help things, particularly after he decided that he was going to WATCH the passes, but he sure as hell wasn't planning to CATCH them, but something more must've happened. Personally? I think it's some sort of Belichick plot, and somehow Randy Moss will end up back in New England after stiffing the Vikings for a few mil. What do you have against Minnesota, Bill?
Bucs over Cardinals: I called it. The Bucs are quietly sitting at 5-2. Did you know?
Raiders over Seahawks: I called it. Looks who learned how to win games! Speculation is rampant, in the wake of The Benching, that McNabb will be somewhere not DC next year. Oakland's been floated as a possibility. Think that would make Jason Campbell go postal?
Saints over Steelers: Another one I called. Believe in the system. Trust the system. Love the system. What system? Can't tell you. But let's see how I fare this coming week....