30 December 2011

2011 Week 17 Picks

This is it - the end of the road. Well, at least for some teams, two of which will be facing off at the Linc this week, as the Redskins travel to Philly to close out the season.

The other day, the Washington Post sports section did a "the last time the Redskins and Eagles played on New Year's Day" feature. They made a HUGE deal about the fact that the Redskins won, 31-20. Do you remember when it was? Does Jan. 1, 2006 ring a bell? You remember - the final game in the disaster season, when literally every player on the entire team was injured at one point or another, and Mike McMahon was under center?

Yep, that's how bad things are in DC - the local sports writers have to relive the glory days of 5 years ago, when the Redskins first team was able to take out the Eagles practice squad.

Things are going to go a little different this time, bitches.

Eagles.

In the rest of the matchups - things get tough to pick as teams consider resting their starters. But do they tell US who they'll be resting? Nooooo, of course not!

Jets at Dolphins: Dolphins. Because I think the Jets are mess, and I figure if they can't beat the Giants for us, they don't deserve to win another game.

Panthers at Saints: The Saints are in the running for the first round bye, and they should be able to handle the Panthers in their own house. But they need the 49ers to lose to the Rams, too, which ain't gonna happen.

49ers at Rams: 49ers. See above.

Titans at Texans: The Titans need a miracle to make the postseason. The only thing they can control is beating the Texans. And although Wade Phillips will be be back, the Texans have nothing much to play for, seeing as they've already won the division and can't get the bye. I think the Titans will do what they can and win this game, but I don't think the rest of the cards are going to fall the right way for them.

Lions at Packers: I'm going with the Lions. I think they'll want it more (I cannot overstress how important holding on to the 5th seed will be), and, with nothing more to gain, I think the Pack will rest some of their dinged up starters.

Bears at Vikings: aka the Pee Wee Bowl. The Bears have lost their last five. The Vikings have lost four of their last five, and the one win was over the Redskins. Neither team has anything to play for at this point, other than maybe draft position. I'm going with Vikings, just because they're at home.

Colts at Jaguars: The Colts better watch it, or they'll play themselves right out of the Luck sweepstakes. Jaguars.

Bills at Patriots: It's probably too much to ask the Bills to beat the Pats twice in one season. Patriots.

Seahawks at Cardinals: Man, have the Cards disappointed this season, particularly Kevin Kolb. Guess we know now why Andy Reid didn't mind letting him go. Seahawks.

Chargers at Raiders: Back on the "which team has something to play for?" theme, I'm going with the Raiders.

Chiefs at Broncos: Chiefs. And not just because I want the Raiders to win the division. I think Tebow's luck has run out, at least on the 2011 season. During the offseason, he might want to look into actually learning how to play his position.

Buccaneers at Falcons: The Falcons, of course, ALSO don't want the #6 seed in the NFC. Particularly after last Monday night. And they'll win this game, but it won't be enough.

Ravens at Bengals: Both of these teams really want this game, too. The Bengals need it to make the playoffs, and the Ravens need it to hold off the Steelers, who will DEFINITELY win their game. Ravens.

Steelers at Browns: See above. Steelers.

Cowboys at Giants: Giants. And not just because I don't want the Cowboys to win the division. I genuinely believe the Giants are the better team. I also genuinely believe that whichever team wins this game will go down in the first game of the playoffs, because the NFC East is just not very good this year. But Giants fans will at least get one week to dream.


28 December 2011

Hawaii, Baby, Hawaii!

Congratulations to Eagles first team Pro Bowlers LeSean McCoy, Jason Babin, and Jason Peters.  All are having exceptional seasons, Shady in particular.

(Honorable mentions to alternates Cullen Jenkins and Nnamdi Asomugha, although I'm pretty sure Nnamdi got the bid on name recognition alone, since he hasn't exactly had a dominant season.)

Finally, I have to give another shout-out to David Akers, headed to his SIXTH Pro Bowl, where he'll likely keep adding to his "most points in Pro Bowl history" record.


26 December 2011

2011 Week 16 Recap

Eagles at Cowboys, Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy holidays, y'all! Whatever you celebrate, and whoever you celebrate with, I hope you had a good time. I certainly did, watching the Eagles stomp the Cowboys for the second time this season.

Stud of the week: Alex Henery. On a day when David Akers set the single season field goal points record, Henery made his 14th straight and his first over 50 yards. I actually noted the Akers' record on Facebook and got "thank you" comments from a number of my 49ers-loving friends. I know, I know - who cares about a kicker? Well, I do. I was very fond of David Akers and very sorry to see him depart. I'm hoping that Henery can pick up where he left off. It seems unlikely that he'll be as good a final line of defense as our former Jiu-Jitsu trained kicker, although he did manage to slow down Dwayne Harris long enough for the cavalry to get there.

The Eagles blogging family has been fairly low-key about the win over the Cowboys. Sure, the Eagles were eliminated from the playoffs by shortly after kick off, and sure, maybe the Cowboys didn't really care to win the game, since it comes down to next week's matchup against the Giants regardless. But I'm proud of our guys for not giving up and going out strong.

OK, sure, the Dolphins and Jets will be watching the playoffs from their couches too - hell, I think the Cowboys will as well, because my money's on the Giants to win next week - but again, they haven't given up.

To quote BGN: "too little, too late." And they're right. The Eagles blew games they should've won back when it mattered, giving up an epic number of fourth quarter leads and not even managing to pull off a divisional title in a sadly diminished NFC East. And even though the D has played MUCH better of late, Juan Castillo's job may still be on the line, particularly if Spags gets fired in St. Louis (which seems pretty likely to me).

On the other hand, our boys beat Dallas in THEIR house on Christmas Eve, and almost pitched a shut out to boot. Would I have preferred a different ending to the season? Hell yeah, but the team will go 8-8 and hopefully have something to build on for next year after they get rid of the dead weight (like Vince "Dream Team" Young - may he be traded to Vikings, who do need a QB - and Steve Smith).

Around the rest of the NFL....

 Colts over Texans: Damn, y'all! Ask the Colts about how well it works to go into the playoffs cold.

Ravens over Browns: Um, duh.

Bills over Broncos: Apparently, the Tebow magic is wearing off. Next week comes down to who wants it more in the West, with the Chiefs taking on the Broncos and fighting to maybe remove the  "interim" from interim head coach Romeo Crennel's title, and the Chargers, who have nothing to play for as far as I can tell (Norv Turner's O-U-T), facing the Raiders. Love to see the Raiders take the division back.

Panther over Buccaneers: And Cam Newton broke the rookie single season yardage record! Go Cam! The Panthers definitely have something to build on for next year. That switch to Ron Rivera's working out pretty well, too.

Bengals over Cardinals: Surely you've seen The Play, right? Wow. Bengals could still get to the playoffs, by the way. Ginger Power!



Raiders over Chiefs: I shouldn't have given up on the Raiders. They're not dead yet!

Pats over Dolphins: But just barely and after having gotten down by 17 points to a 5-9 team. If defense truly does win championships, the Pats won't be going very far this year.

Giants over Jets: Back at the beginning of the season, I called the Jets to win the AFC East. To quote myself, I put my money on "a quarterback who can manage the game." Over at the HuffPo, one of the commentors gave me shit for calling Sanchez "a quarterback who can manage the game." And he's right. That was giving Sanchez WAY too much credit. He's a punk, and so is Rex Ryan who, as far as I'm concerned, should never say another word in public ever again. Ah well, the Giants will win the division next week, and even though, at least from my experience at the new Meadowlands, their fans are a bunch of violent assholes, it's still better than the Cowboys. Also, the officiating was terrible, and it was nearly all terrible in favor of the Giants. Sour grapes? Maybe.

Steelers over Rams: Speaking of shut outs and Spags losing his job...

Titans over Jags: The Titans could still squeak into the playoffs, but pretty much all the scenarios require a Jets win, so...they're dead.

Vikings over Redskins: OK, I did not watch the game, but could someone please tell me how this happened? For chrissakes, Adrian Peterson wrecked his knee in the second quarter, Christian Ponder went down, too, and the Vikes still managed to put up 33 points. Could someone tell me how that happened? Seriously? I thought the Skins' strong suit was their defense. Anyone?

Lions over Chargers: The Lions are going to the playoffs for the first time since pretty much the invention of the non-leather helmet! Talk about over-delivering on their "Team of Destiny" status! Go Lions! Hang on to that fifth seed, though - you do NOT want to play your first playoff game in a zillion years against the Saints in the Superdome, trust me. Also, which is the biggest disappointment this year: Chargers, Eagles, or Jets? Discuss.

49ers over Seahawks: And David Akers matched and broke Neil Rackers' single-season field goal record, and then topped himself. OK, there is a down side to this: that many field goals means the 49ers are having trouble getting in the end zone. Still, they're 12-3 and have clinched the division, so it's not hurting them that bad. At least not as long as they can count on David Akers' left leg. He'll probably get a Pro Bowl bid - at least he should - but maybe he'll be too busy prepping for the Super Bowl to go to Hawaii?

Packers over Bears: I'm the 9,456,732nd person to observe this, but Aaron Rodgers is having one hell of a season, and it's a good thing, because the Packers' D is no great shakes, either. Hm...if defense really DOES win championships, maybe that "49ers in the Super Bowl" thing isn't as crazy as it sounds...


21 December 2011

2011 Week 16 Picks

This week, the Eagles travel to Dallas to take on the Cowboys at home on Christmas Eve. In their last meeting this season, you may recall that the Eagles whupped up on the Cowboys to the tune of 34-7 at the Linc (one of the few home games the Eagles have won this season).

It's really hard to beat a divisional foe twice in the same season.

The Eagles may be heating up, but Dallas reeled off 4 wins after that whupping in week 8 before dropping their last two, to the Giants and the Cardinals, who inexplicably seem to have had the NFC East's number this year.

This really could go either way. Both teams can score points. Both teams can force turnovers. Both teams can commit turnovers. Both teams can show up big, or not at all, often from one quarter to the next. I'm hoping the Eagles show up, and the Cowboys pull their usual late-season meltdown. Bonus points if Tony Romo does something stupid enough that he starts to cry. That would be an EXCELLENT gift.

I think LeSean McCoy (who, you might have heard, got the most fan votes for the Pro Bowl of any back in the league, coming in 6th in overall voting behind only Rodgers, Brees, Brady, Welker and Calvin Johnson) is the key to this game. He crushed the Cowboys in week 8. Not only did he rack up a ton of yards, he more importantly crushed the confidence of the #1 rushing defense in the league (at the time). Well, Shady and turnovers, which have been the Eagles Achilles heel this year.

I'm throwing caution and good sense to the wind and picking what needs to happen for the Eagles to make the playoffs.

Eagles.

Don't let me down, guys.

As an aside, if it all goes to hell this weekend, know that it's my fault.

(Chef Spouse thinks THIS will be the year the Eagles win the Super Bowl. He's either delusional, cracking under the holiday stress, or he's been hitting the sauce on the sly.)

In the rest of the matchups:

Texans at Colts: Can the Texans win without Wade Phillips? I think so, but only because they're playing the Colts. Texans.

Browns at Ravens: The Ravens will bounce back from last week's loss to the Chargers. Trust.

Broncos at Bills: Broncos. See last week's observation that, in fact, the Bills just might lose all the rest of their games.

Buccaneers at Panthers: Panthers. The Bucs are in a tailspin, and the Panthers got swagger.

Cardinals at Bengals: Interesting matchup. Both teams are in the hunt. With the Bears and possibly the Giants faltering, the door's open for the Cardinals to take the #6 seed. Meanwhile, the Bengals are neck and neck with a Jets team that's on the ropes. Chef Spouse says Bengals, and playing at home, I think he may be right.

Raiders at Chiefs: Before last Sunday, I would've picked the Raiders definitely. Now I'm not so sure. Go Romeo Crennel! Hell, I'm calling the Chiefs in an upset.

Dolphins at Patriots: Sigh. Realistically, the Pats have this. But wouldn't it be awesome if the Fins were able to sneak a win? Not gonna happen.

Giants at Jets: Both teams are reeling, but my Eagles need the Jets to show up. Hey, they took last week off, so they should be nice and rested. Jets.

Rams at Steelers: Steelers. Even without Big Ben. If they can keep him on the bench. Maybe he'll get confused about the whole Christmas weekend Saturday/Sunday thing?

Jaguars at Titans: If the Titans hadn't lost to the Colts...of course, the Jags did win their week 1 meeting...and it's tough to beat a divisional rival twice in a season...and Matt Hasselbeck seems to be OK...I think I just talked myself into calling the Titans.

Vikings at Redskins: The Redskins have been playing up - or down - to their competition all season. But even they can't stoop this low. Redskins.

Chargers at Lions: The Chargers have a long way to go to secure a playoff spot, and all the Lions need is a win and they're secured a spot. And they're at home. Lions.

49ers at Seahawks: Regardless of how this game turns out, I'm rooting for David Akers to make three field goals. But I think the 49ers will win.

Bears at Packers: Packers, Josh McCown or no Josh McCown. Sole game on Christmas, too.

Falcons at Saints: The Falcons really need this game, but the Saints are nearly unbeatable at home. I don't expect that to change Monday. Saints.


19 December 2011

2011 Week 15 Recap

Eagles v. Jets, Sunday, December 18, 2011

This weekend, Chef Spouse and I celebrated our 19th anniversary. I think, on some level, the Eagles knew and engineered a win as a gift for us. And they even managed to win at home! Thanks, guys! We really appreciate it! Although a winning SEASON would've been an even better gift. Next year's 20. Super Bowl? Just sayin'.

Yeah, I know, if things fall JUST right, the Eagles could still win the division. I'm afraid to start hoping, though, since that really hasn't gone well for Bleeding Green Nation so far this season. You know, hope.

Stud of the week: I know you're tired of hearing this, but how could it NOT be Shady? My secret running back boyfriend tied and then broke Steve Van Buren's SIXTY-SIX year old franchise records for most rushing TDs and most total TDs in a season. Shady also has the most TDs this season in the entire NFL. And he has a shot at Wilbert Montgomery's franchise single season rushing record, too. Y'all, seriously, go vote for him for the pro bowl, because if he doesn't get a bid, I may have to stop believing that people are fundamentally good.

Shout-outs also go to Jason Babin, sack leader of the NFL, and to Brent Celek, who  had a big day with 150+ yards and a TD of his own.

This is the team I expected to see, if not in September, then certainly by the time the guys came back from the bye.

Is the defense finally coming together? The Dolphins and Jets aren't exactly known for tearing it up offensively - both teams have banked on excellent defense this year - but still, both teams were thoroughly shut down. I've been calling for Juan Castillo's head, along with, well, EVERYONE, but if the D can hold up like this against the Cowboys and Redskins and help the team win out, I might have to revise that judgement.

The offense was on fire. Again, these are the guys we all expected to see 8 weeks ago. Vick got hit less. DJax actually held on to passes. So did Maclin.

Special teams is still an issue. Curtis Marsh probably needs to be sent to timeout to think about his actions until he's ready to apologize. And I miss Akers. You miss Akers. We all miss Akers.

It's the final two weeks. Wildcard's not a possibility, but the NFC East title still is. Hold on to your hats.

Around the rest of the NFL...

Once again, I got KILLED on my picks. Then again, I suspect a lot of people did.

Falcons over Jaguars: Got this one. Told you the Jags wouldn't be able to run wild against the #4 run defense in the NFL.

Cowboys over Bucs: It wouldve really helped the Eagles playoff chances if the Bucs had managed to upset the Cowboys, but let's get serious.  Then again...

Chiefs over Packers: OK, a perfect season is a REALLY REALLY LONG long shot. But the Chiefs? The CHIEFS? Who just fired their head coach? C'mon man! And, of course, now there's a script for beating the Packers. Which, if the Eagles can manage to squeak into the playoffs, might come in handy.

Dolphins over Bills: Maybe the Bills CAN lose all the rest of their games.

Seahawks over Bears: Stick a fork in the Bears. They're done.

Panthers over Texans: Come on, former Team of Destiny! Don't let that divisional title go to your heads! You need to go into the playoffs hot if you hope to win any games!

Colts over Titans: Ending their anti-perfect season, of course, but they're still strong for the #1 pick. I think they should throw the final two games to Luck it up. And the Titans really needed that game to stay in the wildcard hunt. Damn, the NFL is a hot mess this year!

Saints over Vikings: OK, the Saints are one of the few teams that actually are consistently good this year. And the Vikes are consistently bad. I suspect Leslie Frazier may not make it another season. Of course, Breesus might not, either, if they can't get his contract worked out.

Redskins over Giants: Huh. Looks like the annual Giants season-ending collapse has arrived right on time. If y'all do have one more win in you, could you please save it for the final game? Thx!

Bengals over Rams: Speaking of staying in the playoff hunt...wouldn't it be fun if both the AFC wildcards came from the north? It could happen.

Lions over Raiders: That was a nail-biter. And the Raiders really needed this game. But if Tebow time really is over, then the Raiders could take the division back, even without this win.

Cardinals over Browns: Is Kevin Kolb done? Is John Skelton the QB of the Cards future? Well, he's started or played significant portions of 6 games, of which the Cards have won 5. And their record is 7-7. You do the math.

Pats over Broncos: Apparently, God doesn't care about football, but the devil does.  Chef Spouse observed that, seeing as it's hard to beat a team twice, if the apocalypse does show up, it's probably good that Satan's team won this one.

Chargers over Ravens: And it wasn't even close. I would've put the Ravens in the "consistently good" category and the Chargers in "consistently inconsistent" prior to last night. I could see a Ravens-Packers Super Bowl. But after last night, who knows?



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14 December 2011

2011 Week 15 Picks

Remember the last time the Eagles put together what amounted to their longest winning streak (2 games) this season? For three weeks - week 6, the bye and week 8 - it felt like maybe the Eagles were finding their way, putting their season together, pulling out the tailspin. It felt like, maybe, the team was 3-4 on their way to 11-5 or maybe even 12-4, and a glorious march deep into the playoffs, maybe even the Super Bowl.

That was fun, wasn't it? When we all still had hope?

Which, of course, the proceeded to crush by dropping the next two games to the Bears and, humiliatingly, the Cardinals.

Since then, the Birds have dropped two more on their way to a 5-8 record. And even though they aren't technically out of the running for the playoffs, they will be after this weekend, when I'm picking them to lose at home to the Jets. Because, aside from the fact that the Jets are a better team, home games have been poison for the Eagles in the past two years.

Jets.

In the rest of the matchups:

Jaguars at Falcons: The Falcons have the #5 ranked rushing defense. MJD is not going to have another four touchdown week. Falcons.

Cowboys at Buccaneers: The Cowboys might be entering a late-season slide (you should hear the wailing over at Blogging the Boys), but they aren't sliding that far. Cowboys.

Dolphins at Bills: Tough one to call. If Sparano were still there, I would be totally Team Fins, but with an interim and the upheaval, I'm not so sure. And after starting so well, the Bills can't possibly lose ALL the rest of their game, right? Right? Bills. Maybe.

Seahawks at Bears: The Bears are reeling and the Seahawks have won 4 of their last 5. Still, they aren't great on the road, and Tavaris Jackson is likely to have a tough day against the still very scary Bears defense. Beast Mode, sure, but it's not easy to get yards on the ground against the Bears either. Bears. Even if Devin Hester has to score all their points off punt returns.

Panthers at Texans: Cam Newton scores a ton of points, but the Panthers' D is weaker than wet tissue paper, and the Texans can score points, too. Go Texans! A first round bye is still in reach!

Titans at Colts: Titans. Moving on...

Packer at Chiefs: Packers. Again, moving on...

Saints at Vikings: Saints. Wow, these are easy this week. Well, until some team pulls off some huge upset win, of course. But I don't think it's going to be the Vikings.

Redskins at Giants: This is an interesting matchup. The Redskins played great against the Pats last week and, speaking of upset wins, almost pulled one off. The Giants did upset the Cowboys at home. I really want to call the Redskins to pull off the upset win. Still, they did beat the Giants at home in week 1, and it's really hard to sweep a team in your own division. I talked myself into it - Giants.

Bengals at Rams: Bengals. Who need every game from here on out to have a shot at the wildcard.

Lions at Raiders: The Lions are looking good for wildcard, too, but they can't drop too many more games, either. Suh's back, and the Raiders seem to have lost their mojo - maybe Tim Tebow stole it. Lions.

Browns at Cardinals: Who's under center for the Cards this week? If it's Skelton, I'm going Cards.

Patriots at Broncos: Irresistible force, meet immovable object. I always get pwned when I pick against the Pats, but I can't deny the Tebow magic. I don't know how the Broncos will manage to hold the Pats to, like, 10 points, but I'm sure that somehow, it will happen. Broncos. Oh, and there's a good chance I watch this rather than the Eagles game (kidding - maybe).

Ravens at Chargers: Ravens. Who need this to stay ahead of the Steelers. And the Chargers are kind of a mess this year. Not as big a mess as the Eagles, of course, but still.

Steelers at 49ers: This is going to be a good game. I'm going Steelers, but really, this one could go either way.



12 December 2011

2011 Week 14 Recap

Eagles at Dolphins, Sunday, December 11, 2011 

Even when they win, I'm not happy.

Stud of the week: the ENTIRE defense. Three forced fumbles, about a zillion sacks, three third-and-short stops, two fourth-and-short stops, a goal-line stand, another Kurt Coleman pick, and a partridge in a pear tree. Casey Matthews even managed three tackles and a sack!

(Also, Shady's one rushing TD from tying Steve Van Buren's record that's stood since 1945. 66 years! So see, the Eagles' aversion to running the football clearly predates Andy Reid. Kidding!)


It was so bad, Tony Sparano lost his job. Sure, we all knew that was coming, but in week 14? Harsh.

Where have these guys been the entire REST of the season? I don't trust it. In the continuing story of the 2011 Eagles season, we see flashes of excellent play, which then go AWOL for several weeks. Yeah, everyone's all "the Eagles aren't mathematically eliminated from the playoffs yet!" No, they aren't. But realistically, they aren't going to win out AND get BOTH the Giants and the Cowboys to lose out. So all the Eagles are doing at this point is teasing us, and messing up their draft position. And risking further injury to Vick, Maclin and a bunch of other guys who could be key to doing better NEXT year.

No, apparently, there's no pleasing me.

Around the rest of the NFL...

Steelers over Browns: They're holding Big Ben together with Bondo and duct tape at this point, but it seems to be working.

Ravens over Colts: The commentators are starting to pick up on the whole "the Colts' record proves that Peyton Manning really is the MVP." Chef Spouse said it first, WEEKS ago. Represent!

Falcons over Panthers: The Panthers had the upset win in the bag...until they had to play the fourth quarter. That sounds really familiar...

Texans over Bengals: The Texans, on the other hand, played the WHOLE game. Rookie TJ Yates led one hell of a drive to clinch the AFC South for the Texans, marking their first post-season appearance EVER. Way to go, former Team of Destiny.

Lions over Vikings: You know, there was a lot of shitty officiating yesterday, but perhaps none so bad at the total whiff on DeAndre Levy's facemask of Joe Webb that ended the Vikings' attempt to win it late. Still, this year's Team of Destiny managed to (maybe) halt a depressing slide after a promising start to the season and are still definitely in the post-season hunt themselves.

Jaguars over Bucs: MJD! No really, he was the difference maker in this game. Well, that, and the Bucs apparent COMPLETE inability to stop the run, or even slow it down much. And their complete inability to hang onto the ball. Yeah, seven turnovers really will never, ever equal a win. Ever.

Jets over Chiefs: Speaking of coaches getting fired, Todd Haley's gone, too. Is it just me, or does is seem kind of pointless to fire coaches this late in the season? Your season is over, just let the guy play out the rest of the games and fire your coach on January 2 with everyone else.

Saints over Titans: And Matt Hasslebeck tore up his calf. Which, come to think of it, handed the Texans the division and clinched the Saints to at least make the playoffs. Thanks, man! You did me a solid there!

Pats over Redskins: I have to give the Skins credit. If Tom Brady hadn't drawn some Brady calls - you know, the calls that Brady gets that NO OTHER QBs in the league get - the Skins might've managed to upset the Pats. And they played HARD. There may be cause for hope in DC. Uh oh.

Cards over 49ers: Huh. 49ers slacking off now that they've won the division? Maybe.

Broncos over Bears: OK, maybe God really does love Tim Tebow best. Did you see the game? I think Marion Barber should probably just STAY in Denver and send for his stuff. Or not - he's a football player. He can buy more stuff. I wouldn't go back to Chicago, though. Also, I know it's Mile High Stadium (or whatever dumb corporate name they've now attached to it "at Mile High"), but THREE field goals over 50 yards? And the game winner would have been good from at least 65. Wow.

Packers over Raiders: But it cost them Greg Jennings, at least for a while. Of course, last year they didn't seem to mind having, oh, PRACTICALLY THE ENTIRE TEAM on IR. So maybe it won't matter. Still, the pursuit of perfection is a dangerous game.

Chargers over Bills: And Buffalo's out of the playoffs. Again. Lucky #13 next year? I really thought this was going to be a better year for them. Guess not.

Giants over Cowboys: So last week was really busy, with a software users' group meeting, a technology conference at which I was presenting, the winter performance of my belly dance company, and a visit from Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom and You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad (tied to the performance). And I have a really bad cold - I even lost my voice for two days (fortunately, after I presented). And Chef Spouse left this morning at 6 am for a trip to Seattle (he's with the team from Cisco in box seats at Monday Night Football as I type this). And the game was exciting, with constant lead changes. But as we got to the end of the third quarter, it looked to me like the Cowboys were starting to pull away, and I needed to try to get some sleep. Yep, I went to bed and MISSED IT. The G-men mounted a furious comeback, thus marginally increasing the chances the Eagles could see the post-season.


06 December 2011

2011 Week 14 Picks

And the 2011 season trudges on.  The rumor is that Vick will be back this week, and I have to ask: why? Season's over, man. The Eagles just gave him a fairly sizable contract. Why are they risking a guy who's already banged up on meaningless games? Same thing goes for all the others who are banged up: Jeremy Maclin, LeSean McCoy, Nnamdi Asomugha, DRC...everybody. Why not play the second and third team guys and see what they have? Sure, Vick is fun to watch and all, but really, this just seems pointless.

The Eagles are traveling to Miami to take on the Dolphins this week. Both teams are 4-8. The Dolphins, by way of a reminder, have won 4 of the last 5. The Eagles have lost 4 of the past 5. Although the Dolphins are not good against the pass, they are excellent against the run. You may recall that there's this guy? Named LeSean McCoy? Who's a back and has been pretty much the only consistently good part of the entire season.

But ultimately the trend line may be all we need to know. The Fins seem to be all in fighting for their coach's job. The Eagles seem to be, well, not.

Dolphins.

In the rest of the matchups:

Browns at Steelers: Steelers. Poor Browns.

Buccaneers at Jaguars: Both teams are in trouble, but a missing head coach is worse than a missing QB. Bucs.

Texans at Bengals: Sorry, Texans, you know I love you, but the Bengals are surging, and need every game to keep them in the AFC wildcard hunt at this point. Meanwhile, the Texans have a 2 game lead in the south with 4 games to play. While they haven't locked up the south, they are 4-0 in their division. Not that they aren't motivated, of course, just that I suspect the Bengals are a bit more motivated at this point. Bengals.

Chiefs at Jets: I have to think the Jets aren't going to drop a critical game at home, because they need every game at this point to stay in the AFC wildcard race themselves. And it's going to be a defensive battle, and that favors the Jets, too. Jets.

Vikings at Lions: Lions. Who are right in it for the NFC wildcard. But they gotta get their anger issues under control.

Colts at Ravens: Ravens. Move along.

Saints at Titans: Saints. Same.

Falcons at Panthers: Falcons. Who also need this game to stay in the NFC wildcard race. I love Cam, but he makes rookie mistakes that the Falcons will take advantage of.

Patriots at Redskins: Pats. Ouch.

Bears at Broncos: Caleb Hanie versus Tim Tebow? Please. Broncos.

49ers at Cardinals: 49ers. The teams really are sorting themselves out at this point, aren't they?

Bills at Chargers: Oh man, both of these teams are really sliding bad. The Bills, after starting so well, have lost five in a row. The Chargers beat the Jags on Monday, but that ended a SIX game losing streak. So disappointing on both counts. Who's going to win? The Chargers are strong through the air, while the Bills are strong on the ground. The Bills are not great against the pass, and the Chargers are even worse against the run. But you can score a lot faster through the air than you can on the ground, and that favors the Chargers.

Raiders at Packers: Chef Spouse thinks this could be a trap game for the Packers. I think the Raiders are going to be playing an undefeated Pack at Lambeau in the cold. To me, that says Packers.

Giants at Cowboys: Good choice for the Sunday night game, NFL! The Giants seem to be entering their typical end of season slide. The Cowboys are always a risk to implode. And being at home doesn't seem to help them. I think Cowboys, but I could see this going either way. And if the Cowboys do win this, I think the Giants will win in week 17, by the way.

Rams at Seahawks: Are you going to bother to watch this? Because I have to tell you, I have holiday shopping to do, and it's been an INSANELY busy month. I could really use that time for shopping, or wrapping, or a trip to the post office...lots of stuff. Oh - the pick? Seahawks. The Rams definitely don't have enough juice to take out Seattle's 12th man.


03 December 2011

2011 Week 13 Recap

Eagles at Seahawks, Thursday, December 1, 2011

I hate  to say "I told you so," particularly on this one, but I told you so.

Prediction: debacle

Reality: debacle

Stud of the Week: Continuing as the only bright spot in the whole damn season, LeSean McCoy. Dear Santa: could I please have a #25 ladies jersey in black this year? 

Much like the 42-0 MNF mess in 2005, I confess that I didn't watch to the end. After Vince Young threw his FOURTH pick with about four minutes left in the game, I turned to Chef Spouse and said, "That's it. I'm out."

Where do I even start in recapping the game?

DeSean Jackson. Yes, the NFL Network clearly cut the shot where Vince Young was talking to Riley Cooper (I think) to make it look like he was talking to DJax, but the proof is in the pudding. Regardless of what was really going on Thursday night, his play all season demonstrates the fundamental truth of the fact that he's quit on the team.  And a word of advice: I know you love your buds from Cali, but laughing & talking with them while a team mate is lying injured on the ground is not cool.

Jason Babin. Tons of sacks, no stopping of the run. Great for you, not so great for the team. Hm - story of the whole season, come to think of it.

Asante Samuel: F off. Really.

Colt Anderson: Another bright spot in the season. Well, up until he tears his ACL in a meaningless game. And don't give me crap about how if only the Eagles had beat the Seahawks, they'd still be right in it. The back to back losses to the Bears and the Cardinals killed this season long before the Eagles flew out to Seattle last week.

Jason Avant: I just have to keep giving much love to a smart, serious receiver who continues to play his butt off.

One of my friends sent me a great article "Requiem for the Dream Team" that identified the five major issues with the Eagles this year. You should really read the entire article because the explanations offered are fantastic, but the five points are:
  1. Serious line deficiencies, both O and D
  2. Soft at linebacker and safety
  3. Nnamdi Asomugha, MIA
  4. Decline of Vick and Jackson
  5. Bad luck
Yep. That about sums it up.

It's amazing I got through writing that without a shot of bourbon. Guess where I'm headed now?

I'll be at a conference next week, so I'll try to recap the rest of the games, but I can't promise anything.



30 November 2011

2011 Week 13 Picks

Anyone other than me remember the last time the Eagles faced the Seahawks in prime time?  Does 42-0 on Monday night football in week 13 of 2005 ring any bells?

I was on a business trip in Florida at the time, so I was watching while texting Chef Spouse and on the phone with Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom. I remember remarking to both of them: "Did you notice how Mike McMahon looks like he's not sure where he is or how he got there, but either way, he's cognizant of the fact that there are great big men standing a few yards away who are trying to kill him, and he's NOT HAPPY?" That was not a good night.

Then the Eagles faced the Seahawks again in 2007, after McNabb had gone down just before that, with an ankle injury, so AJ Feeley was under center, and the Eagles lost again, 28-24.

The Eagles did manage a road victory against the Seahawks in 2008. Remember 2008? The last time the Eagles got within sniffing distance of the Super Bowl? Sigh. Good times.

Why am I bringing all this up?

Vick, Maclin and DRC are definitely out.  Asomugha and Shady are "questionable." Trevor Laws is delusional. The coaches are fighting on the sidelines. And the Eagles are playing the Seahawks in Seattle in prime time.

Prediction? Debacle. Also, Seahawks.

In the rest of the matchups

Jets at Redskins: Jets

Chiefs at Bears: Both teams are out of QBs, so Chef Spouse said to go with Brian Urlacher. The Chiefs' D is actually ranked higher than the Bears, but Chef Spouse seemed certain, so...Bears.

Titans at Bills: The Bills, after showing such early season promise, are entering a death spiral, losing 4 of their last 5. In the meantime, with the Texans also out of QBs, the Jags in turmoil (see below), and the Colts WAY out in front in the "Suck for Luck" race, the Titans have a shot at the division. I think they'll keep their eyes on the prize and that Chris Johnson will have a big day against a run defense that's not exactly stifling. Titans.

Raiders at Dolphins: Tony Sparano managed to pull his team together to win enough games to likely knock them out of the Luck race, but the Raiders are like the horse who smells the stable, running for home and their first real shot at the divisional title in, well, a long time (9 years, to be precise).

Bengals at Steelers: Steelers. The Bengals are looking good and could be a wildcard contender this year, but the Steelers are getting on their annual end of season roll, which is damn hard to stop. Just ask, well, the Bengals.

Falcons at Texans: Speaking of teams that are out of QBs, TJ Yates is a 24 year old rookie who's thrown 15 passes and completed 8 in his ENTIRE career. Yeah, Falcons.

Broncos at Vikings: Broncos. Don't question The Tebow.

Panthers at Buccaneers: Panthers. Love me some Cam.

Colts at Patriots: OH THE HUMANITY. Can we invoke the mercy rule so this game doesn't even have to be played? Think Tom Brady will be watching from the owner's box? It's not like they're going to need him on the field to beat the sad sack Colts. Patriots.

Ravens at Browns: Ravens, even though they've had a tendency - like pretty much the entire rest of the league aside from the Packers come to think of it - to drop games they really should win.

Rams at 49ers: 49ers. Move along. Nothing else to see/say here.

Cowboys at Cardinals: It looks like the Cardinals actually did find their QB of the future. No, not Kevin Kolb - John Skelton. But I doubt it will be enough to get past the Cowboys. Well, this year anyway. Cowboys.

Packers at Giants: Packers. Annual Giants end of season slump. How many of those does Tom Coughlin get before he gets fired?

Lions at Saints: Saints. Who are pretty much unbeatable at home.

Chargers at Jaguars: Jack Del Rio got fired this week. Things have to be pretty damn bad for a head coach to get fired mid-season. Hell, Jim Caldwell still has a job. That's how bad things are in Jacksonville. The Chargers will pull out of their six game losing streak. Not that it will help them, since I'm pretty sure they can't leapfrog the Broncos AND the Raiders, and at the rate things are going, both AFC wildcard teams will come from the North. Chargers.



28 November 2011

2011 Week 12 Recap

Eagles v. Patriots, Sunday, November 27, 2011

Here's something to be thankful for: this season is almost over. Five more games until we can all pack it in and just relax and enjoy the playoffs, with nothing at stake. Well, nothing except rooting against the Cowboys, who will probably win the NFC East this year.

Stud of the week: Jason Avant. Lots of guys quit out there once the Birds were down 24-13. Avant never quit. Oh, and that (-->) photo? Avant held on to that pass. I know about a million people have remarked on this today, but I'm the million and first: if we could only transplant Avant's heart and toughness into DJax's body, #10 might be worth that top 5 receiver paycheck he so desperately wants.

That was one hell of a first quarter, wasn't it? Gorgeous first drive that included a beautiful long completion to Riley Cooper and Shady McCoy getting his 11th rushing TD of the season. And then a quick out for the Pats, followed by another nice Eagles drive for 3.

And that was pretty much the last good thing that happened in the entire game.

DeSean Jackson had a horrible night, dropping not one but two TD passes. You know, while the Eagles still had a prayer of being competitive. Well, not after giving away 14 points. It was so bad, Andy Reid benched him in the fourth quarter. The smart money says he's NOT an Eagle next year.

Vince Young had a great night personally, putting up a career high 400 yards through the air. But he couldn't get his team in to the end zone, and even when he did, his guys didn't focus and catch the damn ball and help him out. The fact that many of the passes he threw led receivers right into bone-crushing hits may have had something to do with that. 53 individuals, no team.

No one in green could tackle at all. Every time I start thinking the Eagles are solving their basic skills problems, they pull crap like what we saw yesterday. And they couldn't get a stop in the red zone to save their lives - or at least their playoff lives, which was exactly what was on the line yesterday. And we all knew going into the game that Gronkowski and Hernandez were going to present HUGE problems, given how poorly this team has handled tight ends all year. Yeah, that turned out pretty much as expected, with the two combining for over 120 yards and a TD.

LeSean McCoy never got the damn ball. The Pats were shredding the Birds' defense, those guys needed a rest, and it was pass-pass-pass and out time and again. TOM BRADY had almost as many yards and carries as Shady. TOM BRADY. Who is not exactly Tim Tebow, y'all.

Hell, Jim Washburn and Marty Mornhinweg got into a fight on the sidelines. Yes, that's how bad things are - the coaches are fighting on the sidelines.

Sloppy play, boneheaded mistakes, dumb penalties, inability to execute basic skill plays. In other words, the 2011 season in a nutshell. A really, really ugly nutshell.

Around the rest of the NFL...

Packer over Lions: OK, so I was wrong about the Pack losing to the Lions. Chef Spouse thinks that the Raiders have the best shot among the Packers' remaining opponents at messing up 16-0. But we're both in agreement that if the Pack does go undefeated in the regular season, we want them to win the Super Bowl, not least of which because it might make annoying Pats fans STFU. Also, someone needs to talk to Ndamukong Suh about calming down, at least a little. He'll have plenty of time to chat while he's on suspension.

Cowboys over Dolphins: The Cowboys beat a 3-7 team by one point. They're so going to embarrass the East in the playoffs this year. Sigh.

Ravens over 49ers: Well, I was right about one thing - David Akers did provide all the 49ers points. Unfortunately, that only amounted to 6, which isn't enough to beat anyone, even a Ravens team that's not exactly a scoring juggernaut. On the other hand, when your QB spends the entire game on his ass, you are not going to win many games.

So I was 1-2 on the Thanksgiving games. And then I went on a winning streak, going (so far) 11-1 with the rest of my picks. C'mon Saints!

Falcons over Vikings: Unsurprising. Once Christian Ponder gets a little more experience and Adrian Peterson gets healthy again, the Vikings could have the beginnings of a winning team. Well, they would if they weren't in the same division as the Packers.

Bengals over Browns: The Bengals needed a big play to seal the win, and they got it. That must be nice. Also, the Browns might want to see about getting themselves a new long snapper.

Panthers over Colts: And the Suck for Luck train keeps rolling in Indy.

Texans over Jaguars: The Texans are running out of QBs. When you have to ask, "Who's their QB of last resort?" you know you're in trouble. Good thing they about have the South wrapped, because I'm not sure how many more games they're going to be able to win. Football fans, I give you Kellen Clemens. Uh oh.

Jets over Bills: Told you Rex wouldn't let them drop another game. And while 6-5 is a lot better than 4-7, Jets fans, I feel your pain on the "huge disappointment" front. The Jets may very well get knocked out of the playoffs by the Broncos or the Bengals. Don't worry - you can watch the games with the Eagles. I hear Trent Cole barbeques a mean brisket.

Cardinals over Rams: Add Patrick Peterson to the list of guys you should never kick to.

Titans over Bucs: I really like Raheem Morris and Josh Freeman, and wish them well. But they gotta quit turning the ball over. And hey! Chris Johnson's back!

Raiders over Bears: Carson Palmer seems to have acclimated. Good thing Janikowski was on, too. The Bears are in trouble. You heard it here first.

Redskins over Seahawks: This is the ONE game on Sunday I called wrong. Who knew the Redskins would pick this week to stop sucking (briefly). Ah Rex Grossman, how you enjoy torturing people with flashes of competence, wrapped up in a package with dumb intentional grounding penalties and picks. Schizophrenic much?

Broncos over Chargers: I have to give John Fox credit for running what amounts to a college offense in order to play to the strengths of his QB. Tebow won't last long as a pro unless he learns how to throw from the pocket - he'll get too beat up - but in the meantime, the Broncos are winning games. And Norv Turner joins AR on the list of coaches who well might be in BIG trouble. In speculating where DeSean Jackson could end up next year, I'm thinking Chargers. He needs to go somewhere where the QB has a big arm, which Philip Rivers certainly does, and the Chargers could use someone to compliment Vincent Jackson. And DJax is from Cali.

Steelers over Chiefs: This game was a lot closer than I thought it would be. Of course, if you can't get in the endzone at all, it's pretty hard to win games. Ladies and gents, I give you Tyler Palko.


23 November 2011

2011 Week 12 Picks

Happy Thanksgiving y'all! Although I'm sure we'll all be watching lots of gridiron action tomorrow, I do hope you take time to count your blessings and hug your loved ones.

On to the picks.

The Patriots come to the Linc to take on the Eagles this week. Even when we all thought that Vince Young's "Dream Team" comment might have some validity, I had this one circled as a loss. And the Eagles have stunk at home this year. And Vick's still sidelined. I've never forgiven the Pats for Super Bowl 39. And I never will. Cheaters. This weekend's going to give me another reason to hate them.

Pats.

In the rest of the matchups:

Packers at Lions: Lions. Wait! Don't leave! Hear me out. I don't think the Packers will go undefeated - it's just too damn hard, no matter how amazing Aaron Rodgers is (how amazing? REALLY, REALLY amazing). Which means, aside from wrapping up the division early and resting guys, the most likely loss would be to a division rival, since we all know things can get wacky in divisional games. They have the Bears and Lions again to end the season, but both are at Lambeau. And with the loss of Cutler, the Bears are in trouble. The Packers one weakness is defense. They win by outscoring the hell out of the other team. But the Lions can put up points, too, and I just have a good feeling about them.

Dolphins at Cowboys: That's a nice little 3 game winning streak the Fins have going there, but unless the Cowboys inexplicably melt down (always a possibility) I just don't see them getting by. Cowboys.

49ers at Ravens: I'm doing it. I'm going west in the Harbaugh v. Harbaugh battle. 49ers. Even if David Akers has to score all their points for them.

Texans at Jags: The Texans are down to Matt Leinart. On the other hand, the Jags have only won 3 games. But! The Texans are #2 in rushing offense, and the Jags are middle of the pack in rushing D. If Matt Leinart just remembers "Hand off to Arian Foster!" things should still turn out OK for them. Texans.

Vikings at Falcons: Falcons. See below RE: Falcons are great at home and Adrian Peterson's gimpy.

Cardinals at Rams: Worst game of the week. Cards. Just because I have to give Fitz some love.

Panthers at Colts: If the Colts are going to win a game, this week is probably their best chance. So I'm predicting 0-16, since I'm calling Cam and the Cats.

Browns at Bengals: Both teams are on the rise, but I think the Bengals are further along the path. Look for them to bounce back from their loss to the Ravens last week with a big divisional win. Bengals.

Bills at Jets: Both of teams who, like the Eagles, had such high expectations pre/early season are reeling. And there are rumors that Mark Sanchez might be benched in favor of Mark Brunell (really? Mark Brunell? guess so). But I just can't see Rex Ryan suffering another loss. Not without bursting into flame. I'm calling Jets, but someone should probably keep a fire extinguisher handy.

Buccaneers at Titans: Matt Hasselbeck is fine, and the Titans should be, too. Titans.

Redskins at Seahawks: The Skins always show up for Dallas, but I don't necessarily expect that again this season. Seahawks.

Bears at Raiders: See above re: the Bears being in trouble. Chad Caleb Hanie (d'oh!). They even tried to get Kyle Orton back. Ouch. Raiders.

Broncos at Chargers: I may be insane, but I'm calling the Broncos. The Chargers seem to be falling apart extra early this year, and Tim Tebow seems to have some kind of magical elixir that allows him to win games there's NO WAY he should. Hence: Broncos.

(The way I'm picking, this week is either the week I break out of the middle of the pack in my office pool to challenge for second place (the guy who's in first is so far ahead none of us will be able to catch him unless he opts out one week), or the week I blow it. If you're betting, I'd put money on "blow it.")

Steelers at Chiefs: So the Chiefs managed to snag Orton. Won't matter. They're toast. Steelers.

Giants at Saints: Who dat! Geaux Saints! Which will leave the Cowboys in sole possession of first place, but at this point, given schedules, they look most likely to win the NFC East anyway. Fortunately, they'll probably make their typical early exit from the playoffs, so I can go on to root for the Packers in peace.



21 November 2011

2011 Week 11 Recap

Eagles at Giants, Sunday, November 20, 2011

Stud of the week: As hard as it is to go with the guy who threw THREE picks (thank God the Giants couldn't seem to capitalize), I have to give it to Vince Young, since he also engineered a nearly 9 minute drive in which he converted I think four third downs that ended when he tossed what turned out to be the winning TD to Riley Cooper (who also had a really good day, despite the fact that he hadn't caught a pass yet this year prior to last night). Shout-out to Jason Babin, too, for the strip sack of Eli Manning that ended their last scoring chance last night.

So I was watching the game alone, with Chef Spouse in Pittsburgh after an afternoon spent talking business with a bunch of smart association peeps and keeping one eye on the games. And I was honestly kind of half watching it because I was expecting to be disappointed/pissed off and really didn't want to not be able to sleep last night.

So here's what I remember:

The Giants couldn't do shit offensively. Their o-line was made of #FIAL - couldn't open holes for the run game, couldn't protect Eli. The Eagles defensive front, on the other hand, was made of "WE WILL F YOU UP!" Where have those guys been for the past 3 months?

The Giants receivers were also made of #FIAL. I was constantly astonished at their inability to catch ANYTHING. Not every pass was perfect, but it wasn't Eli's fault he was 18 for 35 last night.

The Eagles o-line, on the other hand, did a great job. Vince Young stayed clean. I had a conversation about this with...someone the other day. There is the issue that the Eagles' o-line is young and they've been being shuffled around all season and whatnot. But it's a lot harder to protect a QB who's running all over the place than it is to keep a clean pocket for a guy who's inclined to stay in it. And/or the line's finally coming together.

Down both Vick and Maclin, it seemed to me like Marty and Andy slimmed down the offensive playbook a bit for the game. Yeah, dumping the trick plays and 60 yard bombs for the rest of the season might be a good way to go.

DJax will not be an Eagle next year. You heard it here first. The FO might franchise tag him so they can trade him, or they might just let him walk. But the idiot who hands a 50 yard gain back in exchange for some childish showboating not only isn't going to get Fitz money, he isn't worth it.

LeSean McCoy, on the other hand, is. I'm bummed that he didn't get a TD last night, so the streak ends at nine games, but I think he's gotten to 1000 yards maybe the fastest of any RB in Eagles history? Well, at least recent history.

And the guys FINALLY didn't GIVE AWAY a lead in the fourth quarter. I cannot get over how magic that final drive was. Every time the team was looking at third down, I kept thinking: "Here we go. They won't convert, they'll punt, and the Giants will waltz down the field to score the winning TD, leaving us 53 seconds or something ridiculous to try to tie. Which, of course, we won't." Except when I was thinking: "Here we go. They won't convert, they'll kick the field goal, and the Giants will waltz down the field to score the winning TD, leaving us 53 seconds or something ridiculous to try to win. Which, of course, we won't." You know, later in the drive. I didn't believe in a nine minute drive leading to the winning TD until it happened. And I saw the replay. Twice.

This team is just maddening this year. We see flashes of competence all the time, and flashes of brilliance more than occasionally. Unfortunately, those flashes generally end up doused by whole stretches of complete boneheadedness.  I know no teams seem to be playing consistently this year (well, other than the Packers and the 49ers), but this is ridiculous. Just when I'd given up on this season, they'll pull me back in. But last night, to quote Berman, they played as a team. And they won.

Oh, and you know that whole thing about a QB controversy being the only catastrophe the Eagles had so far managed to avoid I mentioned in the picks? Yeah, looks like Vince Young might be starting against the Pats next week. If he reels off another win, boom, QB controversy. Mark my words.

Around the rest of the NFL...

I did better with my picks this week. Well, at least a little.

Broncos over Jets: "All he does is win games." Tim Tebow, that is. Who seems to be able to play like garbage for 45+ minutes and then figure out how to win in the last quarter. I don't know - maybe all those Broncos fans who paid for the billboards and whatnot were right. Are we seeing a reversion to a less QB-centric type of football? Too early to tell, but Tebow's won 4 out of the last 5.

Ravens over Bengals: I was so sure the Bengals would pull off the upset win. Next year my ginger friend Andy Dalton becomes a factor. Trust.

Browns over Jaguars: Despite the fact that the Browns' kicker missed ANOTHER totally makeable field goal, the Browns hung on for a win. Yes, the Jags are THAT bad.

Lions over Panthers: The first half? All Panthers. The second half? All Lions, including scoring the final 14 points of the game in about 20 seconds. Also, apparently, both defenses actually went to Bank of America stadium by accident.

Packers over Buccaneers: Well, sure, although it was a lot closer than I thought it would be. Do you think the Pack will go undefeated? Aaron Rodgers looks pretty unstoppable, but their D is a little suspect. The Lions are all about the shoot-out. That Thanksgiving day game is looking pretty interesting.

Dolphins over Bills: Was it only two months ago that the Bills beat the Patriots? They peaked too early, and they've had so many injuries, I think they had to get the oil changed on the cart.

Raiders over Vikings: And with Adrian Peterson injured, things just keep getting worse for the Vikings. Meanwhile, Hue Jackson is attempting to read the zebras the riot act. I didn't see the game, so I can't offer my own opinion as to whether or not the gazillion personal foul penalties the Raiders drew were justified or not. In the Raiders' defense, the officials are, at least sometimes, calling games really tight. For the prosecution, though, this is the Raiders we're talking about.

Cowboys over Redskins: Even though the Cowboys and the Redskins are very much headed in opposite directions at this point in the season, this was a great game. With the Cowboys having won the last 6 out of 7, Dallas week here in DC isn't what it once was, but the Redskins brought their A game and gave the 'Boys a run for their money.

49ers over Cardinals: Well, yes. Is there any chance the 49ers don't win the NFC West? Nope. Ex-Navy Cheesehead knew - Jim Harbaugh would turn that team around.

Seahawks over Rams: Not sure why I thought the Rams would win this, other than the fact that they beat the Browns last week. Which probably shouldn't be considered indicative of, well, anything.

Falcons over Titans: Again, well, yes.

Bears over Chargers: The Bears might've won their last game this year, with Jay Cutler out for the rest of the season with the broken thumb. Well, maybe not - looking ahead, they have the Raiders, the Chiefs, the Broncos, the Seahawks, the Packers and the Vikings. Even with Caleb Hanie under center, they should be able to knock off three of those teams. Ah, but which three?

And right now we're watching the Chiefs at the Patriots. Apparently, SportsBlogNation's Chiefs bloggers saw that I picked the Pats and was not terribly sanguine about Tyler Palko's chances tonight, and they WERE NOT HAPPY. Ooooo-kay.


15 November 2011

2011 Week 11 Picks

I'm writing this while watching "The Top 10 Things We Love About the Giants-Eagles Rivalry."

Some great memories - Randall Cunningham's acrobatics, Chuck Bednarik's famous hit on Frank Gifford, Runyan versus Strahan, Brian Westbrook burning the Giants A LOT, Osi Umenyiora pretty much decimating DMac - good times. Even the clips from losses. Good rivalry.

This weekend will NOT be good times. This week, the Eagles travel to New Jersey to take on the Giants in prime time. You know, when the NFL schedulers put together all these prime time games for the Eagles, I'm guessing they were expecting more from the team.

Heh.

So was I.

Remember the last time the Eagles played at the New Meadowlands (or whatever the hell they're calling it now)? The Miracle at the New Meadowlands? Where I was there? Trying to avoid getting murdered by the angry Giants fans?

Yeah, this game is going to be the exact opposite of that game.

Well, actually, this game will probably be EXACTLY like the first 52 minutes of that game, in which the Giants kicked the Eagles asses all over the damn field.

It'll be the exact opposite of the final 8 minutes of that game, when suddenly every last single thing went precisely the Eagles way. Not much is going the Eagles way this year.

And it just got worse. Two words for you: Vince Young.

I think it was the Bleeding Green Nation tweet stream that pointed out that, with the way things have been going, Vince Young will probably play great and produce a win, leading to the only bad news the team has so far managed to avoid this year: a QB controversy.

While that would be ironic, I don't think it's going to happen. I also don't think the Eagles stand a chance.

Giants.

(As an aside, have you heard the news about Victor Cruz's birthday party? What is it with the Giants and shootings?)

In the rest of the matchups:

Jets at Broncos: Jets. I think. The whole damn league is so screwy this year, who knows? But I really do think the Jets are the better team. Then again, TEBOW! Am I talking myself out of this? No - Jets. Even without LT. I think.

Raiders at Vikings: Raiders. Chef Spouse and I were talking about who we see going into the playoffs now (as opposed to back in late August, when I made my typically "what was I smoking?" picks), and I think the Raiders could win the West this year. Poor Jason Campbell. He seems like such a nice guy, and he just can't catch a break.

Bills at Dolphins: Bills. I know they're coming off a bad loss and the Fins are coming off a big win, but the Fins beat the Redskins. That hardly counts.

Jaguars at Browns: Browns. I know they have the same record and all, but I have a good feeling about the Browns.

Cowboys at Redskins: Cowboys. Thank God for the Redskins. They're what's keeping the Eagles from being the dregs of the NFC East.

Buccaneers at Packers: Someone might beat the Pack this season, but it's not going to be the Bucs. Packers.

Panthers at Lions: Lions. Things have been a little up and down for them, but come on. They aren't going to lose to the 2-7 Panthers.

Bengals at Ravens: Call me crazy, but Bengals. The Ravens are so inconsistent this year, they're making my head spin, and meanwhile, the Bengals are a team on the rise.

Titans at Falcons: Falcons. Who are having their own struggles this year, but are still pretty tough to beat at home.

Cardinals at 49ers: 49ers. Who I think are going to face the Packers in the NFC Championship game this year.

Seahawks at Rams: Rams, in my upset pick of the week. It's not as crazy at it sounds - they've won two of their last three, and the Seahawks tend to have trouble on the road.

Chargers at Bears: Bears. Who are looking damn fierce at this point. When did Jay Cutler become a decent QB? Maybe with Devin Hester, Matt Forte, Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs on his team, it doesn't really matter.

Chiefs at Patriots: Pats. Just when the Chiefs start to turn it around, Matt Cassel goes down. I don't even know who Tyler Palko is...wow, just checked the stats. He's been in the league four years, and is 9 for 13. Lifetime. That's not 9 games won out of 13 played. That's 9 passes completed out of 13 thrown. Lifetime. Just had to say that again.

On bye: (and this really is the final week of byes, after a bye week for byes) Colts, Saints, Steelers, Texans


14 November 2011

2011 Week 10 Recap

Eagles v. Cardinals, Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hear that? It's the Fat Lady singing. Steve Mariucci may not think so, but I say stick a fork in them - they're done.

Stud of the Week: LeSean McCoy, again, who might as well retire the category since he's been the only bright light in an otherwise dismal season. Sunday, he broke Steve van Buren's consecutive games with a TD at 9. Which also also pretty much the only bright spot in the game. Well, other than Asante's pick 6. And where has THAT been for the past nine weeks?

Thank goodness I had some stuff that absolutely, positively had to get done, so I was only half watching the game. If I'd devoted full attention, I probably would've been up on the roof threatening to throw myself off by the time it became apparent that the Eagles were going to blow another fourth quarter lead - you know, at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

I had no problem with Andy's benching of DeSean Jackson, who seems to have mentally checked out (along with most of the rest of the team). Apparently, this was far from a first offense. I'd even advise threatening to trade Jackson to Arizona as punishment if it weren't for the fact that, since they just punked the Eagles yesterday, that means a trade would probably be seen as a reward.

Nobody seems to care - one of the commenters on BGN pointed out that in previous years, when one part of the team was struggling, the rest were there to pick up the slack. This year, nobody seems to have anyone's back. Offense was sputtering, Vick was struggling, when receivers got the ball, they dropped it or went down one yard shy of the first down on 3rd and 20 (looking at you Steve Smith - and you really should be traded. To the Colts. Bring back Chad Hall!). The defense once again blew a fourth quarter lead. Yes, it's historic - the first time a team has blown four fourth quarter leads at home EVER. Also the first time a team has blown five fourth quarter leads in nine games EVER. Historically bad. Awesome! In the way that's totally not!

I have to quote Tommy Lawlor from IgglesBlitz: "This team has the talent to be an efficient, ball control offense, but turnovers kill that.  We have a Red Zone turnover in all but one game this year.  To me, that is the shocking stat of the season.  Settling for FGs isn’t ideal, but you can’t turn the ball over.  That’s a sure way to kill your chances to win.  Go back and add a FG to each of the Eagles games and think about how that might have changed things."

Oh and on Vick's struggles with accuracy? Broken ribs. Great. Let's all just picture, for a moment, Vince Young under center against the Giants. In prime time.

Ugh.

Let's not.

Remember the historic game when DMac broke his ankle and threw for 4 TDs, with the O line basically carrying him to and from the huddle? Yeah, with this bunch, he'd probably be on his own and lucky if none of his teammates accidentally-on-purpose kicked him in the bum ankle.

And why was a ROOKIE SAFETY (Jaiquawn Jarrett) assigned to cover LARRY FITZGERALD one on one? Who thought that was a good idea?

This is like 2005 all over again, only worse. The 2011 Eagles can't use "injury" as an excuse. Plus, at least those guys (in 2005) tried.

I guess we should've all seen this coming after all these years of watching the Skins blow it. These guys aren't a team, they're a bunch of rich, spoiled assholes who are just collecting paychecks.

Oh well, at least I got to watch my secret wide receiver boyfriend Larry Fitzgerald for 3 solid hours. Best butt in football.

In the rest of the matchups... assuming the Pack wins tonight (looking pretty likely here at the end of the first quarter), Chef Spouse will be 7-9 for the week. Which is good enough to win the division in the NFC West and to tie him for the lead at my office pool this week. Yep, that is EXACTLY how weird things have been this season. Our perennial winner office pool winner only got 4 this week.

Raiders over Chargers: I would say "I can't figure out the AFC West this year," except it seems like I can't figure out ANY of the divisions. I guess Carson Palmer's starting to figure things out.

Saints over Falcons: Solid divisional win on the road. Who dat! Mike Smith is taking shit for opting to go for it on fourth down in OT - unsuccessfully of course - but I think he figured the Falcons would NOT get the ball back, and had it worked, everyone would've been calling him a genius. I don't fault him.

Titans over Panthers: Yowza. Three points from the Panthers. Good defensive effort from the Titans.

Steelers over Bengals: Looks like Chef Spouse was right - the Steelers were pissed about dropping two games to the Ravens. The Steelers got a solid defensive performance, too, picking off rookie Andy Dalton twice in the fourth quarter. But mark my words - Dalton is the real deal.

Rams over Browns: Who misses a 22 yard field goal that would've won the game? Seriously?

Cowboys over Bills: Sigh.

Jaguars over Colts: If the Colts were going to win a game this year, this one would've been it. Guess they're winning the Suck for Luck sweepstakes.

Broncos over Chiefs: I know you've already heard this a million times if you've watched any football coverage in the last 24 hours, but how can a QB throw only 8 times and complete only 2 passes and still win the damn game? WTF?

Dolphins over Redskins: About a week ago, I advised Cool Web Dude (who, you may remember, is a Skins season ticket holder) to jump on the Packers' bandwagon as an alternative. Wonder if there's room for me?

Texans over Buccaneers: Go Texans! Former Team of Destiny is making good! Well, until Matt Schaub got hurt. The Matt Leinart era is about to begin in Houston. Which is probably not a good thing.

Seahawks over Ravens: In fairness, this truly is one where the Ravens lost more than the Seahawks won. The Ravens did everything they could to hand the game over other than pulling their D. Of course, I didn't actually watch the game. They didn't pull the D, did they? Can NO ONE play consistently this year? You know, other than the Packers?

Bears over Lions: Speaking of inability to play consistently...you're not gonna win games throwing four picks, son. Should I not feel as bad about the loss the Bears last week because of this? Nah...still sucks. Also, a Public Service Announcement: DO NOT KICK TO DEVIN HESTER.

49ers over Giants: Has anyone else noticed that David Akers is ON FIRE this year? I miss you, #2.

Pats over Jets: For, like, a minute, the Jets looked like they might be in this game. Then there was the other 59 minutes.


10 November 2011

2011 Week 10 Picks

I did such a bad job with my picks last week, that this week I've turned making the picks over to Chef Spouse. If he blows it, too, next week, I'm letting the cat make the picks.

Cardinals at Eagles: Eagles (homer!) but he did pick the Eagles to beat the Bears, so this pick might be suspect. Hell, they ALL might be suspect.

Raiders at Chargers: GAH! Thursday night football already! Have I mentioned how much this screws up my weekly schedule (only about 1000 times)? Oh NFL Network, I wish I could quit you. Anyway, Chef Spouse has the Chargers. "All their losses have been close, and 28-0 loss to the Chiefs means the Raiders have major flaws."

Bills at Cowboys: Bills. "It is a moral imperative. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I would beat the Cowboys (with a bat) for them. Or for anyone, really."

Titans at Panthers: Panthers. Chef Spouse likes Cam Newton, and has "faith in the future."

Steelers at Bengals: Steelers. "Because they're pissed." (This logic seems suspect to me, but hey, it was my decision to turn over the reins this week.)

Broncos at Chiefs: Chiefs. "Tebow flounders after big win over the Raiders."

Lions at Bears: Lions. Chef Spouse claims that he actually thinks the Lions are better, and that this has nothing to do with residual anger at the Bears. OOooooo-kay.

Redskins at Dolphins: Dolphins. Because "we're in the midst of the annual Redskins death spiral."

Rams at Browns: Browns.  "Records don't lie." At least not by week 10.

Saints at Falcons: Saints. Who dat!

Jaguars at Colts: "All the Jags against just Peyton Manning? Colts. Jags versus Manning-less Colts? Jags."

Texans at Buccaneers: Texans. "This is the year for the Texans - they'll win the division. Mark my words."

Ravens at Seahawks: Ravens. "Please. The Seahawks have NO chance. NONE."

Giants at 49ers: 49ers. Chef Spouse is still hoping the Eagles make the playoffs. Also, he still misses his boy David Akers.

Patriots at Jets: Jets. "Off momentum, plus it's hard to sweep a team in your division. Unless that team is the Colts...this year."

Vikings at Packers: Packers. "Juggernaut. The Packers know the Vikings, and they aren't going to lose against a rookie QB at home now."


08 November 2011

2011 Week 9 Recap

Eagles v. Bears, Monday, November 7, 2011

"They are who we thought they were." Not the Bears, of course. I didn't have a strong opinion of the Bears prior to last night, other than:

"Matt Forte or LeSean McCoy - who's harder to stop?"

and

"Brian Urlacher is a really good linebacker. I wonder what it's like to have a really good linebacker? That must be nice."

No, I'm talking about the Eagles.

I quote Tommy Lawlor: "There is something off with this team." 

Stud of the Week: I was going to go with Brent Celek for a little variety. Then Shady tied Steve van Buren's record for consecutive games with a touchdown. So once again, Shady wins Stud of the Week. He's my secret running back boyfriend.

And there were some other high points. Other than the bone headed play of not getting out of bounds at the end of the half, Brent Celek had a great game. And special teams did a great job preventing ANY big returns from Devin Hester. Which is REALLY REALLY hard.

But it wasn't enough.

The Eagles had the same old problem: an inability to play a complete game in all three phases for four quarters.

The defense was able to shut down Matt Forte, for two quarters.

The offense had a real spark, for two quarters.

And then...turnovers.

Mike Vick's pick in the red zone was bad. DeSean Jackson's punt fumble inside the ten was worse.

And then...dumb penalties.

The roughing the passer call that Jason Babin drew? Possibly a bad call, understandable, but it gave the Bears 4 points. The Nnamdi Asomugha pass interference call? One could argue that it just delayed the TD, since if he hadn't interfered, Johnny Knox only had daylight ahead of him, but aren't the Eagles paying him big bucks NOT to get beat one on one?

...

Yeah, the much vaunted defensive secondary pretty much made  Jay "Pick" Culter look like Peyton Manning.

Oh, and DeSean? Celebrating after your ONE catch that led to a first down? That's not the way to earn yourself a fat contract, in Philly or anywhere else.

Once again, the Eagles got down early, pulled ahead, and then gave up 13 unanswered points to lose the game. The only variable in that equation? The fact that it was 13 points.

The thing is, I knew the Eagles were dead when punter Chas Henry couldn't hit a wide open Colt Anderson on the fake punt.  My 8 year old niece has a bigger cannon than that. Right call - ATROCIOUS execution.

It's still mathematically possible for the Birds to make the playoffs, but they're basically going to have to win ALL their remaining games. Hear that sound? It's hope dying.

So we can all watch the rest of the games like Redskins fans, for entertainment value only.

After all that, though, the most horrifying image of the evening, the one that's seared into my brain until the day I die, is Big Red in shorts with Gruden during the Monday Night Countdown coach's interview.

Speaking of, are Gruden and Lance Briggs dating? I do not know, but there are unconfirmed reports that Chuckie left a mash note in Briggs' locker.

Around the rest of the NFL...I got KILLED in my picks.

Jets over Bills: WRONG. Damn, Bills, don't do me like that.

Cowboys over Seahawks: OK, I got this one, but so did EVERYBODY.

Texans over Browns: wOOt! Team of Destiny emeritus! (I did get this one, too.)

Falcons over Colts: Again, everyone, including me, called this. DeMatha could play the Colts and win at this point.

Dolphins over Chiefs: WRONG wrongy WRONG. NOW the Fins decide to start winning (literally now - 1 game winning streak). Thanks for nothing.

Saints over Bucs: Got this one, but the Saints are pretty much impossible to beat in the Superdome (no, I will NOT call it the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, just like it's National Airport, not Ronald Reagan National Airport).

49ers over Redskins: OK, everyone - other than all the people who live near me - had this one, too.

Broncos over Raiders: Muffed this one, too. Told you I had a bad week. Carson Palmer has lost two games with the Raiders. It would be three if they hadn't had a bye in between.

Bengals over Titans: I had this one, too. Redheads of the world unite!

Cardinals over Rams: Wrong. Again. Two rookies - QB John Skelton and special teams player Patrick Peterson - sealed the win. K2's career as a starter could be short if Skelton can keep winning.

Giants over Patriots: Wrong. First Super Bowl 44, then 2011 season week 9. Do the Giants have the Pats' number? Yes, and it's called "We have NO defense to speak of. Kthxbai."

Packers over Chargers: I got this one. And apparently both teams' defense got waylaid in the Gaslamp District and didn't bother to show up.

Ravens over Steelers: Wrong. When was the last time the Ravens swept the Steelers in a season? Has that EVER happened? You know, with my Eagles struggling, I'm looking for a bandwagon to jump on. Not for the season, mind you. I'll still root for my Birds with all my heart. But I do need a playoff team, since it ain't gonna be the Eagles. Maybe Ravens? Nah...Packers!


03 November 2011

Sunday Schedule: Sunday, November 6, 2011

This week, the Eagles play their second prime time game in a row, hosting the Bears on Monday Night Football. But never fear! We'll still be watching football on Sunday.

1 pm: Seahawks/Cowboys, with 49ers/Redskins (which I'm guessing won't be a very good game) on the computer

4 pm: Giants/Pats, with Packers/Chargers on the side (also not likely to be a very good game)

SNF: Ravens at Steelers, baby! That *is* going to be a good game.

Chef Spouse is feeling ham, scalloped potatoes, and French cut green beans this weekend. Bring something to go with (maybe some wine?).


02 November 2011

2011 Week 9 Picks

This week, the Eagles will face the Bears on Monday Night Football. Two prime time games in a row! YAY, but also some of us have DAY JOBS y'all!

I have to admit, in the McNabb era, I tended to worry about night games. If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know I have always been a huge Big5 fan. But DMac was often not as his best in the prime time games. Maybe it was the pressure. Maybe he's a morning person. I don't know. What I do know is that night games left me nervous.

Add to that Matt Forte. The Eagles have the #19 ranked run defense. Somehow, I think the #19 ranked run defense is going to have some problems with Matt Forte.

Add to that Devin Hester. And a rookie punter and place kicker, neither of which has been what I'd call "consistent" so far this year. We can all yell "DON'T KICK TO DEVIN HESTER!" all the live-long day to the TV, but I'm not confident of either Henry or Henery's ability not to do just that.

On the other hand, the offense seems to be coming together. Defensive coordinators can decide to take away the outside/big play receivers. Or they can decide to take away the short/across the middle plays. Or they can decide to shut down the Eagles run game. Or they can decide to try to keep Mike Vick in the pocket and/or harass him all day. They can't pick "all of the above," at least not with only 11 guys. And if the team can continue to limit turnovers on offense (knock wood), it's pretty damn hard to keep them from scoring.

Meanwhile, it seems like Juan Castillo might finally be learning his job. Or he's shuffled the guys into the right positions. Or everybody went to Remedial Tackling classes. Or all of the above.

I don't think it's going to be a waltz like last week's win over the Cowboys, but I do think the Eagles will pull this one out.

In the rest of the matchups:

Jets at Bills: Interesting AFC East matchup. The Jets are coming off their bye, which, at least in Bleeding Green Nation, always equals "win." The Bills are coming off spanking the Redskins, which to me, screams trap game. The entire league is topsy-turvy this year. Which to me says Bills.

Seahawks at Cowboys: The Cowboys better win this one at home, otherwise I'm pretty sure they should all plan to leave town. Immediately. Like 4:08 pm Sunday afternoon. Cowboys.

Browns at Texans: Gotta go with my Texans! Team of Destiny Emeritus!

Colts at Falcons: And the suck rolls on into Atlanta. Falcons.

Dolphins at Chiefs: After what both teams showed me last week, I have to go with the Chiefs. Which clearly means the Dolphins will finally pull it together, right?

Bucs at Saints: The Saints HAVE to be pissed after last week, and I can't see them dropping a divisional game at home, even with Sean Payton up in the press box. Saints.

49ers at Redskins: I'm officially on the bandwagon. Also, the Redskins have literally run out of offensive players. 49ers.

Broncos at Raiders: That bye week came just in time, but in the battle of Tim Tebow and Carson Palmer, I have to go with "which team has a better ground game?" That would be the Raiders.

Bengals at Titans: The Bengals, under rookie QB (and fellow ginger) Andy Dalton are surging. The Titans are right in there, too, for AFC South. This is a tough call, as neither offense is exactly lighting it up. I think I'm going to have to go with the #4 ranked Bengals defense.

Rams at Cardinals: Ugh. Look away! Cards? Rams? Who cares? If forced to pick - which I am, by the office pool - I'll go with Rams. Under protest. That this game is even being broadcast.

Giants at Patriots: Hm, speaking of teams that have to be pissed after last week..yeah, Giants, to quote Inside the Iggles, "good luck with that." Pats.

Packers at Chargers: Is it even fair to make other teams play the Pack this year? Do the Chargers have a prayer? No to both. Packers.

Ravens at Steelers: I can't see the Steelers losing to the Ravens twice in one season, particularly not at home. Steelers.

On bye: Last week! Jaguars, Lions, Panthers, Vikings

Edited to add: NOT last week. What's with the skip week on byes, NFL?



31 October 2011

2011 Week 8 Recap

Eagles v. Cowboys, Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Halloween! Of course, this week's recap will be the annual trick-or-treat edition, as I write in my witch costume jumping up to answer the doorbell while waiting for MNF to start.

In attendance: Just Shoegal, Chef Spouse and me - SNF games are tough on people who have to go to work in the morning.

Menu: homemade butternut squash ravioli with butter sage sauce, salad, yummy treats from Shoegal

Stud: Shady McCoy, of course, who pretty much OWNS this category this year. I've already asked Santa to bring me his jersey for Christmas. Could he be any more awesome? I don't think so. To recap: 185 yards on the ground on 30 carries and two TDs, plus another 15 yards through the air. The second coming of BWest? You know it.

Since we're all thinking it, I'll go ahead and say it: "Where the HELL have these guys been for the past 6 weeks?" I'm glad they finally decided to show up, but seriously, I was expecting them in week 2, not week 8. Better late than never.

OK, sure, a bunch of new guys on the field and pretty much an entirely new coaching staff are going to take come time to gel. Seven weeks, to be precise.

Are the Eagles becoming a team that can run the ball and shut teams down on defense? Because that would be an interesting switch to the Andy Reid playbook. The thing I loved most last night was seeing the long drives sustained by nice runs and short passes over the middle. Dictionary west coast offense. Those were some BIG holes the offensive line was creating. Andy Reid could have run through those holes himself. Hell, he probably could've driven the team bus through them. What made it even sweeter is that the Cowboys came in with one of the top ranked run defenses in the league.

Clearly Rob Ryan game planned to take away DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, and in that, he was pretty successful. Maclin and DJax had 3 catches each, for 54 and 31 yards respectively. The thing is, if you're going to put all your guys on those two, that leaves Jason "Hands" Avant, Brent Celek and Clay Harbor to run free in the middle of the field. Now throwing across the middle is not the easiest thing for the relatively short (at 6 feet on the nose) Mike Vick. Then again, the o-line gave him such a nice clean pocket all night long, he could drop back as far as he needed to.

And on D, it seems like I may owe Juan Castillo an apology. It wasn't showy - it wasn't like there were a zillion picks and sacks (1 and 4) - but the Cowboys were just totally out of sorts all night long. They only had 12 first downs, and, if I recall correctly, only THREE in the entire first half. The Eagles D was getting off the field and only made one mistake all night long (Kurt Coleman got a little over excited), allowing the only Cowboys' score, in scut time (aka "the entire 4th quarter").

Oh, and did I mention? No turnovers. THAT was a treat. Big time.

THIS is what we were expecting 6 weeks ago. Hopefully, the guys can keep it up. Because the team that played LAST night looks pretty damn unstoppable.

Around the rest of the league:

Ravens over Cardinals: The Cardinals jumped out to a treat of an early lead, but the Ravens had a trick for them, to the tune of 24 (?) unanswered points, to win the game.

Vikings over Panthers: Cam Newton sure is a treat (on the eyes, too), but those tricky Vikings forced two fumbles, got a great day out of Adrian Peterson, and, ultimately, got a treat of a field goal out of the aptly-named Ryan Longwell to sneak a 3 point win.

Texans over Jags: No tricks here, only another treat of a day from Arian Foster.

Giants over Dolphins: The Dolphins almost tricked the Giants into a trap game, but ultimately, the Giants pulled out a win. No treats here - sooner or later (probably sooner) Tony Sparano is going to be fired.

Rams over Saints: Raise your hand if you picked this one. (crickets) The Rams treated their fans to a fantastic end to a fantastic week. Not only did the Rams get their first win, it was over the mighty Saints not some sad-sack team like the Colts. It's a great week to be a sports fan in the S-T-L.

Titans over Colts: I wonder if the Colts are being tricky to Suck for Luck? It's a treat to see the AFC South up for grabs this year.

Bills over Redskins: OMG, someone needs to talk Redskins fans down off the ledge. The Bills are a treat this year, as was Ryan Fitzpatrick's contract extension, and they sure tricked Mike and Kyle Shanahan, shut out for the first time EVER. Guess "The System" isn't looking so tricky these days, is it, Shanny?

Lions over Broncos: Told you the Lions would pull it back together! Tim Tebow might not be quite the treat Broncos think he is, but the Lions D had a treat or two of their own ready to go, registering seven sacks.

Steelers over Pats: The Steelers, who looked pretty soft early on, seem to be returning to their usual tricky form. It was a real treat to watch them frustrate Tom Brady all afternoon. And that tricky Troy Polamalu managed a real treat of a play in punching the Brady fumble into the endzone for a safety.

Bengals over Seahawks: Andy Dalton looks a treat in Cincy, and the Seahawks...well, people in Seattle should wish this is a trick. Congratulations to Marvin Lewis, now the winningest coach in Bengals history

49ers over Browns:  Was Alex Smith just tricking us all this time, or did he just need Jim Harbaugh to treat us to some good play? Of course, Frank Gore's treat of 134 yards and a TD didn't hurt.