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?