29 November 2012

2012 Week 13 Picks

And the agony that is the Philadelphia Eagles 2012 season continues. Who will they lose to this week? Only the Cowboys in Dallas.

Now none of us enjoys it when our team loses, but I hate losing to the Cowboys more than I hate ugly shoes and cheap booze. So a lot.

Will that matter a bit?

Nope.

At least it's our annual pre-big association technology conference football party, so I'll have lots of friends and colleagues around to distract me from Teh Suck that will go down starting around 8:21 pm Sunday night.

Even worse?

Losing divisional games is a special kind of hell, and that's exactly what the Eagles face over three of the next five weeks.

I should've known that winning all four pre-season games this year was a sign of impending doom.

In the rest of the matchups:

Saints at Falcons: Grudge match on Thursday Night Football! If you're not a Falcons or Saints fan, you might not realize, but this is a HUGE rivalry. Like Any NFC East Team Who's Not the Cowboys - Cowboys level rivalry. And both teams are hot right now. In other words, if you mostly haven't been bothering to watch Thursday Night Football, this is the week to take the plunge. Also, Falcons. Game should be close, but I gotta go with homefield here.

Jaguars at Bills: Bills. The Jags are Eagles-level bad this year.

Seahawks at Bears: The Bears hold a one game lead in the NFC North. The Seahawks are clinging to a current sixth seed. The Seahakws need the win big-time, but Cutler's back, the Bears are at home, and I just don't see it happening. Bears.

Colts at Lions: They're playing in Detroit, and the Lions have to be pissed after last week's "this time it REALLY IS entirely the fault of the head coach" loss. It's a little nuts, but I'm going with the 4-7 Lions over the 7-4 Colts as my upset pick.

Vikings at Packers: Packers. They don't lose at home in December to a dome team.

Panthers at Chiefs: Ugh. Worst Game of the Week. Other, of course, than Eagles at Cowboys. I've got the Chiefs by a nose because, again, homefield.

Patriots at Dolphins: Dolphins. SIKE! That was a nice win over the Seahawks last week, but come on! Pats.

Cardinals at Jets: Even records. Statistically, the Cards are a better team. But they haven't won since Kevin Kolb went down. Then again, when's the last time Ryan Lindley basically tackled himself and gave up a pick 6? I'm going Cards on the strength of their D and the Jets complete lack of a competent QB.

49ers at Rams: 49ers, and put me down as totally on the Kaepernick bandwagon!

Texans at Titans: Texans.

Buccaneers at Broncos: The Bucs are coming into this game hot, but Peyton Manning's hotter.  Well, at least his arm. Peyton himself is pretty goofy looking. Broncos.

Steelers at Ravens: If Big Ben doesn't play, the Steelers are toast, and dropping to 6-6 won't help their playoff chances any, either. If he does play, I think they take the Ravens. So my conditional pick is the Steelers (since right now, it looks like Ben will play Sunday), but I reserve the right to change my mind.

Browns at Raiders: I've got the Raiders. Both teams, of course, are terrible. But the Raiders are (say it with me, folks) at home.

Bengals at Chargers: I'm going Bengals, who are in the thick of fighting for a playoff spot, while the Chargers, like the Eagles are basically done for the year. In other news, Norv Turner will be one of the other casualties of Black Monday, mark my words.

Giants at Redskins: The Giants should win this one. But I'm an RG3 believer. Redskins. Also, much better way to end week 13 than week 12, NFL honchos.

Oh, and if you haven't been following the hilarious fake NFL Quarterback Facebook Smackdowns, what are you waiting for?


27 November 2012

Futility

Thy name is "2012 Eagles."

Eagles v. Panthers, Monday, November 26, 2012

Stud of the week: Bryce Brown. Yes, he had two fumbles. But he also scored the Birds only two TDs and broke the rookie rushing record. Hey, the pickin's are pretty slim these days, y'all.

I was out last night, as was Chef Spouse. So, with neither of us knowing exactly when we'd get home, we set the game to record. I got in the door just as the game was starting.

You know how, when it's two teams that aren't very good and aren't even in your conference, like maybe Jaguars versus Chiefs, but you think "Yeah, but it's Monday Night Football. Last game of the week. What else am I going to watch?"

That.

Was I the only one who noticed that the Linc seemed, best case, 2/3 full? Was I the only one who noticed that the boos were already starting when the first drive resulted in a (say it with me) FIELD GOAL. AGAIN. Was I the only one who noticed that Mike Tirico and Chuckie were already talking about how great RG3 is by the second quarter? That type of meandering is usually reserved for the fourth quarter of blowouts, people!

Even worse? By late in the third quarter, when the Eagles were still up, 22-21, I said to Chef Spouse (who was home by that point but had no interest in trying to watch the game from the beginning, which is telling), "I have a big day tomorrow and I'm tired. I'm sure they'll find a way to blow it. I'm going to bed."

Which is also telling.

And, true to form, they blew it.

To back up, a friend of a friend offered to sell us his tickets to the game a few weeks ago. His excuse? Can't get out of DC (where I, also, am located) for a Monday night game. And they were good seats - club level. And he wanted face value for them ($265 a ticket).

Excuse me while I bust a gut laughing.

Thing is, other than the myriad mistakes from both teams, it was actually a relatively exciting game to watch. The lead changed five times. Bryce Brown broke the Eagles rookie single game rushing record. Mike Patterson recorded the Eagles first sack in what feels like...all season? Nah, it's not quite that bad. But it feels that way.

And now Jason Babin has been released. And in bad news, DeSean Jackson is on IR with broken ribs. And in worse news, King Dunlap still appears to be healthy.

I know I'm a broken record at this point, but it's over. The season is over. Andy Reid's tenure as head coach is over. Mike Vick's career might be over. Some of these guys are playing their last games as Eagles. Can you believe the last win was in September? At least the team gave Wolverine a good send off.

The thing that pisses me off the most is that I spend 7 months of each year thinking, "I can't WAIT for football season to start." Right now I'm thinking, "When will this end? Put us out of our misery already!" That's just sad.

22 November 2012

2012 Week 12 Picks

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all. The things I'm thankful for today include the amazing Chef Spouse, my new business, and the fact that the Eagles aren't playing today and thus won't ruin what should be a lovely holiday.

What with the feast preparations, getting my picks in got a little delayed. So I'll be brief:

Panthers at Eagles for MNF: Panthers. I think it's entirely possible, maybe even likely, the Eagles don't win another game this season.

Texans at Lions: The Lions are under performing this year, and this matchup should be close. But I don't think it's going to be. Texans.

Redskins at Cowboys: I'll be rooting for the Skins, but I don't think their D is strong enough to get them the win. Cowboys.

Patriots at Jets: Pats

Vikings at Bears: With Jay Cutler? Bears, for sure. Without? I've got the Vikes in a squeaker.

Raiders at Bengals: Bengals, thanks to homefield.

Steelers at Browns: Charlie Batch is likely going to be under center, y'all. He's been good for the Steelers in the past, but I'm going with the Browns as my upset pick.

Bills at Colts: Colts

Titans at Jaguars: Are these two teams still playing? I probably shouldn't judge. The Titans have a better record than the Eagles. And they're going to win.

Broncos at Chiefs: Broncos.

Seahawks at Dolphins: Seahawks will take this one on the strength of their D.

Falcons at Buccaneers: I still think the Falcons will win this one, but I don't think it's going to be nearly as sure a thing as we all would've predicted a few weeks ago.

Ravens at Chargers: I've got the Chargers because East Coast teams tend to have a hard time going west and because I think they're desperate not to fall farther behind the Broncos.

Rams at Cardinals: Rams. The Cards D has fallen off their early season pace and their O hasn't taken up the slack.

49ers at Saints: If Kaepernick stays under center for the Niners, this could be a very high scoring affair. The Saints are surging and they're hard to beat at home, but I've got the 49ers.

Packers at Giants: I think this will also be a close one, but again, gotta go with homefield and the G-men.




19 November 2012

Stick a Fork in 'Em

No stud this week, but Cooper had a few good catches
Eagles at Redskins, Sunday, November 18, 2012 

That was so bad I seriously don't even know what to write.

On the upside, we had a great weekend. Chef Spouse's best friend Steelers Transplant and his new fiancee were in town, and we went out for a really nice dinner Saturday night and then spent all day Sunday hanging out cooking, talking, laughing and drinking champagne to celebrate the engagement.

The best part? Excellent distraction from the game.

The best part of the game? Uh....when it ended?

Both teams needed this game. Only one team seemed aware of the fact.

And if you're wondering, it wasn't the Birds.

Nick Foles looked OK when he wasn't throwing it or fumbling it away. Then again, how different is that than Mike Vick has played all year? And yes, the offensive line is a mess. I know. But wouldn't you think the coaches might make some adjustments to the playcalling or protection schemes as a result?

Apparently not.

The Eagles have the same defensive front four as a year ago. Last year? 50 sacks. First in the league. This year? Not quite dead last, but only the Titans, Jaguars and Raiders are worse.

Insult to injury? McCoy's concussion on a totally meaningless play.

Some of the other Eagles bloggers have theorized that part of the problem is that the locker room is full of guys who, while they're talented football players, have no tradition of winning. And no matter how good you are personally, if you haven't played on teams with the expectation of winning, you don't know how to do what it takes.

If the team was losing by a few points each week, I'd buy that. But they're not - they're getting blown out week after week at this point.

If it wasn't so pathetic, it might actually be a little funny.

Clearly, this is it for Andy Reid. I'm guessing Mike Vick goes, too, at the end of the season. Possibly Nnamdi Asomugha. And the entire offensive line. Hell, it could be a fire sale, when they blow the whole thing up and start over.

And right now, that sounds to me like just the thing.

14 November 2012

2012 Week 11 Picks

This week, the Eagles travel to DC (well, actually, Largo, MD) to take on the Redskins. As many of you know, I'm a DC resident, and I can't even count how many tickets I've been offered to this game. Some for free. Good seats, too. Steelers Transplant and his new fiancee are due in town this weekend, otherwise I'd have been tempted to take some of them. Clearly Redskins fans are equally as depressed about their team's chances as Eagles fans.

The Eagles really should be able to win this game.

The teams are running pretty even offensively, but even with their lack of sacks, the Eagles D is performing better. Or at least it was better until they fired the former O-line coach who was made the defensive coordinator in favor of a guy who, at least on paper, seems to be qualified for the job. Upon which the D promptly fell apart.

Sigh.

Then again, on paper, the Eagles should've been able to win lots of games this season - like against the Saints. And the Lions. And the Cowboys.

What the hell is wrong with these guys this year?

I really have no clue.

I have to believe that, after a week's practice with the first team offense and given that there's no real film to study on him, Foles will do better, giving the Eagles a chance to win.

So I guess I'm picking the Birds. Which either means I'm an eternal optimist - or a complete fool.

In the rest of the matchups:

Dolphins at Bills: Was last week's Fins loss a fluke? Nope. Bills.

Cardinals at Falcons: The only way the Cards would stand a chance is if they got Kevin Kolb back (yes, I went there). And they aren't getting him back, at least this week. Falcons.

Buccaneers at Panthers: The Bucs have been surprisingly good. The Panthers have been surprisingly bad. But I still have the Panthers. Hey, divisional games can be C-RAZY, right?

Browns at Cowboys: Browns. Sike! I wish. Cowboys.

Packers at Lions: Lions, I wish I could quit you. But I can't. Even with the Pack coming off their bye week, I've got the Lions.

Jaguars at Texans: Texans. The Jaguars, as a franchise, are a perfect example of one's eyes being too big for one's appetite. Why does this franchise even exist?

Bengals at Chiefs: I know I swore I wasn't picking the Chiefs any more this season. But they're playing the Bengals. THE BENGALS. Chiefs.

Jets at Rams: Rams. Wow. The Jets really are bad this year, aren't they?

Saints at Raiders: Really thinking Raiders, but the Saints are on a upswing. Then again, the Raiders are at home. Raiders.

Chargers at Broncos: Both teams have very solid D, but the Broncos D will have a much easier time shutting down Philip Rivers than the Chargers will have with the revitalized Peyton Manning. Broncos.

Colts at Patriots: Doesn't have quite the same zing as it used to, does it? Well, it might again, after this weekend. I'm going with Luck and the Colts as my upset pick of the week.

Ravens at Steelers: Divisional grudge match. But the Steelers don't lose at home. Steelers.

Bears at 49ers: Anybody know if Alex Smith is playing this week yet? If he is, and Akers gets his mojo back, I've got the 49ers. Otherwise? I think they're in trouble.

On bye: it's the final bye week, and the Giants, Seahawks, Titans, and Vikings are up

12 November 2012

Hear That?

It's the fat lady singing.

Eagles v. Cowboys, Sunday, November 11, 2012 

Stud of the week: Jeremy Maclin. Mac had a solid game, and made some clutch catches to try to help his rookie QB. He even came back into the game after getting pretty much obliterated by Charlie Peprah. Joe Buck was all, "he should've caught that." You want to hold him while I hit him, or vice versa? Shout out to Riley Cooper for the circus catch on that first drive, too.

The game started well. The Eagles opening drive was probably the best opening drive we've seen out of them this season. And remember, the Cowboys have a top 10 defense. I was feeling pretty positive.

OK, sure then the Cowboys proceeded to march downfield for a TD, taking the game to 7-7. But still, it gave me momentary hope.

And then! The Eagles had a SACK! A SACK!

Then they had ANOTHER one!

Could my typical Eagles fan pessimism be wrong, for once?

Of course not. Silly me.

Vick went down with a concussion, Foles came in and did...not much.

But wait!

Foles hit a WIDE OPEN Mac in the endzone for a TD. And then the Eagles got a field goal to go up by 7.

And I'm thinking: maybe everything is going to be OK. Maybe Vick has been the problem all along. Maybe all is not lost.

This was quickly followed by pretty much the worst 2:30 of football I've ever seen.

First the Cowboys score. Of course, it was clear they didn't actually score - Dez Bryant totally put the ball on the ground - but the PI call would've given them 1st and goal on the 1, so whatever.

Then the Eagles go 3 and out.

Then  Matt McBriar punts to Dwayne Harris, who benefits from a totally obvious and not called block in the back, to take it to the house.

Then on the next possession, Foles tosses a pick six.

OK, maybe I was right in the first place.

Thing is, Nick Foles played pretty well, particularly for a rookie who'd had no practice time with the first team offense.

Well, other than the fact that his pick six throw and fumble in the end zone were the Cowboys margin of victory.

I should say almost the Cowboys margin of victory. Let's not forget Alex Henery's missed PAT. When that happened, I burst into laughter. Because, really? A missed PAT?

And let's talk about King Dunlap for a second.  Wait, let's not. I'm pretty sure the Eagles would've been better off to just say, "Nah, we'll go with 10 guys on offense. It's cool."

And now the Eagles have signed Jake Scott. Does the phrase, "Rearranging deck chairs on the Hindenburg" ring any bells to you?

We got offered 3 different sets of tickets to Eagles/Redskins here in DC next week. We turned them all down. I'll still watch my boys lose, but I'd rather do it in the privacy of my own home. Sigh.

Confidential to the 49ers and Rams: yes, a game CAN end in a tie. And Akers should've remembered that.

07 November 2012

2012 Week 10 Picks

Sorry there was no recap this week. Contrary to popular belief, it's not that I offed myself or drank myself into a 2 day bender after Monday night's loss. Much more innocuous explanation: I was at retreat where I didn't have very good Internet access or TV, thus I missed most of Monday's debacle. Believe me, I am grateful.

Anyway, on to this week's picks, unadorned edition, since I'm on leg two of this business trip and on my iPad.

It's Dallas week. Am I excited? Pumped up? Out for blood?

Nope. This season is officially in the toilet.

Yeah, the teams have identical records, but it feels to me like Elvis has already left the building, the fat lady is already singing, insert your favorite metaphor, good night the party is over.

I'm calling the Cowboys. F it.

Colts at Jaguars: Colts

Giants at Bengals: G-men. Who are going to win the NFC East this year, in case you were wondering.

Chargers at Buccaneers: Bucs

Titans at Dolphins: Fins

Broncos at Panthers: did the Panthers turn their season around with the win over the Skins last week? Nah. Broncos.

Bills at Patriots: Pats

Raiders at Ravens: Ravens

Falcons at Saints: really want to go Saints, but I just can't see it. Falcons.

Lions at Vikings: Vikes. Also probably going to be a pretty good game.

Jets at Seahawks: Seahawks. You know what they - or at least I - say: don't pick against the Hawks at home. Particularly when your other option is the Jets.

Rams at 49ers: Niners. Also probably going to be a decent game. In fact, you might want to watch this rather than Eagles/Cowboys, which I suspect will just be depressing.

Texans at Bears: finally a good Sunday night game! I've got the Texans, but this one could easily go either way.

Chiefs at Steelers: this will not be a good game. Steelers. Also, might want to take the fam to go see Argo or something. It's getting good word of mouth, and is supposed to be exciting and suspenseful, neither of which will be able to be said about this game.

On bye: Browns, Cardinals, Packers, Redskins


01 November 2012

2012 Week 9 Picks

This week the Eagles travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints on Monday Night Football. I'll bet that sounded like a much better idea when the schedules were announced last week than it does now.

On paper, the Eagles should be able to take the Saints. Notice I said "should."

The Saints are another team in disarray. Of course, their problems stem from the whole bounty scandal and its negative effect on their access to their coaching staff.

Hm - the Eagles might actually benefit from lack of access to their coaching staff at this point. Is there any way to jump on the whole bounty thing after the fact?

The Saints are 2-5.

On the other hand, they're playing at home, and they're really hard to beat in the Superdome, even when they, as a whole, aren't very good.

And one could make the argument that they aren't very good this year.

On the other hand, Drew Brees. And the fact that the Eagles are ranked in the middle of the pack against the pass. I don't even want to talk about what's going on with sacks.

The Saints d is, well, terrible.

On the other hand, if the Eagles persist in giving away the ball ("No please, after you. I insist.") at a historically bad rate, that might not matter all that much.

In the end, I have to keep the faith that the Eagles will find a way to win this week. I have to. Because I can't give up on them or the season half way through.

Please guys, get on a hot streak and make me eat my words. Please.

Eagles.

Picking the other games:

Chiefs at Chargers: Chargers. I really am done with the Chiefs now, I swear.

Broncos at Bengals: Broncos. The old Peyton appears to be back.

Ravens at Browns: Even Ray Lewis-less, the Ravens should be able to take divisional rival and punching bag Cleveland.

Cardinals at Packers: I think the Packers will take this one, but I also think it will be close. Homefield and an improving offense should help, though.

Bills at Texans: The Bills got two weeks to prepare. Not that it's going to help them much. Texans.

Dolphins at Colts: I'm going with the Colts rookie, particularly since Tannehil might not be able to go. Colts.

Lions at Jaguars: I've got the Lions here. What? They aren't THAT bad - or maybe it's that the Jags ARE that bad.

Bears at Titans: Bears all the way, baby.

Panthers at Redskins: RGIII's offensive line is almost as bad as Mike Vick's, but I still think the Skins should escape with a win this week, not least of which because Cam Newton is on a epic bummer this year.

Buccaneers at Raiders: I've got the Raiders at home.

Vikings at Seahawks: You know how the Vikings are playing better than expected this year? Yeah, well, the Seahawks are playing at home, ergo, Seahawks.

Steelers at Giants: You know how the Steelers are unbeatable at home? They're not at home this week. But I don't think it's going to matter, because they seem to have the NFC East's number this year. Steelers.

Cowboys at Falcons: So do the Falcons.

On bye: the 49ers, the Jets, the Patriots and the Rams,