30 November 2006

2006 Week 13 Picks

These short weeks with the Thursday games on the NFL Network are killing me! And I'm just trying to write about the games. I feel REALLY sorry for the players.

It's been a really busy fall. Chef Spouse and I have both been going crazy with work - I was acting CEO of my org for a while and am running an office move that goes down in a week, and I've been doing a fair amount of business travel on top of that. Case in point? This week I'm in California at a conference, and Chef Spouse will be on business in Gotham by the time I get back.

My point? We're going to have to watch MNF over the phone. I'll have to put together a conference call with Chef Spouse, Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom, and You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad. My life is officially too complicated. To top if off, it's just over 3 weeks to Christmas. Envelopes full of $20s for everyone!

But at least I will get home in time to watch us play the Panthers on MNF. Who will win? Who the hell knows at this point? Our season's in the midst of going kafluie, but the Panthers can't decide from week to week whether to be great or suck royally. Our D's probably in trouble - they're likely to get seriously burned by Steve Smith. But honestly, who knows? I'm a homer (but you already knew that), so I'll call a win for us (based also on the fact that we didn't give up last week against the Colts, finally showing a little spirit), but it really could easily go either way.

OK, tonight's game: Ravens at Bengals. This is the Ravens' chance to pretty much lock up the AFC North. Yeah, they'd be at 10-2 and the Bengals would be at 6-6 with 4 games to go, so the Bengals could tie it up, but that ain't gonna happen. Neither is a Bengals win.

This week, tune in to see Dennis "Wildman" Green foam at the mouth and bite someone on stadium security as the Cards fall to the Rams, extending their losing streak to, um, pretty much the whole season.

After the way their respective seasons started, I can't believe I'm going to call this, but I think the Skins will beat the Falcons. The two teams are definitely moving in different directions at this point. You know, we haven't played the Falcons yet. I wonder if we actually have two different receiving corps, or if the NFL's been economizing and using the same set of dropsie-prone guys for both teams. I mean, once the helmets are on, it's tough to tell who's who. Think about it - it would explain a lot.

Is there any chance the Lions won't get killed by the Patriots? No, even if they have inexplicably picked up Vinny Testaverde, who could win this game for them if necessary. I could probably win this game for them if necessary. And I'm only 5' 5", so it's not like I'd even be able to see over the offensive line without a boost.

Hey look! This week the Colts get to beat the Titans! This is getting a little boring. Maybe we should start an exchange program, where teams that play the Colts get to swap players at one position for the week. So, for instance, the Titans would get Marvin Harrison, and the Colts would get, like, Courtney Roby or Jonathan Orr. The Colts would probably still win, but at least it might make the game a little more exciting.

The Chiefs should have no trouble with the Browns. I got nothin' here.

Poor Vikings! The only way they beat the Bears is if they lock Brian Urlacher in a closet.

I don't really care about the outcome of the Jets/Packers game. Oooo! I know! Let's start a pool on how many receptions the Jets' secondary will have off Brett "Will You Just Shut the Hell Up and Retire Already!" Favre! I'm in for $20 and 3.

The Bills are going to get steamrolled by the Chargers.

Oh, wait. I should've saved the "steamrolled" line for 49ers/Saints. You know, there are 1760 yards in a mile. I wonder if that's what Drew Brees is aiming for?

I'm calling Texans/Raiders the Most Painful Game of the Week. You know you agree. Ugh.

I think the Dolphins are going to take the Jags - they're on a 4 game winning streak and looking a lot better lately. The Jags, meanwhile, like so many other teams (us, Panthers, Giants, Falcons, Rams - I could go on) just can't seem to decide whether to be good or bad. Little tip guys: being good is more fun for you, but being bad is more fun for me. And improves your draft position. Just some food for thought.

The Cowboys are heading to the Meadowlands for their second meeting with the Giants this season. C'mon Giants! Pull it together! And somebody keep Michael Strahan away from the press. And Tom Coughlin away from the press AND the team. And Plaxico Burress and Michael Strahan away from each other. And get Eli a shrink. Oh, and order me a spinach and feta pizza while you're at it.

OK, the Steelers should be able to take the Bucs. They're in a complete tailspin, but the Bucs aren't a tough opponent for anybody but, um, us.

And the big one: Seahawks/Broncos Sunday night. The Broncos have lost to the Chiefs and Chargers in their last two games and switched QBs. To a rookie. Which, actually, has been working reasonably well for a lot of teams this year, but has a definite air of desperation about it at this point. Meanwhile, Hasselbeck and Alexander are back, and coming off a big win against the Packers in the snow globe last week. I don't see the Broncos pulling this one off.

27 November 2006

2006 Week 12 Recap

Eagles at Colts, Sunday, November 26, 2006

In attendance: Just me & Chef Spouse. We just barely made it home from Thanksgiving with Chef Spouse's family and a bridal shower for my high school bud Philly RN in time for the start of the game. Philly RN? Had they not moved the game to SNF, want to guess the chances I would've been at the shower? Take my advice - go with "zero."

Menu: take-out pulled pork BBQ and Yuengling.


All joking aside from my picks - and believe me, you should feel free to point out that I punked myself - I figured us to lose this game when the schedules came out in the pre-season. But, seriously, what is wrong with our D?

OK, QB controversy, sure. Garcia's not exactly a young man, and you have to wonder how much gas is left in his tank. And AJ has a history with us - he carried us into the playoffs when D-Mac went down with the broken ankle in 2002. But the difference between this year and 2002 is that all AJ had to do was manage to not lose the games, and trust our defense to win them for us. This year? Not so much. Also, guys, when you blow tackles on, like, 100 plays in a row, you might want to tone down the celebration the one time you take the guy down behind the line of scrimmage.

On the positive side, we've located our running game (it was in Andy's attic, accidentally packed in with the Christmas decorations), and we managed to put up 21 points (which would've been 24 if not for a terrible snap). And our guys didn't give up. And this is a game that we would've been unlikely to win even with a healthy Donovan. So I don't think all is lost for the rest of the season. But I also don't think that the NFC East will provide both the NFC wild card teams, either. Oh well, there's always next year...

Around the rest of the NFL...

Thanksgiving Games:

The Dolphins, dressed all in white (because fugly is the new pretty), beat the Lions. The really surprising part of that game was seeing Marcus Vick on the sidelines. I'm still stunned that anyone signed him. I know the NFL tends to turn bit of a blind eye to felony convictions among players, but this guy's a rookie! How does he rate a pass? Note: you know the commentators have run out of stuff to say when they start waxing poetic about Jon Kitna and Joey Harrington.

The Cowboys beat the Bucs - well, duh. Oh, and Tony? Jessica Simpson's a moron. Aim a little higher. Maybe get yourself a nice pet rock with implants, a fake bake, and a bad dye job. At least it won't come with a creepy Svengali father. And? The Tuna cut Mike "Punk" Vanderjagt. I may never stop laughing...

The Chiefs upset the Broncos, Jake Plummer lost the starting job to Jay Cutler, and there are rumors circulating that we might try to sign Plummer next year. Obviously, our front office isn't paying attention. We need to pick up Drew Bledsoe, so we can get all the QBs who've had catfights with TO. Collect the whole set! Also, I missed the one game worth watching on Thanksgiving. But at least I got to see White Christmas, a true holiday classic. Rosemary Clooney's costumes are tha bomb-diggity.

Sunday games:

I must confess, seeing as I was at Philly RN's bridal shower and then driving home, the only game I actually saw was ours. Thanks to our friend Cool Contractor Dude, we had the use of a FY-UNE ride (rather that Harold the Hoopty, our craptastic 1997 Saturn), which featured, among many other amazing gizmos, Sirius radio. So we were able to listen to parts of the Bears/Pats and Giants/Titans games. But I didn't see any of them. So here's my unusually uninformed commentary:

OK, first of all, the Pats didn't really win the game with the Bears. They just managed not to lose. Barely. I lost count of the turnovers at around, oh, a billion. What was that all about?

The Vikings continue to be OK. Which was more than enough to beat the Cardinals, who continue to be terrible. Dennis Green is rumored to be entering scream therapy.

The Skins shocked the hell out of everyone by pulling off the upset of the Panthers. So that was this week's upset game! Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom was the only one who guessed right. Also, one has to wonder why Old Joe and Danny Boy didn't give Jason Campbell a try out before this. Kid looks pretty decent, which is a lot better than what they've had at QB in recent memory.

Did I mention that Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom was the only one who picked the right upset game? Yeah, my pick of the Browns was, um, pretty damn wrong. The Bengals managed to pull together enough defense to thoroughly spank them.

Jets beat the Texans. Whatever.

You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad was the only one who called the Bills to beat the Jaguars, but as I've been so fond of pointing out, they're so schizo anything could happen from week to week. So he can't win the "Called the Upset Win" title. Once you lose to the Texans, anything's possible.

Drew Brees had another amazing game, even without Marques Colston. In other news, Mike Vick's almost as big a punk as his brother. Nice double bird there, Mike. What a classy guy.

Do you want to call it or shall I? OK, I'll call it: time of death, 3:58 pm, Sunday, November 26. Somebody haul the carcass of the Steelers season to the morgue, huh? And after 9 sacks, grab a cart for Roethlistberger while you're at it.

I don't know what we were all thinking calling the 49ers to win. Big crash after the huge sugar rush from all the pie wore off? Good call on the Rams, Chef Spouse.

The Chargers pulled out another late-game win. Mostly because they would've been too humiliated to go home had they lost to the Raiders.

By the way, I was the ONLY one to call the Titans beating the Giants. Who blew a 21 point lead in the 4th quarter. Sound vaguely familiar? Payback's a ****. Also, as Chef Spouse pointed out, we've just witnessed the first game lost to the stupid roughing the passer rules. Kiwanuka let Vince Young go, sure, but if you can't tell if the QB has released the ball, you have to let him go or face a major penalty. Yes, we need to protect QBs - major injuries to McNabb in 3 of the last 5 seasons - but this is getting ridiculous.

And when I first turned on the Packers/Seahawks game, I was sure they must be playing in Green Bay, although it did seem a little early for such a major snowstorm. Imagine my surprise to see all those Seahawks fans in the stands! It looks like they're playing in a snow globe in the hands of a hyper 3 year old.

So how did we all turn out? Barring the results of the MNF game (where we all but You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad picked the Seahawks), Chef Spouse leads at 9-3. Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom came in second, at .500. I'm just below .500 at 5-7 (although I did call 2 of the 3 Thanksgiving games right, which does help my average, but I can't count them since no one else had the chance to weigh in - yes, I'm just trying to make myself feel better). And You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad brings up the rear at 3-9. Well played, fam, well played.

25 November 2006

2006 Week 12 Picks

Thanksgiving is all about getting together with family, eating some good food, tryptophan-induced napping, arguments, Uncle Clarence drinking too much beer, and, most of all, football. So I had the fam (Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom, You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad, and Chef Spouse) weigh in with their picks for week 12.

Game: Eagles/Colts
LLEF Mom, Y-T Dad, and me: Eagles
Chef Spouse: Colts
Commentary: We're all a bunch of freakin' homers, other than Chef Spouse, who was at least trying to be objective.

Game: Bears/Pats
LLEF Mom, Chef Spouse: Pats
Y-T Dad, me: Bears
Commentary: 50/50 split. Either way, this will be the game of the day.

Game: Cardinals/Vikings
LLEF Mom, Chef Spouse, me: Vikings
Y-T Dad: Cards
Commentary: I think You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad just likes Leinart. Or feels bad for him.

Game: Panthers/Redskins
Y-T Dad, Chef Spouse, me: Panthers
LLEF Mom: Skins
Commenary: What can I say? Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom just loves Old Joe.

Game: Bengals/Browns
LLEF Mom, Y-T Dad, Chef Spouse: Bengals
me: Browns
Commentary: Call me crazy, but the Browns have come on stronger recently. I could see them handing the Bengals a big upset.

Game: Texans/Jets
LLEF Mom, Y-T Dad: Texans
Chef Spouse, me: Jets
Commentary: Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom and You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad spent a year in Houston and are therefore not objective.

Game: Jaguars/Bills
LLEF Mom, Chef Spouse, me: Jags
Y-T Dad: Bills
Commentary: I have no explanation. Other than that the Jags are totally schizo, so anything's possible.

Game: Saints/Falcons
LLEF Mom, Chef Spouse, me: Saints
Y-T Dad: Falcons
Commentary: Boo, You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad! Also, Mike Vick's been stinking it up again recently. And Drew Brees can apparently throw for, like, 2000 yards a game if necessary.

Game: Steelers/Ravens
LLEF Mom, me: Steelers
Y-T Dad, Chef Spouse: Ravens
Commentary: OK, Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom and I are total Pennsylvania homers. So sue us! But I think the Steelers are getting back their winning form, and not a moment too soon. Have you seen the look in Willie Parker's eye recently? Steelers are winning if he has to do it alone.

Game: 49ers/Rams
LLEF Mom, Y-T Dad, me: 49ers
Chef Spouse: Rams
Commentary: Lamont, this pick's for you!

Game: Chargers/Raiders
LLEF Mom, Chef Spouse, me: Chargers
Y-T Dad: Raiders
Commentary: I think You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad just likes their bad-boy image.

Game: Giants/Titans
LLEF Mom, Y-T Dad, Chef Spouse: Giants
me: Titans
Commentary: I do have a reason for this pick other than "The Titans beat us." Vince Young is looking better each week and the Giants are SERIOUSLY banged up. Welcome to leading the division, ****.

Game: Packers/Seahawks
LLEF Mom, Chef Spouse, me: Seahawks
Y-T Dad: Packers
Commentary: Matt Hasselbeck returns and Vicodin Boy is playing hurt, because Aaron Rogers is o-u-t OUT. No contest.

You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad picked a lot of dark horses. It will be interesting to see how he does.

Thanksgiving Special: Fashion Commentary

One of the good Thanksgiving football traditions (as opposed to the stupid traditions of being forced to watch some terrible Lions game and the damn Cowboys) is the tradition of wearing throwbacks. There have been some fine moments in coaches' sartorial choices (Tom Landry), and some things that should never be seen - or spoken of - again (Andy Reid in horizontal stripes...shudder). There have been some great uniforms over the years, and some truly awful disasters that aren't worthy of the name. So in honor of the holiday and of fine and not-so-fine uniforms past and present, I bring you my top 5 and bottom 5 uniforms:

The few, the proud, the teams who actually look good:
5. Steelers: gotta love that black & yellow, particularly since all the sports teams in the 'Burgh share the same colors. If you've never been there, seeing the bridges that cross the Three Rivers painted some combination of those colors is a sight to behold.
4. It pains me to say it, but the Cowboys navy blue jerseys and white pants are a classic. Their logo design is simple and eye-catching, and I have to put their uniforms on the top 5 list, even if TO happens to be in one.
3. The Raiders: the team might be craptacular, but they rock the black & white pirate motif hard.
2. The Eagles' midnight green jerseys with white pants is a new classic. A lot of the recent uniform redesigns have been somewhat less than successful. And I was worried when I heard they were dropping the kelly green and changing the eagle. But this redesign works for me: modern, cool, menacing. Good job, guys! Plus: Vera Wang-designed cheerleader uniforms!
1. The top uniform of all time is, without a doubt, the Chargers' powder blue throwbacks. The color combo is awesome, bright and interesting, and the lightning bolts on the arms and legs are genius. Bravo, Chargers, bravo!

Bonus pick:
The Saints uniforms are great, too. The black and gold is classy, the fleur de lis is New Orleans all over, and the state of Louisiana on the jerseys is a nice touch.

But you're not here to read kudos for the good choices - you're here to read my mocking of the badness. So without further ado...

I can't believe your wife let you leave the house wearing that!
5. Anyone all in white. People! This is football! Why would all-white uniforms ever seem like a good idea to anyone?
4. The Vikings' new uniforms. Let me preface this by pointing out that I like purple, quite a bit actually. And the older, simpler design was pretty good. The new one? Way too flashy. Brad Johnson and Fred Smoot aren't Siegfreid and Roy, and shouldn't try to look like them.
3. On the topic of "way too flash," the Cardinals' all red uniforms are badness too. When small children confuse your linebackers with Santa in August, you know you've made a bad choice.
2. The Seahawks. Chef Spouse disagrees, but I just can't get behind white men wearing neon colors, even if it is just trim.
1. And the prize for the number one worst uniforms in the NFL and the complimentary palliative subscription to GQ goes to: the Bengals. Men in animal skins? Yes. Particularly if the men in question are ripped and in loin cloths. ROWR! Men in animal prints? Hell, no.

21 November 2006

Week 12 Bonus: Short Week Preview

aka, The Thanksgiving Games

Dolphins at Lions - I know it's tradition for the Lions to play on Thanksgiving, but c'mon - this is just painful. Didn't someone once say, "Traditions were made to be broken"? Or was that, "Rules were made to be broken"? Either way, why do we have to watch this dreck? Isn't being cooped up with family for hours on end enough suffering for one day?

Bucs at Cowboys - Jeez, I'm gonna have to watch the Cowboys win twice in one week? Shoot me now. Please.

Broncos at Chiefs - This will be the only game worth watching, it's only on the NFL Network, I'm going to be stuck at my in-laws, who aren't big football fans anyway (unlike my psychotically devoted Eagles fan family, to whom you've all been introduced through the medium of this blog) and I don't know if they even GET the NFL Network. Why, God, why?

20 November 2006

2006 Week 11 Recap, Part 2

Around the rest of the NFL...

The Ravens handed the Falcons their hats and said, "Don't let the door hit your season in the a** on its way out." To quote rocketman: "Ray Lewis, meanwhile, played the role of league's most menacing cheerleader." HEE! Does anyone else have this really hilarious mental picture of Ray Lewis in a little flippy skirt, matching sweater, and pom-poms?

THREE shut outs were pitched this week. Out of 15 games (so far). That's 20%, man.

Shutout one: Bears over the Jets. The Bears are perfect at the Meadowlands so far this year. Maybe they should ask if it can stand in for Soldier Field during the playoffs, since they're likely to lock up home field.

Shutout two: Pats over Green Bay. And poor Vicodin Boy hurt his arm. Maybe it will finally end his bogus consecutive-games streak.

Shutout three: Panthers over the Rams. That's pretty impressive, actually. The Panthers obviously had one of their good days. Don't worry - their bipolar disorder is likely to reassert itself any moment now.

Even though they lost to the Bucs, the good news for the Skins is that they've solved their QB problems. The bad news is that now they have to tackle their problems with the other 52 guys. And the coaching staff. And the front office. And the owner. Oy.

The 49ers sure surprised the hell out of the Seahawks. And me. And everyone else, including those Chinese farmers. The 49ers are now at .500. We are now at .500. OH, THE HUMANITY.

Drew Bledsoe threw for about a zillion yards. Which would have assured another Saints' victory had half of them not been to various Bengals.

The Browns almost managed to pull off the upset against the Steelers. Sadly for them, almost doesn't count except in horseshoes and hand grenades. The way their division is going, someone should get them a crisis counselor, stat!

The Raiders almost managed an upset over the Chiefs. At least there's somebody out there virtually guaranteed to remain worse than us! (I still think we ought to consider throwing the rest of our games to improve our draft standing. Maybe that's what the Raiders decided to do. In week two.)

And then a lot of, "Did anyone watch this game?"

Dolphins over Vikings, Bills over Texans, Cardinals over Lions. Whatever. Your own fans probably don't even care anymore. They're like: "Hey! Saved By The Bell marathon!"

Man, the Chargers are looking like the real deal! I know defense wins championships and all, but if you have a running back/receiver who can come up an average of 2 TDs a game, who needs defense? "Defense-schmefense. We'll just score, like, 75 points. No problem, right LT?" I'm starting to think we might see the Chargers in the Super Bowl. Coming from behind after being dominated in the first half and winning a tough one in Denver's a good sign for their post-season.

Stupid Cowboys.

Now I'm in the unenviable position of rooting for the Giants. I feel so dirty! But I feel better than I will if the Cowboys move to the head of the division. Then y'all really will have to talk me down off the ledge.

19 November 2006

This is not good.

Eagles v. Titans, Sunday, November 19, 2006

In attendance: Ex-Navy Cheesehead, Shoegal, Chef Spouse.

Menu: fajitas and 'ritas. And beer. And tequila shots. And hemlock (more about that later).

Oh boy.

By now, I'm sure you've heard: torn ACL, 8-12 months' recovery.

I don't mean to be the Voice of Doom, but our season is O-V-E-R.

To quote The Editor:

"When it rains

It sucks.

Who ordered the torn ACL for Donovan McNabb? Whoever it was, I say fire that

I also say, can we trade The Freak straight up with New England for Vinny


Timestamp: T-minus 5 minutes to game start. Everyone's here, the guac's on the table, grab your Yuengling, and let's go!

Timestamp: Q1 11:31 to go

Defense? THE GAME ALREADY STARTED! Where are you guys? Why did the Titans just get to waltz down the field for their first score?

Timestamp: Q1 11:25 to go

And our first major penalty of the game on the kickoff. Wow, we made it 3+ minutes in. That's got to be a record this year.

Timestamp: Q1 8:53 to go

Good job on the fumble pick up Patterson! Now let's do something with it!

Timestamp: Q1 6:24 to go

When I said "do something" I definitely didn't mean "throw a pick in the endzone." ARGH! Still, plenty of football left to play.

Timestamp: Q1, 2:39 to go

OK, we're on the board! Chef Spouse's boy David Akers: the only sure thing in life outside of death and taxes.

Timestamp: Q2, 3 seconds in

OH ****.

Timestamp: Q2, 4:06 to go

OK, Akers just might be able to keep us in this game. If the D can start pulling up some quick stops, and Reno Mahe can keep up those good punt returns, we should be able to start on offense almost within Akers' range. We just might be able to pull this off if we can get a couple of lucky breaks.

End of the half:

OK, 10-6 is not too bad. "No, Ex-Navy Cheesehead, we can't switch over to the Skins' game to see how Jason Campbell is doing. I want to get the injury report on McNabb."

Halftime's over. No injury update. That's not a good sign.

At least we get to start the second half with the ball.

Timestamp: Q3, 13:23 to go

And do nothing.

Timestamp: Q3, 12:31 to go

And immediately give up a 70 yard TD. Who wants a margarita?

Timestamp: Q3, 9:17 to go

Special teams? There's this thing that football players do called "TACKLING." You might want to try to find someone who can show you how. Who wants a shot? Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom: "How much are you drinking?" Me: "Not too much [yet]." Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom: "So you'll be looking for some hemlock after the game?"

Timestamp: Q3, 1:19 to go

Sure 3, my a**. How do we manage to screw a snap on a clear day? Do we really have to watch the rest of this? Anyone want another shot? Want to start a drinking game where we do a shot every time the Eagles do something dumb? "Alcohol poisoning"? Hey, that would probably be preferable to watching the rest of this mess.

Timestamp: Q4, 9:14 to go

Now that's what I'm talking about! Maybe all is not lost! Short passes underneath, use your head, play smart ball, let Westy and Buck run. We might be able to at least win this game! And maybe McNabb's injury's not that serious.

Timestamp: Q4, 6:31 to go

OK, good stop, still some time left. It's 24-13, but if we can score right here and get lucky...well, it's still a long shot, but...

Timestamp: Q4, around 4 minutes to go

OK, guys, dropping everything that comes near you is NOT the way to win this game. (Of course, we should have figured that out two months ago.)

Timestamp: Q4, 32 seconds left

Maybe we get at least one more score on the board, only lose by a few, fight it out when we got the toughest break of our season to date, show good character, don't give up...oh, F me! Garcia fumbles, is too dumb to fall on it, no one tackles, and the Titans run it in for ANOTHER score.

Timestamp: Q4, 20 seconds left

Of course we manage to finish out the game with YET ANOTHER fumble.

A few suggestions for Big Red:

Everyone who fumbled today gets footballs super glued to both hands. They can eat again when the glue wears off.

Everyone who dropped a pass gets tied to a chair 10 yards from the automatic ball feeder for the entire first day back at practice. On the second day, maybe they get to wear pads.

I know AR's a Mormon, but $25 says he's curled up under his desk with a bottle of Jack right now.

Additional game notes: Why was Reno Mahe the only guy playing like he wanted to win? And what has happened to our D? Clearly, this was a game where the offense was going to need major help, and Dawkins and Sheppard both drop balls that would have been easy picks for a TD, our special teams allows Pac-Man to munch the entire field, and we blow tackle after tackle on Travis Henry and allow him to spring loose for a 70 yard TD. What the hell? And then we have two bad snaps in the same game that cost us a total of 10 points (3 on the missed FG and 7 to the Titans when Jeff Garcia couldn't manage to fall on the ball)? Without the 2 big defensive mistakes and Jeff Garcia's stupidity, we actually win this game, even after losing McNabb. Of course, before today, the Titans were 2-7, so that's not saying much.

But the thing of it is, the whole team has been dependent all season long on Big D to make up for all their mistakes. And in many games, he was able to. And when he played flat (Jags) or just badly (Bucs), we looked like a bunch of punks. Which is about all we are at this point. Is there anyone else who's willing to step up and be a leader? Doesn't look like it to me. D-Mac goes down, the chips are down, everyone needs to step up their game to make it happen, and...nothing. Guys, where's your pride?

So where do you come by hemlock these days anyway?

I'll write up the rest of the NFL tomorrow. Right now, I'm just too bummed.

(But I still made Chef Spouse mend our tattered car flag, so I can fly it proudly tomorrow. They may suck, but they're my team and I love them anyway.)

17 November 2006

2006 Week 11 Picks

Two of my favorite pundits, King Kaufman and rocketman have already posted their picks for week 11. The task I've set for myself this week is to mediate the differences.

For our game, they're both picking the Eagles. Rocketman's a homer just like me, but KK is not. Go Eagles! Seriously, there is no reason we shouldn't win this game. Our D line should have no trouble getting to Vince Young (who is looking good, even though the rest of the Titans stink), they don't have any targets for him anyway, and their D is nothing to speak of. Which probably means we'll find a way to screw it up. Joking! I'm joking! Jeez, I hope I didn't just jinx us.

Falcons at Ravens. Everybody's picking the Ravens. Including me. By the way? On Mike Vick? Told you so. Pocket passer, my sweet round booty. He's a running back who occasionally gets on a hot streak, nothing more.

Bills at Texans. KK's picking the Texans, rocketman, the Bills. I pick Most Painful Game of the Week.

Bears at Jets. Everybody's picking the Bears. And why not? They're looking like a juggernaut, as long as that juggernaut includes an occasionally shaky-looking basically rookie QB. Every once in a while, Grossman gets the same look in his eye Mike McMahon had last year, and I get worried about the Bears' chances. But not for this week.

Bengals at Saints. Everyone's picking Saints in another barn-burner. That could be because the Bengals seem to have no D at all. The Saints D was enough to beat us, although not by much, and it was a fairly high scoring game, too. But I hope the Saints are able to continue their Cinderella season with a win over a team everyone (including me) would have picked to crush them before the season started.

Vikings at Dolphins. KK and rocketman are both picking the Dolphins, but I'm holding out for the Vikings to pick it back up and get to .500.

Pats at Packers. Everyone's picking the Pats, but I have to think that something we don't know about must be seriously wrong for them to have signed Vinny Testaverde. But I still can't pick the Packers while they won't dump the Old Guy. Hey! Two teams with old guys! What are the odds? Anyway, Pats.

Raiders at Chiefs. KK and rocketman are picking the Chiefs. But they've decided to sit Damon Huard in favor of Trent Green, which I think means it might be time for the Raiders to pull off another upset. OK, the Raiders aren't even as good as Michigan's practice squad, but I still think they could topple the Chiefs. And it would serve them right for benching Huard.

Steelers at Browns. KK and rocketman are both picking the Steelers. They're in another one of those situations where each week's an elimination round. Which means they'll probably do great. Assuming Troy Polamalu can remember where he left his keys. And his helmet. And his shoes. And his uniform. And his car.

Rams at Panthers. King's picking the Panthers, while rocketman has the Rams. Emotionally, I want to side with the Rams, just because I think the Panthers are over-rated. But I think they'll probably win this one, and Julius Peppers will probably double his sack total for the year in this one game.

Skins at Bucs. KK and rocketman are both picking the Bucs, and I have to agree with them. Unless Jason Campbell turns out to be the reincarnation of Randall Scramble. And if he was, they'd already have been playing him by now. Sorry Deadhead Skins Fan and Cool Web Dude (Skins Fan).

Lions at Cardinals. KK and rocketman are both picking the Lions. Maybe. Who cares? Why are these teams even still playing? Couldn't they just thumb wrestle for it, and then go out for margaritas?

Seahawks at 49ers. Everyone, including a bunch of farmers in rural China who've never even seen American football, is picking the Seahawks, who will have both Matt Hasselbeck and Shaun Alexander back. And they've been doing pretty good without those guys.

Colts at Cowboys. King's picking Dallas, and rocketman's picking the Colts. I want to be the first team to beat the Colts! And we could use a leg up in the division. Colts.

Chargers at Broncos. KK's got the Chargers, while rocketman's got the Broncos. It's a shoot-out for the AFC West, and I think the Chargers have the edge. And LT. And Philip Rivers. Who, while I don't think is the second coming of Dan Marino (unlike the pundits), seems to have a pretty good arm.

Giants at Jags. King and rocketman are both picking the Jags. Who, I still maintain, are tying us for the most schizoid team in the NFL. They beat us, they beat the 'Boys, they lost to the Skins. Who knows? But I'd love to see them beat the Giants. Once again, guys, we could use the help in the division. Also, you totally owe us!

15 November 2006

Dead, Canadian, or...

Vinny Testaverde?

In case you hadn't heard, the Pats have signed Rip van Testaverde. I haven't heard any word of anthing being wrong with Tom Brady, and Belichick doesn't seem like the type to panic over a couple of lost games - particularly since the Pats are still leading the AFC East - but signing The Old Man is never a positive sign for a football team. Maybe Belichick's hoping Testaverde can provide some inside information on the Jets' offense before the playoffs? Seems like an over-reaction:

1. Ever heard of a thing called a phone, Bill?
2. The chances the Pats will see the Jets again this season are pretty damn small, because there are at least 3 other teams more likely to take the 2 wildcard spots than they are (whichever of Chargers/Broncos doesn't win AFC West, Jags, and Chiefs - and there's still time for the Bengals - or the Steelers for that matter - to get hot).

So I'm just left wondering: why, Bill, why?

13 November 2006

2006 Week 10 Recap

Week 10: Eagles v. Redskins, Sunday, November 12, 2006

In attendance: Ex-Navy Cheesehead. Chef Spouse. FINALLY Shoegal's back. And we won. Coincidence? I don't think so. She's now locked in the basement for the duration of the season. Not really. (Or is she? I'll never tell...)

Menu: Chef Spouse's approaching-the-Platonic-ideal-of guacamole, Shoegal's tasty international snacks (courtesy of her recent travels), and jambalaya (in honor of the Saints, for all the good that did).

Man, every game on the entire East Coast was one giant mud bowl (other than in the astro-turfed Meadowlands). What a mess! Why did so many teams opt for the white pants in the horrible weather? I'm guessing they're not even going to try to get them clean. "Hey - we're all gazillionaires! Just throw 'em out and buy more!"

Considering the conditions before the game, I was worried. The Redskins pound it out on the ground because Brunell doesn't have the arm to throw downfield (and Al Saunders doesn't trust him enough to let him try). We are known for sticking with our usual plan of "go for the huge play every single play" no matter what - we did it against the Jags in equally unfavorable conditions, and look how that turned out. I was glumly predicting that the cold, wet capacity crowd at the Linc could be in for a long afternoon. (Well, me too, but I was in my nice warm, dry living room.)

And then... groovy.gif

You know, I thought Santana Moss wasn't even playing. He's been struggling with injury recently, and I thought maybe with the dicey field and bad weather, the Skins had decided to sit him on a day when big pass plays were unlikely anyway. When he popped up, the only guy on the field in a clean uniform (including the zebras), with his first major reception of the game (if you can call 8 yards major, which if you were the Redskins yesterday, you had to) in the third quarter, I was shocked. Where was he all day? Have the Skins acquired so many pricy superstars, they just can't figure out what to do with them all? Dude, if you've misplaced Santana Frapping Moss, you have problems.

Speaking of problems, Clinton Portis might want to pack it in for the year before someone drops a piano on him. We're going to have to start calling him Clinton Roethlisberger soon if this keeps up.

Did Reggie Brown actually fumble? I don't know - that looked awfully perfect for an accident. Buck's in exactly the right spot and the ball lands right in his arms? Maybe we are getting lucky again, and if we are, WHEW! Just in time. But that was looking pretty intentional to me.

And did you see that final drive? As Chef Spouse pointed out, teams have been using the "pound it out on the ground, score or not" strategy against us pretty effectively. Looks like Big Red finally took a lesson.

So what made the difference yesterday? I think Westy's post-game interview says it all:

"Donovan is a phenomenal player, a player we can depend on a lot," Westbrook said. "He's able to do so many things, so a lot of times as an offense, we tend to sit back and wait for Donovan to make the play. Today we made it a point that everybody went out there to make a play. When Donte made the big play, I wanted to make a big play. I told Greg [Lewis] to go make a big play. I told Reggie [Brown] to make a big play. We all want to make big plays.

"We don't want to wait on somebody else, particularly Donovan. We want to make big plays for ourselves, make things happen and basically take things into our own hands and create our own luck."

I'm an Eagles fan, pessimistic by nature, so there are still things that worry me. Like AR & Company's tendency to get tricky in goal-line situations. I was jumping up and down in the kitchen screaming, "STOP TRYING TO GET FANCY AND JUST RUN IT IN!" early in the third, when we were on the 3, trying to pass, and ended up taking the FG. We're still not great against the run. We got lucky in that Portis got hurt, and the Skins can't seem to do anything right anyway at this point. We still drop more passes than any team in the NFL. We still rack up a disturbing number of penalties.

On the up side, we also have the best record in the NFL in the month of November for the Andy Reid era. If history is any indication, we will get hot late in the season and play well on the road, which bodes well for us - well enough that the Colts game on Thanksgiving weekend has been moved to prime time. And thanks to the Bears (thanks, Bears!), the Giants are only one game up on us now. Lots of season left to play, football fans.

Around the rest of the NFL...

OK, I was right about the Ravens beating the Titans and the Colts beating the Bills. But those were some unexpectedly close games. Maybe there is still time for the Steelers to get hot and win AFC North. The Ravens are looking less and less like a lock. They're 4 games up on the Steelers at this point, but stranger things have happened (like the Steelers improbable run through the bottom of the season and the playoffs last year). And the Colts got, for them, pretty much shut down. Colts! It's the Patriots that are supposed to squeak out wins in close games! That's not your job. You're supposed to blow out teams all season long and then develop a case of the vapors at your first glimpse of the post-season. Get it together!

The rest of the Colts schedule is kind of soft, but most of the pundits are predicting them to drop at least one, either next week to the Cowboys or the week after to us. I think it will be to us. We're getting good assists with our divisional standing from other teams, so I figure the Colts will oblige by taking care of the Cowboys for us so the Boys drop a game behind, then cooperatively lose to us the following week. What? It could happen!

In the continuing saga of "What the hell happened there?" games of the week: the Browns beat the Falcons (so Mike Vick the Accurate Passer was an aberration after all), the Dolphins took the Chiefs (and all of a sudden we're hearing that Trent Green might be healthy again. Coincidence?), the Jets beat the Pats (who may not cruise easily to another divisional win after all), and the Texans beat the Jags (why couldn't we have played THOSE Jags? And isn't it funny that Byron Leftwich may be getting over his potentially career-ending case of... uh, chronic halitosis in time to start playing again after all?).

The Chargers/Bengals game was wild. 90 points scored? Over 1000 total yards of offense? 49-41 isn't a football score - that's more like what you'd see from two middling high school basketball teams. Did both teams' D go to the wrong stadium? Guys, you were playing in Cincinnati this week, not California! Also, how is it that the Bengals have 3 guys on offense whose last name is Johnson (WR Ocho Cinco, RB Rudi, and FB Jeremi). Are they trying to corner the market or something?

The Packers beat the Vikings. The Bears are just so dominant that I can't get too excited about any of the other NFC North teams. Nobody else there is even above .500. It's like: "Are they still playing? Why?" You know you think the same thing, and I can prove it. Did you watch a single down of the 49ers/Lions game? Do you know who won (Lions)? Do you care? Did you even remember the Lions were playing the 49ers this week before I mentioned it?

The Broncos pulled off a win against the Raiders, although for a while there it looked like the Raiders were going to pull off the upset. Broncos-Chargers? Broncos-Chargers? Broncos-Chargers? Chargers. Interestingly, the AFC West is the only other division besides ours with 3 teams above .500.

Speaking of upsets, the Steelers beat the Saints, despite the efforts of Air Bush. Did you see that 10 yard jump/flip into the endzone? If Reggie gets tired of football, maybe he could try out for Cirque de Soleil.

The Cowboys surprised no one by beating the Cards. How many teams have promoted the new young QB over the old burned out guy this season? Answer: every single team who has one to play, but the Pack and the Skins. Who as of today have now gotten with the program and benched Brunell in favor of Jason Campbell. I know, I know: Who? Good looking black kid out of Auburn, who so far has spent his entire career standing around holding a clipboard.

The Seahawks beat the Rams while they're still missing key players. Looks like they're still the boss of the NFC West.

The Bears/Giants game was cuh-razy. The 108 yard play by Devin Hester pretty much summarizes the game in one. Was he waiting for blockers? Trying to fake out the Giants? Planning to take a knee until he saw something? Who knows? Whatever it was, it worked.

The Giants are now only one game up on us around the time we historically torch it up, and they're starting to look too damaged, particularly on D, to continue their 6-2 start to a 12-4 season. With Michael Strahan, Lavar Arrington, and Amani Toomer out for the season, Plaixco Burress week to week with a bad back, and Osi Umenyiora the same with a bad hip, it doesn't look good, particularly since they seem to want to take possession of the "can't finish games" championship trophy from us. Hey, guys, it's all yours. We'll even pay for the shipping.

And right now the Bucs are up 7-0 over perennial commentator-favorite Carolina as we near the end of the half. I always love to see Coach Chuckie lose, mostly because it's really fun to see his face get all red and the spittle fly, but I get so tired of everyone lovin' on the Panthers for no good reason (Playoffs? Sure. Super Bowl? Please....), that I almost want the Bucs to win. Notice I said almost.

11 November 2006

2006 Week 10 Picks

OK, I've been too busy plotting the downfall of my enemies and purchasing a bridesmaid dress that doesn't fit anything but my rack (why is David's Bridal torturing me?) to spend much time on my picks for this week. (Thank heavens Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom can sew, or I'd be screwed. There is a serious risk that I would walk out of the skirt heading down the aisle, thus breaking the paramount law of bridesmaids, which is "Don't draw attention to yourself!")

Bye weeks are OVER. It's go time, baby!

How do we not beat the Redskins? Let's keep our fingers crossed for no more unlucky breaks for us, and no more lucky breaks for them. Weird **** seems to happen during divisional matchups. There's no reason we shouldn't beat the Skins. But one never knows.

OK, the other picks, super short version:

Ravens at Titans - Ravens. Please!

Bills at Colts - Colts. Why are the Bills even going to take the field?

Browns at Falcons - OY! Same thing. Falcons, of course.

Packers at Vikings - Divisional rivalry, blah, blah, blah, yackity-smackity. Vikings.

Texans at Jags - Jags. Unless they decide to fall apart this week.

Chiefs at Dolphins - Chiefs. The win last week was an aberration.

Jets at Pats - Pats. Weak division (as usual).

Chargers at Bengals - Chargers. Too many of the Bengals are in jail (or should be).

49ers at Lions - Most Painful Game of the Week ™.

Broncos at Raiders - Raiders: cocktail hour beckons. Don't you want to forfeit?

Cowboys at Cardinals - OOOooo. I want to call Cards, but that's just not realistic.

Saints at Steelers - Saints, baby! Chef Spouse plans to make jambalaya this week in your honor!

Rams at Seahawks - Hmm. Tight game the first time, and now the Seahawks are lacking key players. What the hell - I'll call Rams.

Bears at Giants - Boy, Rex Grossman's been struggling lately, but I pick the Bears to resume their winning ways and beat the Giants (helping us in the division in the process).

Bucs at Panthers - How do the Panthers not win this game? I don't know, but the Bucs have been surprising a lot of people recently.

07 November 2006

2006 Week 9 Recap

Bye Week

OK, I understand that the modern NFL is all about parity - the salary caps, the draft positioning, etc. I get it, really I do. But could someone please explain to me what the hell is going on? Every week I think things can't get any weirder, and every week they do.

Case in point: the Lions killed the Falcons.

Case in point two: the Steelers whole season to date. Admittedly, the Broncos officially have an offense. But the defending champs' season is basically over. Maybe Cowher really is retiring. He and Parcells seem to be sharing the same lack of focus. But it still makes no damn sense.

Case in point three: OK, we all knew that the Bears would lose sooner or later. It's pretty unusual to go the whole way to the Super Bowl and not lose a single game. But they lost to the Dolphins. THE DOLPINS.


And speaking of bizarre, I sure hope you were able to watch the Skins/Cowboys game, wherever you were. The Cowboys inexplicably didn't contest a safety that wasn't a safety. Then they inexplicably went for 2 in like the first quarter. Hey Tuna, your playbook may have said to go for 2, but the first rule of football is: Take the sure points early in the game.

Then Tony Romo throws a beautiful, perfectly placed long pass that was a guaranteed TD to Captain ME!, who proceeds to drop it. HA! I will never get tired of watching that replay on SportsCenter. I'll be 102 in a nursing home, senile, not even sure who I am, and that will play on some "Great Screw Ups in Sports" show, and I will still laugh my bony a** off.

Finally, Mike "Punk" Vanderjagt muffed a game-winning chip shot field goal (he had a little help from blockers who completely forgot to, well, block), then the refs gave the Skins 15 yards on what should have been a 5 yard penalty, and the rest is history. I hope little Mikey Irvin is happy. I know I am - it's never a bad week when Dallas loses.

The Ravens beat the Bengals, which was not too surprising. Billick's working out well as head coach/offensive coordinator, especially since he keeps calling those picks returned for major yardage and/or TDs. Brilliant. More coaches should try that.

How did the Giants only beat the Texans by 4 points? Did they forget to play the second half? In worse news for the Giants, Michael Strahan is out for probably 4 weeks (maybe the rest of the season) with a sprained foot.

Bills/Packers...oh, sorry, I dozed off for a minute there. This recap is late because it's been a really tough week. Chef Spouse has been working almost around the clock as two contracts he's been on near their big network cutovers, and I've been preparing for my last event as Interim CEO, a major conference in Big D (yes, I'm in enemy territory this week, wearing my Westbrook jersey just to annoy the natives)...wait, what was I talking about? I keep losing the thread. Oh yeah - the Bills beat the Pack. Yawn.

The Chiefs beat the Rams. I was right: 4-3 in the AFC is still pretty different from 4-3 in the NFC.

Dear Saints: thanks for beating the Bucs for us twice, since we couldn't manage it for ourselves. So will the Saints win NFC South? As I said several weeks ago, Sean Payton's sure looking like coach of the year at this point.

I figured it was the week for the Jags to screw up again, and I was way wrong - they trounced the Titans. So maybe next week against the Texans? Jack Del Rio's probably encouraging Byron Leftwich to ride a motorcycle without a helmet. And bungee jump. And order raw oysters in really sketchy dives. And start dating Britney Spears now that K-Fed's out of the picture.

The 49ers beat the Vikings in a totally boring game.

Know how many teams are 4-4 in the NFC right now? 5. That's a lot, sports fans. Particularly with 5 teams better than 4-4. The wildcard race is going to be, well, wild, this year.

Chargers 32, Browns 25: is this actually a football score? What was going on there? When your point increments are 3 and 7, how do you come up with 32-25?

The Colts/Pats matchup was truly a great game. Both teams played incredibly well. The Pats just made a few more mistakes. Now everyone's talking MVP for Peyton Manning. Here's the thing, though: he'll collapse in the playoffs again, bet the mortgage. If we're the JV Bills, then the Colts are the JV Eagles. Hey, at least we've been getting to the conference championship games!

Seriously, how did the Raiders/Seahawks mess end up on MNF? After two surprising wins, the Raiders have returned to their customary dreadfulness. Interesting stat: the Raiders are the first team in NFL history to be shut out twice on MNF in the same season. And it's only week 9! This is getting funny. Maybe all their remaining games should be moved to Monday night, and then each week it can be all about "See team X destroy the Raiders this week!" Did you catch the kneeing in the crotch? Yeah, those Raiders sure are classy.

Also, I was too hasty last week - the idiots at ESPN not only haven't ditched the celebrity interview, they had Christian Slater on. Now, I love me some "Heathers," don't get me wrong, but Christian frapping Slater? It's been at least 10 years since he's done anything worth watching. And his turn on MNF did not change that. It may in fact have been the most painful celebrity a**-kissing I've ever watched. And I'm addicted to VH1.

Meanwhile, back at the Nova Care Complex, I hope everyone has had a chance to learn and grow and cry and hug and pull their heads out of their asses and figure out how to win some damn games in the bottom half of the season!

02 November 2006

2006 Week 9 Picks

OK, I guarantee you the Eagles will not lose this week. We've been finding new, creative, previously unseen, unknown, and un-thought-of ways to lose, but we will not lose this week.

Shoegal and I were talking and we realized that it actually is all her fault. She was out of the country the last three Sundays. The week of the Giants game? Out-of-state triathalon. I think we're cool, though - she doesn't have any more travel planned during football season. Or at least she won't once I cancel all her reservations and hide her car keys.

In the other matchups...

Falcons/Lions: need I state the obvious? Lions all the way, baby! Not really.

The Bengals/Ravens game looked like it would be good at the start of the season. Now? Not so much. Ocho Cinco can talk all he wants, but Ray Lewis IS his daddy.

One NFC East team has solved its QB problem, and sadly, it's not the Redskins. Worse news for the Skins? Clinton Portis, Santana Moss, and Antwaan Randle El all missed at least one day of practice this week due to sore whatevers. Stupid Cowboys are going up on us by a game.

The Giants, on the other hand, are going up on us by 2 games. They won the division last year! Why are they getting to play the Texans? Shouldn't they have to play the Colts, like, every week?

The Packers/Bills game...eh. Doesn't even come up to the standards of Most Painful Game of the Week. Actually, that will probably be the Skins/Cowboys game, not least because I'll be watching it with Deadhead Skins Fan. Also see above re: their entire offense being injured.

I should be more excited about the Chiefs/Rams game, but I'm still stuck on the impending slaughter at Fed Ex Field. Oh all right, I'll pick. Figure the Chiefs to win due to being 4-3 in the AFC (rather than NFC) West.

This week, it's the Dolphins turn to get totally destroyed at Soldier Field! I must've been blitzed out of my mind when I picked the Dolphins to win AFC East.

Look for the Saints to resume their winning ways, as they punish the Bucs by proxy for daring to beat us. At least if it's a billion degrees in Tampa Bay, the Saints should be OK. They'll be wanting kegs of Abita rather than Gatorade for the sidelines, but they should be fine.

The Jags lost to the Texans and then beat us. I think that means they're due to lose to the Titans. Good news for one Mr. Vince Young!

Aw - poor Vikings. You had such a rough time last week! Here, have a nice easy win against the hapless 49ers.

The Browns, on the other hand are being punished for their win against the Jets by having to face the Chargers. Yeah, that winning streak's going to end at 1.

Things are not looking up for the Steelers, either, as they host the Broncos this week. Last year, the Steelers started slow, too. But they weren't 2-5 going into week 9. This tail spin is looking terminal.

Everyone's saying the Colts/Pats game will be an AFC Championship preview. Yeah, right. They may beat the Pats Sunday night, but the Colts are not making it to the AFC Championship game. Bank on it.

Raiders/Seahawks - who decided to put this dog on MNF? And in fact with the Seahawks missing Hasselbeck and Alexander, this is going to be an ever bigger dog than it looked going into the season. Fortunately, I have to pack for a business trip Monday night.