28 September 2009

2009 Week 3 Recap

Eagles v. Chiefs, Sunday, September 27, 2009

In attendance: Shoegal, Chef Spouse, and two newbies - Mad Kitchen Scientist and The Executive Committee

Menu: This was our first BIG cooking weekend of the fall (could be related to the fact that it was also our first cool weekend here in DC). On Saturday, we had a dinner party featuring osso bucco, risotto Milanese, homemade baguettes, homemade chocolate cake, and other yummy-ness. Sunday was all about homemade pasta (both fettucini and butternut squash tortellini) with homemade sauces (sage/butter and sausage marinara), with a BIG salad and more homemade bread...and cake...and lots of wine. YUM! (also URP!)

Stud of the Game: Please? Who else could it be other than K2's favorite target, Brent Celek. Yeah, I think our tight end issues are solved. Not only did he catch pretty much everything that was thrown at him, he ALWAYS knew where the down marker was and was willing to drag the ENTIRE Chiefs' secondary with him to get there.

Well...it's good to be 2-1 (it would be better to be 3-0), and we played a complete game. And K2 looked like he might really be our future. And we won big without our A Team (McNabb, Westbrook, arguably Kevin Curtis). Against a shitty team, but still. And it's good to see our rookies (Maclin, McCoy, Macho - is that REALLY his name?) and second year guys (Peanut) playing really well. Kolb? First QB in NFL history to pass for over 300 yards in each of his first 2 starts. Peanut? Well on his way to becoming a truly elite receiver (which is amazing, considering he's 4 feet tall). The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades.

Also, Goodell's decision to sit Mike who? Vick what? for the first two weeks was a good one. The morning pre-game shows? Man, I think I saw Vick interviewed on ESPN, the NFL Network, CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, and HGTV (hey, he has a really nice crib), and Animal Planet (ba-dum-CHA! I'll be here all week. Try the veal.). Would he have been a distraction? Um, yeah. And then? No completed passes and 1 rush for 7 yards. Whatever, dude. Someone else can pick you up next year. Apparently, you're Andy Reid's community service project.

So here's the thing: we can DEFINITELY use the early bye. Lots of guys need to get healthy again. But we've had a win over a possibly bad team (we'll see what happens on MNF), a win over a definitely bad team (Matt Cassel's not looking so special without the rest of the Patriots, is he?), and a loss to a good team. We have yet to score our first quality win. Are these guys talented? Hells, yeah. Do they have what it takes to go the distance? We'll see - things are pretty soft in October (BYE, Bucs, Redskins, Raiders). That November 1 matchup with the Giants looms large. Then again, under Big Red, we seem to mostly hit our stride late in the season. Could work in our favor this year.

Around the rest of the NFL...

Ravens over Browns. Well, yeah, sure. The Browns are having some issues, on, well, everything. Mangenius? Not anymore. But it wasn't the worst game of the week. Oh no, that's reserved for...

Giants over Buccaneers. The Bucs were shut out. SHUT OUT. Also? Bye, bye, Byron. Man, are the Bucs bad this year. Dumping EVERYONE and starting over may not have been the best decision ever. Speaking 0f bad games....

Lions over Redskins. You would not believe the weeping and wailing here in DC. Actually, you might. "Fail to the Redskins" is right. The craziest thing I've heard? Hogs Haven encouraging the Skins to "blow it up" and fire everyone from the towel boy to Vinny Cerrato. Yeah, that's a great idea. Except it won't solve your problem. Which would be your OWNER. Apparently, the fans haven't caught up on that account yet. Dan Snyder *might* be the problem. MIGHT? MIGHT!?!?!

Jaguars over Texans. Damnit! Just when I give up on the Jags, they start to show some signs of life.

Patriots over Falcons. Double damnit! Stupid Tom Brady. Stupid Bill Belichick. ARGH!

Packers over Rams. Duh. Apparently, Marc Bulger's hurt, and they're now playing Kyle Boller. When Kyle Boller seems like the answer, you're in trouble. Sorry, Spags - you've got your work cut out for you for sure.

Jets over Titans. Or maybe the Titans beat the Oilers. Was I the only one who was a little confused by the throwbacks? Marc Sanchez is off to a hot start.

Vikings over 49ers. OK, sure, but the Niners were without Frank Gore and Vicodin Boy has admitted that he threw that last pass up there with no idea where he was throwing it or who he was throwing it to. You know, Greg Lewis, if you'd made catches like that when you were in Philadelphia, you might STILL BE in Philadelphia.

Saints over Bills. Captain ME! ends his consecutive games with receptions at 185. And whines about it. Of course. To quote Rodney Harrison, "what a clown." And why was he wearing Atlin's sunglasses? (also, watching NFL Network Total Access right now. Mike Martz is a TERRIBLE commentator. Just FYI.)

Bears over Seahawks. OH MY GOD. THOSE WERE THE WORST UNIFORMS EVER. OH MY GOD. Are those seriously the new uniforms?!?!? MY EYES! MY EYES! They deserved to lose just for wearing that horrible, horrible mess. GAHHH!

Bengals over Steelers. Wait....what? The Steelers are #3 in the AFC North. What the frack is going on? I'm sorry, but there is no way that's all the loss of Polamalu. Big Ben spends far too much time on his ass. Is it starting to tell on him? Mike Tomlin's freshman/sophomore magic wearing off? I don't know, but all is not well in Blitzburgh these days.

Broncos over Raiders. Speaking of the Raiders, JaMarcus Russell has regressed. To the Bronze Age. It's bad. I'm amazed he can remember how to tie his cleats. Also, did you hear that head coach Tom Cable might have broken assistant coach Randy Hanson's jaw? Taking that "thug" thing a little too far, there, huh coach? And Dawk seems to be at least somewhat re-energized (which, if past is prologue, means we'll see him again in a year or two, once he gets homesick and decides the money isn't worth it), but even more importantly, seems to have accomplished what rookie head coach Josh McDaniels wanted: lighting a fire under the REST of the defense.

Chargers over Dolphins. Also, Chad Pennington, to quote Keith Olbermann, now looks like a big bag of mashed up Chad Pennington. Uh oh. LT? Who needs him?

Colts over Cardinals. Hey Kurt - what happened? 24 of 26 last week and this week? Not so much. Was I totally wrong about Peyton Manning and not doing as well without Marvin Harrison and Tony Dungy? Apparently, yes.

MNF starts in about 10. I really hope the Panthers can pull it together to beat the Cowboys.

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24 September 2009

2009 Week 3 Picks

Bob Ford, if you recall, was convinced we'd learned dire things about Kevin Kolb after last week's massacre at the Linc. I disagreed. I think we'll learn a lot THIS week. Assuming our defense shows up and our special teams remembers that "special" shouldn't equal "rides the short bus" in the NFL, K2 should be able to lead us to victory against the hapless 0-2 Chiefs. Hell, I should be able to lead us to victory. Andy Reid should be able to be under center and lead the Iggles to victory. Life Long Eagles Fan Mom should be able to lead the Iggles to victory. My 4 year old nephew Deuce should be able to lead the Iggles to victory. I'm just saying it shouldn't be that hard.

If K2 can't pull off his first win in the NFL against this softball pitch (to mix my sports metaphors for a minute), it's time to pull the plug. But I think he'll pull off a win. Eagles all the way, baby!

Browns/Ravens: Ravens. But Chef Spouse says he has a good feeling about the Browns. Then again, he's on his second Old Fashioned.

Redskins/Lions: Lions. Hey, they gotta win sometime, particularly if they're going to justify my confidence in picking them to win the NFC North. Chef Spouse says that after last week's Redskins performance, he wants to see the stats on the Lions and blocking field goals.

Jaguars/Texans: Texans! Also, I'm in for $20 if we're collecting to buy a bandwagon for them. But Chef Spouse has spill-over hate for them because Houston's so close (relatively speaking) to Dallas.

Falcons/Patriots: Falcons, yo. Tom Brady's looking like Kyle Orton so far this season. Chef Spouse agrees - he figures Satan feels dissed that Belichick had to call on their agreement just to beat the Bills and is blocking Belichick's calls.

Packers/Rams: Packers. Who will get to avenge their shocking loss to the Bengals on The Official Whipping Boys of the 2009 Season. Chef Spouse says, "it's a gimme."

Giants/Bucs - With both Phillips and Tuck out, this becomes a more interesting game. Which means it won't be a Giants blowout. But it will still be a Giants win. Chef Spouse agrees, but he has no love for the Bucs. His antipathy for them dates back to their NFC Championship win over us after the 2002 season, when they went on to win the Super Bowl, and he's convinced it was our year (although he is fond of Warren Sapp). The only exception? When the Bucs play the Cowboys.

Titans/Jets: J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! Chef Spouse is calling the Titans. He *would* have picked the Jets, but no trash talk so far. He says: "No talking of the smack = no winning of the game."

49ers/Vikings: 49ers. But my anti-Favre bias might be clouding my judgement. Then again, AP is hurt. Chef Spouse says that, despite their entirely unknown QB, the 49ers have beaten better teams to get to 2-0 than the Vikings have. True dat.

Saints/Bills: Saints. I don't think the Bills can score 4,937 points in one game. And the Saints can. Chef Spouse doesn't know that number - it's not a multiple of 2 appearing on a subnet bit mask - but he agrees.

Bears/Seahawks: Bears. Do you know what the average age of the Seahawks is? 47. Chef Spouse agrees, figuring that Seneca Wallace is no Matt Hasselbeck.

Steelers/Bengals: OK, on ESPN's NFL Live, Herm Edwards picked the Bengals. Then again, Herm's record as a head coach indicates that he might not actually know that much about football. The Steelers have OWNED the Bengals since dinosaurs walked the earth. That's not going to change Sunday, Polamalu or no Polamalu. Chef Spouse figures they're pissed after their loss to the Bears, and the Bengals are going to bear the brunt of their wrath. Plus, he's spent a lot of time in Pittsburgh on business and feels bad for them - they have nothing but their sports teams (and Eleven) to recommend them, so he refuses to root against.

Broncos/Raiders: I actually think the Raiders might pull this off, but I'm picking the Broncos, mostly because I don't want to pick against Wolverine and Buck. Chef Spouse refuses to pick against Wolverine, too. And plans to wear his #20 jersey Sunday.

Dolphins/Chargers: Dolphins. They hung right in with the Colts on MNF. Chef Spouse figures that anyone who only beats the Raiders by 4 points can't be all that and is picking the Fins, too.

Colts/Cardinals: Both Kurt Warner and Peyton Manning had record setting games last week. Kurt completed 24 of 26 and Peyton won a game with under 15 minutes time of possession. Two words for you: Larry Fitzgerald. Cardinals. Chef Spouse calls Colts - he thinks Peyton will pull it out, no matter what Ken Whisenhunt throws at him.

Panthers/Cowboys: Attention Jake Delhomme! Pull it together, asshat! You CANNOT let the Cowboys take this one. Also, Julius Peppers? Tonyboy throws picks, and unlike the D-Mac rockets you could only bat down in week 1, he throws soft enough that you should be able to hang on. It may be crazy talk, but I'm calling Panthers. Chef Spouse has a tear in his eye, but he's calling the Cowboys. "Won't someone other than the NFC East please kick their asses? Man up, yo!"

Sunday Schedule: September 27, 2009

Our Iggles should be able to pull out a win this week against the hapless Chiefs, even if Big Red decides to take the snaps himself (now THAT would be wildcatting!). So look for a happier day Chez Snark. Game schedule:

1 pm: Eagles/Chiefs
4 pm: probably Broncos/Raiders, but I'm willing to put it to a vote, as none of our division teams are playing in the 4 pm slot
8 pm: Colts/Cardinals (should be interesting - hope Peyton's a night owl, since he seems to be scoring a lot of prime time games this year)

MNF: Panthers/Cowboys - if the Panthers can pull out a win against the Cowboys, I think there might be some life in their season.

Menu: we have a bit of a quandary this week. Two non-regular couples are planning to join us for the games. One couple consists of two big-time foodies. The other has requested a low-fat meal. (Silly friends! Don't they know that we are the House of Butter, NOT the House of Low-Fat?) Chef Spouse and I put on our thinking caps and came up with homemade pasta with a variety of sauces and a big green salad. Bring something that will go with (garlic bread, wine, dessert, etc.).

21 September 2009

2009 Week 2 Recap

Eagles/Saints - Sunday, September 20, 2009

In attendance: small crowd - only Shoegal, Chef Spouse, and me (a few others were expected, and, hey, what happened to y'all? Premonitions of doom kept you at home?)

Menu: fajitas, beer, guacamole, bourbon, booing

Stud of the week: hmmm....well, there was...no. But then...no, not him, either. What about the coaching...no way. Man, this is hard. I guess I'm going to have to go with Kevin Kolb, who faced a tough situation in his first start, and did the best he could.

Speaking of, the Philly sports writers were characteristically quick to pile on. Bob Ford feels that we've learned nothing about K2. I disagree. We learned that he was a rookie playing his first start. He wasn't Matt Ryan - although he did complete a sweet 71 yard hookup with Peanut for our first score - and he wasn't Akili Smith either - although he did throw 3 picks (but only 1 that really mattered). Typical rookie first outing. Some good plays, some bad plays, some atrocious decisions.

Chef Spouse and I were talking about the game while walking to the neighborhood liquor store (where everybody knows your name, or at least mine) for a stock up, and he observed that K2 looked best when playing a more traditional West Coast offense - the dink & dunk kind of short pass plays AR & Co have never had an patience for. We've been spoiled - we're a big play offense, and Andy seems to get bored with 3-4 yard gains pretty quickly.

Gonzo assures us we should feel free to boo the Birds, and he's right, but not because of Kevin Kolb. We should boo the Iggles because our special teams were wretched (Ellis Hobbes, I'm looking at you), and our defense was worse. If you recall, I pointed out that the key to this game was lock down D with some scoring on that end and a solid game from special teams. You can throw the entire game on Big 5's back and expect him to be able to work magic. You cannot do that with some poor kid making his first start. It's just cruel, particularly against a high scoring team like the Saints.

And can we talk about the Wildcat for a minute? Even Troy & Joe, aka the Idiot Twins, noticed that Marty had gone crazy for the Wildcat. At one point, they noted that it looked like Boise State out there (if only our D hadn't looked like Boise State - or maybe Boise Pop Warner). Did he really think that calling a trick play every other snap was the best way to let his rookie QB get comfortable and get into a rhythm? Of course, the Idiot Twins were speculating about how worried D-Mac must be watching this and wondering if the Eagles offense was going to be all Wildcat when he got back. Yeah, if you believe that, I've got a bridge I'd like to sell you (never mind - Troy'd dumb enough he'd probably fall for that).

So I think the K2 experiment deserves to be continued, at least for a while. You know what experiment needs to end IMMEDIATELY? Sav Rocca. Sure, every once in a while he booms a 60 yarder. But far too often he dinks a 20 yarder. I see where the front office was going with the whole Aussie rules thing, but call it what it is - a mistake - and move on.

Also, Kevin Curtis, perhaps you should try to remember how to catch the football. That or find a new job. I hear Best Buy is hiring. And while you're at it, get a haircut, young man! And get off my lawn!

There were a few key plays the just KILLED us:

During the second quarter, K2 completed a pass to McCoy. While being tackled, he fumbled. Maclin picked up the ball and was headed for the end zone. Except the play was blown dead, runner down by contact, which he quite clearly was not. Eagles would have gone ahead 14-10.

At the end of the second quarter, Drew Brees completed a 29 yard pass to Reggie Bush that set up a 25 yard TD to Marques Colston. The only reason Brees got the pass off rather than being turfed was a badly blown call by the officials who missed an obvious facemask committed on (I think) Omar Gaither that clearly and obviously prevented him from getting to Brees. Hell, the Idiot Twins saw it and remarked on it, and Aikman HATES the Birds. The zebras pretty much handed the Saints 7 points.

Even with all that, we were hanging in there down only by 4 at the half and due to start the second half with the ball.

Until Ellis Hobbes fumbled the kick off return and handed the Saints 7 more points.

And then, on our next possession, K2 threw the only pick that mattered, handing the Saints another 7 points. The Saints had scored 14 points in under 3 1/2 minutes. Don might've been able to pull us back from a 31-13 deficit (although the way the D was playing, it's pretty unlikely). But that was a horrible position for K2 to be in, with no realistic way to recover, again, given how poorly the D was playing.

And then our last two possessions ended with picks, which was really just adding insult to injury.

Speaking of injury, BWest and Peanut are both hurt. Peanut's got a touchy groin, and BWest is already having trouble with his surgically repaired ankle. I wonder if he can get his money back. Do those things come with a guarantee?

So in answer to the question of: Can the Eagles win without D-Mac? The answer is: not against a high-powered offense, particularly if our D decides to play possum all day. Fortunately, that whole "opponent with a high powered offense" won't be a problem next week, and hopefully K2 will get to win a game. Otherwise he might want to consider entering the witness protection program, to shield himself from the wrath of Philly fans.

Around the rest of the NFL...

Texans over Titans: HAHA, suckas! I rock! Maybe this is really their breakout year, not just my one annual completely wild-ass pick. Do the Texans even *have* a bandwagon to jump on?

Cardinals over Jaguars: WAY over. Kurt Warner LIT it UP. I don't know what happened with the Jags. Apparently their team was with our D, wasting away in Margaritaville.

Raiders over Chiefs: Yet another upset (sort of) score for me! Go me! (Well, if anything in either of the west divisions could be considered an "upset" in any other sense than, you know, pissed off).

Bengals over Packers: OK, now THAT's an upset. And Ochocinco did a Lambeau Leap, as promised. I know a lot of people think he's a complete ass, but he cracks my shit up. We all get so serious about this - he seems to be one of the few people in the gridiron universe (myself included) who remembers that this is a GAME and maybe we should all be having FUN.

Vikings over Lions: Will the Lions *ever* win a game? Well, they do play the Redskins next week...and speaking of....

Redskins over Rams: is it possible to be depressed about a win? Yes, it is. Welcome to the 2009 Redskins season. Only putting up 9 points on the Rams (The Official Whipping Boys of the 2009 Season)? Does not bode well for the next 14 games.

Jets over Patriots: Sometimes, talking a lot of smack works. Sometimes, it doesn't. Tom Brady's not looking so magical these days, is he? Not so easy to come back from a major injury, is it there, Rocks? Maybe everyone should give D-Mac a little more respect? (They already do, outside his home market.)

Falcons over Panthers: NFC South is looking pretty strong this year. Could they rep the NFC in the Super Bowl? Much as I hope *we* will rep the NFC in the Super Bowl, I'm thinking maybe.

Bills over Bucs: The Bills seem much improved. Hopefully their fans will catch on before the franchise gets moved to Toronto.

49ers over Seahawks: Frank Gore is BAAAAACK. The rest of the NFC West should tremble. Everyone else, not so much. Also? Matt Hasselback cracked a rib, too. Wanna bet on who comes back first? No takers? Thought not.

Ravens over Chargers: It was a BILLION degrees on the field. Seriously. We're talking surface of the sun out there. Only thing hotter? The play. The Ravens now have offense. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Bears over Steelers: Well, that was unexpected. Really. Majorly unexpected. Wow. The nearly-Akers-level-reliable Jeff Reed misses a FG, and the Bears pull it out. Guess the Steelers really are missing Polamalu big time.

Broncos over Browns: Buck had a good day. Go, Former Eagles!

Giants over Cowboys: Downside? I picked wrong. Upside? The Giants provided a proper housewarming for Jerry Jones's new Palace o' Football/Monument to His Tremendously Huge Ego. TonyBoy threw 3 picks. I don't think he cried, but it was so hot and everyone was sweating so much, it's hard to be sure. Which shows that the Cowboys are definitely beatable. Are the Giants? I think so. Time will tell.

Watching Colts/Dolphins right now. Gruden needs to calm the F down. Stop shouting, man. I'm right here. Is he better than Tony K? Not sure. What do you say, football fans: who would you add to the solid Tirico/Jaws combo? In the meantime, wondering where Hank Baskett went? Colts. I wonder if he'll play tonight. Also? We're about 10 seconds into the game and BOTH teams have scored. Dear D: THE GAME STARTED. CATCH UP. That is all.

17 September 2009

2009 Week 2 Picks

Eagles/Saints - despite my ongoing chick fight with NOLA at Chicks in the Huddle, I give us, at best a 40% chance of winning Sunday. We're going to need a big day from the D and our special teams to stay in it. And the QB situation? Well, you know my thoughts on that already. Although Kevin Kolb has not ever had a full week of practice and full-on game prep with the first team offense, so who knows? He could pull a Koy Detmer/AJ Feeley/Jeff Garcia on us.

But honestly, worst case scenario is that DMac comes back in week 5 to a team that's 1-2. (And 2-1 seems far more likely, as I don't see us losing to the Chiefs, even if I play QB.) I can live with that. In the meantime, Brees, prepare to meet Trent Cole. It's an experience I don't think you're going to enjoy. And Reggie Bush, I'm sure you remember Sheldon Brown.

Fly, Eagles, Fly. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for an unexpected victory this weekend.

Texans/Titans - Hm. I picked the Texans to win AFC South. How demoralized do you think the Titans are from that OT loss to the Steelers? Yeah - not that demoralized. But I'm still calling the Texans, because I'm just that crazy.

Cardinals/Jaguars - Sheesh. Jags lost to Colts last week, and Cards lost to 49ers. Based on that, I should call Jags, because I don't care *how* much the 49ers have purportedly improved this year, the Colts are still better. OK, I just talked myself into it. Jaguars.

Raiders/Chiefs - Raiders. Definitely. They looked WAY better against the Chargers last week than they have in years. Now if JaMarcus Russell could stop overthrowing his receivers by an entire time zone, they might have something out there in Oakland.

Bengals/Packers - Packers. Definitely. That Aaron Rodgers kid might just work out after all.

Vikings/Lions - Whew. I called the Lions to win NFC North. And I still don't think the Vikings are all that - they're working a solid defense and Adrian Peterson and not much else. And the Lions do know how to capitalize on their opponent's mistakes (right Saints?). And Vicodin Boy is prone to making mistakes. Yeah...Vikings anyway.

Rams/Redskins - The Redskins better win, or both Jim Zorn and Jason Campbell could find themselves without a job by bedtime Sunday. Also, the Rams are REALLY bad. Of course, the Redskins looked a lot worse last week against the Giants than that relatively close 23-17 final indicates. But they're not THAT bad. Redskins.

Patriots/Jets - I hope that Rex Ryan can shut his trap long enough to come up with a good game plan for Sunday, because I'd like to see the Jets topple the Patriots. And if they watch the tape, they should notice that the Pats aren't looking nearly as unstoppable as they have recently. But the whole thing with the Pats is that you have to play 60 full minutes of football. Think the Jets have it in them? Yeah, me too - Jets.

Panthers/Falcons - Falcons. And $20 says Jake Delhomme gets benched in favor of AJ by halftime.

Buccaneers/Bills - The Bills really surprised last week. Much as it pains me to pick a team that was dumb enough to sign Captain ME!, I'm going with the Bills.

Seahawks/49ers - This might actually be as good as it gets in the NFC West. Which means I'm sure as hell not bothering to watch it. 49ers.

Ravens/Chargers - This should be a good game. The Chargers can thrill, but they can also disappoint. The Ravens, well, the Ravens generally don't disappoint. Which to me indicates a Ravens win.

Steelers/Bears - Jay Cutler on his bad debut against the Packers last week: "It's not going to keep me down." Uh no, that would be the job of two guys named LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison. The Steelers are going to miss Troy Polamalu big time, but they aren't going to need him to get past the Cutler-led Urlacher-less Bears. Steelers.

Browns/Broncos - Yep, the Browns still suck bad enough that they're going to lose to a team QBed by Kyle Freakin' Orton that required an act of God to get past the Bengals last week. Broncos.

Giants/Cowboys - OK, so I missed the Cowboys/Bucs game last week, but I have to tell you, the Giants did not look brilliant in their win over the Redskins, even by comparison. And I've already covered how bad the Redskins looked. Barring a natural disaster that takes out both teams (OHPLEASEOHPLEASEOHPLEASEOHPLEASE), I'm thinking Cowboys.

Colts/Dolphins - I think the Dolphins are going to surprise the Colts. Mind you, I didn't say they were going to *win*. But I heard a rumor they're planning to flamingo-bomb Peyton's lawn. Colts.

16 September 2009

QB controvery? What QB controversy?

From a recent Facebook exchange with one of my Fellow Football Enthusiasts:

FFE: Shouldn't you be worrying about your injury-plagued Eagles?

Snark: Well, I'm worried about Big5, but I'm not too panicked about the rest of the team (at least not yet). I see us resting McNabb through the bye and heading into weeks 5-17 with our franchise QB and, at worst, a 1-2 (more likely 2-1, even possibly 3-0) record.

FFE: You think they'll play Vick if McNabb can't go? Or Garcia?

Snark: Sunday? My money says Kolb gets the start and, as long as he's not stinking up the joint, plays. If he *is* stinking up the joint, Jeff "Insurance Policy" Garcia goes in.

Vick's not eligible until week 3 against the Chiefs, and even then I think it's unlikely he starts. Vick's a whim who was picked up for the NFL equivalent of the change in the sofa cushions ($1M) - at that price, he can be cannon fodder for all they need to care.

I think what AR is evaluating right now is Kolb's ability to be the #2 (and eventual #1, because McNabb can't play forever, all Farves to the contrary). The spot's his to lose, and that chance starts in just under 4 days.

So what do you think, fellow Eagles fans? No way is our #1 in question - frankly, he never has been for the past 10 years (and the haters who think he has are nuts and apparently incapable of basic math, because the stats don't lie) - but clearly, our #2 is. And in another couple of weeks, we'll have an embarrassment of QB riches. Who stays? Who goes? What will the depth chart look like?

Sunday Schedule: September 20, 2009

Can we win without Big5? We'll find out Sunday. I'm nervous, but with my fingers crossed, and I do feel better knowing that Jeff Garcia's back in the Birds' nest. Check out Chicks in the Huddle for a chick fight throwdown between me and NOLA.

1 pm: Eagles/Saints, baby! I doubt Drew Brees will thrown for 6 TDs against *our* D.
4 pm: Ravens/Chargers or Steelers/Bears (we'll vote)
8 pm: Giants/Cowboys - that should be fun!

MNF: Colts/Dolphins - that should also be fun!

Menu is still TBD, but right now Chef Spouse is leaning towards fajitas, and promises me that there WILL be a FULL compliment of guacamole this week.

14 September 2009

2009 Week 1 Recap

Eagles at Panthers, Sunday, September 13, 2009

In attendance: Shoegal, ExNavy Cheesehead, Chef Spouse

Menu: small bowl of Chef Spouse's amazing guac (couldn't find decent avocados), Yuengling, crudities, yummy hoagies from Taylor

Stud of the Week: I really could've picked anyone on the D, but I had to go with my man Sheldon Brown, who picked off Jake Delhomme twice. Not that that seems to have been all that tough a job yesterday, but still.

First of all, I was SO wrong. Both our D and our O were ready to rock. Although on that first Panthers drive, I was heard to remark: "Did everyone forget how to tackle after Jim Johnson died?" I was also heard to remark: "If they can just rattle Jake Delhomme, I guarantee he'll start throwing picks." Yes, I may be psychic. Which, if true, is good news for the Lions.

Let's deal with the good before we get to the bad (and hear why I'm not panicking...yet.)

Our D was dominant. DOMINANT. They dismantled the Panthers. Seriously - I think Jake Delhomme's left arm may have landed in my back yard. Dick Stockton was talking about how JJ must be smiling down from heaven. Sean McDermott did him proud - he's clearly been paying attention for the last 10 years. Best moment? The crap time at the end of the game when the Panthers decided to go for the TD on 4th & goal, and our first team goal line D ran out there all "NOT. GONNA. HAPPEN." And it didn't.

Our O looked really great too. BWest's offseason training was a little unconventional, consisting entirely of surgery, but it looks like it worked. He was cutting like the old days. Also, now that we have so many options on O, they can't just send everyone after Westy. And the new guys - Maclin and McCoy - both got playing time and both stepped up. And Celek made Chris Cooley look like The Prophet of Football. Leonard Weaver got a carry. And did you see Peanut's speed? It's a party and everyone's invited.

Did I mention all of our offensive options? Last year, Big 5 threw to something like 10 receivers for over 200 yards each, which was an NFL record. This year, he could top himself. Assuming we get him back.

So now we're on to the bad. As everyone knows by now, McNabb broke a rib. It was a late hit - big time - that was not called, but really, does it even matter? How much do you want to bet AR was thinking, "Why me, God?" Many commentators have been calling this both the most talented group of players the Eagles have EVER assembled and favorites to go the Super Bowl. That would depend on us having our 5 time Pro Bowl QB able to play.

But there is an up side (I think). When he went down, Stockton was talking about knees. I was FREAKING out. Knee injuries, in my experience, are not good. Ribs we can deal with. QBs can play with injured ribs (see Roethlisberger, Ben). Also? Vick is available for the Chiefs. Also? We have an early bye. Also? My boy Jeff Garcia's back! Kolb was, um, let's call it not that impressive once he took over yesterday. But I think we can come out of the first 3 games 2-1 (we'll lose to the Saints - unless our D wins it for us, which is not impossible, but is unlikely - and beat the Chiefs regardless of who's under center), rest McNabb until after the bye and be good to go. I hope.

Around the rest of the NFL...

Steelers over Titans. What a way to kick off the 2009 season! Defensive battle that goes to OT. It was a costly victory for the Steelers, though, as Troy Polamalu is out for 3-6 weeks. And they looked like a different team without him. However, they don't face the Ravens until after he's back even in the worst case scenario, so hopefully it won't kill them.

Falcons over Dolphins. A lot of people say that the NFC East has resumed its rightful place as the toughest division in football. NFC South is quietly making inroads on that title.

Broncos over Bengals. Well, yeah, although that was one wacky ending. Dawk and Buck had good games, but if it requires an Act of God to get you past the Bengals, you are in for a LOOOOONG season, my friends.

Vikings over Browns. Um, yeah. Quarterback, schmarterback. Anyone heard of a guy named Adrian Peterson?

Jets over Texans. Ok, either Mark Sanchez is the second coming of Dan Marino or I might've been wrong about the Texans. Beginner's luck?

Colts over Jaguars. Although it was a lot closer than I thought it would be. Peyton's not looking so magical without Dungy and a cadre of amazing receivers.

Saints over Lions. And Drew Brees threw for the most TDs in one game in about 40 years. We could be in trouble next week. Also, see above RE: the NFC South. Also, Matt Stafford may not be the QB of destiny.

Cowboys over Bucs. Well, the NFC South's hot other than the Bucs. Who could've predicted that Tonyboy would do better without TO, other than everyone who's paid any attention to Captain ME!'s career at all? Also, it's September. Just wait and see what happens in December.

Ravens over Chiefs. That part's not surprising. What was surprising was the high score in the game - 38 to 24? What the hell? What was up with the Ravens vaunted defense?

49ers over Cardinals. Did I mention recently how bad the NFC West is? Oy.

Giants over Skins. If you didn't watch the game, the score doesn't indicate how TOTALLY one-sided it was. The Skins looked awful. Jason Campbell couldn't get it together, the D (which has been their strong suit in the last few years) looked anemic, the team was totally undisciplined, and Zorn's playcalling was just bizarre. Clearly, the man knows his job is on the line, but clearly, that's already driving him to crazy choices. This could be a long season for Redskins fans.

Seahawks over Rams. Good luck, Spags, you have your work cut out for you. If you can turn this team around, you deserve the Nobel prize for football.

Packers over Bears. Jay Cutler looked as bad as Jake Delhomme, and Brian Urlacher's out for the season (just reported on MNF as I type this). Things are not looking good in Chi-town.

Right now, the Bills are up and Rocks Brady looks pretty unsettled. Not so easy to recover from a major injury, is it there, Rocks? TO's been a non-factor so far, but the Bills are looking like they might bring the upset.

No need to wait for the recap of Chargers/Raiders, because we ALL now how that's going to turn out.

10 September 2009

2009 Week 1 Picks

Sing it with me, now:

It's the most wonderful time of the year! It's the most wonderful time of the year!

How do we survive the long lonely months between the pro bowl and opening weekend? I do not know, fellow football fans, but I sure am glad it's over.

Eagles/Panthers: I know it's the first game, and it seems cruel to do it, but I'm picking us to lose. I think our offense is likely to be pretty high-powered this season, but I also think they haven't quite gotten the kinks worked out yet. Also, as goeagles99 points out, things are still in flux (big time) 5 days before our first game. I also think our young group of defenders needs a little more time together to start working smoothly. Look for a rough first few weeks, facing two of the tough NFC South teams, regrouping during our early bye, and a kick-ass weeks 5-17.

Steelers/Titans: Other teams have no shot against the AFC North. Well, unless they're playing the Browns. Or the Bengals. Actually, it's just the Steelers and Ravens that are trouble. Which is bad news for the Titans. Steelers.

Dolphins/Falcons: It's so hard picking winners at this point, since we haven't really seen the teams in action yet. Coin flip says Falcons.

Broncos/Bengals: OK, even not having seen much of the teams yet, this one's not hard to pick. Broncos.

Vikings/Browns: Nor this one, even with Vicodin Boy at the helm. Vikings.

Jets/Texans: Based on my no doubt crackpot theory that this is their breakout year, Texans.

Jaguars/Colts: Colts. (Watch it, this will be the year the Jaguars finally pull it together. If it happens, you heard it here first. If not, we never had this conversation.)

Lions/Saints: I suppose since I picked them to win NFC North, I should go with the Lions. Hmmmmm.....Saints.

Cowboys/Bucs: Cowboys. They're a bunch of tools, but all is not well in Tampa Bay.

Chiefs/Ravens: Ravens. See above re: other teams' chances against the Ravens and/or Steelers.

49ers/Cardinals: Oh my God. We still have to suffer through divisional NFC West games! Can't someone fix this? Cardinals.

Skins/Giants: I think the Skins are going to surprise the Giants who are, as I'd mentioned, fresh out of receivers.

Rams/Seahawks: GAHHH! More NFC West! I'm going with Rams, just for the hell of it.

Bears/Packers: Packers. Look out for Jay Cutler to pout.

Bills/Patriots: Patriots. You don't have to look out for TO to pout - trust me, you won't be able to miss it.

Chargers/Raiders: Raiders, I had your back until you cut my boy Jeff Garcia. Chargers.

09 September 2009

Sunday Schedule: September 13, 2009

Welcome to the 2009 season, homeslices!

I'll be at home Thursday night watching the Steelers whup up on the Titans, if anyone cares to stop by. Otherwise, for Sunday:

1 pm: Eagles/Panthers
4 pm: Skins/Giants (with periodic check-ins on Cowboys/Bucs)
8 pm: Bears/Packers

MNF: double header of Bills/Patriots and then Chargers/Raiders

3 days - 6 games - happy Snark!

For the menu, we're planning to pick up hoagies from the fabulous Taylor, home of delicious and authentic Philly sammiches here in the hood. The bread's from Sarcone's and they would NEVER sully your hoagie with anything but oil & vinegar and Italian seasoning. Bring something that will go with!

Edited to add: Joe pointed out that the Cowboys/Bucs game is at 1 pm opposite the Eagles game. Guess we WON'T be flipping to that, even if our game is a blow out one way or the other, because I need to see how our new players fare in a real game situation.

07 September 2009

2009 Divisional Picks

Hold on to your hats, kids, it's time for my annual Post That Will Cause a Walk of Shame in January, aka my divisional picks. As I gaze into my crystal ball, which is evidently made of cubic zircona given my history with these picks, here's what I see:

AFC East: Dolphins
Just when I give up on the Dolphins, after YEARS of predicting they'd beat the Pats for the division, they go and win the division. Not making that mistake again. Plus, Patriots, I have much hate for you.

AFC North: Steelers
The juggernaut continues. It always looks on paper like they shouldn't be able to take the division, and yet...maybe it's something in the water up there in Blitzburgh.

AFC South: Texans
Hear me out. The Colts have lost some key players - and Tony Dungy. That's gotta hurt. The Jags and Titans are both pretty deeply flawed teams. And the Texans finished last season really strong, winning 4 of their last 5 games. I have a good feeling about them. Stop laughing!

AFC West: Chargers
Well, I was going to pick the Raiders based on the Jeff Garcia factor - aka, he seems to be able to pull any team to at least a winning record, and the AFC West was won at .500 last year. But they cut him in favor of Bruce Gradkowski and Charlie Frye. They're dead to me now. The Broncos grand plan was to pick up Dawk (still a locker room leader, but he's lost more than a step), Buckhalter, and Kyle Freakin' Orton? Did Josh McDaniels have a big bowl of crazy for breakfast every morning for the last 6 months? So who else am I going to pick? The Chiefs? I'm not THAT nuts.

AFC Wildcard: Colts and Ravens
Assuming they don't win their divisions. Hey, the Colts may have lost Tony Dungy AND Marvin Harrison, but they still have Peyton Manning. And I have a good feeling about the Ravens' prospects in the next several years. The Flaco/Harbaugh combo is looking promising.

NFC East: Eagles
Well duh! I always pick us to win NFC East. But the Giants are out of receivers, the Redskins are still hamstrung by The Third Worst Owner in Football, and the Cowboys are still hamstrung by the Second Worst Owner in Football (and besides, I so look forward to Tonyboy's annual meltdown). Particularly given our wideout and running back upgrades, who can really challenge us?

NFC North: Lions
Remember how I said last year that the Dolphins taking the AFC East would be the greatest turn around in the history of the NFL? I was wrong. THIS would be the greatest turn around in the history of football. But I don't think it's impossible. The Bears are saddled with Mr. Bad Attitude #1 Jay Cutler. He's not all that, and he's locker room poison, not a good thing in any player, but a particular problem in a QB. The Vikings are saddled with Mr. Bad Attitude #2 Brett Favre. He's not all that any more, and playing for revenge is not a particularly smart motivation. And the Packers seem to have lost their mojo. I don't think they ever really recovered from Mike Holmgren's departure in 1998. Plus, the Lions are pretty much an entirely new team - new players, new coaches, #1 draft pick. I admit, it's a bold prediction. But if I'm right, I'm going to look like a freakin' genius in January. If I'm wrong, well, I'm usually wrong about my pre-season divisional picks, so no harm, no foul.

NFC South: Falcons
Speaking of another combination that looks pretty winning: Ryan/Smith. Plus Jake Delhomme seems mentally unstable, the Bucs are in turmoil from what I can tell, and the Saints haven't been able to climb back to the top of the NFC South since their run to the NFC Championship game after the 2006 season.

NFC West: Cardinals
The Cardinals still have Kurt Warner, Fitz, Tim Hightower, and Anquan Boldin. Matt Leinart? Whatever - who even cares? Also, have you seen their competition? Nobody else even finished above .500 last year. Oy.

NFC Wildcard: Cowboys and Saints
Although I could probably make the argument for pretty much any two teams in the NFC. Except the Rams.

Tired of my dumb predictions? Check out...
  • BleacherReport - the snark in strong in this one, Yoda.
  • Don Banks of SI's Inside the NFL and I agree on almost nothing, for what it's worth.
  • ESPN's Gene Wojciechowski predicts a Pats/Vikings Super Bowl. Doubtful.
  • ESPN's also letting you vote. Look at my Eagles killing as predicted NFC East winners! Uh oh - that may be bad luck.

04 September 2009

Final Thoughts on the Preseason

As per usual, I haven't previewed the pre-season games. How many different ways can I come up with to say: "Prepare yourself for 3 hours of watching guys you've never even heard of run around not only looking like they've never PLAYED football, looking like they've never even watched a game. Woo-hoo!"

OK, it's not quite that bad - usually - but you get my point.

And recaps? Well, seeing as I live here in Redskins-ville, the games are played at such odd times it's often days before they're even broadcast locally. By which point you've already read a million recaps.

So, 1 win, 3 losses. But that actually makes me happy. That record says to me that Andy and the rest of the coaching staff gave the rookies and second and third teamers plenty of time to show what they've got, which should - hopefully - result in some solid personnel decisions on cut down day.

Besides, as the Jets announcers on last night's game pointed out, last year, the Lions went 4-0 in the preseason.

Random player observations:

Last night, Vick played a lot. He had more rushing yards than passing yards, ran for on TD and threw a pick. The announcers were acting like this was something unusual. Funny, but that's pretty much how I remember him from Atlanta. Are we sure we don't want to use him as a wideout?

Speaking of Vick, he'll be eligible as of the Chiefs game on September 27. If I were AJ Feeley, I'd be freshening up my resume.

David Akers nailed a 48 yard field goal last night. Somebody appears to be getting better rather than older.

Speaking of kickers, Sav was looking a little, um, inconsistent. Not that I want Akers to have to get used to a new holder, but this is no longer an experiment. Learn the game or get out.

The first team offense never took the field last night. Hank Baskett did. So did Reggie Brown. Draw your own conclusions.

We finally have an actual full back. Dan Klecko might want to glance over his resume, too.

Maclin and McCoy both played a little. Both looked pretty good. But it was against the Jets second and third team, so let's not read too much into it. Yet.

We don't quite seem to have our new O-line figured out. Let's hope that comes together before we're calling the Raiders to see if we can get Jeff Garcia back because we've run out of quarterbacks.

No Wolverine on the roster. It's real. Somehow, now it's real. Particularly since Woodhead, the guy who seems to have arrived in New York via Munchkinland, burned his successor (Quintin Demps, for those who've tried to block it out) every time he got the ball, which was about 1 play out of every 3.

So who's in and who's out? Damned if I know.

Up next: my annual pre-season divisional picks. In which I usually end up making a complete idiot of myself. Go me!