30 December 2010

Sunday Schedule: Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year, football fans! In a year that we all thought would be about rebuilding, the Eagles won the NFC East (again) and are going to the playoffs as the #3 seed.  Time to celebrate, because they aren't going to beat the Cowboys on Sunday, what with the almost certain resting the starters and all that.

1 pm: Panthers/Falcons and Bucs/Saints

4 pm: Eagles/Cowboys, Giants/Redskins and Bears/Packers (No, we do not currently have the capacity to watch 3 games at once. But we'll figure it out.)

8 pm: Rams at Seahawks

Menu: I just asked Chef Spouse and (I quote) "I still haven't thought about Food Lab: Hors D'Oeuvres (our planned New Year's Eve afternoon activity). I have NO idea." But I'm planning to make some homemade pretzels, since I haven't done that yet this year. So maybe brats? It is traditional in my family to eat pork and sauerkraut on New Year's to ensure good luck. And January 2 is practically New Year's...

29 December 2010

2010 Week 17 Picks

Our game is meaningless - AR's going to rest the starters. It kills me, but the Cowboys will win this game. They have players fighting for their jobs, and an interim head coach fighting for his.

Dolphins at Pats: This game is meaningless for the Pats, but they're going to win anyway.

Bills at Jets: Bills. Rex Ryan has said Mark Sanchez is unlikely to play. Guess the Jets are happy with the seeding.

Bengals at Ravens: Ravens. The Ravens could actually still win the division if the Steelers lose (which they won't, but the Ravens have to go all out regardless, since they're both playing at 1).

Bucs at Saints: Saints need this one, and they'll get it.

Panthers at Falcons: Same as above.

Vikings at Lions: Another one of the meaningless games. Vikings. Think Leslie Frazier will be the head coach next year? Think Joe Webb will start at QB? This game might provide some clues.

Raiders at Chiefs: The Chiefs are also still playing for position, although it's only 3 versus 4, but I think they'll win.

Steelers at Browns: The Steelers need this win to win the division, and I think they'll get it.

Jags at Texans: The Jags need this win to stay in contention for the division. But David Garrard and MJD are both out, so it seems like the Jags are conceding surrender. Not that it really matters, because the division is the Colts' to lose, and they won't. Texans. Speaking of...

Titans at Colts: Colts. They're not gonna miss the playoffs for the first time this, uh, millennium.

Cards at 49ers: Good luck to...who is the 49ers interim coach anyway? Is this the most coaches that have ever been fired during the season? Because it seems like it might be. Anyway, I think the 49ers will win. Noth that it really matters.

Bears at Packers: The Bears are a good team. The Packers are a good team. The Bears do not need this game. The Packers do. You know what that means - Packers.

Chargers at Broncos: The Chargers will win, but it will be cold comfort, since they'll miss the playoffs this year.

Giants at Redskins: The math indicates that the Giants will win. And Chef Spouse thinks I'm crazy. But I think we broke the Giants on December 19. Redskins.

Rams at Seahawks: Rams. I love me some Spags, and this is the only way to save the West from the ignominy of being won by a team under .500.

2010 Week 16 Recap

Eagles v. Vikings, Tuesday, December 28, 2010

In attendance: Just me & Chef Spouse for the historic Tuesday Night Football game

Menu: Chinese, because I was running around like a crazy person trying to get theater tickets exchanged while the box office was closed for the holiday on Monday, so there was no time to plan anything else.

Stud of the week: ...



Damn. Even David Akers missed a field goal. Even Sav Rocca had a bad punt.

I think I'm going to have to go with Chad Hall who, while he didn't do anything particularly amazing, did manage to earn himself a place in training camp then on the practice squad then on special teams by sheer heart. We're probably not going to be talking about retiring his number in 10 years or anything, but you gotta love the little guy anyway.

Man, did I get killed in my picks this week. And not just on this game.

I also have a confession to make. I didn't watch the end of the game. About mid-way through the  4th quarter, the following things happened in quick succession:
  1. Video paean to Brett Favre. WHO WASN'T EVEN PLAYING.
  2. Cris Collinsworth started in on how Asante Samuel should have been ejected for helmet hit on Sidney Rice. Leaving aside the fact that Rice was the one who ducked his head and that both of them walked away from it, what is up Collinsworth's ass with regards to the Eagles this year? Is he like a huge dog lover or something? Even PETA's Ingrid Newkirk is cutting Vick some slack these days (although she continues to entertain by comparing dog fighting to pedophilia. Um, Ingrid? No. Just no.). Get over it, man.
  3. The defense couldn't come up with a crucial 3rd down stop.
At that point, I announced that some of us have to go to work in the morning (Chef Spouse has mostly been working from home this week), this whole thing was just pissing me off, and I was going to bed.

The offensive line couldn't protect Vick. And he couldn't run away like usual. Apparently, he has a quad injury, and watching him last night, you could tell something wasn't right. In the second half, and after pitching a first half shut out (that fumble recovery TD wasn't THEIR fault), the defense couldn't make key stops. They'd managed to virtually shut down Ahmad Bradshaw AND Brandon Jacobs last week, but then they couldn't handle Adrian Peterson. Or Joe Web. Also, DeSean, don't run your route and then just stand there. The defensive secondary will jump you every time, and you're not tall enough to compete for jump balls. And did anyone notice that the only thing that seemed to be working on offense was running Shady? SO WHY IN THE HELL DIDN'T THEY DO IT MORE?

Just an overall sloppy game. The team played like they'd had too much Christmas turkey. Or, to quote Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "as if they had fat Polish sausages tied to their fingers."

Thanks to the always-sensible BGN for talking me down off the ledge.

The key point is this: 3 games in 12 days. And the Eagles could've gone all out last night and Sunday against the Cowboys...and still missed the #2 seed. I'm hoping it really is better this way. At least we know most of the starters will get next Sunday off and get a chance to heal up and prepare for the wildcard game. (Well, they better. If Andy Reid plays the starters Sunday, he's going to need to hire bodyguards to protect him from the irate fan base. Big ones.)

But to all the people who've been talking Super Bowl, you might want to check yourself. By my calculations and projecting/guessing just a little, that will require a home win against the #6 Packers (who, you might remember, almost beat the Pats with their backup QB), a road win against the #2 Bears (and remember what that field was like the LAST time we played there), and then a road win against the Falcons (and both of those teams have SIGNIFICANT home field advantages) or a home win against the Saints (not impossible, but then again, Drew Brees). I'm not saying there's no way, but it's pretty damn improbable, particularly considering that we got whupped by a team that was 5-9 going into last night's game and was led by a rookie QB and an interim head coach.

Unless last night was all a calculated plan, in which Andy Reid, knowing the #2 seed was far from assured, intentionally had the guys play crappy so that next week wouldn't matter, he could rest the starters without criticism, and he could lull the entire rest of the NFC playoff teams into believing that the Eagles aren't a threat. In which case, it worked perfectly, because no one looking at the team that played last night would consider them a threat to anyone.

Also, I think the Vikes might have the answer to their QB question.

Around the rest of the NFL...

I was not the only one who got a lot of picks wrong. Wacky week.

Steelers over Panthers: OK, this one went as expected. Turns out, the Steelers can't win without Troy Polamalu...unless they're playing the Panthers. In which case they probably only need about 12-15 guys total.

Cardinals over Cowboys:  Who misses an extra point? Seriously? Not that I'm sad the Cowboys lost (other than it's not good for my picks stats), but C'mon Man!

Pats over Bills: Another one that went as expected. Lots of people have mentioned to me that they would love to see another Eagles/Pats Super Bowl. All I know is that, if that happens, the result better be different or I'm going to start taking hostages.

Bears over Jets: I can't decide if the Jets are a good team that's maddeningly inconsistent, or a bad team that manages to overperform on a regular basis. I know what I think of the Bears - they're damn good. Cutler seems to have found the system, the coaches, and the team that will help him start living up to his potential, Devin Hester remains a major threat on returns, and if the Brian Urlacher/Julius Peppers combo doesn't scare you, you might want to check for a pulse. I don't want to see the Giants again in the playoffs, but I'm not very enthusiastic about seeing the Bears again, either.

Ravens over Browns: The AFC playoff picture is coming into focus, with most of the in/out teams decided, but the seeding is still almost totally open. In week 16. LOVE!

Redskins over Jaguars: OK, had I known that MJD was going to be out, I might've picked the Redskins. Right. Who am I kidding? Did the Jags not know that they had to win to keep pace with the Colts? In the meantime, Redskins fans seem shocked that a bunch of no-name young guys won a game. Because that whole "overpaid guy at the end of his career" thing has been working out so well for them. Here's a tip: those young guys care more, because that game was their job interview to play somewhere, if not in DC. And they haven't already made their fortunes. Also they're far less likely to be gassed by the 4th quarter.

Chiefs over the Titans: Taking care of business, and winning the AFC West. Wow. Chiefs. Not Chargers. Chiefs. How weird is that?

Lions over Dolphins: Did I mention that I think the Lions are on the cusp of being really good? Not that a win over the Dolphins is necessarily indicative of that, but they are.

Rams over 49ers: Did you hear that Mike Singletary got fired? He and Dennis Green should totally hook up and do an NFL-only version of PTI for the NFL Network. Genius!

Bengals over Chargers: Did the Chargers not realize that they had to win this game to stay in playoff contention? Guess not.

Broncos over Texans: Oh, former Team of Destiny. You let me down this year. And I'm not even one of your actual fans. Fortunately, they seem possessed of the same spirit as the Saints fans back in the Aints days. Either that, or they're all hammered all the time.

Colts over Raiders: The Colts also had to win, and this was a close, close game. Which makes sense given that the math said the Raiders would win. But never count Peyton Manning out. Well, until the playoffs. Although I suspect not hitting cruise control by Thanksgiving will actually help the Colts in January.

Packers over Giants: And the December melt down continues. Adding insult to injury, the Giants are stuck in Wisconsin (as of Monday night, when I'm writing up this part of the recap). Given how badly things have gone for them in the past two weeks, they might just want to stay there. I think there's a real possibility the Redskins beat the Giants next week. Plus, cheese!

Bucs over Seahawks: So the Seahawks and the Rams will be playing for the NFC West on Sunday Night football next week. And if the Seahawks win (say it with me), the West will be won by a team under .500. Ugh.

Saints over Falcons: A great road win by the Saints secures at worst the #5 wildcard slot and gives them an outside shot at the #1 seed. OK, the Falcons would have to lose to the Panthers for that to happen, and that is quite literally impossible, but the #5 seed is like getting a bye week, since the Saints will play either the Rams or the Seahawks in the Superdome.

23 December 2010

2010 Week 16 Picks

Home stretch! Literally. The Eagles play their last two games at the Linc, hosting the Vikings this week and the Cowboys next.

So now we're on to will he or won't he? Farve and play of course. This feels so familiar.

And if he doesn't, there's no real way to prepare for Joe Webb since there's about a minute of film on him.

And there's the spread: 14 points? Yikes.

And the Eagles really need to win out if they have any hope of earning that bye and not having to play the Giants again (please God, I don't want to see the Giants again this year. They HAVE to be pissed).

And there's the whole "trap game" worry.

Oddly enough, I'm not worried about any of that. Which worries me. Typical Eagles fan.

My pick? Eagles, of course, and to win out (so I'm giving away next week, too).

In the rest of the matchups:

Panthers at Steelers: This game should be rated NC-17 for Excessive Violence. You might not want to let the kids watch. Is there any chance the Steelers don't stomp the Panthers? No, there is not. Steelers.

Cowboys at Cardinals: Dear NFL, THIS is your idea of a Christmas gift? Were they out of flaming bags of dog poo? Cowboys.

Titans at Chiefs: Chiefs. Who just might win the AFC West this year. I know this is probably the fifth time I've written that, but I have to keep saying it because it still doesn't seem possible.

Ravens at Browns: Chef Spouse has been obsessing about playoff scenarios since before Thanksgiving, and he assures me that it's nearly impossible for the Ravens to steal the AFC North from the Steelers, not least of which because that would involve the laughable notion that the Steelers would lose to the Panthers or the Browns. So we could see two teams at 12-4 in the same conference, because the Ravens are definitely going to beat the Browns this week and the Bengals next.

49ers at Rams: I don't think it's going to matter which Smith starts. The 49ers will win this one.

Redskins at Jaguars: My prediction? Sexy Rexy will play pretty well again, and lead the Skins to another loss against the Jags unstoppable ground game.

Patriots at Bills:  Bills. SIKE! But wouldn't that be crazy? Sadly, it's also impossible. Patriots.

Seahawks at Buccaneers: I'm picking the Bucs. Which, assuming I'm right about Rams/49ers, would leave the West with three 6-9 teams with two one game to play. In other words, whoever wins the division would not have a winning record. Think about that for a minute.

Jets at Bears: Jets. I'm not just picking the Jets because it helps the Eagles. The math really does indicate a Jets win. And it would really help the Eagles.

Lions at Dolphins: Dolphins. Also, if this is the only game playing in your area, there's no time like the present to get those snow tires put on! Yes, even if you live in Miami. And you might want to sack up and get the Sunday Ticket.

Texans at Broncos: Texans. But I suspect The Tebow will at least be worth watching.

Colts at Raiders: The math says Raiders. Wow. Really? Yep - double checked it. Ok, Colts. Come on, the Colts are NOT going to miss the playoffs. And they have to win out to stay ahead of the Jags.

Giants at Packers: The math says Giants. But it doesn't know what went down last week, either on the side of the Packers almost beating the Pats with a rookie QB or with the Eagles pretty much crushing the Giants spirits. Plus Aaron Rodgers should be back, and the Pack are playing for their playoff lives. Packers. Message to the Pack: there's a bonus in it in the form of delicious homemade baked goods if you pull off the upset win. Ask around. I'm worth it.

Chargers at Bengals - Chargers. I can't think of anything funny to write about this, other than you've probably heard by now that Ochocinco and Marvin Lewis have been sniping at each other in the media. Junior high much? I knew TO would be a bad influence on him.

Saints at Falcons: I know the Falcons are unbeatable at home. But this is the Saints we're talking about here. And the math is clear. And the Saints are also playing for almost the best spot in the NFC playoffs: #5, where you actually get a bye in the form of playing the NFC West Wildcard Weekend.

Sunday Schedule: Sunday, December 26, 2010

Time to keep the pedal to the metal, Eagles, just as Big Red exhorted you in his post-Giants victory speech. This week, our boys score their SIXTH prime time game of the season. Ratings magic, baby. Don't worry, ya'll - there's plenty of room for one more in Bleeding Green Nation!

1 pm:  Jets/Bears (go Jets!)

4 pm:  Giants/Packers (go Pack!)

8 pm: Eagles/Vikings

Menu:  Christmas leftovers. We'll have beef bourgignon and cookies. Bring something that goes with, like wine or vegetables.

22 December 2010

An Open Letter to Jeff Lurie

Dear Mr. Lurie,

I'm sure we can both agree that this has been a very exciting year for our beloved Eagles. To recap:

  • The surprise trade of Donovan McNabb on Easter Sunday (which turned out to be a very prescient move, sir)
  • Kevin Kolb's the starting QB.
  • No, Michael Vick.
  • No, Kevin Kolb.
  • No, DEFINITELY Michael Vick.
  • You and the lovely Ms. Christina put in motion making the Linc carbon neutral (and coincidentally the greenest stadium in history) by the start of the 2012 season.
  • Andy Reid completely remade the team in two years.
  • And now, in what many people (myself included) assumed would be the dreaded "rebuilding year," the Eagles find themselves, at 10-4, leading the NFC East with 2 weeks left in the 2010 season.

In a season with many highlights, two of the highest of the Eagles 2010 season highlights have been the utter domination of the Redskins at FedEx Field on Monday Night Football and the wild and statistically nearly impossible comeback against the Giants on December 19.

Was there anything in common between those two games?


I was at both.

Now, I can't definitely say that I was the cause of those two amazing victories.

But I can't definitely say I wasn't the cause, either.

Athletes are notoriously superstitious. Some refuse to change their socks if they're on a winning streak. Every member of every playoff hockey team grows playoff beards every year. Everyone knows you NEVER speak to a pitcher who might be in the middle of a no-hitter. And I'm not saying that I believe in the Curse of William Penn, but I do know that as soon as those guys put his statue atop the Comcast Center, the Phillies won the World Series.

The Eagles have everything in place they need to make a deep run into the playoffs:

  • A young, hungry, talented team
  • The most electrifying QB in the NFL
  • A head coach with significant playoff experience and success
  • Ample supplies of Gatorade

The only thing that's missing from this picture?

Me, preferably in the owner's box.

Don't you think it's better to be safe than sorry? 

Do it for your team.

Do it for your city.

Don't let this be another year of dreams deferred.


The Snark

20 December 2010

2010 Week 15 Recap

Eagles at Giants, Sunday, December 19, 2010

In attendance: 81,000+ people, at least a few of which were actual Eagles fans.

Menu: stadium food, but we found a deli stand that had decent corned beef and excellent pastrami.

Stud of the week:  DeSean Jackson, whose 65 yard punt return won the game? Nah - other than that, he had a pretty quiet game. Michael Vick? More about him below, but being Superman is just living up to expectations at this point. I have to give it to a combo: David Akers and Riley Cooper, who combined to perfectly execute the onside kick that totally changed the momentum of the game.

This was a rough game to attend in an unfriendly stadium. I know Eagles fans have a deserved reputation for being tough on opposing teams' fans and being somewhat lacking in class. Let's just put it this way: we're not unique in the NFC East in either of those.

Chef Spouse and I were in NYC courtesy of his company, thanking him for doing something really great this fall. He prepared an excellent picnic lunch for the train on the way up. We spent the afternoon walking around midtown admiring the department stores' fancy Christmas window displays. We enjoyed an outstanding dinner at WD-50 on Saturday night. Sunday dawned cold but not terribly windy and a little overcast - perfect December football weather. And this game was pretty much for all the money. Yeah, there are two games left, but the winner of this game was virtually guaranteed to win the NFC East and even potentially take the #2 seed, depending on what the Bears do in the next three games.

And then? The Eagles stunk it up. For 52 minutes, they were a complete mess, with the exception of the run defense (more on that below). And, my God, did we hear about it. It's a good thing I'm not easily offended, because F bombs were being tossed at me faster than in a Quentin Tarantino movie. When we left our seats at halftime (24-3) to get food, "go home, losers" was the nicest thing we heard.

Getting and eating the food took a while, and we returned to our seats with about 5 minutes left in the third quarter, by which time the seriously shit-faced Giants fan to our left decided Chef Spouse had drunk his beer (absolutely incorrect) and came about [this] close to starting a fight over it. My take? He was so wasted he didn't realize that HE had drunk his beer. Also? How is it even possible to get that tanked on Bud Light, Princess?

So the fourth quarter starts, and the Giants engineer another long drive, at the end of which Kevin Boss scores, taking it to 31-10. Apparently, with just over 8 minutes left in the game, the chances of the Eagles pulling out a win was 1%. Now, I hadn't done the math, so I didn't realize it was quite THAT dire, but I knew the Birds' chances were not good.

And then? Michael Vick apparently decided that there was no way in hell his team was going to lose. Even more amazingly, he made it happen. Superman wears Chuck Norris pajamas. Chuck Norris wears Michael Vick pajamas.

Meanwhile, Chef Spouse and I, convinced that the team could not win, were hanging out in our seats checking in on the other games with his new iPhone 4 and speculating about playoff scenarios.

Brent Celek TD? "Oh, isn't that sweet? They're not giving up!"

Onside kick? "How could the Giants NOT be prepared for that, after that Akers-led Sideline Coaches' Summit? Also, good job Riley Cooper!"

Vick runs in another TD? "Wouldn't it be funny if this game ended 24-31? It would look a lot less lopsided than it was."

Eagles burn all their timeouts with 4 minutes left to save the clock? "Didn't Andy Reid watch our win over the Cowboys last week? This does not bode well."

Maclin TD to tie it up? "Wow! Looks like we're going to overtime! Do we need to call the car service driver to let him know?"

[All of the above said very quietly so as not to set off Drunky Drunkenstein in the next seat over again.]

And then? One of the most amazing plays I've ever seen. Andy had DeSean back there, and I was all, "I don't know if I like this with DJax's injured foot. There's no way in hell the Giants kick it to him anyway." And poor rookie Matt Dodge either gets a bad snap or chokes on the pressure and kicks RIGHT TO DeSean, who DROPS the punt (which turned out to be a good thing, as it completely FUBARed the Giants coverage team), picks it up, spots a lane, Jason Avant lays a MONSTER block on Zak DeOssie, and the next thing we knew, DeSean's running across the front of the endzone before driving the stake through the Giants' hearts. With a VENGEANCE.

The stadium was silent.

I was so shocked, I had to sit down.

Chef Spouse kept repeating, "Did that just happen? Did that JUST HAPPEN?"

Tom Coughlin was so pissed he threw down his clipboard and headset and ran on the field before DeSean was in the endzone.

Things were so chaotic, the zebras couldn't get enough Giants on the field to kick the extra point, so it took several more minutes to end the game. During which Giants fans in front of us started - or tried to start - fights with any person they spotted in midnight or kelly green. Chef Spouse and I did our best to lay low, particularly until Drunkface and his friends were gone.

After which we started jumping up and down and screaming.

A few additional notes: rookie MLB Jamar Chaney played great. The Giants, purportedly a team "built to win in December" with a great run game and a solid defense, could not run the ball. And that turned out to be key. Remember the Cowboys last week? The Eagles won that game because LeSean McCoy successfully ran 4+ minutes off the clock. The Giants had to pass, and that gave the Birds far too many chances. I was really worried, with Stewart Bradley being out, but one thing about Andy Reid is that he seems to always have another guy ready to step in.

Apparently, at halftime, Asante Samuel, usually not the most voluble guy, exhorted the team to play with heart. Not to win, not to get back in it, but to play with heart. Chef Spouse and I were speculating, while waiting in line for our delicious, fatty deli meat sandwiches, what would need to happen in the locker room at halftime for this not to be an utter disaster. Chef Spouse noted that if anyone was going to step up with the "unleash the hounds!" speech, it was going to have to be one of the players. True dat.

A few comments on the Giants: Eli Manning played really well. I tend to rag on him, mostly because his diffident manner tends to get on my nerves (and I think it's unfair that he has a ring, when I honestly don't believe he's a great, or even a consistent, quarterback), but yesterday isn't on him.

You know who else it isn't on? Matt Dodge. Yeah, he made a bad mistake on that final punt. But he didn't have anything to do with blowing a 21 point lead in about 7 minutes. And 10 other guys were on the field who should've tackled DJax. Denizens of Big Blue View are calling for his head and bitching that you don't waste time grooming a punter. Two words for you: Sav Rocca.

Also, Justin Tuck? Might want to tone down the trash talk, son.

Finally, there's been a lot of Giants fan whining about DeSean Jackson "showboating" across the front of the endzone. He's been quoted as saying he was just making sure he'd used up the clock, and being there, it was pretty obvious he was looking back over his shoulder at the clock to be sure. Either way, all I have to say is, just like when the Cowboys whined last week, if you don't want to see it, don't let him do it.

Around the rest of the NFL...

Chargers over 49ers: The Giants fans in front of us at the game Sunday were talking about this game and how BWest is doing so well for the 49ers. I forbore to mention that it was because he didn't have to play at all for about 2/3 of the season, mostly because even when their team was winning, the Giants fans were really, really cranky.

Ravens over Saints: Super Bowl hangover? Nah - the Saints will still likely make the playoffs, although they do have to face the Falcons again, and in Atlanta. And once we're into the postseason, anything can happen. Actually, that holds for the Ravens, too.

Panthers over Cardinals: I called this one! And pretty much no one else did! Who cares?

Bengals over Browns: TO's done for the season, and maybe forever. Aw - I'm really going to miss that guy. No, I'm not.

Cowboys over Redskins: But Sexy Rexy played really well. Prediction? McNabb's done in DC. And he seems to have developed the reputation as being stubborn/inflexible, which could hurt his chances of going elsewhere.

Colts over Jaguars: I knew the Colts would find a way to win this game. Like I said, I just don't see Peyton allowing them to miss the playoffs. One of the Sunday morning shows was talking about "this combination of QB and coaching experience blah, blah, blah," and I know they were thinking Jim Caldwell, but I was thinking, "Same guy."

Bills over Dolphins: Just when I think it can't get any worse for the Fins (who, you recall, I picked to win the division), they lose to the Bills. Ouch.

Chiefs over Rams: The NFC West will be won by a team under .500. Sickening.

Lions over Buccaneers: Guess that whole dream of the playoffs is pretty much right out the window for the Bucs. Have I mentioned that I think the Lions are SOOOO close to being good? Because I really think they are.

Titans over Texans: We just watched C'mon Man, and they showed the Texans' linemen getting into a fight WITH EACH OTHER and drawing a 15 yard unsportsmanlike penalty. Possibly the dumbest thing I've seen this week (then again, it's only Monday).

Falcons over Seahawks: Well, yes.

Raiders over Broncos: Who will be starting Tim Tebow for the rest of the season. Why the hell not? Find out what you have now.

Jets over Steelers: There's this great sports bar in Times Square called Tonic, which is where we ended up after getting back from New Jersey and showering up, both to warm up and to try to address the Crazy Santa Hat Hair situation. We were watching the 3rd quarter while getting ready, and got to the bar in time to see the 4th quarter, where we found a lot of Jets fans, and some nice, friendly Giants fans. Apparently, you have to pass an asshole test to go to the game, as in, if you aren't one, they don't let you in the stadium (Yes, I was in the stadium. Draw your own conclusions). Watching this game, all I could think was: how important is Troy Polamalu to this team? I don't have the stats handy, but I know the Steelers winning percentage with Troy Polamalu is really good, and without him, um, not nearly so good. Even with the loss, they're still atop the AFC North, but they need to gentle Samoan to get healthy ASAP.

Patriots over Packers: This game is proof that things mostly turn out as expected. Even though the Packers, led by rookie QB Matt Flynn, led for most of the game, that is not going to beat Tom Brady at home 9 times out of 10 and twice on Sunday. Funniest moment of the game? Lineman Dan Connolly running back a punt 70+ yards. The crowd at Tonic was yelling, "Run, Fat Boy!" as one. The funny part is, if he hadn't tripped, he probably would have made it into the endzone, dragging all those relatively tiny Packers who were trying to tackle him, even though, as Chef Spouse observed, he was holding the ball like a sack of groceries.

And now? I find myself in the unenviable position of having to root for Brett Favre. But I really want that #2 spot, not least of which because it dramatically reduces the chances that the Eagles will have to face the Giants again this year. It's really, really hard to beat a team 3 times in a row. It's even harder to do it 7 times in a row.

16 December 2010

2010 Week 15 Picks

Chef Spouse did something really amazing for his company this fall. To say thank you, they're sending us to Gotham this weekend - hotel, sideline tickets, car service to the Meadowlands, the works. And Chef Spouse is preparing a picnic lunch of high end treats (pate, caviar, champagne, etc.) for the train ride up.  And we have dinner reservations at WD-50. Now if we can just get the temperature above ridiculously freezing cold, we'll really be in business!

So who's going to win the game?

Well, the math says Giants. So do some of the guys at Bleeding Green Nation (traitors!). But The System doesn't know Steve Smith is done for the year, and Mario Manningham is decidedly iffy. And the Giants historically don't do well in December. And I'm not sure what's going on with Eli Manning lately, but he's throwing a LOT of picks. And did I mention that Asante Samuel is back? And even though he's been out since the last Giants game, he's leading the NFL in picks?

Oh - and could this game be any bigger? The team that wins this WILL win the NFC East. You heard it here first.

I gotta pick my Eagles, even against the math. And if they can win out, they'll likely jump to the #2 spot given how tough the Bears schedule is. That bye and a home playoff game would be nice, fellas. Can't you taste it? Don't you want it? You know you do. Don't let me down.

In the other matchups:

49ers at Chargers: Both teams playing for their playoff lives, and BWest is having a bit of a renaissance now that Frank Gore's sidelined. But I figure the Chargers should win this one going away. Both west divisions are bad, but the NFC West is like a whole other level of bad.

Saints at Ravens: This is going to be a hell of a game, with both teams in tough divisions and trying to stay in the wildcard race. I'm picking the Saints. I'm also picking this as the game we'll have on Chef Spouse's new iPhone while we're at the Meadowlands.

Cardinals at Panthers: This, on the other hand, is a meaningless game. The math says Panthers, but really, who cares?

Browns at Bengals: Another meaningless game. The Bengals have a slight edge, but again, who cares?

Redskins at Cowboys: Much as I want to pick the Redskins, the Cowboys are now playing like we all expected them to at the beginning of the season, and the Redskins' lack of depth at pretty much every position is causing their usual late season meltdown. Cowboys.

Jaguars at Colts:  Colts. I can't believe they'll miss the playoffs, and they have to win their division to get in this year. Peyton will make it happen by sheer force of will if he has to.

Bills at Dolphins: Dolphins.

Chiefs at Rams: Two not very good teams fighting to stay in the lead of their crummy divisions. Bleh. Chiefs.

Lions at Bucs: This one's a push, but the Bucs are at home and potentially have something to play for (they're still not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs), so I'm going with them.

Texans at Titans: The Texans will win this game, for all the good it will do them. Sigh. Maybe next year former/future Team of Destiny.

Falcons at Seahawks: The Falcons are only unstoppable at home. And when they're playing bad teams. Falcons.

Broncos at Raiders: Raiders. I hadn't bought, but I was renting to own. Hope I can get out of this lease.

Jets at Steelers: The math says Jets, but I think they're starting to fall apart, and the Steelers, who have one of the oldest rosters in the NFL but sure as hell don't play like it, are hitting their stride big time. I'm going with the Steelers.

Packers at Patriots: The math says Packers, but it doesn't know about Aaron Rodgers concussion or the fact that Tom Brady's on fire, too. I have to go with the Pats, even though another loss almost definitely dooms the Packers post-season hopes, while the Pats could coast a little at this point.

Bears at Vikings: The Vikes still have no stadium and have an almost new coach and a new QB (Patrick Ramsey, who hasn't had meaningful playing time since he was a Redskin in 2004) to backup their starter, who up until last week was the third string clipboard holder. The math says they're going to win, but that's crazy talk. Bears.

Sunday Schedule: Sunday, December 19, 2010

We're closed for business this week. Why? Chef Spouse did something amazing for his company this fall, and to say thank you, they're sending us to Gotham for the weekend with sideline tickets to see the Eagles take on the Giants in the Meadowlands in the game that may determine which team will win the NFC East (and car service to get us there and back). So y'all are on your own, but look for us on TV!

13 December 2010

2010 Week 14 Recap

Eagles over Cowboys, Sunday, December 12, 2010

In attendance: Shoegal, Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom, You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad, Chef Spouse, and a friend of mine from Florida. The YAPstars, sadly, blew us off. Too bad for them, because it was a GREAT game.

Menu: Chef Spouse made all kinds of yummy snacks, Shoegal brought cheese, Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom made brisket and mac&cheese. URP!

Stud of the Week: DeSean Jackson, who, as Chef Spouse observed and Cris Collinsworth confirmed, should NOT have been penalized for his TD celebration. Apparently, the Cowboys didn't like it. Well, stop him from scoring a 91 yard TD and you won't have to see it, donkeys!

But I want to see it again:

Revisiting the keys to the game I identified last week, which happened and which didn't?

Well, Dez Bryant was out. That's indisputable.

Did they get DeSean Jackson going? Um, yeah. 210 yards on 4 receptions and a TD.

Did they get LeSean McCoy going? Yes again. 149 yards on the ground, including masterfully executing virtually every play to run out the clock in the final 4:22 of the game.

Did the O-line protect Michael Vick? No. He gets hit, he pops up. He gets hit, he pops up. He gets hit out of bounds, he pops up. And then Andy Reid screams at the zebras. The funny thing is that Terry McAulay's crew is usually one of the better ones, in my opinion, because they're more likely to just let the guys play. And that was borderline - an Eagles fan (or coach) would've seen it as a penalty, but a Cowboys fan (or coach) probably wouldn't. But it's good to see Andy stepping up for his QB, particularly since every time Vick goes down, I worry that THIS is the time he's not going to pop back up.

Asante Samuel wasn't back, but Kitna's mostly a short yardage guy, so it probably wasn't that big a deal. And the D did great shutting down the Cowboys running game.

Michael Vick? Good game - 2 picks, but only 1 was his fault (and by the way Maclin, you need to catch that pass, buddy), 3 TDs (two passing, one rushing), Kitna had more yards on the ground, but I'm loving that any play can be a big play. I'm loving that the D can give up a lead in the third quarter, and the team can fight back. I'm loving the chemistry. I'm loving that if the special teams can get the offense at least to around the 40, they're getting at least 3 points out of it.

And speaking of, how about some love for Chef Spouse's boy David Akers with that 50 yard field goal that turned out to be the margin of victory?

And did you see the postgame Vick and Jackson interview with Andrea Kramer? DJax was jumping around like a 5 year old who'd had too much sugar. It was hilarious.

Not so good?

The Eagles red zone D is bad. Like, historically bad. And they're terrible in the 3rd quarter. The offense is coming up clutch, and when they enter the fourth quarter down, I actually have hope. But it's better not to be down.

Speaking of down, Jon Kitna should NEVER be able to pick up a 4th and 8 on his feet. That is shameful. So were penalties that extended Dallas drives - Dimitri Patterson, I'm looking at you - and backed us up at critical times. Jorrick Calvin, you're a rookie, so I'm not going to bust your chops about the running around in the endzone. Your heart was in the right place, even if you didn't know what you were doing. But that punch? Unacceptable.

Speaking of unacceptable, what was with Collinsworth (who I normally love) kissing the Cowboys' asses all game? Newsflash: the Cowboys think they're the center of the goddamn universe, but in reality they are not the sun around which the entire NFL revolves. Teams, even NFC East teams, occasionally do stuff for reasons that have NOTHING to do with the Cowboys. Shocking, I know.

You know what else is unacceptable?  Stewart Bradley dislocated his elbow and Brandon Graham tore his ACL. We can't be losing any more players here, people!

And now the Eagles/Vikings matchup on Dec 26 has been flexed to prime time. The Eagles have killed in ratings in this year as well as on the field, and so far, the team is loving the night games, 5-0.

There's been a lot of tweeting about playoff scenarios, a surprising amount of them incorrect. Here's the deal: if the Eagles beat the Giants AND win one of their last two games, they will win the NFC East regardless of what else the Giants do. If the Bears win out, the Eagles will be the #3 seed regardless. If the Eagles win out and the Bears drop either the Jets or Packers game (possible if not likely), the Eagles will sneak into the #2 seed. Don't speculate - get the facts at the NFL site. They do a good job of keeping the playoff picture section up to date.

Around the rest of the NFL...

Colts over Titans. Barely. The Colts were way up until the 4th quarter, and almost gave up the game. That's not the way it usually goes. The way it usually goes is that the Colts are down by 13 at the 2 minute warning and win anyway. I had actually stopped watching the game and gone to bed at the end of the third quarter, because it looked like it was over. Not this year.

Bills over Browns. Browns are out of the playoffs now. I mean, it would've required the Steelers, Ravens, and Bengals to just up and quit for them to get there, but now they're officially out. The Bills have been officially out since August.

Falcons over Panthers. Duh.

Lions over Packers. Raise your hand if you called this one. If you recall, I said that the key to the Packers season, given all the injuries they've sustained, was to keep Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews vertical. Well, now they're down to 50%, with the Pats, Giants, and Bears coming up. Yikes.

Jaguars over Raiders. The Raiders managed to tie up the game and then let the Jags score in 2 plays - a great kick off return, and an even better run by MoJo. You tie the game and then let the opponent score in 20 seconds? Not gonna win a whole lot of games that way.

Steelers over Bengals. If this was a Steelers blog, the stud of the week would be Troy Polamalu. Just sayin'.

Bucs over Redskins. There was an article in the WaPo Sunday magazine focusing on Billy Cundiff and talking about how tough it is to be an NFL kicker. Well, if you're kicking like Graham Gano anyway. Thank God we have David Akers, aka Mr. Reliable. Wanna bet Gano is playing for the Panthers (or the CFL) by Thursday? Bleeding Green Nation put it best: "Redskins lose in the most hilarious fashion of the season."

Saints over Rams. Again, duh.

49ers over Seahawks. I "like" Brian Westbrook on Facebook. Aside from "liking" his sexy shirtless profile picture, I also "like" his current comment: "Had a great day at the office yesterday." Yes, sir, you did. 110 combined yards and a TD. I'm telling you, the West is going to be won by a 7-9 team.

Cardinals over Broncos. Guess the New Head Coach Magic has been all used up for this season.

Pats over Bears. Ex-Navy Cheesehead is still recovering from getting his new ankle, so he wasn't able to make it out again yesterday. But he did email about being worried about the Pats. I find that charmingly optimistic, considering that the Eagles first have to get into the playoffs (likely but far from certain at this point), then WIN the NFC, then we can worry about the Pats. But if we have a repeat of Super Bowl 39 including the outcome, I'm going to start taking hostages.

Dolphins over Jets. First of all, people were complaining about DeSean Jackson having no class for his Nestea plunge. Two words for you: Sal Alosi. Also, what is wrong with the Jets? Standings-wise they're still right in it. But they got their butts whupped by the Pats and then couldn't put the Dolphins away in what was a very sloppy game. And they have the Steelers up next. Things are looking a little shaky for Gang Green.

Chargers over Chiefs. A Chargers shutout of the Chiefs is more like what we're used to seeing. But the Chargers' slow start may doom them this year.

I was supposed to be able to recap Giants at Vikings during Ravens at Texans, until this happened:

If the Giants could manage to lose this game (which is looking pretty unlikely here at halftime), that would be awesome. If they could manage to get snowed in in Detroit, further shortening their week, that would be even more awesome.

09 December 2010

2010 Week 14 Picks

I know Kitna's the QB now, but still...good times.
It's Dallas week, and much as I wish the Eagles could've played them at least once earlier in the season - you remember, when they sucked? - at least we'll enjoy an exciting end to the season, with 3 divisional games in the next 4 weeks.

Keys to the game:

Dez Bryant is out. Thank God, because our kick off and punt return coverage has not been brilliant this year.

Get DeSean Jackson going. He had a great year against the Cowboys as a rookie in 2008. Last year? Shut down. Marty Mornhinweg can't let that happen, particularly not with Jason Avant and Brent Celek suffering from the dropsies lately.

LeSean McCoy. Run the screen ALL day long. Shady is shifty, and the big Cowboys defenders will have trouble staying with him.

DeMarcus Ware. The O-line has to keep him off Michael Vick.

Asante Samuel. The Eagles need him back in the lineup, not least of which because it reduces the amount of field the rest of the D has to cover.

Michael Vick. A win over Dallas, particularly given the debacles last year, gives him the chance to really become the emotional leader of the fan base.

Also? Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom and You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad are coming to town to watch the game with us.

Want the playoffs, fellas? We need this win. Eagles. Who've actually been pretty clutch this year.

In the rest of the picks:

Colts at Titans. Earlier today, I posted a poll to RootZoo asking which team people think is in more trouble: the Colts, due to their impending inability to field a full 53 man team, or the Titans, because, well, where do I start? So far, most people are going with the Titans. So am I. Which means Colts, who have to win out to go to the playoffs this year.

Falcons at Panthers. Falcons. I can't even think of anything funny to write about the ass-whupping that's about to commence.

Buccaneers at Redskins. You did hear that the Redskins have finally had it with Fat Albert, right? I know he's a loafing pain in the ass, but I'm not sure how this makes the team better.  Bucs. I hope to hell the Skins exercise the clause in DMac's contract that lets them cut him so he can go to Arizona and have some fun throwing to Fitz before he retires and goes into broadcasting. They owe him after this mess of a season.

Packers at Lions. Next year, or the year after at the latest, will be the Lions year. Maybe. Until then? Packers.

Bengals at Steelers. Soccer was the big sport at my high school, and in my sophomore (or maybe junior) year, one of my friends, a big guy who played halfback, broke his nose while in a game. After that, he had to wear the same sort of shield Big Ben will wear Sunday. It only made him more terrifying. Steelers.

Raiders at Jaguars. I'm going out on a limb and picking the Raiders.

Giants at Vikings. Any chance the Vikes do us a huge favor and beat the Giants? Yeah, I don't think so either. Giants.

Browns at Bills. Bills. They have to win some games, right? Homefield and all.

Patriots at Bears. Another wild pick? Da Bears. Da Pats have to be due a let down after the hurting they put on the Jets Monday.

Seahawks at 49ers. Alex Smith is going back under center, which is not good. I'm picking the 49ers anyway, though, and reminding Mike Singletary that there's this guy on his team by the name of Brian Westbrook who's one of the most talented backs to ever play the game. So given the QB situation, Mike, you might want to think about RUNNING the BALL.

Rams at Saints. Saints. And by the way, I'm still pissed that a team that's at .500 is leading a division.

Dolphins at Jets. Speaking of the MNF beatdown, the Jets will bounce back and beat the Dolphins. Also, did you hear that Chad Pennington is talking about retiring? He's heading for something like his fourth go-round with the same shoulder surgery. Chad, the universe is trying to tell you something. Don't ignore it until your arm falls off.

Chiefs at Chargers.  Chargers. Matt Cassel had an emergency appendectomy and likely won't play Sunday. This could spell doom for the surprising Chiefs - not just Sunday, on the season as a whole.

Broncos at Cardinals. Changing coaches has worked well for the Vikes and the Cowboys. I expect the Broncos to follow suit. Broncos.

Ravens at Texans. Oh Texans, I may have promoted you from Team of Destiny too soon. The Colts are struggling, and there is a huge window of opportunity this year. Unfortunately, you don't seem capable of taking advantage of it. Ravens.

Sunday Schedule: Sunday, December 12, 2010

It's Dallas week, y'all! And while I wish the Eagles could've played them at least once back in the early part of the season when they sucked, at least we'll have an exciting end to the regular season, with 3 divisional games in 4 weeks.

Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom and You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad will be in town this weekend. And the YAPstars are coming in force. And we'll see the triumphant return of Ex-Navy Cheesehead and his new bionic ankle. It's gonna be epic.

1 pm: Giants/Vikings (c'mon Vikes, do us a solid and beat the Gints)

4 pm: Pats/Bears

SNF: Eagles/Cowboys. It's ON!

Menu?  Life-Long Eagles Mom's bringing mac-n-cheese and brisket. Chef Spouse plans to make a bunch of pre-game snacks. Do bring something, because we are going to be feeding a lot of people. At the moment, we have no dessert, and we could probably use something healthy like some vegetables. And of course, booze is always appreciated, although we are pretty set with beer at this point.

06 December 2010

2010 Week 13 Recap

Eagles v. Texans, Thursday, December 2, 2010

In attendance: not even me! I had dance practice Thursday and had to record the game and watch it Friday night. Of course, I knew how it turned out before I watched it. My media blackout attempts were summarily killed by the Washington Post, which had the score on the front page of the Sports section Friday. Given how the game went down, this was probably a good thing, and no doubt saved me several heart attacks and much screaming and yelling.

Stud of the week: Michael Vick. Not only was his defense not able to hold a 14 point lead, going down by four at one point, and needing him to rally the team to a win, but he did it after getting repeatedly knocked on his ass. Much like a weeble, he kept popping back up. Thank God. Shady had a good game, too, going for 130 combined yards. Anyone else notice how much he's starting to run like BWest? Must be all those screens! Gotta give a shout out to Chef Spouse's boy David Akers, too, who set the franchise record for starts at 184 on Thursday, passing Wolverine, whose starts, let's be honest, were qualitatively different (no disrespect meant to Akers).

So, comments on the game. It's four days after, so the recaps have already hit everywhere but, um, here.

The big stories were:

Michael Vick is one tough mo-fo. Yes, he is. See above. Also, loved the whole "not in OUR house" 4th quarter come-back.

Andy Reid calls out the officials. Glad to see I'm not the only one who notices that some QBs (whose last name may be "Manning") draw 15 yard penalties if your arm glances off their helmet, while some QBs get blatantly face masked (see above, Vick, Michael) or their NOSES get BROKEN (Big Ben and the whole "my nose is now perpendicular to my face" thing on SNF) and...nothing.

Brent Celek and Jason Avant BOTH drop the same TD pass.  C'mon man!

The Vick throw in the 4th quarter when we needed to keep the clock moving. I don't think that was actually a planned throw. Watching it again, the flags were already in by the time Vick threw it away. Andy is not the master of clock management, but I don't think that was him.

And the big one: the defense. OK, the third quarter was not great. But the thing is, the Texans can totes score points. I'm not thrilled that the gave up 2 TDs, but I'm not that surprised, either. It's clear that the Eagles D misses Asante Samuel big time, not least of which because no coach in his right mind wants to throw near him, which allows the rest of the defense to cheat the coverage on his side, leaving them only having to deal with about 2/3 of the field. When they have to cover the WHOLE field, things aren't so good. But again, giving up 24 points to the Texans is not beyond the pale.

4 games left, resurgent Cowboys twice, resurgent Vikings once, and the Giants in their house. The Eagles can't ever do anything the easy way, can they? Go get 'em, boys. (Doing something to reduce penalties might help.)

Around the rest of the NFL...

Saints over Bengals. How do the Bengals go up on the Saints? How, after they've pulled off that feat, do they fall for the oldest trick in the book and jump offsides on the hard count on 4th and 2 at the end of the game? Oh Bungles, it sucks to be you.

Bears over Lions. Have you noticed that the Lions have been in every game this season? If they can just keep Matthew Stafford healthy, they're this close to being good.

Packers over 49ers. Well, yes. And how many tackles did Donald Driver break to put the Pack ahead for good? 4? 5? 137?

Chiefs over Broncos. With the Chargers surprising loss to the Raiders (more on that below), the Chiefs have probably pretty much wrapped up the West. Raise your hand if you saw THAT coming. Also, Josh McDaniels is out. Three head coaches out of 32 are already out. As Chef Spouse observed while cooking dinner tonight, the beheadings don't usually start until January, so they're really ahead of schedule this year.

Browns over Dolphins. Apparently, this was the most boring game since the Steelers beat the Dolphins 3-0 on MNF a few years back (the infamous "the ball actually got stuck in the field" game).

Vikings over Bills.  See, I told you the Vikes should give Tavaris Jackson a shot.

Giants over Redskins. Apparently, the Redskins dragon-style "we suck" suckitude-fu was stronger than DMac's tiger-style "Dear Giants: I own your asses" awesomeness-fu. Also, Fat Albert was apparently having a bad hair day and didn't feel like playing. Also, it would've been REALLY helpful if the Redskins could've pulled off the upset win. Also, perhaps they should fire EVERYONE (including the owner), burn FedEx field to the ground, salt the earth, and start over. Just a suggestion.

Jaguars over Titans. Did I mention that things are going all the way wrong in Tennessee? Because they are.

Raider over Chargers. Have you ever noticed that the second the commentators start making a big deal about something, whether it be "Mike Vick hasn't thrown a single pick all season" or "The Chargers haven't lost in December in FIVE YEARS," it immediately happens?

Rams over Cardinals. Whatever. Apparently, Ditka is also on record as agreeing with me that, if no team in a division finishes above .500, they should automatically lose their playoff spot. Preach, Ditka!

Cowboys over Colts. Well, that was unexpected. Two thoughts: number one, with almost no players left, Peyton Manning is clearly trying to do too much. Number two, maybe changing head coaches mid-season isn't such a bad move after all. At least then no one knows what to expect until they get some film on you. For the Eagles' sake, I hope 4 weeks worth of film on Jason Garrett will be enough.

Seahawks over Panthers. Yawn.

Falcons over Bucs. OK, everyone's now on the whole "Matty Ice is DREAMY" train. I have to point out that the 7-5 Bucs haven't beat any teams with winning records AND the NFC South features the truly awful Panthers. There's 10-2, and then there's 10-2.

Steelers over Ravens. Talk about a slug fest! I mean literally - Ben Roethlisberger's nose got broken. The Ravens dominated the game...up until the very end, when Troy Polamalu forced a Joe Flacco fumble that was recovered by LaMarr Woodley with about 3 minutes left, leading to the Steelers only TD of the evening.

On to Pats/Jets!

02 December 2010

2010 Week 13 Picks

The Texans are, even as I write this, at The Linc, no doubt thinking, "Damn, it's COLD here!"

This has been a relatively high drama week for our beloved Eagles - Andy Reid went all Bill Parcells on the team after the loss to the Bears. Asante's still gimpy. Big Red called out DJax. Rumors have surfaced that his mind is on his contract and not on field. Andre Johnson, the Texans' top receiver, threw down with the Titans' Courtland Finnegan but oddly wasn't suspended, even though helmets came off, punches were thrown, and they were both ejected from the game.

Drama, drama, drama.

But to me, this whole game comes down to one fact: the Texans are 31st in the league against the pass and have given up the most 40+ yard plays of any team. The Eagles offense is 8th in passing yards, and in the top 5 teams in plays of 40+ yards. Don't get me wrong - the Texans have a hot offense, too, #7 overall, and there's a very good chance this turns into a shoot out. But I just don't see them keeping up with us over 60 minutes.

Eagles. And they better win, because I think NFC teams who aren't in the West are going to have to go at least 11-5 to get into the playoffs this year.

In the rest of the matchups:

Broncos at Chiefs - Cheaters never win. Unless they're Bill Belichick. Chiefs.

Bears at Lions - One of these seasons, it's going to be the Lions' year. Looks like this one isn't it, though. Bears.

Redskins at Giants - The Skins are going to get killed. Remember a few years ago, when Osi Umenyiora sacked DMac, like, 300 times? That's going to be mild compared to what's going to go down Sunday. I hope the Redskins still *have* a QB by 4 pm. Giants

Jags at Titans - Things are falling apart fast in Tennessee. Jags.

49ers at Packers - Even with BWest active in the backfield, I gotta go with the Packers.

Bills at Vikings - Vikings. Dear God, if they win a few more games, does that mean we STILL won't be rid of Brett Favre?

Saints at Bengals - Bengals. SIKE! Saints. Of course.

Browns at Dolphins - Dolphins. Although, to be fair, the Browns are looking much improved.

Falcons at Buccaneers - Falcons. Damn, the NFC South is tough this year. Well, other than the Panthers.

Raiders at Chargers - Chargers. It's December.

Cowboys at Colts - Colts. Even if they are starting guys they picked up off the street.

Panthers at Seahawks - Panthers. Think anyone will watch this game?

Rams at Cardinals - Rams. Yuck.

Steelers at Ravens - Ravens. I think this one's going to be a low-scoring nail-biter, but I'm going with the home team. Also, what a great game for SNF!

Jets at Patriots - And speaking of great prime time games, TWO divisional leads on the line two nights in a row. Boo-yah! Also, Jets. I think the Pats' day has passed.

Sunday Schedule: Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Eagles play on Thursday night this week, which means that I'll be nice and relaxed on Sunday.

1 pm: Redskins at Giants.

4 pm: Cowboys at Colts

SNF: Steelers at Ravens! AWESOME!

MFN: Jets at Patriots! Also AWESOME! Good job with the scheduling this week, NFL!

Menu: Not sure. Chef Spouse won't be home until about mid-way through the Sunday night game, so I'll be cooking again. Maybe four cheese pasta? Thoughts?

29 November 2010

2010 Week 12 Recap

Eagles at Bears, Sunday, November 28, 2010

In attendance: Shoegal, Fellow Eagles Maniac and her fiance, and The Bronx Bomber. Chef Spouse was on a plane.

Menu: my "Thanksgiving leftovers" idea didn't quite go off as planned. Everyone's relatives ate up all their leftovers. I had a little stuffing and some cranberries, but I ended up making a fresh turkey breast, potatoes, and brussels sprouts. Fellow Eagles Maniac contributed a pie and Shoegal brought the wine.

Stud of the week: David Akers. He was the only one who seems to have showed up to play, doing everything that was asked of him, including placing an on-side kick where someone could've gotten it. Notice I wrote "could've." As in, had this not been the "sometimes you're the bug" part of the equation. Brent Celek also gets props for that amazing 4th quarter TD catch while triple covered. That was nice to see, since the LAST time I saw Celek, he was on the back of a milk carton. Also a little love for LeSean McCoy who prevented a return TD on the pick at the end of the half, and to Jason Avant, who, all things considered, had a decent game.

Let's see - what all went wrong? The defense made Jay Cutler look like Peyton Manning. (Hm, Peyton Manning didn't look like Peyton Manning Sunday. Coincidence?) Guess Asante is the difference after all. Hurry up and get well, homes. Special teams reverted to the short-bus kind of special. The offense went 1 for 5 in the red zone, including Mike Vick's first pick of the season. Soldier "Field" was basically a marsh. DeSean Jackson IS on the back of a milk carton now. But that's only because Andy Reid has him locked in the basement, after apparently going postal on the whole team. "Red-faced and shaking"? Not quite what we've come to expect from Big Red. But I'm not so sorry to hear it.

Here's the thing:  the Eagles were not going to go 13-3. Even I'm not that much of a homer. And after two solid weeks of people kissing their asses, a little reality check was probably well-timed. Also, the guys didn't give up. Had that onside kick worked, you never know. But there are just days when your team can't seem to do anything right and the other team can't seem to do anything wrong. That's not to take anything away from the Bears - they game-planned well and executed their plan even better. It may be better to be lucky than good, but it's best to be both, and that was the Bears on Sunday.

Anyway, no time to waste crying over spilled milk - the Texans await in three days.

Around the rest of the NFL...

10 right so far this week, with the 49ers up on MNF possibly pushing me to 11.

Patriots over Lions: Why did I pick the Lions? Why is the sky blue? Why do cats always land on their feet? Why is Michael Irvin on national TV?

Saints over Cowboys: Roy Williams is taking all kinds of shit for getting stripped while fighting for unnecessary yards. Speaking of Asante Samuel...the thing is, he had a pretty decent game up to that point. But that was the game we ALL got to watch on Thanksgiving, and I couldn't have asked for more - close game, exciting, the Saints won, the Cowboys lost, clearly God is a Saints fan, amen.

Jets over Bengals: Wow. Could the Bengals look any worse? I didn't even bother to watch the end of the game. And could Rex Ryan be any more entertaining? I love footage of his press conferences.

Falcons over Packers: Hell of a game. The Falcons don't look quite so scary on the road, though. Then again, it looks like the NFC path to the Super Bowl might just go through Atlanta, so road wins might not matter for the dirty birds. And the Pack needs to find some kind of a ground game even without Ryan Grant, which is easier said than done.

Steelers over Bills: In OT. Because a rookie wideout dropped a perfect TD pass. On the bright side, the Bills might be able to score the first pick in the 2011 draft! But Steelers, really?

Browns over Panthers: Yawn.  Actually, it was a very close game. But no one cares.

Texans over Titans: This was not a close game. The wheels seem to be coming off the bus in Tennessee. Jeff Fisher needs to get a handle on his team immediately. And the Andre Johnson/Courtland Finnegan altercation was just ridiculous.

Giants over Jags: In a come-back win. Don't worry - they'll still have a late-season crumble like usual. This win was just delaying the inevitable.

Vikings over Redskins: When the game is won by Brett "Methuselah" Favre successfully rushing for 8 yards to allow the Vikings to run out the clock, you know your defense is in trouble. Also, Redskins wideouts are dropping passes left and right. You know DMac's gotta be like, "Not this again!"

Dolphins over Raiders: Just when I give up on the Dolphins and start believing in the Raiders, they both screw me. Jeez.

Chiefs over Seahawks: The NFC West is going to be won by a 7-9 team this year. You heard it here first. I'm pretty sure the NFL needs to put in some sort of "law of maximum suckitude" such that if no team in a division finishes above .500, they give it to a more deserving team and go with 3 wildcards.

Ravens over Bucs: Big-time showdown next week as the Ravens face the Steelers for the lead in the AFC North. Another big game next week? Jets/Pats. Now THAT's a MNF matchup!

Rams over Broncos: In other news, Josh McDaniels learned more than how to give terse press conferences all those years under Belichick - he also learned how to cheat. Not cool. And you know he's got to be laughing about the $50,000 fine, since that's like lunch money to a pro football coach.

Chargers over Colts: The Chargers are clearly gearing up for their annual end of season awesomeness. And Peyton Manning played like, well, Jay Cutler. Again, coincidence? Speaking of teams that need a run game.

Final note: good to see Brian Westbrook getting some carries on MNF, particularly since I have to assume this will be his final year in the NFL. Until he starts coaching running backs, of course.

26 November 2010

Sunday Schedule: Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy black Friday! I'm celebrating by not shopping. I don't care how good the bargains are, I'm not getting up before dawn.

In other news, this week, I should be able to watch 8 of the games. Wow. I need to get a life.

Moving on....

1 pm: Packers/Falcons (keeping an eye on Giants/Jag and Redskins/Vikings on the side)

4 pm: Eagles/Bears

SNF: Chargers/Colts

Menu? Chef Spouse will be on a plane on his way to Jacksonville. I'm thinking Thanksgiving leftovers - hey, it's tradition! - but I'm open to suggestions.

24 November 2010

2010 Week 12 Picks

I'm also thankful this guy isn't our QB.
Happy Thanksgiving y'all! Things I'm thankful for this year include:
  • The Eagles are, in case you forgot, currently leading the NFC East.
  • Geekman, The Lovely Ms. Geekman, and their brood Ms. Lily Fantastico, Duce, and Emmelia Bedelia will be joining us Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom and You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad's for Thanksgiving, which means I can check to make sure my brother is properly schooling his offspring in all things midnight green.
  • Chicks in the Huddle, and therefore I, got picked up by Yardbarker this year.
  • In a season where people are dropping like flies, the Eagles are mostly healthy at this point (knock wood).
  • The Cowboys don't get to play the Lions this year and thus are VERY likely to lose.
  • All the great people who read this blog, here or in its various other locations.
  • The Cowboys are currently last in the NFC East. And there's only ONE team in the NFC with a worse record. And for that, we must give thanks.
  • And did I mention that the Eagles are currently leading the NFC East?
Up until I went 10-6 last week, I was thinking seriously about abandoning The System. I will say that that 12-1 week may have given me too much confidence. But I'm sticking with it for my picks at least one more week.

Eagles at Bears. I really hope Asante Samuel can go, because he'll have a field day picking off Jay Cutler assuming he makes it ON the field. The Bears do have the #3 defense, and that's something to be concerned about. Except the Eagles beat the team with the #2 defense last week, and that after cornering the market on dumb mistakes.

Oh - my pick? Eagles all the way, baby.

In the rest of the matchups:

Patriots at Lions: The System says Lions. Hm. Maybe the Pats are due a letdown after whupping the Colts last week? Lions (gulp).

Saints at Cowboys: Saints. Which should stop all the "maybe we WILL be able to play a Super Bowl in our own stadium after all" foolishness dead in its tracks.

Bengals at Jets: Jets. Who should be able to win by more than a field goal this week.

Vikings at Redskins: The System says Vikings. Does it realize that Chilly just got fired and they're in the middle of a HUGE QB controversy caused by the fact that their professed starter has basically given up? Also, I think WaPo sports columnist Sally Jenkins must be a huge Snarkin' fan, seeing as her column today is basically just a recap of everything I've been writing about The Favre for the past 3 years. Of course, speaking of people who are done, maybe The System got the news about Clinton Portis's season being over. Anyway, I gotta go with the Vikings. Who might want to consider giving Tavaris Jackson a shot. Just for shits & giggles.

Titans at Texans: Texans. C'mon guys! I still believe! And the Colts are looking mighty vulnerable.

Jaguars at Giants: Giants. Even though Tom Coughin's team tends to peak by October, they do win *some* games after that, and I can't see them dropping 3 in a row.

Panthers at Browns: The one NFC team with a worse record than Dallas? Carolina. But The System is picking the Panthers, so I am, too.

Steelers at Bills: Steelers. Duh.

Packers at Falcons: Falcons. Who are looking like the team to beat in the NFC, at least this week. Oh wait - the Eagles DID beat them. HA! But speaking of injuries, the Pack has been hit hard and it's got to show at some point. This is a close call, though.

Chiefs at Seahawks: Chiefs. Also, West versus West? Ugh.

Dolphins at Raiders: The Fins are another team that's running out of players. This one's a push, but I'm going to go with Raiders.  Home field and all.

Rams at Broncos: Broncos. Another West versus West. More ugh. Even The System agrees that AFC wins those.

Buccaneers at Ravens: The Bucs are looking like the real deal this year, but I don't think they're real enough to take the Ravens. Ravens.

Chargers at Colts: You know how some teams are really struggling with injury? The Colts are struggling with injury on an EPIC scale. Peyton's probably like, "Put a motor in a tackling dummy if you have to, but please God, give me SOMETHING to throw at!" Fielding a 53 man roster is going to be a major issue for the Colts if they're current trajectory continues. Chargers. Who should riding high after spanking the Broncos on MNF.

Speaking of MNF...

49ers at Cardinals: Really? Really? Other things you could do on Monday night: start your holiday shopping. Or decorating. Or card writing. Go for a walk. Clean your gutters. Call your mom. Catch up on all that filing that's been piling up. Work late. Just about anything would be preferable to watching this mess. 49ers.

22 November 2010

2010 Week 11 Recap

Eagles v. Giants, Sunday, November 21, 2010

In attendance: just me, Chef Spouse, and Shoegal. Sunday night games are tough, and Ex-Navy Cheesehead is recovering from getting a bionic ankle.

Menu: duck, chestnut soup, cauliflower and green beans, apple pie. Fall deliciousness.

Stud of the week: LeSean McCoy, who put the Eagles ahead for good with his 50 yard TD run on an almost-botched 4th-and-1 conversion attempt with about 4:30 left in the game. Shady had a good day, with over 100 yards, although most of them came on two big plays. I'm not complaining, though.

In some ways, this felt like the game where the Eagles couldn't do anything right. Well, except win. There was an awful lot of "YES!!! Wait! NOOOOOO!" in my living room last night. The receivers had the dropsiers, most notably with both DeSean Jackson and Jason Avant dropping TDs. Even Al Michaels pointed out that Avant is one of the most sure-handed wideouts in the NFL, so that was just bizarre.

The game also saw Michael Vick's first 2010 season turnover, although he still hasn't thrown any picks (knock wood).

Speaking of turnovers, Asante Samuel created one only to turn the ball over himself with a completely unnecessary run just after the Shady TD. Fortunately, as Shoegal observed, Eli Manning clearly doesn't know how to slide, either, leading to the Akers' field goal that iced the game with under 30 seconds left.

Speaking of, how often does Akers end up with a blocked kick? Of course, stats on SNF revealed that Akers has trouble against the Giants.  It occurs to me, though, that the Giants' field goal coverage is what every team should study against the Eagles, since Akers holds the all-time franchise record for points scored. Good tackle, Sav. I guess that's why you want an Aussie rules punter - he's not afraid to knock guys down if it comes to it.

And the Eagles almost killed themselves with dumb penalties. There were like 120 yards of Eagles penalties. That is not good. 

Of course, how many times did Trent Cole get obviously held and it's wasn't called? More than once, I saw a Giants lineman have him in a half-nelson (and to his credit, he just kept on driving his legs). I'm pretty sure that's not kosher.

Now, this game WOULD be a great example for other teams of how to defend Mike Vick...if it wasn't for the fact that the Eagles won anyway. The Giants certainly did a good job of limiting the big plays, and amazingly, this season, smart teams go ahead and let Mike Vick run, since he's changed his game so much that his arm is more dangerous than his legs.

A quick note:  I've been very impressed with Dimitri Patterson over the past two weeks. It's not hard for a corner to impress against the Redskins, but remember that the Giants have the #2 ranked offense. Maybe he's finally found a home with the Eagles. One team's (well, actually three teams' - Redskins, Vikings and Chiefs) trash is another team's treasure.

The thing to take away from this, though, is that too many times over the years it's felt like the Eagles couldn't win close ones. DMac was always great at putting up a ton of points, but he wasn't necessarily always clutch (although he was more clutch than a lot of people give him credit for). It was good to see the team overcome some mistakes that really could have been devastating to gut out a tough win over one of the best teams in the NFC.

Around the rest of the NFL...

9 and 6 with MNF in progress, and although there were a lot of combacks this week, my pick of the Chargers is looking pretty solid so far, which would put me at 10-6 on the week.

Bears over Dolphins: The Bears pitched a shut out. That's gotta hurt. Having no Chads and no Brandon Marshall may be too much for the Fins to overcome. Plenty of teams are struggling with injury (see below, Colts, The), but the Fins are pretty much in the "decimated" category.

Ravens over Panthers: Duh.

Bills over Bengals: Oh my God. The Bills scored 35 unanswered points. 35! The Bengals couldn't hold a 28-7 lead. That's just pathetic. To quote TO: "We are terrible." Yes, TO, you are.

Cowboys over Lions: And in predictable fashion, many Cowboys fans are calling Jason Garrett the second coming of Tom Landry and talking about the playoffs. Sorry kids, 9-7 won't get you in this year. Your only possible role in the next 6 weeks is to play spoiler.

Jaguars over Browns: MJD is looking good. I know everyone's already heard this one, but rumor is that tackling him is like trying to tackle a Coke machine. Looking at him bull ahead, I believe it.

Chiefs over Cardinals: Speaking of rumors, I heard that Fitz might leave the Cards? I think he only has one more year on his contract, and since the Cards don't have anyone who can get him the ball...I'd suggest Philly, but the Eagles are actually pretty loaded at receiver at the moment. Wow. Feels weird to type that. I'd love to see what Fitz, DJax, and Vick could do together, though. Talk about explosive offense.

Packers over Vikings: Rumors of Ellis Hobbs' death have been greatly exaggerated (although he is out for the rest of the season - again - with a neck injury) - rumors of Brad Childress's have not. He's the second head coaching head to roll this season. Brett Favre may be done, too. And frankly, I blame him for a lot of the mess in Minnesota. I know - Chilly's to blame, too, because he made the decision to bring Favre back. But NFL.com is right - in this situation, either the QB gets benched or the head coach gets fired. Did the Vikings make a mistake? Let's put it this way: I think it's time to go to Tavaris Jackson.

Jets over Texans: Hey! The Jets managed a win in regular time! It was the very end of regular time, but still. You know what worries me? Playoff games tend to come down to the wire, and the Jets are getting PLENTY of practice winning those games. That means trouble for whoever faces them come January, which could (cross fingers) include the Eagles at the Super Bowl? That might be too much to ask, but a girl can dream right?

Steelers over Raiders: Oh, The System, why did you tempt me into picking the Raiders? Also, on the whole Richard Seymour smacking Big Ben in the head, Roethlisberger's all "I didn't say anything." I call bullshit.

Redskins over Titans: Center Casey Rabach went down, and that seems to have been a good thing, since the replacement center quit stepping on McNabb and knocking him over. It's not good when your center is the sack leader. People keep talking about Randy Moss not contributing, but what I see is that he's fulfilling one of the key roles of a #1 wideout: drawing double and triple coverage so OTHER guys can get open. Not that that was enough Sunday. And how odd is it that the Titans beat every other NFC East team than the Redskins? Who, by the way, need a new kicker. Again. Well, actually, still.  Also, did you hear Vince Young threw a hissy fit when Jeff Fisher wouldn't let him and his busted thumb back in the game, reportedly throwing "part of his uniform" into the stands. I gotta figure that was a helmet, because most other uniform parts don't travel so well. Or maybe it was a shoe? You could probably fling a shoe for pretty good distance.

Saints over Seahawks: Of course. Even without Reggie Bush. But resting him one more week was a smart decision when the opponent is from the NFC West.

Bucs over 49ers: Another shut out and speaking of "the NFC West" and "stinks," case in point.

Falcons over Rams: The Falcons, at least as of last week, are still above the Eagles in the power rankings. Think that will continue to hold? They are one game up, but the Eagles did beat them back in week 6 and it was with K2 under center. I'm just sayin'.

Pats over Colts: Speaking of decimated by injury, the Colts have run through the active roster, the practice squad, the CFL, and most of the nearby colleges. I think they're starting to scout some Pop Warner prospects at this point.

18 November 2010

Sunday Schedule: Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Eagles host the Giants this week in a prime-time battle for the lead in the NFC East. I'm hoping the Eagles repeat their recent beatdown of the Redskins, although I suspect the Giants will not be such easy pickings.

ThNF: Bears/Dolphins (Once again, the NFL Network manages to score a good game. Now if we could just do something about their booth crew...)

1 pm: Redskins/Titans (with Cowboys/Lions on as the secondary game)

4 pm:  Colts/Patriots (second game? people's choice)

SNF: Eagles/Giants is ON!

MFN: Chargers/Broncos

Menu: Chef Spouse needs to make another run at chestnut soup before Thanksgiving, and he's thinking duck with a sour cherry pan sauce too. I'll be making pies this weekend, so there will be an apple to enjoy.

17 November 2010

2010 Week 11 Picks

All the bye weeks are over. Now it's a race to the playoffs. And surprisingly (or at least, surprising me), the Eagles are in it.

This week the Eagles host the Giants, in a battle for the lead in the NFC East.

So far, the Giants have beat the Panthers (1-8), the Texans (4-5), the Bears (6-3), the Lions (2-7), the Cowboys (2-7), and the Seahawks (5-4, but in the JV division), and lost to the Cowboys, the Colts (who the Eagles beat two weeks ago), and the Titans (who apparently own the NFC East this year). So 2 wins against teams that are over .500.

The Eagles have beat the Lions (2-7), the Jaguars (5-4), the 49ers (3-6), the Falcons (7-2), the Colts (6-3), and the Redskins (4-5), and have lost to the Packers, the Redskins, and the Titans (see above RE: owning the NFC East).  So 3 wins against teams that are over .500

The System says Giants, and after Monday on a short week, we could be due for a let down.

On the other hand, Michael Vick has clearly been eating his Wheaties and may, in fact, actually BE Batman. If he can keep playing like he did Monday, the NFL should pretty much call off the rest of the season and give the Eagles the Lombardi trophy.

Of course, he's not going to play like that every week. And the Giants - or at least Antonio Pierce - seem to think they can stop him.

But I just can't find it in myself to pick the Giants. Not after what I saw in Largo. Eagles.

In the rest of the matchups:

After last week's 5-9 debacle, am I abandoning The System? No, but it's definitely on notice that it needs to perform better, or I'm benching it favor of my usual completely unscientific method of picking: which team do I hate more?

Bears at Dolphins: Dolphins. Even though they're nearly out of Chads.

Ravens at Panthers: Ravens (didn't need The System to tell me that).

Bills at Bengals: Bengals. Kills me to make this pick, particularly after TO was tweeting smack about McNabb's new contract on Monday night. Dude, let it go. He doesn't love you any more. It's time to move on with your life!

Lions at Cowboys: The System says Cowboys and by a lot, although I'm really tempted to pick the Lions anyway, because they've owned the Cowboys lately. Oh wait - Romo's not playing. The System must know.

Browns at Jaguars: Jags by a nose. And they are at home, although I'm not sure how much of a 12th man Jacksonville is actually able to field.

Cardinals at Chiefs: Chiefs. Well, yes.

Packers at Vikings: The System says Vikings, but it hasn't seen Brett Favre's recent press conferences. I'm going with the Packers.

Texans at Jets: Jets. But the real question is: can the Jets win a game WITHOUT going to OT?

Raiders at Steelers: All my Steelers fan friends are going to kill me, but Raiders.

Redskins at Titans: So far the Titans have owned the NFC East. I don't see that stopping this week. Titans.

Seahawks at Saints: Saints. Again, didn't need The System to tell me that one, particularly with Reggie Bush back in the huddle.

Buccaneers at 49ers: 49ers. Hmmmm - interesting.

Falcons at Rams: Falcons. Again, fairly obvious choice even without the math.

Colts at Patriots: Colts. Also, this is going to be a great game.

Broncos at Chargers: Chargers. And since it's MNF, it will be broadcast whether or not the Chargers fans step up and the game sells out.