30 September 2010

2010 Week 4 Picks

This game is huge. HUGE! DMac comes back to the Linc for the first time as a Redskin. You KNOW he has a huge chip on his shoulder, starting with the infamous draft day booing and going all the way up to this past Easter weekend:


"McNabb residence, this is Donovan speaking."


"Happy Easter, Coach Reid!  Mormons do celebrate Easter, right?"

"Yes, Don.  Listen, I've got some bad news for you."

"You re-signed TO?"

"No - we traded you to the Redskins 5 minutes ago.  Your stuff is in a box outside the NovaCare complex.  You can pick it up whenever you like.  We changed the locks.  And gave your parking space to Kevin Kolb."

"Well, at least I don't have to play with that self-centered douchebag Terrell Owens again."

Although I was concerned that I'd be conflicted about this game, I find that I'm not.  I definitely want the Eagles to win.  I'm just not sure we can.

I know - we're atop the division (for all that means in week 4) and the Skins have been abysmal the past two weeks. But McNabb knows everything about our O and D inside out.  You better believe he's shared that ALL with the Skins coaches in the scouting sessions.

Of course, the Eagles have the offensive player of the month in Michael Vick and the defensive rookie of the month in Nate Allen.   Towards whom Big5 will be throwing.  To two wideouts who are, collectively, older than the rapidly-melting glaciers.

And, of course, divisional games are always wacky.  As I explained to someone recently, "any given Sunday" is quadrupley true when it's an in division game.  

On the other hand, is the "new" Mike Vick permanent?  We've beat two pretty bad teams (the Lions and the Jags), and although he played well in the second half against the Packers, he couldn't bring us back.  In other words, he's looking brilliant against scrubs.  On the other hand, he's been great in the red zone.  And many would argue that the Skins are scrubs this year, of course, but again, "any given Sunday."

Of course, the Redskins have been terrible in the red zone. The fact that they've almost universally chosen run plays (and they have NO ground game this year) hasn't stopped the Philly sportswriters from blaming it on McNabb.

And now we're back to that whole "chip on the shoulder" thing - last season's two end games against the Cowboys aside, McNabb generally plays better when he's playing with a chip on his shoulder.  Seems to help him focus.  But that lack of a ground game means our D will pretty much be safe blitzing (which we love to do) and blanketing the wideouts and jumping routes to come up with picks.

Verdict:  I'm a mess about this game, I can't wait until Sunday, and I hope the Eagles can pull off a win, which I don't think is nearly the sure thing lots of people seem to think it is.

For the other games:

Jets at Bills:  J-E-T-S- JETS JETS JETS!  The Bills, while better than last year, are still not that great.  And after a shaky start, Sanchez is looking more comfortable and confident the last two weeks.  I'd feel pretty good, too, if I managed to spank the Patriots.

Bengals at Browns:  What is wrong with Carson Palmer?  Batman and Robin are unrelenting trouble, but they're also really, really talented. And they've barely smelled the endzone this year.  That can't last - either they'll start hitting, Palmer will be replaced, or one or both of their heads will explode.  Bengals.

Ravens at Steelers:  The Steelers are 3-0, but they've beat the Falcons, the Titans, and the Bucs.  Who actually, now that I look at it, are all 2-1.  Hm.  I did call the Ravens to win the division, so I think that means I have to go with the Purple Menace.  But I'm far from convinced.

Broncos at Titans:  Hm - Broncos are 6th against the run in the AFC, and the Titans bread and butter is RB Chris Johnson.  I'm going out on a limb and calling Broncos.

Lions at Packers:  The Lions are better this year, but not that much better.  Packers.

49ers at Falcons:  The 49ers better f-ing pull it together this week, or it's game over.  Literally. I think this is the week.  49ers.

Panthers at Saints:  Watch the Saints bounce back big against the hapless Panthers.  Is it too early to talk about John Fox losing his job?

Seahawks at Rams:  The Seahawks are surprising in a big way this year, and the Rams win last week was a fluke.  Seahawks.

Colts at Jaguars:  Colts.  The Jags suck.  You heard it here first.

Texans at Raiders:  Hogs Haven, the Redskins SB Nation blog, had a really funny feature about a week ago:  Graph Jam style joke pictures.  One was a pie chart of what Redskins fans thought of Jason Campbell in 2009 versus 2010.  2009?  Divided between things like:  too many system changes, bad coaching, no wideouts, nice guy, etc. 2010?  100% "He stinks."  Of course, Bruce Gradkowski is now under center, and he does seem to be an upgrade.  But he's like upgrading from a Yugo to Taurus.  And you need a BMW to beat the Texans these days.

Cardinals at Chargers:  Can you believe the Chargers game is going to be blacked out AGAIN?  Based on that alone, they HAVE to lose.  Cardinals.

Bears at Giants:  Bears.  Who are looking way, way better this year.  And the Giants are WAY worse.  Maybe bad enough that they should have their NFC East membership cards yanked.  And (and I know you'll be SHOCKED to hear this) the players don't like Tom Coughlin very much.  Because he seems
like such a sweetheart, you know?

Patriots at Dolphins:  Dolphins.  Go Fins!

On bye:  Cowboys, Chiefs Vikings, Buccaneers.

Sunday Schedule: Sunday, October 3, 2010

BIG week. DMac returns to the Linc for the first time as a Redskin.  Get your popcorn - and probably your asbestos underwear.

Game schedule:

1 pm: With the bye weeks starting, there's no NFC East game in the 1 pm spot. I'm inclined to go with Ravens at Steelers.
4 pm: Redskins at Eagles. CAN. NOT. WAIT.
8 pm: Bears at Giants.  Not that this won't at least potentially be a good game, but do you think the NFL suits are kicking themselves about not putting the Eagles/Skins game in the Sunday prime time spot?  I do.
MNF: Patriots at Dolphins

Menu:  Tweety Monster will be joining us and has requested shrimp etouffee (which fits in nicely with my need to start using some of the many bags of shrimp I've recently picked up at the grocery store due to good sales that are now filling my party overflow freezer and stealing valuable space from extra ice).  Bring something (New Orleans themed?) to go with.

Edited to add:  Upon reflection, we're NOT doing the etouffee this week because, looking in the fridge this morning I realized/remembered that we also have a bunch of okra we need to use up.  So we are sticking with the NOLA theme, but we're doing gumbo instead.

27 September 2010

2010 Week 3 Recap

Eagles at Jaguars, Sunday, September 26, 2010
In attendance:  EVERYONE turned out for You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad's birthday celebration:  Chef Spouse, Shoegal, Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom, Ex-Navycheese Head, Tall Drink of Water Cousin (and his wife and new baby),  Fellow Eagles Maniac, and the Queen Bee.  Full house!

Menu:  Ribs, mac and cheese, crudities, sweet potatoes, various dips (including the legendary guacamole), cookies, apple pie.  URP!

Stud of the week:  Trevor Laws, who recorded 6 tackles, a sack, and 2 deflected passes on a day when our D only allowed 3 points.

We DOMINATED.  We TOTALLY DOMINATED.  OK, it was a bad team, but still - good day for You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad's birthday fete.  The offense was quite good, putting up 28 points, but the D played hard for the entire game.  After almost giving up a huge lead over the Lions last week (and watching what happened with the Redskins), that's huge.

Do you think the "QB controversy" talk will die down this week?  With McNabb coming home Sunday, probably not.  But the Vick decision looked pretty good this week.  He missed some open guys, and there were some really off passes, but he went 17/31 for almost 300 yards, 3 TD, and no picks (and a win), so I'm not gonna gripe too hard.  Other than the fact that he hangs onto the ball too long and takes sacks he doesn't need to.  Not only is getting sacked a bad thing in the whole "we need to get 10 yards for a first down" sense, it's also bad to subject your body to that kind of pounding.

Is Jeremy Maclin a TD machine?  Time will tell, but so far this season, yes.

I would like to see Brent Celek more involved - he is Mr. Earning Hard YAC - and Jason Avant - Mr. Sure Hands - too, and DeSean, I know you're amazing, but could you please pay attention to where the down markers are, donkey?  But seriously, not too much to complain about.   Also, maybe you and Celek should compare notes so you don't run the same route into each other.  Because he's way bigger than you, and running into him full speed will, sooner or later, not be a good thing.

Finally, how different is our D with and without Stewart Bradley?  No more concussions, young man.  We need you.

On to REDSKINS week and the return of DMac.

Around the rest of the NFL....

Man, I did BAD with my picks this week.  In my defense, there were a lot of upsets, but still, I did B-A-D this week.

Titans over Giants:  Who are a mess, by the way.  Apparently, some of the new players they've signed don't like Tom Coughlin much.  There's a shocker.  Yes, I thought it was funny when Brandon Jacobs threw his helmet into the stands last week (particularly when the guy who caught it wouldn't give it back), but things are not right in NY these days.

Bengals over Panthers:  Man, the AFC North is looking tough this year.  Poor Browns.  Also, poor Jimmy Clausen, who's going to get his ass kicked again next week against the Saints, too.

Steelers over Bucs:  Guys?  If you can win without Roethlisberger, which you clearly can (and which supports my theory that he's an average QB riding a stout defense), maybe you might want to think about making that permanent.  Not least of which because, as I've mentioned before, he's a misogynistic date rapist.  Just sayin'.

Pats over Bills:  Not only did Trent Edwards get benched BEFORE the game, he got cut today.  In other news, the continuing quality QB drought is reaching epic proportions.

Ravens over Browns:  Well, yes, but they may have lost Ray Rice in the process, which is bad.  What wasn't bad was Joe Flacco.  Then again, he was facing the Browns' secondary, which is going to make, well, Trent Edwards look like Dan Marino.

 Chiefs over 49ers:  I'm starting to think I was wrong about BOTH of these teams.
 Cowboys over Texans:  GODDAMNIT!

Vikings over Lions:  So maybe I was wrong about that whole "trap game" thing.  Looks like the Vikings remembered they have this guy?  You might have heard of him?  Adrian Peterson?  On the team?  I still think there's a very good chance Favre retires - again - after this year and McNabb becomes the Vikings' starting QB.

Falcons over Saints:  OMG!  In other news, the Saints are auditioning new kickers.  Also in other news, I would be SO happy if coaches would dump the punk move of "icing" kickers with a last second time out.  Which totally bit the Saints this week. Everyone? You're on notice!

Rams over Redskins:  OMG OMG OMG!  Donovan usually puts in at least one inexplicable clunker each year.   The Redskins always put in at least one inexplicable clunker each year.  This was bound to happen.  Still, definitely not confidence boosting as they look to coming to Philly next week.

Colts over Broncos:  Well, yes.  Kyle Orton versus Peyton Manning?  That truly is no contest.

Cardinals over Raiders:  Whatever. Now that the Raiders have decided to sit Jason Campbell - which, by the way, is clearly the right decision - I've really lost interest.  There was a really funny post at Hogs Haven, the Redskins Sports Blog Nation blog a few days ago.  It was a bunch of made up graphics on Redskins fan attitudes, 2009 versus 2010.  The first one was a pie chart of what people thought about Campbell in 2009, and there were slices for nice guy, too many systems to learn too fast, bad O-line, bad playcalling, bad receivers, etc.  The second graphic?  What people think of him now.  100% "he stinks."  Yeah, maybe.

Seahawks over Chargers:  What is going on with the Chargers this year?  I do not know, but they better pull it together or the Chiefs might just sneak off with the division.

Jets over Dolphins:  That was one hell of a game.  Too busy with Boardwalk Empire and Mad Men to catch it?  Keep an eye on NFL Replay - I am SURE it will be one of this week's choices.  

24 September 2010

2010 Week 3 Picks

Seriously, people, hold on to your hats. Jamal Jackson and Leonard Weaver are out for the season. Mike McGlynn's the center. The O-line is in turmoil. Stewart Bradley's recovering from a concussion.

Never fear! Mike Vick to the rescue - or Kevin Kolb - no, no Mike Vick. Definitely Mike Vick.  At least for the next 10 minutes.

One thing that's marked the Andy Reid era in Philly is certainty.  Agree with him or not, he always seems to know what he's doing.  Actually, he doesn't care whether or not you agree with him.  He prefers that you DON'T agree with him.

Well, the pundits have fallen in line and pretty much everyone's praising Reid's brilliance in promoting Vick to starter and benching K2. Brilliance, or recognition that we have serious problems on the O-line? Tomayto, tomahto.

All I know is that if Vick wants to keep his starting job, the team better win this week.

And I can't believe we're hanging the hopes of the franchise on someone who seems kind of unstable.  Oh DMac, I miss you so.

Pick?  Eagles - I was planning to spend this season laughing at our mis-steps while we tried to rebuild the team.  Guess that will have to wait until next year, because at least through the first two weeks, the NFC East looks like it's someone's for the taking.  Why not us?

Titans at Giants:  Titans.  Just a hunch, but I suspect Chris Johnson will have a big day.

Bengals at Panthers:  Bengals.  On the Always Pick the AFC rule alone.  But Ochocinco needs to get his ass in gear.  Less reality TV drama, more focus dude.

Steelers at Bucs:  The Bucs have had a (brief) Cinderella ride to get to 2-0.  It ends here.  Steelers.  Even with Charlie Batch under center.

Bills at Patriots:  Everyone's saying that Trent Edwards needs to play better or risk getting benched.  You know what's going to happen Monday?  Trent Edwards is going to get benched.  Patriots.

Browns at Ravens:  Eventually, the Browns might face a team they could conceivably beat.  But not this week.

49ers at Chiefs:  The Chiefs Cinderella start ends this week, too.  The 49ers are ripe to right their ship.  OK, I guess that Always Pick the AFC rule isn't in effect 100% of the time.

Cowboys at Texans:  The Cowboys totally need to win this game to keep their locker room - and fan base - from descending into absolute chaos.  Next stop?  Absolute chaos.  Texans.

Lions at Vikings:  The Vikings are, according to Favre, "desperate." Their answer?  Hank Baskett.  Wrong answer.   This has "trap game" written all over it.  Lions.

Falcons at Saints:  Matt Ryan's another QB who needs to pick it up, but I don't see the Saints losing to divisional rival The Dirty Birds at home.  Saints.

Redskins at Rams:  Skins.  Not only are they the new Team of Destiny, they're pretty good this year.  And the Rams aren't.  At all.

Colts at Broncos:  Colts.  Jeff Saturday's back, the O-line is working right again, Peyton's not getting hurried, and all is right in Indianapolis.

Raiders at Cardinals:  Worst Game of the Week.  What a mess.  Raiders, with new QB Bruce Gradkowski.

Chargers at Seahawks:  The Seahawks shocked the 49ers week one.  Think they can do it again?  Me neither.  Chargers.

Jets at Dolphins:  Game of the Week.  Get your popcorn!  Dolphins, but this is going to be a Battle Royale.

Packers at Bears:  There's 2-0, and then there's 2-0.  Packers

23 September 2010

Sunday Schedule: Sunday, September 26, 2010

Big week! You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad and Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom are coming down from the Philly area for the weekend, AND Tall Drink of Water Cousin, his wife and their new little girl will be joining us. Also, Ex-Navy Cheesehead's back in town. It's ON, y'all!

1 pm: Cowboys/Texans (the Giants are also playing the Titans in this time slot, so that's likely to be the Supercast game)
4 pm: Eagles/Jags, featuring our new starting QB, David Akers. KIDDING! It's still Vick, at least as of the moment. (Supercast game will be Skins/Rams, which I predict will be a blowout)
8 pm: Jets/Dolphins
MNF: Packers/Bears

Menu: Next week is You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad's birthday, so we're making ribs, baby! And apple pie (his favorite dessert). Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom is bringing down homemade mac&cheese. Thank God it's supposed to be a little cooler Sunday!

22 September 2010

Who in the what where?

AR on Monday: Kevin Kolb is absolutely, positively the starting QB of the Philadelphia Eagles.

AR on Tuesday: Mike Vick is absolutely, positively the starting QB of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Now, admittedly, it's been a rough start to the season for starting QBs. Sunday, 5 got benched (Jason Campbell of the Raiders, Derek Anderson of the Cardinals, Matt Moore of the Panthers, Vince Young of the Titans, and David Garrard of the Jaguars), and some of them have or appear to have lost their starting jobs, at least temporarily (definitely Matt Moore, possibly Jason Campbell). The Bills' Trent Edwards has been demoted this week as well.

But Andy's quick and total reversal has me scratching my head. We're going to pull the plug on Kolb after one bad half? When we traded away the most successful QB this franchise has ever seen because it was time for the heir apparent to move up? Again, I look to the Packers Rodgers/Favre situation a few years ago. And remember that Rodgers went 6-10 his first year. I can hardly believe I'm writing this, but maybe a little patience is in order here?

Then again, who knows what schemes Reid has in that ginger noggin of his....

20 September 2010

2010 Week 2 Recap

Eagles at Lions, Sunday, September 19, 2010

In attendance: just me, Shoegal, and Chef Spouse. Big crowd expected next week.

Menu: Shoegal brought along some dumplings, and we picked up Popeye's on our way back from a weekend in Stone Harbor with friends.  Plus, of course, rum punch.  ARRRR!

Stud of the week: LeSean McCoy, who had his first 100 yard game. Given the historical paucity of our run game, getting 100 yards on the ground as an Eagle is not an easy feat to accomplish, you know.

 Sav Rocca also gets a shout-out.  I was calling for them to end the Aussie experiment after last year.  I was wrong.  Sav's kicking great so far this year.

I also have to give FS Nate Allen some props - two games, two picks.  We might finally have Wolverine's heir apparent.

And Vick had another great showing. Yes, K2 is the starter.  Yes, Vick's "happy" to be a backup.  For now.  Newsflash:  he's auditioning to be a starter somewhere next year, and he's killing it.  K2 better play well against the Jags next week and against the Skins in DMac's homecoming game the following week - or have a Kevlar hide.  McNabb could give him some pointers on that one - hope he's still in K2's speed dial.

You know who didn't have a great showing?  Our defense.  Admittedly, the Lions are a LOT better this year than they have been (it's hard to be worse than 0-16 and 2-14).  But seriously, how to do you blow a 28-17 lead, let the Lions put up 15 points on you (THE LIONS!?!), give up a two point conversion, and muff an onside kick EVERYONE knows is coming ALL IN 15 MINUTES OF FOOTBALL?

That was a mess.  I was definitely having that "we're totally going to blow this" feeling, and I'm sure I was not the only one.  Thank goodness that, after the recovered onside kick the Lions were unable to move the ball and turned it over on downs.  I have the feeling this season is going to be one coronary after another.

Good game from Vick, though.

Around the rest of the NFL...

Packers over Bills.  Told you they didn't need Ryan Grant that much.  This week.

Dolphins over Vikings.  In other news, Favre was responsible for 4 turnovers.  HAH!

Chiefs over Browns.  Know who's currently leading the AFC West?  The Chiefs.  Not that it's likely to last, but good for them.

Bears over Cowboys.  Can you believe it? I know, me either!  How awesome is that? The Mike Martz/Jay Cutler connection is obviously working.  The Cowboys will pull it together sooner or later, and I still figure them to win the NFC East, but in the meantime, it's really fun to watch all the agita created by their 0-2 start.

Falcons over Cardinals.  I think the only reason the Cardinals scored at all was that the Falcons were just too tired to deliver any more offense after their 41 points.  They were all like:  "Need...to...sit...NOW."

Buccaneers over Panthers.  I can't believe I picked against the Bucs on International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Bengals over Ravens.  The Bengals were helped by a really bad day for Joe Flacco (to the tune of 4 picks).  But the much vaunted Batman and Robin combo is not exactly lighting up the scoreboard so far. Then again, we are talking about the Ravens here, whose D is once again playing lights out. They've given up no TDs in their first two games.

Steelers over Titans.  I'll admit - I'm surprised the Steelers look as good as they do so far.  I'm still against them as long as serial rapist Roethlisberger remains their QB, though.  Which hurts, because normally they're my AFC team.  Also Jeff Fisher benched Vince Young.  Seems a little harsh to me in a game that wasn't exactly a blowout, but now that AR did it in 2008, apparently, it's all the rage.

Broncos over Seahawks. Further evidence of the "when in doubt, go with the AFC team" rule.

Raiders over Rams. Jason Campbell also got benched.  Maybe I was giving him too much benefit of the doubt all those years with the Redskins.  He's not exactly lighting it up out in Oakland.

Texans over Redskins.  DMac had a great game, but the Skins ground game completely disappeared.  Maybe it's McNabb?  Then again, he doesn't call the plays.  I HATE HATE HATE that the Texans won it on that BS Gary Kubiak last second time out before rookie Graham Gano nailed the first 50+ yard field goal of his career, a feat he was not able to duplicate.  But you know what's weird?  The kicker missed two field goals - and no one in DC is blaming McNabb.  Fat Albert didn't play, and no one is blaming McNabb.  The Skins D couldn't protect a 17 point lead, and no one is blaming McNabb.  The team bus got a flat, and no on is blaming McNabb.  The locker room showers ran out of hot water after the game, and no one is blaming McNabb.  He's not going to know what to make of it.

Jets over Patriots. Go Rex!  Your big mouth reminds me fondly of your dad.  And anyone who can bring the pain to the Pats is OK by me.

Chargers over Jaguars. Speaking of righting the ship, the Chargers looked like, well, the Chargers again this week, getting it done in the air and on the ground, and forcing SIX turnovers in their win over the Jags.

Colts over Giants.  For all the hype, the "Manning Bowl" (whatever number it is yesterday, today, or in the future) will pretty much ALWAYS go to big brother Peyton.  Sorry, lil Eli. 

At half time of the Saints/49ers, the Saints are winning but only 9 to 7 after a fast start, and it has been a SLOPPY game so far.

17 September 2010

2010 Week 2 Picks

The story of this week is injuries. For everyone. It usually takes until about mid-season to rack up as many downed players as the NFL did in week 1. Did everyone forget to eat their Wheaties or something? And that list doesn't even show the guys whose seasons have been ended already.

Anyway, we head to Detroit to face the Lions this weekend.  Mike Vick will be QB for at least one more week, Mike McGlynn's now our starting center, we signed Owen Schmitt so we'd have a full back, and (shout out to my friend David from TrueNorth), Omar Gaither will start at MLB in place of injured Stewart Bradley.  At this rate, I calculate we'll be completely out of players by early December.  But we should be able to pull off a win over a Lions team that's lost starting QB Matt Stafford to injury, too.  And frankly, if we can't beat the Lions, I may need to revise that 6-10 prediction on our series down.  Significantly.

Bills at Packers. No Ryan Grant for the rest of the season, but the Packers are a pass-first offense anyway.  Aaron Rodgers should be able to lead them to a victory.  Little tip, Bills?  Watch out for Clay Matthews.  He f-ed us up last weekend. Packers.

Ravens at Bengals.  Given that I picked them to win the division, I think I'm going to have to go with the Ravens.  But I am a little worried about their ability to put up enough points to keep up with "Batman and Robin" (yes, TO and Ochocinco have voluntarily chosen to call themselves that).  Still, Ravens.

Steelers at Titans.  Both teams looked surprisingly good last week.  But I don't think the Steelers can shut down Chris Johnson.  Titans.

Bears at Cowboys.  The Cowboys played like the punks they are last week.  But Jay Cutler's the biggest punk in football.  And I don't see the Cowboys losing their home opener anyhow.  Cowboys.

Buccaneers at Panthers. The Panthers aren't very good, but they're better than the Bucs.  Panthers.

Cardinals at Falcons. The Cards won a game they absolutely should have last week.  The Falcons lost a game they should've won. I think they're probably going to play pissed this week.  Falcons.

Chiefs at Browns.  Talk about a shocker!  Chiefs over Chargers last week.  Still can't believe it.  What I can believe is that the Chiefs are going to 2-0 this week.  Chiefs.

Dolphins at Vikings.  Dolphins.  Who I expect to get after Brett Favre big time.

Seahawks at Broncos.  The Seahawks were another team that turned in a surprising opening week performance.  Can they keep it up this week?  I don't think so, although I'm digging coach Pete Carroll in the pro game. Broncos.

Rams at Raiders.  Worst Game of the Week.  Also, Raiders.

Texans at Redskins.  Which of these teams is the real thing?  Former Team of Destiny faces current Team of Destiny.  It's a tough choice, but I think I'm going with the Texans.  Although I wouldn't be surprised if the Redskins pull off another win.  When DMac's under center, you can never count the team out.  If you recall, the Eagles' best years were when we had lights-out D and McNabb provided 96.38% of the offense by himself.  And I'm pretty sure Santana Moss can come up with at least 5% all by himself.  Chris Cooley, too.  Did I just talk myself into calling Redskins?  Not quite, but almost.

Jaguars at Chargers. Did you hear that the Chargers home opener is being blacked out?  Sack up, Chargers fans!  Based on that alone, I have to pick the Jags.

Patriots at Jets.  This is going to be an interesting game.  Mark Sanchez looked downright pedestrian last week against the Ravens.  Considering I didn't even pick the Pats to make the playoffs, I think I have to pick the Jets this week.  But I'm doing it with a lot of trepidation.

Giants at Colts.  Colts.  No contest.  Peyton schools his little brother's team once again.  I get really annoyed by all the Manning v. Manning talk.  They're both QBs - they're never even on the field at the same time.  It's not really brother versus brother.  You know what was brother versus brother?  Giants versus Bucs a few years ago.  Ronde was actually in a position that he'd need to tackle Tiki. 

Saints at 49ers. Reggie Bush gave back the freakin' Heisman. The USC hypocrisy on this is ridiculous, and what's even more ridiculous is blaming kids who desperately need money for grabbing a smidgen of the boatloads of cash their universities make on them.  Then again, Reggie has a Super Bowl ring and millions of dollars.  I'm guessing he figures the Heisman committee can stick their trophy where the sun don't shine.  Also, the Saints are going to win again this week.

16 September 2010

Sunday Schedule: Sunday, September 19, 2010

ARRRR! Sunday is National Talk Like a Pirate Day, matey!

Chef Spouse and I are heading to the beach this weekend, but we are coming home first thing Sunday to be back in time for the games.

1 pm: Eagles at Lions (keeping an eye on Bears at Cowboys, too)
4 pm: Texans at Redskins
8 pm: Giants at Colts
MNF: Saints at 49ers

Menu: What do pirates eat? Actually, it doesn't really matter. Since we'll be making it back just in time for the games, this will be the annual Popeye's weekend. But we are planning on rum punch, because we all KNOW that's what pirates drink!

13 September 2010

2010 Week 1 Recap

Eagles v. Packers, Sunday, September 12, 2010

In attendance:  I was all by myself in Chicago, but Chef Spouse reports that Shoegal joined him back in DC

Menu:  I got a room service burger.  Chef Spouse made fajitas and guacamole, which appears to have lost its magical powers in the offseason.

Stud of the Week:  Mike Vick.  Damn, I don't remember him looking that good back in Atlanta. And with K2 out for, well, we don't really know how long at this point, could we see a QB controversy brewing? Probably not - Big Red has said definitively that K2 is the future. But Vick looked terrific - his wheels are back, he was accurate, he made good short and long passes and good decisions, and he took what the defense gave him.  I know a lot of people are pissed he didn't run it in mid-way through the fourth quarter when we took the 3 points instead, leaving us down by 7, but he was about 12 yards out and while there were no Packers DIRECTLY in front of him, there were several nearby between him and the end zone.  Other than that (and I do think he made the right decision in attempting the pass, because the run was all or nothing at that point, and it had little chance of succeeding), he played a great game, jumpstarting our moribund offense and nearly bringing us back from an ass-whuppin' that was a lot more one-sided than the 17 point (at its widest) differential reflected.  Did you know that Vick is now one of only 3 QBs with over 4000 rush yards? The other two are Steve Young and our own Randall Scramble.
Other than that, there wasn't a lot of good.  Both teams start game day with a 45 man roster, and by the end of the first half, I was pretty sure one or both teams was going to run out of players.

At the beginning of the game, I was thinking: "I'm really surprised Jamal Jackson is back! It seems awfully fast after a torn ACL and, although he's clearly a better center than the other options (Cole and McGlynn), he and K2 have had NO time together."  Did you miss that he was even there? That's because, basically by the time I finished thinking that thought, he was out (maybe for the season - again) with a torn triceps.

Packers rookie Clay Matthews had a great day, if by "great day" you mean "physically incapacitated every single Eagle he came within 10 feet of."

K2?  Out with a concussion for who knows how long.

Stewart Bradley?  Same.  Now, he did fall down after getting up because he tripped on his own feet, but he seriously got his clock cleaned, which you could tell by looking at his eyes.

I already mentioned our center.

And then there's Leonard Weaver.  That was literally a sickening collision.  Knees are not supposed to bend like that.  He had to pretty much be carried off the field, and it looked like he was crying.  Think he's out for the season?  Yeah, me too.  During the game Adam Schefter tweeted that the Eagles were thinking it was probably a torn ACL (it is).  I quote @BleedingGreen:
My eyes reported that when it happened.
The Eagles sideline was starting to look like the train station scene in Gone with the Wind, only less cheerful.

I remember at one point, Clay Matthews had drilled Mike Vick and the Idiot Twins were blathering on about God knows what on TV and Vick's holding his left arm and they're not addressing it and I about flipped out.  Because I saw Mike Kafka at training camp, and trust me, we do not want him to be our only option.

On to the game itself.  K2, until he went down, looked like a rookie.  He's still keying on particular receivers and not going through his reads.  I hope he's able to fix that.  Also, son, you're not Big5.  Don't throw off your back foot.  I also didn't like the constant screwing around with taking him out and putting Vick in, because it seemed to me that he never got a chance to get comfortable.  Just leave him alone and let him run the offense for chrissakes!

David Akers continues to be money.  He was good from 45, and he's pretty much the only guy on the team over 30 at this point. Something to think about.  Of course, he is a kicker, and they tend to have long careers, but still.

I expected penalties from this bunch of young'uns.  But more penalty yards in the first half than total yards?  Only 7 total yards of offense?  NO catches for Peanut?  NO catches for Celek?

And then we started the second half without K2.  At least it made AR and/or Mornhinweg quit screwing around and just play a QB.  But we still couldn't seem to do anything right.  Vick started with a solid run and a great pass - and then Charles Woodson knocked the ball loose as Eldra Buckley fights for more yards, and the Packers waltzed on down the field for another score, taking the score to 20-3.

After that, our offense starting to making things happen, but the defense fell apart.  We got in the end zone - FINALLY - and then the Packer got a great run back on the kickoff  and then 4 plays later, SCORED AGAIN.  Were they just gassed in the second half, are the Packers that good (possibly), or can they just not cover anyone (I sure as hell hope that's not it)?

I definitely didn't like the draw call on our last chance to put together a drive on the 4th and 1.  Vick's a great outside runner, but he's not big or powerful enough for the draw play.  And the Packers clearly knew it was coming.

And, as usual, our clock management was a mess. In other news, gravity is still in effect.

I suspect Vick will start again against the Lions next week, given the concussion situation, and after that, we'll have to see.  But again, Andy's 100% that Kolb's the future, so let's hope he can get over his beginner jitters soon.

Around the rest of the NFL...

(I'm operating at a bit of a handicap here, since I'm on a business trip and it's seriously curtailing my SportsCenter and NFL Network viewing time.  I'll do my best, and I promise to return to full-on snark next week.)

Saints over Vikings:  Not exactly the dazzling offensive fireworks we were all expecting, but a good game, and a good start to a Saints season that will hopefully see at least an NFC South repeat.  Brett Favre looked RUSTY RUSTY RUSTY.  Shouldn't have spent the entire offseason in Mississippi, Gramps.

Bucs over Browns:  For a while there (OK, the first half) it looked like the Browns might actually win one.  Nope.

Dolphins over Bills:  The game was closer than I expected.  Dolphins, if you're going to win the division, you need to start playing like the season actually, you know, STARTED.
Pats over Bengals:  Hm.  So the TO/Ochocinco combo didn't produce rainbow, unicorns, and puppies for everyone.  Imagine that.

Texans over Colts:  I actually got to watch the second half of this game.  Jeff Saturday is one of the few centers known by name in the NFL.  He was out Sunday with an injury.  How much do you think Peyton missed him?  What's more than "a lot"?  Midway through the game, I wrote:  "If the Texans lose, the play of the game was Pierre Garcon saving the Glover Quin almost-pick mid way through the 4th. Not too sure about that call, but it led to the Colts' TD, cutting the Texans' lead to 10." But the Texans pulled it out anyway.  I'm telling you, this is their year to at least GET TO the playoffs.
Jaguars over Broncos:  I have literally no comment on this other than, "Hm."

Steelers over Falcons:  I admit it - I'm surprised.  It's too early to tell, but I was expecting the Steelers to struggle due to their offseason messes and the Falcons to be really strong this year.  Both of those could still happen, but not this week.

Titans over Raiders:  WAY over.  So far over, I think Chris Johnson was showered and sipping an umbrella drink in the owner's box by the start of the second half. Jason Campbell also got sacked 4 times.  Maybe it's him.

Giants over Panthers: I still don't think they're going to be very good this year, but then again, neither will the Panthers.

Bears over Texans:  I'm not so sure about the Calvin Johnson TD that was called back with 24 seconds left. He clearly had control.  I call BS.  I get that it's The Rule, but it's one of the rules that makes no sense.

Cardinals over Rams:  Who's even under center in Arizona?  Guess it doesn't matter if you still have Fitz and Tim Hightower.

Seahawks over 49ers:  Is it too late to change my pick for NFC West?

Redskins over Cowboys:  I sure as hell hope you watched the game because it was SUPER exciting.  I am SO glad to be wrong about this one.  I am SO glad DMac was able to start the season with a win over the Cowboys after the ignominious way last season ended.  Both teams made plenty of dumb mistakes, but I have to say that the Cowboys were embarrassingly sloppy.  I thought Trent Williams did quite a good job. I think Miles Austin is a punk.  I think the Cowboys play dirty.  And I think it must be great to be in DC today.

Off to watch the MNF double header with some vendors at a sports bar...no doubt trouble of the best kind awaits....

09 September 2010

2010 Week 1 Picks

This week's promo email from the Eagles opened with
"A new era of Eagles football gets underway as Kevin Kolb takes over the reins of this young, but experienced team."
I'll say - in the past two years, Big Red has shed the 3 long-time leaders of the team (Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook, and Brian Dawkins, for those of you who haven't been paying attention).  Who will step up?  It remains to be seen.  But the thing about the start of a new era is that it's generally rough going.  Case in point?  Our opponents on Sunday, the Packers.

Rodgers is where K2 will be in a few years (given the patience of Philadelphia fans, I hope it's a VERY few years for his sake), but he's not there now.  If you recall, in 2008 (Rodgers first year of starting after warming the bench behind Brett Favre for 3 years), the Packers went 6-10.  I'm calling the Eagles to go 6-10 this year.  Coincidence? Well, yeah, I just looked that up right now.  But still.

Last year,  if you'll recall, the Packers went 11-5, secured a playoff spot, and...well, they lost to the Cardinals, but it was a barn burner of a game (51-45, to refresh your memory).

I expect a similar trajectory for the new Eagles.  Which, seeing as they're playing a team I think could possibly go all the way this year, adds up to an opening week loss in my book.

Around the rest of the NFL...

Is it dumb for me to keep complaining when the NFL hosts major events in New Orleans that are accompanied by music that DON'T feature any New Orleans musicians? Probably, but it's not going to stop me.  At least Trombone Shorty and Kermit Ruffins got on stage and they had some Social Aid & Pleasure Club guys up there too.

Moving on, I'll be making these picks based on little more than how I think the teams are likely to fare overall this season, based on little more than what they looked like last year, what I know about how the team changed in the off-season (partial information at best), and instinct.  In other words, this is going to be a TOTAL crap shoot.

Vikings at Saints:  Is there ANY way the defending champions lose the opener of the  entire season in their own house, one of the most hostile fields in the entire NFL to opposing teams?  No sir, there is not.  I'm actually hoping that someone will literally rip off one of Brett Favre's legs, although it seems doubtful.  But I can hope.

Browns at Buccaneers:  Wow.  Worst Game of the Week.  No contest.  The Bucs will win, though.

Dolphins at Bills:  Dolphins.  Also, I just checked out the Bills' roster on their website.  Who the hell are all those guys? I seriously recognize about three names, and one of them is the kicker (Rian Lindell, if you're wondering).

Bengals at Patriots:  Bengals.  TO hasn't had enough time to destroy the team.  Yet.

Colts at Texans:  Texans.  I picked you to win the division. Don't let me down, boys.

Broncos at Jaguars:  The Broncos are a middling-good team.  The Jags are a middling-bad team.  But they play in a tougher division.  I think Broncos, though.

Falcons at Steelers:  It seems crazy, but I'm calling the Falcons.  Even if Big Ben were back, I'd probably still be calling Falcons, who I think are going to be pretty damn good this year.

Raiders at Titans:  Raiders.  Just because I like Jason Campbell and wish him well.  And they have to be better this year, right?  They can hardly be worse.

Panthers at Giants:  I don't think either of these teams are going to be much good this year. I'll call Panthers, just because I always wish ill on other NFC East teams, but really I don't know about this game.

Lions at Bears:  Neither of these teams are going to be much good either, and I'm calling Lions because Matthew Stafford is a stud and Jay Cutler is a whiny bitch.

Cardinals at Rams:  The Cardinals are officially a wreck.  So are the Rams.  But at least the Cards have recent memory of being good.  Of course, all the guys who were the good ones are retired or playing for other teams now, except poor Fitz, who now has no one to throw to him.  What a waste.  Rams.

49ers at Seahawks:  49ers. I'm definitely looking forward to another season of Mike Singletary.  He's almost as entertaining on the sidelines as Rex Ryan.

Cowboys at Redskins:  Redskins!  DMac!  Team of Destiny!  Who's with me?!?  Yeah, we all know - the Cowboys will win this one.  I just hope rookie left tackle Trent Williams can keep the Cowboys from killing McNabb.

Ravens at Jets:  This is going to be the BEST game of the week.  THIS is why you need to get your popcorn ready.  I think the Ravens win it, mostly because I think they might be ready to go all the way this year.  But I actually intentionally refused to schedule any member meetings at the conference I'll
be attending for Monday night JUST so I can watch this game.

Chargers at Chiefs:  Chargers.

Sunday Schedule, September 12, 2010

Can you believe this shit? I'm not going to be here. Major conference, so I'm flying out first thing in the morning so I'm all settled in Chicago in time to watch at least our game and Cowboys/Redskins.

Honestly, WHO schedules a conference to START opening weekend?

OK, so we'll be watching the actual 2010 season opener (Vikings at Saints) here tonight.  Sunday looks like this:

1 pm game - Panthers at Giants (not that this is going to be a GOOD game, mind you, but it is a divisional rival)
4 pm game - Packers at Eagles
8 pm game - Cowboys and Redskins (GO, DMAC, GO!)

MNF 7 pm - Ravens at Jets (now THAT is going to be a good game)
MNF 10 pm - Chiefs at Chargers

Menu?  The traditional season opening fajitas, of course.  I'll likely be eating room service, unless I can find a Packer bar in Chicago where I can go start a fight.

08 September 2010

2010 Divisional Predictions

Every late August/early September, I bravely, foolishly, sit down to my computer and put it all on the line, picking who I think will have a postseason this year.  Every early January, I look back and realize I don't know shit.  And then, apparently, in the offseason, some sort of amnesia takes over, I forget that I make an ass of myself with this annually, and off I go again.  Isn't doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result the definition of insanity?  Guilty.

Here we go:

OK, not quite yet.  I have to point out that Michael Wilbon and I have significant agreement on our AFC picks...and are in 100% agreement on our NFC picks.  That does not bode well for his continuing success as a sportscaster.  (Notice that link is to a Dallas paper, even though I read the column in the Washington Post this morning.  Their online search engine SUCKS.)

AFC East: Dolphins
I know the sexy pick is the Jets, not least of which because they've been so much fun on HBO's Hard Knocks, but I have a good feeling about the Dolphins.

AFC North: Ravens
Not only are the Ravens, as Wilbon noted, LOADED with talent this year, the rest of their division is in trouble.  I predict the Bengals will implode no later than mid-season, when BFFs Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens realize that it's against the laws of physics for Carson Palmer to throw to both of them on EVERY SINGLE PLAY.  Hijinks will ensue.  The Steelers are in a tailspin, as they struggle to get control of their serial date rapist quarterback.  And the Browns?  The less said, the better.

AFC South: Texans 
I know, I know - it's crazy to pick against the Colts.  But I just can't help myself.  I love me some Texans.  Maybe it's because they're not the Cowboys. And hey, they're so good they can pick up Matt Leinart just to have him bring the other guys Gatorade.

AFC West:  Chargers
Talk  about winning by default.  The rest of the AFC West is so bad I often have trouble remembering all 4 teams (for the record, Broncos, Raiders, and Chiefs).

AFC Wildcard: Colts and Jets
With the usual caveat that they could win their divisions and swap out with the Dolphins and...well, no I'm on the Texans bandwagon, baby!  (ex) Team of Destiny!

Which reminds me, Chef Spouse thinks that I need to explain the Rules of the Team of Destiny.  They're pretty simple - it's a team that's been TERRIBLE that is on the cusp of being MUCH better. This year's Team of Destiny?  The Redskins, who went 4-12 last year, and definitely will do better than that this year.

Speaking of the Skins, on to the NFC.

NFC East: Cowboys
They ain't gonna get to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium - they'll be watching from their couches like the rest of us - but I just don't see how any of the rest of the NFC East teams take them out.  FYI, I'm calling us to go 6-10 or *maybe* 7-9.  Why?  In the Andy Reid/Donovan McNabb rookie year, the Eagles went 5-11.  I know, I know - Donovan didn't start the entire season.  However, K2 has given me NO reason to think that he's he second coming of Donovan McNabb - at least not yet.  But I give them 1-2 more wins just because Andy's not a rookie any more, and K2 has a much better team around him than DMac ever enjoyed.

NFC North: Packers
This is the year the Packers former "we have to start playing him or trade him" QB breaks out.  I do think the Vikings will make the playoffs (see below), and I REALLY hope they play the Packers at some point and Aaron Rodgers has the privilege of smokin' Vicodin Boy.

NFC South: Saints
Yeah, it's not easy to repeat.  But this is the Saints we're talking about, baby.  Barring a major disaster (quick! knock wood!), they should take their division again. Wilbon thinks they're going to the Super Bowl. I'm not ready to go that far - yet - but I think they're still going to be damn good.

NFC West: 49ers
The Cardinals are about to fall apart, the Seahawks have already fallen apart, and I can't even talk about how bad the Rams are.

Wildcard: Falcons and Vikings
We could end up with two NFC South and two NFC North teams finishing out the season, because I'm pretty sure these two will be able to dispatch the 49ers and Cowboys pretty easily (assuming the playoff standings fall out that way).

What do other people think?  Glad you asked!
  • Bleacher Report - OOOOO!  A SLIDEshow!  SO fancy! (Also, really smart and entertaining, and he almost has me convinced on the Raiders thing.  Almost.)
  • ESPN's Gene Wojciechowski comes up with 45 predictions, one of which is Eric Berry (who I really wanted the Eagles to draft in the role of Next Brian Dawkins) as potential AFC rookie of the year.  Oh, and he figures the Eagles could be anywhere from "suck" to "win the division." Thanks for the vote of confidence, Gene!
  • Yahoo! Sports power rankings. Which is pretty funny considering no one has played an actual game yet.  (Of course, ESPN did it too.)

Final Thoughts on the 2010 Preseason

I have come to an important realization:  it's damn hard to see preseason games. I pay a zillion dollars a year for the top-tier DirecTV Sunday Ticket package. Why can't I see my team's preseason games without having to try to catch them whenever they happen to air on NFL Replay? This year?  Caught the preseason opener against the Jaguars (recorded), caught part of the debacle against the Bengals (live), and missed the win over the Chiefs (which must've felt vaguely familiar to K2), and the loss to the Jets. Less than 50%.  Did I mention I pay an ass-load of money to DirecTV?

Moving on, OJ Simpson didn't get his Heisman yanked. Reggie Bush will. That's a travesty. At least they aren't going to post-award it to someone else.

Speaking of, the Matt Leinart (another Heisman contender in 2005) experiment seems to be officially over. He's been shipped off to the Texans to maybe not even make the 53 man roster. In other news, the Cardinals are screwed. Good luck on Dancing with the Stars, Kurt!

On to the possibility of an 18 game season:  I'm sure the owners and players love it. More money for everyone! Hooray!  The coaches must be freaking out - not only will they now have only 2 games to evaluate the rookies (not a problem for teams like the Skins that regularly trade away all their draft picks, but we had so many rookies this year, I'm pretty sure Andy Reid needed training camp AND all 4 preseason games just to learn their names), but it's hard enough to keep the key starters ambulatory through 16 games. Andy was quoted on philly.com as wishing they'd go back to 14 games (not that I can find it right now, of course).  Given the problems we've had staying healthy, I'm definitely feeling him.

Speaking of injury, Shoegal shot me a great link about the effects of injury on players over the long term.  It is sobering stuff.