31 January 2012

Super Bowl 46 Picks

The Giants and the Patriots will be facing off in Indianapolis this Sunday, February 5. You know, just in case you've been living under a rock or so mesmerized by the Republican debates that you've forgotten about all other types of media.

If you recall, the last time they met in the Super Bowl - a mere four years ago (but I'm not bitter) - the Giants played spoiler to the Patriots' attempt at a perfect season, beating the Pats 17-14 and significantly aided by David Tyree's miracle helmet catch.

I don't think that's going to happen again.

Yes, since I can't have what I really want - a time machine that will take us back to week 4, when the Eagles SHOULD have woken up (as opposed to week 12, when they actually did) - or what I wanted as an alternative - a Ravens/49ers Super Bowl - I'll sigh, place my faith in the Pats, pray for a natural disaster, and watch for the commercials.

23 January 2012

2011 Conference Championships Recap

Patriots over Ravens. Billy Cundiff: C’mon man! I know it's easy to scapegoat the kicker, but this one really was his fault. Missing a 32 yard field goal to tie the AFC Championship game with 11 seconds in regulation is just unacceptable. Guess who'll be kicking for the CFL next year?

Giants over 49ers: Kyle Williams: C’mon man! Special teams can make or break you, and his boneheaded mishandling of the punt and his boneheaded fumble led directly to 10 Giants points, including the field goal that won the game in overtime. But at least he'll have company in the CFL next year.

The Snark? 0-2 this weekend.

At least they were both good games, but I was so sad at the end of both. I really wanted a Ravens/49ers Super Bowl, and I really don’t give a good goddamn about the game now. I’ll be rooting for a natural disaster to swallow up Colts’ stadium.

The Ravens FINALLY swept the Steelers for the first time ever(?) this year, and Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are probably retiring.

Jim Harbaugh managed to effect a remarkable transformation in San Francisco in his rookie year as a head coach. Alex Smith finally started to live up to his promise. And they have my secret kicker boyfriend David Akers (Philadelphians are irrationally attached to the guy). And Vernon Davis doesn’t have a whole lot of years left, ether.

Meanwhile, we'll get to watch another Super Bowl between two totally self-satisfied teams with two of the most annoying fan bases in any pro sports.

But I’m not bitter.

19 January 2012

2011 Conference Championship Picks

Sticking with the "defense wins championships" theory:

Ravens at Patriots: I sure as hell hope the good Ravens show up, or this will be a hot mess. But I'm picking based on the "God is now royally pissed" theory and going with the Ravens. Also, defense.

Giants at 49ers: 49ers. By the way, yes, it's totally killing me that the Eagles missed the playoffs by [this] much. And that a reason they missed the playoffs by [this] much is that they lost to the 49ers by [this] much in week 4. I should stop now, before I go jump off the roof. There's always next year...

The Business of Football

Fascinating infographic shared with me by a reader (thanks Dan!)

IBM SmartCloud Enterprise Solutions

18 January 2012

SOPA Blackout Day

Snarkin' the NFL is participating in a national online blackout on January 18th, 2012 in opposition of both the PROTECT-IP and SOPA bills.

If these bills pass, the U.S. government will have the ability to block any website—including any funding partners and external websites that link to the blocked website—based on accusation alone from a copyright holder.

Go to AmericanCensorship.org to learn more about these bills and how our Internet freedoms are at risk.

16 January 2012

2011 Divisional Weekend Recap

In two sentences or less, because the evening kind of got away from me:

Patriots over Broncos: Apparently, even God isn't enough to overcome Tom Brady. Or He's secretly a Raiders fan.

49ers over Saints: All right-thinking people love the Saints, but they are just not the same on the road. Also, best game of the playoffs (so far).

Ravens over Texans: Offense wins games, defense wins championships. And then there's Ray Lewis.

Giants over Packers: The Giants came to ball. The Packers did not.

12 January 2012

2011 Divisional Weekend Picks

Broncos at Patriots: aka Jesus versus Satan, the Sequel. Even though he won last time, I'm still putting my money on Dr. Evil and his Yankee henchmen. Hey, I tend to root for the bad guy all the time - just ask Chef Spouse. Pats.

Texans at Ravens: I know just last week I realized I should've stuck with my former Team of Destiny, but unless they manage to bring all 70,000 Texans fans with them to M&T Bank Stadium - and I think the Ravens fans might have something to say about that - I think they're in trouble this week. Ravens.

Giants at Packers: The Giants are the popular upset pick in my office football pool (no cash at stake, just smack talking/bragging rights). I'm thinking "rested" not "rusty" though, and I'm going with the Packers.

Saints at 49ers: This is my upset pick. I'm going with the 49ers. The Saints are mortal away from the Superdome and their fan base. If offense wins games while defense wins championships...and if all else fails, the 49ers have their secret weapon, Chef Spouse's boy David Akers. Who can onside kick like nobody's business and, apparently, throw TDs in a pinch.

09 January 2012

2011 Wildcard Weekend Recap

Texans over Bengals: The Bengals started strong, looked like they had it in the first half. But they had the proverbial uncapitalized opportunities, and by the second half, homefield advantage was kicking in in a big way. The Texans' fans were going nuts non-stop for 3 1/2 hours, and the Bengals eventually succumbed. Well, to the fans and to Arian Foster's 150+ yards on the ground. Realistically, neither of these teams was going to go far, but congratulations on your first playoff win, former Team of Destiny. Clearly, I should've kept the faith.

Saints over Lions: As expected. Did you notice the game was poorly officiated? Because it was SO poorly officiated, the NFL has officially admitted they blew the fumble/fumble recovery call towards the end of the first half. You can argue that, given the eventual score, that 7 points didn't really matter. Or did it? Momentum is a tricky thing. Not that I'm sad that the Saints won or anything, but you do really hope that the zebras will bring their BEST effort to the playoffs, not their worst.

Giants over Falcons: Also as expected. Eli was good Eli - which he's been more than not this season - and where in the hell did that run game come from? That may be the true miracle this season. I expected the Giants to win, but holding the Falcons to only a safety? Wow. The Falcons helped by making poor choices on going for it on 4th and short. Those were the sorriest excuses for QB sneaks I've ever seen, but they were representative of the fact that the Falcons O-line was getting NO push at all on the Giants D-line all day. Dear Mike Smith: wishing doesn't make it so.

Broncos over Steelers: I'm still stunned about this one. When did Tim Tebow turn into John Elway? I'm sure I saw Elway in a suit in one of the luxury suites. Then again, it was TV...Tebow's mechanics are still cringe-worthy (even for someone like me who's never played the game herself), but when did he start becoming a down the field passing threat? Ben's inability to move and the other injuries the Steelers were dealing with clearly hurt them big time, too. Is it real? Guess we'll know next week in Foxborough. So was I the only person who noticed that Ron Winter didn't seem to quite understand the new playoff game overtime rules? Because that long explanation he gave before the coin toss made NO sense. I guess it was a good thing it wasn't necessary to deploy them, because I'm not confident the officiating crew would've known what was what.

So all the home teams won this weekend. Will that hold next week? We'll see...

04 January 2012

2011 Wildcard Weekend Picks

Bengals at Texans: neither team comes in exactly lighting it up, but the Texans remind me of season 4 Buffy the Vampire Slayer. For those few fools who weren't fans (what's wrong with you, btw?), the basic plot was that an evil government entity was trying to put together a race of half human/half demon warriors, a la Dr. Frankenstein. One of the creatures begins running amuck, as these sorts of creatures often do, and plots to lure Buffy into the demon containment facility that's guarded by soldiers. His plan is to incite a riot while she's there and for her to kill enough demons (her destined calling) to even the human/demon body count (thus providing plenty of construction materials) until she's too weak to continue. That's pretty much where the Texans are at this point. Also, in their last matchup in week 14, the Texans won (their last win, for what it's worth). And it's hard to beat a team twice in a row. Bengals. Which they should savor, since it will be their last playoff win this year.

Steelers at Broncos: Of course, by that logic, I should pick the Broncos, because the Steelers are one beaten down mess at this point. But I just can't see the Broncos pulling this off. The Steelers are too smart - and too good on D. And Tim Tebow's 15 minutes seems almost up. Steelers.

Falcons at Giants: I'm really tempted to take the Falcons here, and they do have a marginally better record. But even with the other problems the Giants have these days, and they are many, Eli Manning has a hot hand going into the playoffs, and Victor Cruz can turn a 5 yard dump off pass into a 90+ yard TD at any moment, and to me, that says that the Falcons, even though they have a well-ranked D, are in trouble. Also, they are not so good on the road. Giants.

Lions at Saints: Oh Lions. Lions Lions Lions. I hate to say "I told you so" but I told you to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to hang onto the 5th seed. Did you listen to me? Noooooo. Will you regret it? Yeeeeeessss. About the time you realize that not only can't you hear each other in the huddle, but the Superdome is rocking so hard you can't even use hand signals. The Saints don't lose at home, baby. Saints.

03 January 2012

So How'd I Do?

It's time for my annual Walk of Shame post, where I look back at my pre-season playoff predictions and take my licks in public.

Here we go: get your snark ready for the comments.

AFC East

I picked: Jets
Actual winner: Patriots

To be fair, I did say that the Pats would be playoff team, at wildcard, or that they could swap with the Jets for the division. I have no excuse for why I picked the Jets to get anywhere near the playoffs. I wasn't alone, though, so maybe it was a mass hallucination that the team was any good?

AFC North

I picked: Ravens
Actual winner: Ravens

Go me!

AFC South

I picked: Texans
Actual winner: Texans

The Snark is on a roll!

AFC West

I picked: Chargers
Actual winner: Broncos

Three 8-8 teams out there. Ouch.

AFC Wildcard

I picked: Pats and Steelers
Actual winners: Steelers and Bengals

Did ANYONE see the Bengals coming? Anyone? Bueller?

So for the AFC, I'm at .500 on my divisional winner, and I had 4 of the 6 teams called, although not all the positioning was correct. Not bad.

On to the NFC...

NFC East

I had: Eagles
Actual winner: Giants

At least it wasn't the damn Cowboys.

NFC North

I picked: Packers
Actual winner: Packers

Hey! I got one!

NFC South

I picked: Falcons
Actual winner: Saints

Much like in the AFC East, I did have the Saints in the playoffs, and I noted that I thought they could swap with the Falcons. So not totally wrong - but not totally right, either.

NFC West

I picked: Cardinals
Actual winner: 49ers

I though the Kevin Kolb to Fitz hookup was going to be magic. Apparently, I was wrong. Then again, who knew that all Alex Smith needed was a decent coach and a good kicker?

NFC Wildcard

I picked: Saints and Vikings
Actual winners: Falcons and Lions

I did have the Lions as this year's Team of Destiny. They were just moving a little faster than I thought. And what can I say about the Vikings? I guess I have to accept that McNabb really is done. Sad way for a great player to go out. And before you get started, yes, I know he wasn't a perfect player. Then again, no one is, except maybe Aaron Rodgers. But he gave Eagles fans a decade of exciting football, and I've been a fan long enough to appreciate that, even if many haven't.

So how'd I do?  I called a pathetic 1 of 4 divisions right, but I did get 3 of the 6 teams in the hunt correct, although again, with some positioning out of order.

So the total is 7 of the 12 teams I picked made it to the postseason, for an overall record of .583. Ouch. With that percentage, if I were a head coach, I'd fire me.

On weekly picks, I definitely did better. Of the 256 games played in the regular season, I picked 164 correct, for a .640 average.

How'd you do?

02 January 2012

2011 Week 17 Recap

Eagles v. Redskins, Sunday, January 1, 2012

The game may have been "meaningless," but it sure was nice to end the season with a win. Actually, 4 wins.

Stud of the week: other guys posted bigger numbers, but I have to give it to pint-sized Chad Hall, who scored his first NFL TD on Sunday, and did it by plowing over Perry Riley and DeAngelo Hall, who had him dead to rights stopped at the 1. Chad Hall is never going to be a starter - in Philly or anywhere else - because he's really not that good. But he plays every snap he gets with his whole heart, and you have to love him for that.

I also have to give a shout out to Jason Avant, Mr. Third Down, nearly all of whose receptions this season went for first downs. And to Alex Henery, who, thanks to Dan Bailey's miss last night, set the record for rookie kicking accuracy and single-season kicking accuracy, passing even the great David Akers (who can apparently also thrown TDs, as you'd know if you saw the 49ers game).

This was definitely a day, even a month, of "if only."

If only...the Eagles had taken better care of the ball.

If only...the defense had started to gel a little sooner.

If only...Mike Vick hadn't gotten hurt.

If only...Vince Young was a competent backup.

If only...Alex Henery had gotten over his rookie jitters by week 4.

If only...the team could've figured out how to win at home before week 15.

If only...the offense had figured out how to score some points in the 4th quarter before December. Or even realized that scoring in the fourth quarter might be important.

So now we look ahead to an extra-long offseason. For the other teams, and from the crucible of the Eagles' experiences this season:

If someone says: "Hey! I have a great idea! Even though there's going to be virtually no offseason this year, let's convert our offensive line coach into our defensive coordinator!" just say no.

As if 13 years of watching the LOLskins wasn't enough, we now have definitive proof that you cannot buy a bunch of high-priced free agents and expect them to magically morph into a team. Really. REALLY.

Win at home. If all else fails, win at home.

It's not as if there weren't bright spots: LeSean McCoy had an amazing year, and there's no reason it won't be the first of many. Howard Mudd revamped the o-line into a top-10 group. The defense was a sack machine this year, led by a nearly record season for Jason Babin, and supported by another excellent (partial) season from my boy Trent Cole. And a four game winning streak is not a bad way to go out. But 8-8 is 8-8, even if the team did go 5-1 in the division.

Around the rest of the NFL...

Dolphins over Jets: Told you so. Apparently, Rex Ryan was crying in the locker room. It's funnier when it's Tony Romo, but still - comedy gold!

Patriots over Bills: For the first 15 minutes, it looked like maybe the Bills would do the impossible and beat the Pats twice in one season. And then there was the rest of the game. Better luck next year, Bills.

Titans over Texans: The Titans did what they could to take care of business, but it wasn't enough. All they did was knock themselves down about 7 positions in the draft. Whoops. Meanwhile, the Texans are going into their first trip to the playoffs ICE cold. Early exit in 4...3....2....

Jaguars over Colts: And the winners of the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes are the Colts! Wonder what's going to happen with Peyton? In the press, he's been all: "I'm a great teammate who can work with and support anyone." To which I respond: "Has he not been paying any attention at all to himself for the past 10 years?"

Bears over Vikings: I was sure the Vikes were going to pull off another win. Except no. 3-13 gives them a good draft position, which they're going to need.

Saints over Panthers: You know how the Saints are unbeatable at home? Sucks to be the Lions.

49ers over Rams: The 49ers secure the bye, and David Akers throws the pass for what turns out to be the margin of victory. Didn't see either of those things happening back in August.

Packers over Lions: It was freezing cold and snowing at Lambeau, and it was a shoot-out anyway. I was stunned that the Lions couldn't pull it off, and that they allowed a record day with Aaron Rodgers on the bench. If the Super Bowl does come down to the Packers and Patriots, we could see the first Super Bowl with over 100 points scored.

Ravens over Bengals: The Bengals secured a playoff spot anyway, but going in losing 3 of their last 5 is not promising.

Steelers over Browns: The Steelers are literally limping into the playoffs as the 5th seed. Yeah, I know, Packers 2010, but things don't look promising for them, either. In other news, the NFC East is playing the AFC North next year. You know, the AFC North that's supplying three of the AFC playoff teams this year. Great.

Chiefs over Broncos: And the Broncos got in anyway. Don't worry - they won't go far. Much as I'd love to see BDawk get a ring before he retires, it's really not going to happen.

Cardinals over Seahawks: I have literally nothing to say about this. Other than to point out to the Redskins that Kevin Kolb might b available for 2012.

Chargers over Raiders: Did the Raiders not realize that their season was on the line? Sheesh!

Falcons over Buccaneers: Did you know that a bunch of Falcons players, coaches, and fans were whining about the Saints "letting" Drew Brees go for the single-season passing yards record last week since they were already up by so much. A few things occur to me. One, after watching my own team blow multiple fourth quarter leads this year, I think if you can score, you should score. Two, he was going for a major record, not just doing it to be mean. Three, even if he was just doing it to be mean, if you don't like it, stop him. If you can't stop him, quit yer bellyachin. Four, "waah waah poor lil us!" does not bode well for your playoff chances, Falcons.

Giants over Cowboys: I know, I know. If the Cowboys had won, the Eagles would've gotten a better draft position. And neither team would've been likely to get very far in the playoffs. But it's ALWAYS a good day when the Cowboys lose.