29 October 2012

Is It Over Yet?

The ONLY Eagle who flew Sunday.
Eagles v. Falcons, Sunday, October 28, 2012

No, I don't mean the game. I KNOW the game is over. Thank God, because it was truly painful to watch.

No, I don't mean Hurricane Sandy. She's just getting cranked up here in the mid-Atlantic. Stay home and stay safe, y'all.

I mean the Eagles season. Is it over?

OK, mathematically, I know it's not over. The Eagles aren't even at their halfway point, the division-leading Giants are only up 3 games, and the Birds are technically ranked second in the division thanks to beating the G-men a month ago. And no NFC division other than North looks unstoppable at this point, so a wildcard would not be not out of the question, either.

And that's all great, for what it's worth, which right now, the morning after the first post-bye week loss of the Andy Reid era (a 30-17 drubbing by the Falcons at home, in case you've been too busy watching The Weather Channel to keep up) doesn't feel like much.

What is going on at the NovaCare Complex? As Tommy Lawlor points out in detail, this team has been through bad times before under Reid and prevailed. Tommy posits that the loss of veteran leadership on the team and in the coaching staff over the past few years has produced a team where no one is left to teach the new guys the "Eagles Way."

The guys over at Bleeding Green Nation were about an inch away from pulling out the "rearranging deck chairs on the Hindenburg" metaphor on their way to calling out the playcalling and coaching in general, and Andy Reid specifically

I think Big Red is flailing, and I suspect Mike Vick is about to be the next scapegoat to be sacrificed. And while he hasn't played up to expectations this season, with a patched together offensive line that can't keep him from ending up on his back starting at sky and trying to ascertain if all his limbs are still attached after 50% or more of his snaps, it's hardly all his fault.

And while I do think that the problems start with Andy and, as a result, I think we're seeing his last 9 games as head coach, I have to wonder if what's really going on is that he's still grieving the loss of his son. It hasn't even been three months since Reid endured one of the most difficult losses any person will ever experience - the loss of a child.

I think it's reasonable to think that Reid may be unable to focus on the team at this time. And while I don't blame him personally - he lost his oldest son for chrissakes - if that is what's going on, I do blame him for not figuring out a way to do what is best for the team and step down or hand over some of his responsibilities.

I realize the situation was unpredictable. Garrett Reid, to refresh your memory, died at training camp just over a month before the start of the 2012 season. At the time, Andy may have thought that he'd be able to pull himself and the team together, and making a head coaching change in early August is pretty much unheard of.

Thing is, whether it's because of his grief at his loss or fear of losing his job or something else none of us can even speculate on, Reid is now hurting the team. Juan Castillo already got thrown under the bus twice - first when he was hired for a position he was totally unsuited for, then when he was fired from that same position. By all appearances, Mike Vick will be next. But I think it's Reid who needs to go.

If this weren't the final year of his contract, it's conceivable he could take a leave of absence. Since he's coaching for his job, that's probably not a possibility. But since it seems likely to me - and many other observers - that that ship has already sailed. Reid needs to look at what's best for the team, and that includes looking in the mirror.

(You'll notice there's no stud of the week. That would be intentional.)

24 October 2012

2012 Week 8 Picks

This week is going to be, to put it mildly, interesting.

The Eagles are coming off a bye week in which Andy Reid replaced his DC and there are widespread rumors of problems in the entire front office.

The Falcons, also coming off a bye, are the only remaining undefeated team.

Andy Reid has never lost the game the week after the bye, including the infamously disastrous 2005 season. 

This is a must-win game for the Eagles. We all have the sense that their season is hanging by a thread. If they come up with a win at home against the undefeated Falcons, one in which Michael Vick takes care of the football, the offense manages to put up some points, special teams doesn't give up big plays, and the defense shows improvement, I think we're all going to release a breath we didn't even know we were holding.

If, on the other hand, Andy and Marty refuse to run the ball, Mike turns it over, the receivers drop passes or can't get open, special teams continues to give up big plays, and/or the defense lets another 4th quarter lead slip away, the wheels are going to come all the way off the bus and roll across the Ben Franklin bridge into Jersey.

This game should be winnable. No, I'm not crazy. Why do you ask?

The Falcons wins have come over:

The Chiefs (1-5)
The Broncos (3-3)
The Chargers (3-3)
The Panthers (1-5)
The Redskins (3-3)
The Raiders (2-4)

So no teams with winning records.

And the Eagles backs are against the wall. I think - I hope - they pull it together and live to fight another day. Because I just can't give up on them yet.


Buccaneers at Vikings: Chef Spouse's best friend Steelers Transplant, who now lives in Tampa, is in DC this week and will be watching the game with us Thursday night. Sadly, I think he'll be watching his second adopted team lose. Vikings.

Panthers at Bears: And the losing streak continues for the Panthers. Bears.

Chargers at Browns: Chargers. The Browns are kind of a mess.

Seahawks at Lions: High-powered offense versus high-powered defense! And the Seahawks are not at home. I've got the Lions again, who better not let me down after taking them as my upset pick last week.

Jaguars at Packers: The Jaguars are going to get killed. They might want to see if they can get a doctor's note or something. Packers.

Dophins at Jets: I think this will be a close game, but I've got the Dolphins. I know, I know, but they are looking better and crazy things happen in divisional games.

Redskins at Steelers: I'm tempted to go with the Skins as an upset pick, but the Steelers don't lose at home, they don't lose to NFC teams, and they REALLY don't lose at home to NFC teams. Steelers.

Patriots at Rams: I've got the Pats, but I think this is going to be a closer game than most people expect. The Rams have been solid at home this year, and they'll probably be able to slow Tom Brady down, but I don't think they'll be able to stop him.

Colts at Titans: Colts all day.

Raiders at Chiefs: I'm not picking the g-d Chiefs again. But wait! The Raiders have been burning me, too! Damn it! I'm doing it. I'm going with the Chiefs, God help me.

Giants at Cowboys: I think the Cowboys are going to sweep the Giants. And much as it pains me to pick them, it will help the Eagles. So, Cowboys. Don't hate, Bleeding Green Nation.

Saints at Broncos: I *want* to pick the Saints, but I just can't. Not gonna happen. Broncos.

49ers at Cardinals: I'm bumming that K2 won't be playing. After John Skelton won the QB competition, then went down, then Kolb came in and did great, it was sad to see him get injured. It was nice to see a former Eagle doing well. It's always nice to see a former Eagle do well. And it made me happy to see that the potential Andy saw might be really be there. Oh - who's going to win the game? The 49ers, of course. But I'm still sad that K2's struggling.

On bye: Bengals, Bills, Ravens and Texans (they need to rest after the beat down they laid on the Ravens last week)

22 October 2012

Change is A-Comin'

And not just for the Eagles.

Don't worry - Snarkin' will still be here.

But I have to dial back my football obsession just a bit.

So each week, I will still pick the upcoming games. It provides me a weekly opportunity to make an ass of myself, in addition to my annual making-an-ass-of-myself preseason playoff picks post.

And I'll still recap the Eagles game (assuming it's not the bye week).

And I may make a few scattered comments about other games, although that's most likely with the other NFC East teams.

But I'm not going to be recapping ALL the games anymore. Aside from having to devote Monday evening, Thursday evening, and the entire day Sunday to watching in a focused way, it also requires a number of hours every week with the NFL Network and SportsCenter.

And nobody's paying me for this.

Plus that way, I can devote my full resources and snark and ire and vocabulary of swear words to the Eagles and only the Eagles.

17 October 2012

2012 Week 7 Picks

All I have to say at this point is: "Thank GOD for the bye week." ONE Sunday where I will not:
  • Have a coronary 
  • Give myself a rage headache 
  • Yell at the TV for 3 solid hours
  • Have to watch any games through my coat sleeve (Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom knows what I'm talking about)
  • Scare my cat and/or Chef Spouse out of the room
  • Drink myself into a state of not caring anymore
  • Exhaust my full vocabulary of English swear words and have to start looking up new ones on the Internet
  • Have to leave the house for several hours to calm down
So Juan Castillo's out and Todd Bowles is in. Feels to me like Big Red is panicking. Jeff Lurie as much as told him and everyone else "It's playoffs (and I don't mean one win, buster) or hit the pavement" this year, and it seems like Andy's taking him seriously. Thing is, firing Castillo feels a little bit like scapegoating. Sure, he was in over his head from the start, and we're all STILL scratching our heads about why Andy ever thought it would work. But, aside from blowing one lead late in the game (because, come on, I cannot bring myself to blame the defense for not being able to hold a ONE POINT lead against the Steelers at Heinz Field for nearly 7 minutes), and the much-discussed poor sack production, the defense has not been a huge problem. Usually, when a team is winning by 3 or fewer points (hello, 2012 Eagles season thus far), the defense gets praised.

To me, the MUCH bigger problems are Marty Mornhinweg and Bobby April. Shady gets 20+ touches = win. Shady gets less than 20 touches = loss. This is not complicated math. And how is it that the Eagles are ranked 27th in scoring with players like DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, LeSean McCoy, Mike Vick, and Brent Celek?And special teams has been a disaster so far this year. A DISASTER.

But Juan was vulnerable. So out he goes. We'll see what happens against Atlanta on October 28. It will certainly be a test of the defense, with the Falcons in the top 5 in scoring. And if it doesn't go well, we all (and in "we all" I include the Eagles players and coaching staff) have to wonder: who's next. Shit. I'm already giving myself a rage headache, and the game is 11 days off.

What? You wanted me to pick the games this week? Oh, all right:

Seahawks at 49ers: Well, after last week, I think I have a new rule: never pick against the Seahawks at home. But they're not AT home this week, are they? The two teams are surprisingly evenly matched (with the Niners with an edge in offense), but the 49ers are not going to drop two in a row at home. 49ers.

Titans at Bills: Both teams are coming off upset wins, so either (or both) could be in for a let down game. But I'm going with homefield and the Bills.

Cowboys at Panthers: The Cowboys should be able to right the ship - at least for one week - against the struggling Panthers. If they don't, I think Jason Garrett gets sacked. Hey, Jerry's fired head coaches during the season before...Cowboys.

Ravens at Texans: Last week aside, and it's a big aside, 'cause they got whupped, I gotta go with the Texans.

Browns at Colts: And the Browns winning streak ends at 1. Colts. Also Joe Banner has his work cut out for him.

Cardinals at Vikings: This should be a good game. Words I never would have written two months ago. I've got the Vikings.

Redskins at Giants: Really want to pick the Redskins, not least of which to keep the Giants from extending their lead over the Eagles. (Apparently, I still have hope. Pity me.) But I just don't see it. Giants.

Packers at Rams: Two months ago, I would've figured the Packers would dismantle the Rams, homefield or no homefield. Now? I've got the Rams.

Saints at Buccaneers: The Saints. I think. Fingers crossed.

Jets at Patriots: The Jets are dead men. Patriots.

Jaguars at Raiders: Raiders. The Jags are having yet another bad season.

Steelers at Bengals: The Steelers haven't won on the road yet this season. That should end this week. Steelers.

Lions at Bears: Upset pick. Lions.

On bye: The Eagles, thank God, and the Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs (who are DEAD to me), Dolphins, and Falcons.

15 October 2012

2012 Week 6 Recap

Eagles v. Lions, Sunday, October 14, 2012

Stud of the week: Nnamdi Asomugha finally had the game we've all been waiting for. You know, the one where we all go "THAT's why the Eagles paid all that money for him!" He had a picka dn completely shut down Calvin Johnson, not an easy task. Well, that is until Juan Castillo inexplicably pulled Asmougha off Megatron. When did that happen? Remember how the team gave up a 10 point lead with 5 minutes to go? Yeah, about then.

Have you ever given yourself a rage headache? Because I was so pissed by the end of the game, after the Eagles won the toss, went three and out, and then were unable to even slow the Lions' waltz downfield for the field goal down a little, I had. I stomped into the kitchen and told Chef Spouse I was going for a walk. I returned about an hour later, able to watch both the Giants and Redskins win with some degree of equanimity.

What was Chef Spouse doing in the kitchen? Working on fish fumet and espagnole sauce, and avoiding my insane yelling at the TV.

There is SO MUCH blame to go around.

I blame the officials. There is no way that was a push-off worthy of calling back Brent Celek's TD near the end of the 3rd quarter. When it happened, I announced: "If the Eagles lose this game by fewer than 4 points, I'm blaming the officials." So there you have it.

I blame Michael Vick. He was great in the last few minutes before the half and during the third quarter. He made quick reads, ran through his progressions, made quick decisions, took what the Lions' D gave him, ran when he could, and got out of bounds without getting hit. Too bad he was getting the shit kicked out of him the rest of the game, which may have left him more than a little addled. Some of that was him - he CANNOT hold the ball so long - and some was the O-line. Regardless, someone should probably give him a concussion test, stat. And the turnovers! Oy vey iz mir!

I blame the lack of a run game. Shady had a terrible game. I don't know if that's because the O line couldn't make any holes for him (probably, since the Lions' defense spent pretty much the entire game in Mike Vick's lap), if it was because of bad playcalling so he got no touches, or if it was because of bad playcalling, insisting on running outside on the rare times the Birds actually ran the ball, when it was CLEARLY NOT working.

Maclin and Jackson had good games, but Jason Avant made a rare mental mistake and Brent Celek dropped a few balls he normally catches.

I blame the O-line. Did I mention that the Lions' D-line spent the entire game up in Mike Vick's grill? Because they did.

I blame the D-line. The names Jason Babin, Trent Cole and Cullen Jenkins should strike fear the in hearts of opposing QBs. Where were they yesterday? NO sacks? NONE?

I blame Juan Castillo. Aside from the Asomugha disaster mentioned above, here's the thing with blitzes. You must - and I cannot over-stress the importance of this - you MUST get there. If you don't, Matthew Stafford can feel free to pick any of the 4,873 Lions receivers running free in the secondary with no one to cover them.

In the past two games, the D has given up two fourth quarter leads. Now the Steelers game was one thing - the Eagles had gone up by 1 with well over 6 minutes left on the road. But losing a 10 point lead at home with just over 5 minutes? Of course, it would've helped if the offense could've burned a little time. You don't need to score - you just need to burn clock and change field position. Of course, that requires a run game. See above for the problems with that.

And this has me thinking: hello, it's 2011 all over again.

But there's one more group to blame: the fans at the Linc. The Eagles are up by 10 with just over 5 minutes to go. The team is on defense at home. The stadium should be going crazy. Matthew Stafford shouldn't be able to hear his own thoughts. And, unless there was something messed up with the sound on my TV - and I seriously doubt it - the stadium was nearly quiet. The defensive players were waving their arms on the field to try to hype the crowd and...nothing. Sure, the Lions aren't nearly as bad as their 1-3 record coming into the day made it seem. But if we're not with the team, how can we expect them to give their best?

I don't have it in me to recap the rest of the games this week. I'm still too bummed - and unless the Broncos pull off a miracle (always a possibility with Peyton Manning under center, but it's not looking good with the 4th quarter about to start), I'm 3-11 this week. Bleh.

11 October 2012

2012 Week 6 Picks

Well, it finally happened. Thursday Night Football beat me to the punch. Ah well. On to the picks.

This week, the Eagles host the Lions.

Lots of people - myself included - expected good things from the Lions in 2012. So far, that's not really panning out. A 1-3 start was not what any of us expected.

On the other hand, they did beat a Rams team that's outperforming expectations so far. And, although one of their losses was to the Titans, the other two were the 49ers and the surprisingly good Vikings.

And they still have Megatron, and, as a result, are #2 in passing yards in the NFL. And Calvin hasn't even been having a great year so far.

The Lions are coming off their bye, and you know they don't want to drop to 1-4, particularly with the Bears and Vikings both coming out hot this year.

In the meantime, they are playing at the Linc. And I have to ask: are the Eagles becoming a team where playing at home matters? For a long time, it really didn't seem to. So far this year, they've played 1 bad team (the Browns) on the road, 2 good teams (the Cardinals and the Steelers) on the road, and 2 good teams (the Ravens and the Giants) at home. They beat the bad team on the road, won the two home games, and lost the two other road games.

To me, it all comes down to this: the Lions can put up points. And they have a top 10 defense. If the Eagles can manage to find another gear for the offense (try "second," guys) and figure out a way to contain Calvin Johnson, they should win this one. Those are both big "ifs." But I'm counting on homefield to help the Eagles get a narrow win (what else is new?) over the visitors.

In the other matchups...

Steelers at Titans: I don't care how banged up the Steelers are, there's no way they lose this game. The Titans have Chris Johnson and... [crickets]. See?

Raiders at Falcons: The next time I predict that the Raiders are "going to be good this year" because they're "really turning the corner," could someone please remind me of this year? And 2003-2009? Also, Falcons.

Cowboys at Ravens: The Cowboys have had two weeks to stew over getting stomped at home by the Bears on Monday Night Football. Which has got to be bad for your mental outlook. And even if they aren't already f-ed right now, they will be by 4 pm Sunday. Have you seen Ray Lewis's pre-game speeches? Tony Romo's going to be get killed. For real. Not metaphorical. Ravens.

Bengals at Browns: Poor Browns - another week, another loss. Bengals.

Rams at Dolphins: Both of these teams are outperforming expectations so far this year, but the Rams aren't going to be at home in the dome, so I've got Ryan Tannehill and Fins.

Colts at Jets: Have I mentioned lately that the Jets are f-ed? The Jets are so f-ed TO has been tweeting to try to get them to pick him up, and it's not a completely insane idea. Yes, it's that bad. And it's going to be worse after the Colts beat them at home this week.

Chiefs at Buccaneers: Call me crazy, but I'm picking the Chiefs again. Third time's the charm? Don't let me down, fellas.

Bills at Cardinals: It's the Cards turn to whip up on the Bills.

Patriots at Seahawks: Now this is an interesting matchup. East Coast teams traditionally have trouble going west, and the Seahawks are pretty damn good at home even in years when they aren't that good overall. And this year, they're pretty good overall. We have the top-ranked D taking on the top-ranked O. Which should make for an interesting game. I'm really tempted to call the Seahawks, but I don't think they're going to be able to shut down the Pats completely, and I'm not sure they can keep up. Pats.

Giants at 49ers: 49ers. They're pretty much the Terminator this year.

Vikings at Redskins: The Redskins, unlike the Seahawks and Steelers (and maybe now the Eagles?) have NO homefield mojo. And this week's not going to improve that. Vikings.

Did I just pick all the NFC East teams other than the Eagles to lose? Yes, I did. Which would be awesome, both from a standings perspective and from a picks perspective. Crossing my fingers that I'm right.

Packers at Texans: Texans all day, baby. The Packers are banged up, and it's getting worse, and the Texans defense is outstanding.

Broncos at Chargers: Broncos. Also, SECOND MNF game? Already? Could y'all stop kissing Peyton's ass for one damn second?

On bye: Bears, Jaguars, Panthers, Saints

08 October 2012

2012 Week 5 Recap

Eagles at Steelers, Sunday, October 7, 2012

Stud of the week: Of course, it's LeSean McCoy. Not only did he make Larry Foote look foolish on his TD catch and run (I quote the ONE true thing Joe Buck has ever said announcing football: "One on one against McCoy, you have no shot. I don't care who you are."), the Eagles went for it on 4th down TWICE during the drive that led to the second touchdown. Who did they give it to? Shady. Did he pick both up? Indeed he did. And he smoked Lawrence Timmons in the process. As I posted to Facebook during the game: "Shady = Superman."

People! Let's not panic!

Yes, the Eagles lost. In Pittsburgh. To a team coming off their bye week. And a QB who has lost precisely ONE home game to ANY NFC team in his ENTIRE career (and thanks to Tommy Lawlor for the stat). 

And yes, Michael Vick turned the ball over twice. But don't assume that an additional 3 or 7 points from the Eagles in the first quarter automatically means a win. It doesn't. Not that early in the game. And remember the Steelers got no points off either turnover.

The defense got no sacks on a QB who's the most sacked guy in football. And no turnovers. Mike Tomlin clearly had his guys ready for the Eagles pass rush.

Here are a few good things:

Michael Vick, after fumbling twice, led yet another clutch fourth-quarter drive to give the Eagles the lead late. Yes, I know, the defense couldn't hold, but it's not like this is the Titans we're talking about.

Andy Reid went for it on fourth down TWICE in that drive, including once when the Eagles were on THEIR OWN 30. Do they convert both at this time last year? No. Honestly, I think the fact that Big Red had the confidence in the team to do that and that they picked up both is maybe the most positive thing to take from the entire day.

And special teams wasn't a disaster. Glad to see you back Colt Anderson!

Is the team perfect? No way, man. Where are the defensive takeaways? Where are the sacks? Why aren't we seeing more big plays from DeSean Jackson (I don't fault Jeremy Maclin, as he's struggling with injury)? And speaking of injury, can I just say: offensive line? Yikes,

But Andy's teams always finish stronger than they start. Does that equal a Super Bowl? Not necessarily, although there's always the "get hot at the right time" hope. But a loss to the Steelers at Heinz Field is not a reason to jump off the Ben Franklin bridge. This was a very tough schedule to start the season. But the Eagles are 3-2 and leading the division. Hella better than last year's 1-4, am I right? And, aside from the Browns, these are not patsy teams they've been facing. The combined record of the teams they've lost to is 6-3, and they handed the Ravens their only loss so far.

In the rest of the matchups:

Rams over Cardinals: Told you so. I can't figure out the Cardinals and Kevin Kolb yet. I do, however, note that the NFC West is the only division where EVERY team has a winning record so far.  That's different. So are the Rams under Jeff Fisher. Sorry Spags.

Dolphins over Bengals: Andy Dalton did not have a good day, and that was pretty much all she wrote for the Bengals.

Colts over Packers: OK, why didn't anyone tell me the Colts were dedicating this game to Chuck Pagano? I might've picked differently. Also, the Packers just aren't the same Pack this year. Also, that was one hell of a comeback rookie Andrew Luck led.

Ravens over Chiefs: The Ravens are not the classiest group of guys in the world, and when even they're telling the Chiefs' fans that they're being a bunch of dicks for cheering when their own QB went down...well, that's saying something. Keep it classy, KC.

Giants over Browns: You know, for about 10 minutes it looked like the Browns might pull off an upset win. And then there was the rest of the game. Poor Browns. Maybe drafting a rookie who can almost collect Social Security wasn't your best choice ever.

Falcons over Redskins: OK, not that I'm happy that RGIII has a "minor" concussion (whatever that is), but you should hear the weeping and wailing about him taking hits here in the DC! NFL Game Day Morning actually did a retrospective on Mike Vick taking hits where they're late, or he's getting driven into the ground intentionally, or hit in illegal ways (and not when he's a runner). What was the common theme? NONE of them were called. Does this feel like the Donovan McNabb or Randall Cunningham years all over again? Hellz yeah. And no matter how much you scream for your QB to "protect himself," as long as their are different rules for guys named Manning, Brady, Rodgers, and Brees than everyone else, it's not going to do any good. Short version: Skins fans, stop your whining and get used to it.

Seahawks over Panthers: OK, the theory was that the Seahawks allowed that safety intentionally. If so, that was too clever by half. Cam did not have a good day. Sophomore slump? Yep, looks like.

Bears over Jaguars: Ouch.

Vikings over Titans: Also ouch.

Patriots over Broncos: The final score actually makes the game look closer than it was. It was really never in question for the Pats. Everybody makes a big deal about the Manning-Brady quarterback rivalry. Considering the fact that Tom is 9-4 over Peyton, maybe people are thinking of the wrong Manning?

49ers over Bills: Another game that was painful to watch. Everybody gets to whip up on the Bills this year, it seems.

Saints over Chargers: Apparently, I underestimated how the rest of the Saints would respond to Drew Brees's record-breaking night. Oops. 

The Texans are currently leading the Jets 23-14, and I'm 10-3 so far in my picks. Gonna be another good week!

04 October 2012

2012 Week 5 Picks

This week, the Eagles travel to Heinz Field to take on the Steelers. One order of Keystone Bowl, coming up.
The Eagles are 3-1.
The Steelers are 1-2.
And the Steelers, while still a top 5 defense (at least so far) are aging. And the Eagles FINALLY had a turnover free outing, against a team that's not too bad at causing turnovers. 
That should give us a solid indication of what might happen Sunday.
The Steelers are REALLY good at home. REALLY good. And the Eagles, after an emotional night last Sunday, are due for a let down. And Troy Polamalu and James Harrison are both back. And the Steelers are coming off their bye week.
In sum: Steelers.
In the rest of the matchups...
Did you notice I went 13-2 last week? That's some good pickin'. I even had the RAMS, yo. Makes up for the previous week, when I went 5-11. Ouch.
Cardinals at Rams: Speaking of the Rams, I think they're going to have another good week and take down the Cardinals. I'm guessing it will be a close game, but it's hard to play on the road in a dome.
Packers at Colts: The Colts are also coming off a bye. And play inside. And the Packers have been struggling so far. But come on! Gotta go Pack.
Browns at Giants: The Giants are pissed and likely to take it out on the poor Browns, who will go winless at least one more week. Giants.
Falcons at Redskins: The Falcons will get by the Skins, but it's gonna be a shoot-out.
Dolphins at Bengals: Call me crazy, but I've got the Dolphins here.
Ravens at Chiefs: I'm picking the Chiefs, even though they did me wrong against the Chargers last week. But they can put up points, and they're at home.
Seahawks at Panthers: Again, the Seahawks are mortal away from home, but I think their stifling defense will be able to shut down the Panthers.
Bears at Jaguars: Da Bears. Who are probably feeling pretty frisky after Monday night.
Broncos at Patriots: Tom Brady and Peyton Manning renew their rivalry on Tom's turf. I want to call Broncos, but I just can't. Patriots.
Bills at 49ers: Speaking of stifling defenses, the Bills are dead meat. 49ers.
Titans at Vikings: The Vikings are shocking the hell out of everyone so far this year. Can they do it again? I think they can. Vikings.
Chargers at Saints: I think this will be a bittersweet week for the Saints, as Drew Brees breaks Johnny Unitas's streak of games with a TD, and the Saints lose anyway. Hey, they had to replace large chunks of the team with holograms in order to pay Drew, so there you have it.
Texans at Jets: Did I mention that the Jets have now lost their two best players for the season? And are in serious trouble? Like, SERIOUS? Texans.
On bye: Buccaneers, Cowboys, Lions, Raiders

01 October 2012

2012 Week 4 Recap

Eagles v. Giants, Sunday, September 30, 2012

Stud of the week: Brian Dawkins. Duh. He came out of the tunnel Full Wolverine, and we were all yelling, "Put him in!" "Get him some pads!" "No, he doesn't even need pads! Just get him a helmet!" 13 seasons with the Eagles, 16 seasons total. 26 career sacks. 28 career forced fumbles. 37 career interceptions. Next stop: Canton. THAT was the way to honor a legend.

Also, LeSean McCoy had a really good game. Well, he had a good second half. But see, when you keep TRYING to run it throughout the game, it starts to work in the second half.  Andy, take notes.

Actually, everyone had a really good game. Including the coaching staff, who did an excellent job of game planning, and an even better job of in-game adjustments. And I have to assume that someone gave the team one hell of a halftime speech. BDawk perhaps? There was one bad series by the defense - you know the one, that horrible series mid-way through the 4th quarter where Cris Collinsworth basically commented that he'd NEVER seen the Eagles play such bad D - but other than that, really solid game all around. Well, other than the special teams who were short-bus special this week. Colt Anderson and Akeem Jordan, we miss you!

Of course, that final series about gave us all heart attacks. Pass interference on DRC: maybe. Maybe. Pass interference on Nnamdi. Whole lotta BS. Which even Al and Cris admitted. Thank you, Ramses Barden, for evening the score with that complete gangsta-level mugging of Nnamdi, putting your kicker out of his range. Of course, Big Red nearly blew it by trying to ice the kicker, but since Lawrence Tynes missed TWICE, I guess he was successfully iced. Still not a fan of the practice, though.

And did you notice? The Eagles committed not ONE SINGLE turnover. NOT ONE. Here's the crazy thing. On the NFL Network's Game Day Morning show, the commentators were all making their "Bold Predictions." Not only did Michael Irvin pick the Eagles to win (alone of the entire team), but he also predicted that they'd have...no turnovers.


You know what's even more spooky? The woman who runs Chicks in the Huddle, where this blog is syndicated, did an interview with me for HLN TV last week. Not only did I predict that the Eagles would pull out the win, I also predicted that they'd win....19-17. I am not shitting you.

Then again, it is October.

So now what for the Eagles? Well, they're facing the Steelers next week, and I guess we'll take it one week at a time. Still 3-1 is a lot better than last year's 1-4.

Around the rest of the NFL:

Ravens over Browns: Well, sure. Also Chef Spouse seems to have a mancrush on Ray Lewis. Also, the Browns have been in every game they've played so far. They'll get a win sooner or later (hopefully sooner, against the Giants next week).

Falcons over Panthers: Much closer game than I expected. The whole thing really turned on the Cam Newton fumble and that amazing final drive by the Falcons.

Patriots over Bills: I hope the Pats enjoyed their biannual stomping of the Bills. Sigh. If you recall, I predicted that it would be "closer than most people expect." Well, at least it wasn't 52-0.

Vikings over Lions: Hm, did I not give the Vikes enough credit pre-season? Then again, I don't know that anyone saw them playing this well at this point.

Texans over Titans: SportsCenter this evening was debating: are the Texans the best team in football? Yes. Next question.

Chargers over Chiefs: I just cannot get excited about the AFC West this year. Which is so incredibly unusual, I know.

49ers over Jets: The Jets, without Darrelle Revis and now possibly Santonio Holmes, may be utterly screwed. Wait. Scratch the "may be." Replace with "are."

Rams over Seahawks: Ha! I was right!

Cardinals over Dolphins: I'm amazed it took the Cards OT to take care of the Fins, but they're now 4-0. With Philly reject Kevin Kolb at QB. Of course, the fact that he gets to throw to Fitz doesn't hurt, but still, putting things in perspective, it does seem a little...unusual.

Broncos over Raiders: Peyton bounced back after a bad week last week. Maybe he will get his old magic back. You know, up until the playoffs.

Bengals over Jaguars: Yep. One of these days, the Jags might be good. But not today.

Packers over Saints: Stick a fork in the Saints, man. I think they're done.

Redskins over Buccaneers: Easy to be calm when it's not your team, but I knew the Skins would pull this one out. Did I mention that RGIII is the real thing? Did I mention that the Shanahans are doing a better job adjusting to play to his strengths than I expected?

(Also, on the topic of DC, congrats to the Nats on their first NL East win. And I have to giggle a little that the Phils STILL beat them and they took the NL East due to a Braves loss.)