27 November 2013

2013 Week 13 Picks

On the road with iffy Internet access, so just the picks this week:

Cardinals at Eagles: Eagles (Jaws may be wrong for once, also let's keep that home winning streak going! To two!)

Packers at Lions: Lions

Raiders at Cowboys: Cowboys

Steelers at Ravens: Ravens

Buccaneers at Panthers: Panthers

Jaguars at Browns: Browns (also Worst Game of the Week)

Patriots at Texans: Patriots

Titans at Colts: Colts

Bears at Vikings: Bears

Dolphins at Jets: Dolphins

Falcons at Bills: Bills

Rams at 49ers: 49ers

Broncos at Chiefs: Chiefs (also, upset pick - I still believe, Andy!)

Bengals at Chargers: Bengals

Giants at Redskins: Giants (also, Second Worst Game of the Week)

Saints at Seahawks: Seahawks (also, Best Game of the Week)

22 November 2013

2013 Week 12 Picks

The Eagles are on bye this week, and that's one more thing to be thankful for, since it seems like about half the team has shown up on the injury report lately. The boys in green will have an extra week to rest up, heal up, and eat lots of turkey with their families and friends.

In the meantime, week 12 rages on. My picks this week include:

Saints at Falcons: I know the game already took place, but I promise you, I did have the Saints, who almost gave me heart failure when I got home in time to see the end of the 4th quarter. As bad as the Falcons are this year, and as good as the Saints are, it was pretty shocking to see the Falcons with a chance to win it at the end. But divisional rivalries are like that.

Jets at Ravens: The Jets are due a win, given their pattern this year. Unfortunately for them, the Ravens defense seems to have pulled it together lately, they're playing at home, and they have to be pissed after losing in that mess of a game to the Bears last week in overtime. Ravens.

Steelers at Browns: Like a bear coming out of hibernation, the Steelers seemed to wake up and remember that they're, you know, the Steelers last week. This week should reinforce that. Steelers.

Buccaneers at Lions: The Lions are inconsistent as hell, and the Bucs are consistent: consistently bad. Lions.

Vikings at Packers: Will Scott Tolzien get his first win as Packers (temporary) starting quarterback? Yep. Facing the worst defense in the NFL should make for a much nicer day for him than he's enjoyed in his last two NFC East outings.

Jaguars at Texans: Texans. Also, Worst Game of the Week.

Chargers at Chiefs: The Chiefs should get the winning train back on track at home against the Chargers this week.

Panthers at Dolphins: I'm going with Cam Newton and the Panthers' shut-down D.

Bears at Rams: Look for Josh McCown to make it two and keep the Bears neck and neck with the Lions.

Colts at Cardinals: The Cards need this one to try to keep pace with the 49ers, but I don't think they'll be able to take down the well-balanced Colts this week. Colts.

Titans at Raiders: Titans. Also, another lousy game.

Cowboys at Giants: Just about everyone has the G-men, who are on a hot streak right now, and they will be playing at home. Thing is, the Cowboys are coming off the bye and are, objectively, a better team. I think I gotta go Cowboys.

Broncos at Patriots: Just about everyone has the Broncos, particularly after their tough divisional win over the Chiefs last week. Thing is, Brady has pretty much always had the upper hand in the Manning/Brady face off, and the Pats are at home. (I do realize I didn't find that persuasive with the Giants above. Hey, I'm a mystery wrapped in an enigma.) I'm taking the Pats in the upset.

49ers at Redskins: No upset here. 49ers.

On bye: Bengals, Bills, Seahawks, and, of course, the Eagles

18 November 2013

The (Home) Losing Streak Is FINALLY Over!

Eagles 24, Redskins 16, Sunday, November 17, 2013 

Can I just tell you how glad I am that that monkey is off all our backs? Still, just to be on the safe side, if the Eagles *do* manage to win the NFC East and get into the playoffs (which is looking increasingly possible), do you think we can petition Roger Goodell to play the wildcard round on the road?

Stud of the week: Brandon Boykin gets a repeat. He's been doing an outstanding job as the gunner on special teams this season in general. He's playing well at cornerback when he's in. And then there was the critical pick in the end zone to seal the win. And no, I could not find a decent picture of it, so we'll have to settle for this awesome shot of him celebrating a defensive stop.

I also have to give a major shout out to Shady, who passed 1000 yards receiving this week, is still leading the league in rushing, and tacked on 73 yards receiving and two TDs. You know, just an average day for him.

And then there's this:

GIF via SB Nation.

Lots of Skins fans are complaining about Shady. Thing is, that's not just any old Redskins flag; that's a "You're In Redskins Country" flag. That numbnuts up there is waving in Shady's face. At the Linc. In Philly, where we are not necessarily known for our good manners. Dude's lucky he didn't get his ass kicked. Quit yer whining.

The Eagles DOMINATED for three quarters. Everything was clicking. Foles was throwing well and spreading it around. In addition to Shady, DJax, Brent Celek, Riley Cooper, Bryce Brown, and Zack Ertz all had big receptions. Foles had a 4 yard TD run himself and picked up an additional 40+ on the ground. The Redskins were getting some yards and long drives on the ground, but they couldn't finish and RGIII couldn't pass for shit. The defense recorded four sacks (Cole, Cole, Barwin, Goode) and a recovered fumble (Cox).

And then it was like the Eagles went to sleep and the Redskins woke up. Shoegal and Oscar were here for the game. Oscar's a big Skins fan (he's a DC native), and he and I were having the battle of the pessimists: "My team is going to blow it." "No, my team is going to blow it." "No, MY team is going to blow it." Etc.

In the end, his team blew it.

Thank God.

I *was* wearing the lucky socks.

15 November 2013

2013 Week 11 Picks

This week, the Eagles host the Redskins at the Linc.

The Eagles are on a two game winning streak with a resurgent Nick Foles under center. The Redskins are reeling from a puzzling loss to the dreadful Vikings. Both teams have suspect defenses and rely heavily and successfully on the run. Both teams score a lot of points and give up a lot of points...although the Redskins give up more, an average of about a TD more. The Redskins special teams are historically terrible, and the Eagles are actually a lot better than in recent years. RGIII has been erratic this year, throwing a lot of picks even as his knee appears to be healing. Foles has been the model of consistency, as long as we ignore his outing in Dallas.

I'd be feeling really good about this game, if they were playing here in DC. But they aren't.

I'm saying it again, and I hope it's not a jinx: the Eagles have to win at home again sometime. No time like the present, particularly with the Cowboys on bye and the opportunity to take the lead in the division. I'll be wearing my lucky socks, and Fellow Eagles Fanatic is going to be at the game. That has to be good luck right?

Eagles. By a TD. 

In the rest of the matchups, I see a lot of close games taking place this weekend:

Colts at Titans: Yes, I know it was last night, but I had called the Titans and I'm woman enough to admit it. If the officiating hadn't been so bad, I would've been right, too.

Jets at Bills: This one's almost a push. I've got the Jets, but this one could go either way.

Ravens at Bears: Same as above, and I've got the Ravens. Josh McCown? C'mon man!

(Hm - is picking the two road teams in games that are likely to be close a good idea? Maybe not...)

Browns at Bengals: I think Andy Dalton will pull his head out of his ass this week and get the Bengals back on track.

Raiders at Texans: The Texans have been absolutely puzzling this year. Their defense doesn't give up much in the way of yards, but they give up a TON of points. Their offense is good, but has trouble getting in the end zone. Terrelle Pryor still seems to be hobbled. I'm going with the Texans, and I hope they don't burn me (again).

Cardinals at Jaguars: The Jags surprised everyone (including themselves) last week with their win over the Titans, but it was a fluke. They're terrible. I could throw to Fitz and get a Cardinals win.

Lions at Steelers: The Steel Curtain has rusted, and there is no way they stop Megatron and Reggie Bush. I know I keep writing that about teams, but I also keep being right. Lions.

Falcons at Buccaneers: SOOOO tempted to go with the Bucs and the upset pick, but I still think the Falcons are marginally better.

Chargers at Dolphins: Chargers.

49ers at Saints: Saints at home? Take that bet.

Packers at Giants: A lot of the experts are picking the Giants and Scott Tolzein is not Aaron Rodgers (as Eagles fans know from last week). But the Giants, despite their impressive three game wining streak, are just not that good. Gotta go with the Pack to get back on track Sunday.

Vikings at Seahawks: Speaking of home field advantage, Seahakws. Duh.

Chiefs at Broncos: GAME OF THE WEEK! (Yes, I'm shouting - this is going to be AWESOME!) I am going with the upset here and picking Andy Reid's post-bye week good karma and the Chiefs' ability to pick off QBs (and top defenses can rattle Peyton) and run the kind of long drives that will keep him off the field. If it turns into a shoot-out, they're dead meat, because they're packing a butter knife.

Patriots at Panthers: So want to pick the Panthers' hot defense here, but it's Tom f-ing Brady. Sigh. Pats.

On bye: Cowboys, Rams

11 November 2013

It's Only Weird If It Doesn't Work

Eagles 27, Packers 13, Sunday, November 10, 2013 

Chef Spouse and I were at the Delaware shore with Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom and You-Two-Calm-Down-Or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad celebrating Dad's recent retirement this week. One of the things that's fun about being in Eagles Country during the football season is that there's a lot more good Eagles merch to choose from - we got bupkes here in DC. Before we headed home on Saturday, Chef Spouse had swung by a local store in Fenwick, DE that was advertised as a hardware store - and it was, you could buy tools there - but they had amazing sports merch, including lots of Eagles gear.

Now here's another thing you need to know. Since I started my own business a little over a year ago, I work at home most of the time. In the summer, that means I can go days without putting on shoes. In the winter, that means there's a premium on warm socks. I now have an extensive and growing wardrobe of warm, fuzzy, crazy socks.

So Chef Spouse is in Fenwick Trustworthy Hardware, and he sees several pairs of awesome Eagles fuzzy socks. Which are now mine. One pair of which I wore on Sunday when, even without ARodg, few thought the Eagles could win. And they won.

I think I now have a pair of lucky socks.

Stud of the week: DeMeco Ryans had a beast of a day, but I think I have to go with Vinny Curry. Why, you ask? Well, he also had a pretty good day, with 3 tackles, 1 assist, and 1 monster sack that was legal and still managed to nearly decapitate Scott Tolzien. But the reason he wins is this:

GIF from FTW

Jimmy Kempski is right: this totally needs to be Curry's new sack dance.

Nick Foles is playing well. He didn't play perfectly like he did against the Raiders, but he played well enough to win, including making plays under pressure, something he was unable to do against the Cowboys on October 20. Sure, there were plenty of times I was yelling: "Do something! Do anything!" while he held onto the ball and, I don't know, filed his nails or something, but other than the early sack fumble and taking one sack that knocked the Iggles out of field goal range, there wasn't anything disastrous as a result.

The run game? 9:32 is all you need to know - that's the length of the drive the Eagles had to run out the clock and seal the win at the end of the game. Oh, one other number: 155. That's the yardage Shady racked up Sunday. Even after going basically MIA for basically a month, he's still leading the NFL in rushing yards.

Another number for you? 55. The yards DJax got on that tipped pass he showed incredible concentration in catching.

And another? 102. Riley Cooper's yards from only THREE catches that also resulted in TWO TDs. Jeremy Maclin who?

Defense? They're actually playing better. Even though the personnel was acquired for 4-3/wide 9, they seem to be adapting - finally - to 3-4, which, as Bleacher Report notes, makes it a lot harder for a QB to figure out what the D is up to pre-snap.

Special teams? I know it was windy and cold on Sunday, but if you can't count on your kicker to make a 39 yard field goal, you may need a new kicker. But the punt coverage has been vastly improved this year.

Officiating? It was off, but I don't think it unfairly benefited either team.

I know, I know - the Eagles got lucky with Aaron Rodgers out, Seneca Wallace going down at the very beginning of the game, and Clay Matthews unable to use his right hand. But it's never easy to go into Lambeau and get a win, and that's just what the boys in midnight green on Sunday, taking them back to .500 and tied with the Cowboys for the lead in their very weak division. I'll take it.

07 November 2013

2013 Week 10 Picks

Were you watching Monday Night Football? Did you see how Aaron Rodgers got hurt, and then John McCown led the Bears to the upset win?

Is it just me, or did this game suddenly get a lot more interesting?

Up until about 9 pm Monday night, I was SURE the Eagles had NO chance this week. I mean, road game, so that's in their favor, but c'mon! The Packers! At Lambeau!

Nick Foles will NOT have another game like last week, maybe ever. But the Packers are dealing with a boatload of injuries and are having a hard time defending the pass. I expect Foles to have another good game, and I don't have a ton of confidence in Seneca Wallace. I'd love to call an upset win, in fact, I almost did, but I just can't see the Eagles making up that big a gap. It could become a shoot out, but the Pack is WAY better on D than our Birds. I'd love for them to prove me wrong, but I've got the Pack at home.

In the other matchups, we're going quick picks because we're at the beach celebrating You-Two-Calm-Down-Or-I'm-Turning-Off-The-TV Dad's recent retirement, and he wants to get outta here and get some lobstah:

Redskins at Vikings: No better way to get your mojo back than against the Vikings. Redskins.

Seahawks at Falcons: No 12th man, but the Falcons are a mess this year. Seahawks.

Bengals at Ravens: Remember how I picked the Bengals to go to the playoffs this year? Looking pretty smart, huh? Well, except for that part where I said the Ravens would win the AFC North. Because they won't, nor will they win this game. Bengals.

Lions at Bears: I know Jay Cutler's coming back and all, but the Bears defense is not what it once was and it's not going to be enough to hold off Reggie Bush AND Megatron. Lions.

Rams at Colts. Colts. No comment. Move along.

Raiders at Giants: Pretty much everyone has the Giants. They are at home, they're coming off the bye, and the Raiders did get whupped by our Iggles last week. But the Raiders are objectively the better team and remember, prior to Folesanity, they had a top ranked defense. I give them the edge this week. Raiders.

Bills at Steelers: They aren't the Steelers of old, but they are at home and the Bills are still on the QB carousel, which is starting to spin so fast it's going to make everyone nauseated soon. Steelers.

Jaguars at Titans: The Jags will not go 0-16. They will, however, go 0-9. Titans.

Panthers at 49ers: I'm going with the nearly-universal pick of the 49ers, but I think this game is going to be a lot closer than most people think.

Texans at Cardinals: The Texans I was expecting to see all season showed up last week. Can they do it again? I think so, plus you know they're going to be motivated to win one for Gary Kubiak. Texans.

Broncos at Chargers: Yeah, I know, divisional away game, anything can happen, yackity-smackity. But I know one thing that can't happen - the Chargers can't beat the Broncos.

Cowboys at Saints: The Jets shocked them last week, but you know how the Saints are unbeatable at home? Yeah, that. Saints.

Dolphins at Buccaneers: Bet on it - the Bucs win their first game this week.

On bye: Browns, Chiefs, Jets, Patriots

04 November 2013

Total Domination

Eagles 49, Raiders, 20, Sunday, November 3, 2013

Who knew Nick Foles decided to go as Peyton Manning for Halloween, and then, just like in Buffy
"You're awesome!" "No, YOU'RE awesome!"
the Vampire Slayer
season 2, episode 6, "Halloween," he turned into his costume?

Stud of the week: uh, Nick Foles. Career day. Literally. Tied the NFL record for TD passes (with 7 others) and no picks (with only 2 others). Only QB ever to throw for 7 TDs AND end the game with a perfect passer rating. It was bananas. He had more TDs than incomplete passes. You know how watching Shady is often like watching Madden? Watching Foles was EXACTLY like watching Madden. Who knew that getting a concussion would turn out to be a GOOD thing? (Joking.) (Except maybe not.) (Riley Cooper had a good day, too.)

OK, I know: Raiders, right? Only they have a top 10 defense. Or they did until yesterday, anyway. I'm pretty sure they're still picking the shattered remains of their defense out of the San Francisco Bay. EVERY commentator picked the Raiders to win - well, other than Jaws, and he may not be 100% objective.

The Eagles scored 49 points - IN THREE QUARTERS. Their first punt didn't even come until late in the second quarter. The entire fourth quarter was junk time, with the starters hanging out on the sideline congratulating each other and fantasy football owners all over the land - and Michael Vick - weeping quietly into their beer. I think we've probably seen the end of Michael Vick as an Eagle.

And the defense played well, too. They were helped by Darren McFadden's hamstring injury, no doubt, but they didn't let Terrelle Pryor run (or pass) totally wild, either. 

So where does this leave the Eagles? Foles has been great against the Bucs and the Raiders. He was lousy against the Cowboys. Is he The Guy?

Quoting Tommy Lawlor:
No Eagles player did anything today that made your jaw hit the floor. There were no circus catches or highlight runs. Players got open. Foles got them the ball.  
And, as Tommy points out, that's a good thing. Nobody did anything really special - they all just did their jobs, and did them well. The questions is: can Foles do it consistently? I don't want to see 0 points one week and 49 the next. I want to see 25 points a game. Because if the offense can do that, the Eagles will win a lot of games, with the D holding teams to 21 points or less since the Broncos debacle.

Also: Go road games! Will the Eagles EVER win at home again? Next home game is the Redskins on Nov. 17 - keep your fingers crossed.