Monday, November 28, 2016

Eagles - Packers Diary

I Am An Eagles Fan
> HC Doug Pederson chooses to bench WR Nelson Agholor, AKA the only thing that anyone wanted to talk about this week, as if anyone will miss him in 14 months when he's cut for the minimum cap hit, or as if he'll wind up anywhere else

> While many in the area who wanted to see Agholor keep getting chances, arguing that you risk losing him for good, I personally feel that you can't lose what doesn't actually exist

> On Merrill Reese Hall of Fame Night, the Eagles win the toss and defer, while ESPN craps on Ron Jaworski and his luck

> Touchback instead of trickery, then RB James Starks for a one yard loss as LB Mychal Kendricks cleans up the mess

> QB Aaron Rodgers to WR Jordy Nelson for nearly the first down, then on 3rd and short, play action and way too easy bootleg by Rodgers for the first and 16 yards

> From the Yellow 48, Rodgers to WR Randall Cobb for the bubble screen and whiff; Cobb goes for 12 and another first

> Cobb for another hitter, and this is where I note that I left him on my fantasy bench

> Throw away on 2nd and 4 as Rodgers gets pressured, then connects with TE Jared Cook for another first down; defense not getting there against a make shift offensive line

> From the Green 25, Starks for 4 on a hole that a good back would have gotten a lot more from

> Rodgers from the pistol moves around and runs for another cottony first down, and the defense seems to have missed the memo that Rodgers is mobile

> From the Green 12, easy slant to WR Davonte Adams, six points, and that's about as bad as this defense has looked at home this year

> CB Leodis McKelvin with the terrible coverage, and he's not exactly a strength

> K Mason Crosby connects, and it's Yellow 7, Green 0, visiting legends disgusted

> KR Kenyan Barner doesn't get enough against the league's worst coverage unit as the fun continues

> From the Green 19, QB Carson Wentz takes TE Trey Burton for 9, big clean pocket

> On second and one, Pederson elects for simple conversion, and RB Darren Sproles converts for 2 on a dive

> RB Wendell Smallwood for 2 as the World Wide Lemur notes the OL is even more make shift than usual, thanks to G Ron Brooks taking ill

> From the gun and play action, Wentz to WR Dorial Green-Beckham for 13, and man, Yellow's secondary is, to be Barkley-esque, turrible

> Wentz to WR Jordan Matthews for 8 on a high slant, good hands by the Eagles' best and not very good wideout

> On 2nd and 2, not so simple conversion, as WR Bryce Treggs gets a few on an end around with a massive block by G Allen Barbre on LB Clay Matthews

> Wentz to DG-B for a big gain on a clean play action drop, and all kinds of room for the WR

> Matthews off as Went takes DG-B again on a slant for 6, then on the opposite side to get to the 3

> Sproles to the 1, as S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is lucky to save the points

> Wentz shows his legs and dives for the goal line for the score; excellent tit for tat

> K Caleb Sturgis connects, and we're tied after 11 minutes of No Defense Monday

> Eschewing the onside, touchback, but maybe I'm just being pessimistic

> Rodgers to RB/WR Ty Montgomery for easy yards out of a complicated backfield, then easy conversion for Starks

> Starks for 2 in what almost passed for defense, then blitz for no effect as Rodgers takes Nelson for 13

> From the Green 48, Nelson for 9 on the bubble screen, and I'm not sure this defense gets a stop tonight without it being a Yellow mistake

> Rodgers misses Nelson on the fly in double coverage, then on 3rd and no one ever gets a stop, it's Starks on the toss sweep for the kitteny soft conversion

> From the Green 31, Rodgers to Cobb for 10 as the Green secondary isn't good enough to even stay close off the line of scrimmage

> Clay Matthews questionable to return as we start the second, then Rodgers hits Adams again for the 20-yard TD right through CB Nolan Carroll's sad little life

> Crosby connects, Yellow 14, Green 7

> QBs so far tonight are 16 for 18 for 179 yards in 15:07 of time, so, um, yeah

> Barner murdered again and starts Green at their own 14

> Wentz to Mathews for 17 as the coverage gets just enough to keep the pocket clean; Barbre gets it done

> Smallwood for 6 on good line violence, then takes another 7 on nice hesitation and a massive hole

> From the Green 44, Smallwood loses two as the line gets handled, then Wentz runs for an ungainly 9 off a lacking blitz

> On 3rd and please Lord don't give Rodgers the ball back, it's uncalled DPI on a throw to Treggs, and that's just another ridiculous non-call at home for my laundry; something of a theme this year

> P Donnie Jones to the Yellow 13 as the crowd boos some combination of the refs, the defense, ESPN or the last 56 years of title-less football

> Montgomery for 2 in a play call that's a favor to Green, then does that instant throw thing to WR Jeff Janis for the beyond easy 8 yards

> 3rd and 1 and what manner will Yellow choose to convert is a QB option because Rodgers isn't making his fantasy owners happy enough

> From the Green 26, Rodgers to Montgomery for 3 as the line is already looking desperate

> Neutral zone infraction and a stopped play as DT Fletcher Cox jumps; lucky the refs took mercy and killed the play

> Actual pressure and a throwaway with LB Marcus Smith getting some heat

> 3rd and 2 and yeah, no actual chance of ever getting off the field without giving up a touchdown is Rodgers to Cobb, S Malcolm Jenkins not up to the task

> Honest, this has been a good defense at times this year

> Starks for 4 on the toss, MLB Jordan Hicks gets on the scorecard

> Yellow flag as Rodgers looks disgusted, and it's Cook with the wiggle

> Starks for 4 on borderline offsides as the line is getting jumpy

> 3rd and 7 is an actual opportunity to get off the field, but Yellow goes 6 for 6 on the slant to Cobb; no one on this team can cover tonight

> Jenkins stops Cobb for no gain as Green finally plays a bubble screen correctly

> Long clock, then all day to throw, deep ball to Nelson isn't close, and maybe that's how you stop Yellow -- give Rodgers enough time to get greedy

> 3rd and 10 with the crowd feigning enthusiasm is Rodgers to Starks off pressure, and LB Nigel Bradham stops him in front of the sticks

> From the Green 45 on 4th down, full clock of pointless pantomime, then a Yellow timeout

> After commerce and a loving montage of Philly Fan Freakout, Yellow punts, with P Jacob Schum dropping it at the one with a ridiculously perfect check up, and after a frustrating replay and burned timeout, it stays there; good grief

> From the Green 1, Peters' league-leading 8th false start, then Smallwood to the 2

> Wentz with a perfect fly to Mathews for 20 yards, nice touch, good catch, terrible CB play, and the WR limps off; joy

> Wentz on the worst play action you've ever seen waltzes back into a massive sack, and we're at the 2 minute warning

> From the Green 8 on 2nd and 24, Wentz to TE Zach Ertz for 13, and that at least makes it possible; Yellow timeout

> 3rd and 11 and dear God keep Rodgers on the sideline is Wentz from the gun, draws an offsides; the rook does that a lot

> 3rd and 6 is easier, and Wentz from the gun evades the blitz for 17 yards of Clay Matthews is Overrated

> From the Green 43, Wentz to Treggs on a cross against the rumor of a blitz, with Sproles doing yeoman pick up work

> From the Yellow 46, Wentz evades pressure but can't avoid a throwaway; line isn't winning, but isn't doing so much that Wentz hasn't handled so far

> Green timeout for some reason with 1:27 left, maybe so they can heal a lineman or six

> Wentz from empty to Ertz for 7, clock burning and only one time out left

> Wentz to DG-B moves the sticks, clock moving

> From the Yellow 35, Wentz holds it too long, and DE Julius Peppers closes for contact and an incomplete

> 41 seconds left, Wentz batted down as CB Quentin Rollins comes ludicrously clean to the QB

> 3rd and 10 and points are not a given from here is a screen to Sproles for 3, and Yellow timeout with 27 seconds left

> K Caleb Sturgis from 49 is a big damned deal, because a miss would give Yellow an easy shot; he connects from 48, which is a relief

> Yellow 14, Green 10 with 25 seconds left in the half

> Wouldn't mind to see some kind of clock burn from the kick, and Sturgis obliges with a ball to the 1; returned to the 16

> With 22 seconds left, Rodgers takes a knee, and that's that; you'd never guess from a 14-10 halftime score just how bad the defenses were

> Thanks to my wonderfully considerate daughter who needs a ride and also to make me wait for her, I miss the entire first drive of the second half, which ends in a Clinton-Dix interception of Wentz as I switch from radio to TV, so yeah, it's my fault

> Also, Wentz was intending for Ertz, who is on my fantasy team, so definitely my fault

> Rodgers with all day, throws to Adams, beating McKelvin, and that's 50 yards in a blink; perfect ball by the QB, and this game looks gone

> RB Christine Michael for 4 into the red zone, then Nelson on the bubble for 3

> 3rd and 3 from the 15 is a prayer of a down for the defense, and Rodgers obliges with a scramble to nowhere and throwaway

> Crosby connects from 32 because no figgie ever misses against my laundry, and it's Yellow 17, Green 10

> Rodgers getting his leg looked at, as if he ever misses game time

> Touchback, then Wentz to Burton for a piddling 2 as Green goes no huddle with no weapons

> Outlet to Sproles for 4 against blitz, then 3rd and 4 to keep the ball is the same things for 8 and the first

> Speed to a Sproles give for 1, and he nearly dies on a big hit; gets right up anyway

> Wentz misses him on a blitz outlet, and this offense is looking absurdly one dimensional

> 3rd and 9 and keep Rodgers in his odd little tent is cross to Ertz for 16; big and useful play

> From the Yellow 44 with tempo, Wentz to Barner, who eats contact and spins for the first

> More tempo to a Barner give for 2, then slower before a drop by Ertz as the crowd loses it

> 3rd and 8 from deep figgie range is another big damned down, and it's Wentz from the gun, batted down as the pressure gets there

> Sturgis from 50 to avoid field position and get the points is dead solid perfect; useful

> Yellow 17, Green 13, still a game if the defense ever shows up

> Touchback, then Starks for nothing as Yellow continues to do running play favors

> Rodgers to FB Aaron Ripkowski for 6 old-time violent yards

> 3rd and 4 and the dream of a three and out would have been achieved, if not for Cox attempting to play football on Rodgers; that's not allowed, and an utter back breaker of a first down

> From the Yellow 46 after the flag gift, it's Starks for 5 as CB Jalen Mills gets some; major profanity on the field mics

> From the Green 49, internal screen and an immediate stop; another short third down that Rodgers will convert, this time on a juggle catch by Nelson over Mills

> No luck for Green

> Rodgers to Cook, ball in the air, falls perfectly for him for 2 yards and more lack of luck

> For some utter asshat reason, Pederson challenges a play that even if overturned, gets him all of two yards; it actually works, but it also means they are out of challenges

> Rodgers screen to Starks, who dallies long enough to let Jenkins stop it; a good back just goes

> 3rd and 5 outside of figgie range, as if Rodgers hasn't converted these all night; no holding call on pressure, easy toss to Starks, first down

> I count three holds on that play, but why not; Yellow now 8 for 10 on third

> DT Beau Allen and Cox stop Starks for no gain as ESPN tells the story that Rodgers is hurt; I call bullspit

> Non-Rodgers runs: 11 for 31 for Yellow

> Yellow has won 28 games while leading after 3, Green has lost 17, so this one's over

> From the Green 26, Rodgers throws it away, and  I guess he does look a little slow on the hamstring

> 3rd and 10 from the gun to Adams, who is Kelly Era open; 23 yards and Carroll is trash

> From the 3, Rodgers gets away with grounding and it's defensive holding on Carroll anyway, so why not; even ESPN buries the call

> From the 2 with no running game, fade to Adams and Sarcasm Cheer for the lack of flag

> Second down, give to Ripkowski, he lurches in as DC Jim Schwartz shows absolutely no imagination, and the DL no push

> Crosby converts, and with 13:50 left, it's 24-14 and damn near done, both game and season

> Touchback, all on Wentz now, with nearly no weapons, against a defense with nearly no NFL players

> From the gun, Sproles for a long gain that comes all the way back for OPI on DG-B, because we can't have nice things, and DG-B has no idea how or when to block

> 1st and 20, this is all Nero Kelly's fault for running off DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, Wentz to Smallwood for 10

> Long clock because why not, then Wentz misses Burton badly

> 3rd and 10 and beat the traffic home is Wentz aginst a blitz, spins through traffic, gets 15 as a gift on a face mask, and that was all escape

> From the Green 47, screen to Sproles, it's actually blocked legally for once, 17 yards

> Outlet against blitz to Burton for a loss, and the rookie QB makes rookie throws sometimes

> Bad snap by C Jason Kelce leads to a gift sack, and the utter lack of blocking along with the bad snap is all we need to say about this line

> 3rd and 19 from the Yellow 46 is Wentz to Treggs in traffic; he can't hang on to a ball that's behind him, and that's that

> No fake punt or other inventiveness, and beat the traffic, folks: Cobb muffs a fair catch but recovers, because my laundry is just that lucky and bad

> Way past caring flags on Yellow for holding on the punt return, then a run; 10 minutes left if you want to delude yourself

> Draw stopped by S Rodney McLeod; for a breath, I had dreams of safety

> 2nd and 14 with the crowd still there for some reason, Rodgers to Ripkowski to get breathing room and the inevitable back-breaking third down conversion

> This one's third and five, makes Yellos 10 for 12 on the night, and it's achieved with a false start on DE Brandon Graham; go home, people, go home

> 8 minutes left and clock burning away, Starks for 6 on way too much run on an obvious run; defense has been garbage all night, so why change now

> Rodgers to Nelson, QB looks absolutely bored and should be, everything here is as easy as it gets in the NFL

> Starks loses yards, all clock, then timeout at end; 5:51 left and no reason to watch this waste of time

> Rodgers tries Nelson deep for no good reason at all, and the WR can't make the one hand grab; clock stops

> 3rd and 12 and how will Rodgers convert this one is all day to throw, the offensive line never called for holding, Nelson wide open, good night now

> More plays happened, one of them even a penalty for offensive holding just for chuckles

> 3rd and 18 with Rodgers looking like he's going to fall asleep and the stands empty and/or quiet, bubble screen to Adams to run out of bounds for chuckles

> Refs call a delay five seconds after the clock runs out, but it's 12 men on the field because even the Green STs are absolute trash tonight, too

> 4th and 5, Rodgers comes back on for giggles, Yellow timeout, then gadget backfield formation, throw to Nelson, obvious OPI push off, but what the hell

> Nelson is actually laughing about how much he got away with there, as if it mattered

> Runs to the 2 minute warning, and I've had surgeries that were more run to watch than this game

> Crosby connects, 27-13, and assuming the offense hasn't already showered, they get to play again

> Barner to the 12, and yeah, the STs suck now, too

> Wentz in to try to pad his stats, does so on a bullet to DG-B through multiple guys for 24; kid has talent

> Sack for Peppers, sack for DT Nick Perry, and yeah, just so everyone knows, the line is garbage now, too

> 4th and 29 is a give up Sproles checkdown, and that's the season

> Not sure this team wins another game this year, given injury status and utter lack of fight in a must game tonight

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Top 10 NFL Week 12 Ad Questions

Frank's Wild Years
10) Is Time Warner Cable renaming itself for just the PR benefit, or are there also legal reasons?

9) How does discussing the history of a sandwich name help to, you know, sell sandwiches?

8) Does Southwest think that covering REO Speedwagon with black actors makes the song any less stunningly white?

7) Is it required to be a singing weirdo with authority issues to buy a Toyota?

6) Does giving Jared hoarder charms get anyone laid by someone that would be any fun to sleep with?

5) How much do you have to tip your Polaris flight attendant to not put your privileged finger in warm water on the overnight flight?

4) If Santa has become such a lard butt that he can't even get in his sleigh, is FedEx helping him to anything but an early grave?

3) Can Hum by Verizon also come with video recording, so you can bring charges against your out of control spawn?

2) Is it now illegal to make a movie that wasn't a video game first?

1) Why is it always up to little girls to make the first move to complete the redemption of monsters?

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Week 12 NFL Picks: Thanks For Nothing

I suppose this is the heart of ingratitude, and just asking the Universe to smite me and my loved ones down, but I don't see much to like about this year. So let's just get to the picks and try to use the time.

And with that... on to the picks!

* * * * *

Minnesota at DETROIT (-2.5)

The Lions are the best team in a very sorry division, and are going to the playoffs. Where they will lose, of course, because LOL Detroit.

Lions 27, Vikings 17

Washington at DALLAS (-7)


Trump won, Bowie and Prince and way too many other people died, and the Universe is giving me Cowboys-Patriots, the Super Bowl of my nightmares. Couldn't Kirk Cousins smash his head into a wall, Gus Frerotte style, and give me something nice to think about?

Cowboys 31, Racial Slurs 20

PITTSBURGH (-9) at Indianapolis


The line has moved, correctly, since QB Andrew Luck has hit the concussion protocol; Scott Tolzien is likely to get the start. This just in -- he's not good. It's way past time for the Steelers to show the home offense on the road.

Steelers 41, Colts 20

TENNESSEE (-5) at Chicago


Bears weren't deep, then everyone got hurt, and may be the worst team in the NFL right now. The Titans will take advantage.

Titans 26, Bears 13

JACKSONVILLE (+7.5) at Buffalo


Jags are getting back to their old garbage time back door cover best, and the Bills aren't disciplined enough, or deep enough at the skill positions, to run off and hide.

Bills 26, Jaguars 24

CINCINNATI (+4.5) at Baltimore


Without WR AJ Green and RB Gio Bernard, many will think the Bengals are DOA in this division match-up. I think they'll get a big game out of RB Jeremy Hill and win, in a bit of a shocker.

Bengals 24, Ravens 20

Arizona at ATLANTA (-4)


Falcons are coming off the bye, and the Cards just look snakebit this year. Also, they can't pass block. That's not good when your QB is ancient and turnover prone.

Falcons 31, Cardinals 24

GIANTS (-7) at Cleveland


I don't trust the Browns to win a game this year, and really don't expect to see a cover, either. Hell of a year you've got going, Browns Fan. I'm also still bitter about the NBA rigging the Finals last year, and preventing the decades-long narrative we had of your town as the year-long Factory of Sadness. Guess football will have to carry the load for everything.

Giants 27, Browns 17

LA Rams at NEW ORLEANS (-7)


Rookie QB Jared Goff couldn't do squat at home in his first start, and that was with a lead for most of the game. On the road in a loud dome, I think he's a hot mess. The Saints aren't a mess, especially at home.

Saints 34, Rams 20

San Francisco at MIAMI (-8)


I hate having to float such big lines, but the Niners are just a dead team walking, and the Dolphins have to feel energized after last week's escape from LA. Especially with the bad Niner run defense.

Dolphins 28, Niners 16

San Diego at HOUSTON (+1.5)


Chargers are battered, Texans need the win after the MNF fail, and the defense looks like it's coming together a bit.

Texans 20, Chargers 17

SEATTLE (-5.5) at Tampa


Seahawks are starting to put it together, especially on the offensive line and in the running game. Against a Bucs team that will be feeling too good about themselves after winning in KC, and can't win at home, they'll get it done.

Seahawks 24, Bucs 17

Carolina at OAKLAND (-3.5)


Wrong game to be missing heart and soul LB Luke Kuechly, and the right game for the Raiders to get back to pancaking people with the running game.

Raiders 27, Panthers 17

NEW ENGLAND (-8) at NY Jets


Yes, this game is always close, and yes, the home team has more talent than they've shown. But the Patriot defense might score against the perpetually wacky Jets, and I'm not sure if the defense gives up points outside of garbage time.

Patriots 34, Jets 20

KANSAS CITY (+3.5) at Denver


Just not seeing the Broncos doing enough on offense to win this one. My KC love is being tested.

Chiefs 24, Broncos 23

Green Bay at PHILADELPHIA (-3.5)


The Packers just don't defend anyone (to be fair, everyone's hurt), and the Eagles have been much better at home. Add in the need for the Eagle DL to prove themselves after last week's confetti bucket job by the Seahawks, and I think this one goes for the home team. Maybe with a charity touchdown for World's Worst WR Nelson Agholor. Also, they survive the back door cover attempt.

Eagles 34, Packers 30

Last week: 8-6

Year: 65-91-4

Career: 824-842-53

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Eagles - Seahawks Diary

What This Game Was Like
> Wet weather adding to CBS's concern for rookie QB Carson Wentz, so expect 3+ hours of Phil Simms discussing wetness now

> Jim Nantz jinxes the kickoff coverage, so K Caleb Sturgis puts it in the end zone for funsies

> RB CJ Prosise for a loss of one on a harmless screen, then QB Russell Wilson misses WR Jermaine Kearse on a slant

> 3rd and 10 and make the decision to defer the kick pay off is Wilson running after heavy pressure, but not getting to the sticks; defense keeps up its string of good early

> PR Darren Sproles fair catches at the 22 after solid work by SEA P Jon Ryan

> Wentz to TE Trey Burton for 14 on a slant; nice hands and a really good throw

> S Kam Chancellor down for a play, and Seattle isn't as deep as they used to be if he can't make it back, though he's running fine

> RB Ryan Mathews for 5 as Chancellor returns after a play off; no concussion protocol

> False start by RT Jason Peters on crowd noise, which isn't going to help

> Play action misses TE Zach Ertz, but Green lobbies for DPI and gets the call

> From the Green 45, Wentz misses Ertz again; all TEs so far on throws, which seems wise

> Wentz dumps on pressure as the o-line looks on their heels

> 3rd and 10 and don't make a mistake when you have the worst 3rd down percentage in the NFL is Wentz with time, then not, then scrambling and bailing, because this group could have 10 seconds and not get open

> P Donnie Jones to the end zone as Blue does nice trickery to make sure the gunners aren't near the ball, and Jones didn't get his job done

> Prosise for 8 as S Rodney McLeod is first to the carrier; not great

> Prosise for 72 as he's never touched, and, yeah, um, so much for the defense traveling

> McLeod with a bad line to prevent the points, but the LBs got entirely sucked up, the CBs looked like Keystone cops, and that's all kinds of terrible and worrisome for the rest of the day

> K Steven Hauscka's PAT is blocked for small consolation; something of a trend today in the NFL

> Mathews for 19 on the pull sweep that C Jason Kelce does well

> RB Kenyan Barner on a slow developing run to the same left side; it gets 11 as the line does the trick again

> From the Blue 46, play action into the end zone, double coverage, short to WR Bryce Treggs and yeah, not much for WRs today

> A yard for Mathews, then 3rd and 9 and stop the avalanche is a timeout on crowd noise, and rookie QB on the road in Seattle is not exactly a prescription for fun

> After the timeout, Wentz has time and then not; sacked by LB Bobby Wagner to end the series

> Peters limps off because this game isn't starting off with enough fun; Jones can't do his job again and Seattle starts at the 20 again

> Wilson to TE Jimmy Graham for 5 off play action and pressure, then a toss to Prosise and a loss of six as the d-line wins across the board

> 3rd and 11 and get off the field please is Wilson missing WR Paul Richardson on a fly route against a blitz; CB Jaylen Mills is physical and doesn't get a DPI flag

> Ryan to the Green 32, no return on 50 yards of net

> Peters out with forearm injury, and this is usually a disaster

> Mathews loses a yard, then Wentz takes Ertz on play action for seven yards

> 3rd and 4 and I'm not sure how you move the ball is long clock, then a slant to WR Dorial Green-Beckham, who takes punishment and holds on for 11, amazingly

> Toss to WR Wendell Smallwood to the left, only gets one, as the line looks predictably degraded with shuffling and Peters out

> Wentz with time, no targets, and Sproles for a checkdown; a flag is picked up

> 3rd and 3 and outside of figgie range is Wentz from the gun and alone, long clock, and a tapped catch and first down for Burton; the play comes back on offsetting flags as it's just a full on mess

> On the re-try, Wentz gives to Smallwood, who gets 4 and runs through contact for the first

> From the Blue 40.5, Sproles to the left for 7, as Green shows they like that side very much

> Mathews for a couple up the middle, but doesn't move the chains

> Measurement for no good reason, then Wentz on illegally great surge for a winning sneak

> Mathews for 1 to the left, then play action to TE Brent Celek, who old mans his way to the 9 on a good touch pass

> End of the first, as HC Doug Pederson continues to do his clock magic; it also "helps" when the defense gives up a huge play to get off the field

> From the Blue 9, Mathews to the 5, and nearly had more

> From the 5 with Mathews looking hobbled, Wentz to Ertz on a cross, and the TE reaches with the ball and scores a touchdown for the first time this year

> Legitimately great play by the TE there, and with the successful PAT by Sturgis, my laundry leads on the road in Seattle, amazingly

> Wentz's first TD pass in three games, and a hell of a drive without your presumed best offensive lineman

> Short high kick, bad idea lateral run, and the gunners bring down KR Tyler Lockett at his own 6; helpful

> Wilson to Kearse on move action for 12, and yeah, the QB is really good

> Motion on Blue, then Wilson tries RB Thomas Rawls on a screen, ended with exceptional violence by CB Nolan Carroll for an incomplete

> 2nd and 15 is another false start into a Green blitz, and Blue's OL is not looking good right now

> Wilson to Kearse for an easy chunk of 17, then on 3rd and 3 and I'm not feeling confident is Wilson to Graham for the easy slant and first down; Wilson looking very comfortable despite blitzes

> Play action and a deep ball to WR Doug Baldwin is missed, but S Malcolm Jenkins gets hit with a hold for another first down

> Rawls for 9 as Blue remembers that running plays were working before, and yeah, getting back RB1 helps them, too

> Despite early pressure by LB Nigel Bradham, another Blue first as Rawls can keep moving forward

> Rawls to the left for tons of room and 18 yards as the Seattle WR corps blocks well

> NFL's 30th ranked rushing offense for Blue is already +30 over their per-game rate, and it hasn't been all the touchdown play; Blue loses a starting tackle in George Fant on the play, which just makes things even

> In long figgie range, Rawls for 3, then 1, as DT Fletcher Cox gets his first mention of the day

> 3rd and 6 from the Green 30 is a textbook pick to free up Lockett, but instead of letting it go for 27, it's a loss of 10

> 3rd and 16 outside of figgie range is a free play due to an offsides by DE Brandon Graham, and a missed deep ball in coverage; smart play by the QB to risk it

> 3rd and 11 is Wilson dealing magic on pressure to Graham, and poor tackling by DB Jaylen Watkins compounds the disaster for a touchdown

> Honestly, just seven points of brilliance by the QB, because an ordinary player gets nothing from that, and the drive ends outside of figgie range

> 92 yard drive by Blue as the defense continues its Jekyll and Hyde routine that they do in losses; Blue gave them so many flags in that drive, it was absurd

> Successful PAT make it Blue 13, Green 7 with 8:20 left in the half

> Touchback, then Smallwood to the left for 2; Peters is back after a winning X-ray, though maybe he shouldn't be

> Wentz to Ertz for 12 and a first on Wagner; impressive from the QB and TE

> Wentz to Matthews for 3 on the ugly cross, and why the WR thinks he can beat this secondary laterally, I'll never know

> Smallwood for a yard as Wagner shows his quality

> 3rd and 6 and quiet the crowd is Wentz to Ertz on a screen for what would have been a 72 yard score, but the whole thing comes back on a killing flag for illegal formation

> That would have been the best play in Ertz's career, with amazing speed for a man that size, and it was all for not a damned thing

> This is where I note that Ertz is on my fantasy team, because of course he is

> 7 point flag for an utterly meaningless infraction

> 3rd and 11 and we're just suicidally depressed is Wentz scrambling off pressure and getting a throwaway, so, um, yay

> Jones to the 23 on the punt, then Wilson to Baldwin for 44, because Seattle knows how to get kill shots

> Wilson to Lockett for 31 on not enough pressure, and Green doesn't get the major break of a touchback on a last-second fumble

> No gain for Rawls, then Wilson throws it away on pressure

> 3rd and goal from the 3 is Wilson from an empty set, misses Kearse on the slant that Seattle Fan probably will never like again, as Carroll rallies

> Hauschka makes from 21, and it's Blue 16, Green 7 with 3:47 left, and Still A Game

> Replays show that Disaster Nelson Agholor was the guy who ruined the Ertz score, and then he compounds the error by dropping a perfect pass as he's open for once

> Sproles for 8 on the off run, then a batted ball to end the series, as Chancellor's blitz is perfect

> Jones nearly hit and doesn't get off a good kick, and Blue's got it back with 2:47 left in the half and the chance for ample kill shottery

> Holding because the Blue offense isn't very good (even with Fant's return), then more movement; good thing these guys are at home

> Prosise for 2 as Blue gets conservative before the 2 minute warning; might come back to bite them, since Green has two timeouts left and a tolerable kicker

> 2nd and 23 is a dump to Prosise for a quick stop and a Green timeout

> 3rd and 19 and give your offense a chance is a checkdown to TE Luke Wilson, with Jenkins stopping him before the sticks; final Green timeout with 1:45 left

> Ryan to Sproles, and the PR gets it back to the Green 37; not bad, but he looks dinged afterwards

> Barner gets 5 on an odd call, quick clock, then a terrible idea throw to Ertz for 2 and in bounds

> 3rd and 2 with less than a minute left is Wentz from the gun, to Ertz, moves the sticks

> From the 50 with less than 30 seconds left, picked by Chancellor; Wentz just telegraphed the throw and never saw the DB

> From the Blue 40 with 16 seconds and 3 timeouts, options for the home team

> Wilson to Prosise is incomplete on pressure from both directions

> Wilson misses Richardson on the sideline; the WR was open, but the throw wasn't good

> With 4 seconds left, Wilson to Rawls for 20 meaningless yards, and that's the half

> Smallwood ruined as CBS tells us two Green RBs are out, then Wentz tries a hyper-dangerous out that CB Richard Sherman nearly houses

> 3rd and 11 and danger all over is movement from the line on crowd noise, because why make this easy; Peters' 7th, which leads the NFL

> 3rd and 16 and just don't get picked is Barner dropping a checkdown that would have only changed about five yards of field position, and yeah, so much for the offense turning in a plus effort in a tough spot

> Jones for 60, Lockett for a yard, excellent ST work

> On the defense to keep it a game, and Rawls for 5 through CB Leodis McKelvin isn't encouraging

> McKelvin separates Baldwin from a 20+ yarder; excellent play by the CB

> 3rd and 5 and have to have it is Wilson to Baldwin, shakes off a hit, keeps for 10, moves the sticks, dude is just aces

> Wilson, all day, runs for 3 and looks fine doing it

> RB Troymaine Pope in for a yard of respite for Rawls

> 3rd and 6 from the Blue 40 is another big damned play, and Wilson has time until he doesn't, with a 1-yard trip sack from DE Vinny Curry and Marcus Smith

> With no Sproles on, Barner lets a ball bounce; 59 yards of net to the Eagle 1, and yeah, that's not helpful in the least

> Wentz tries to get Blue to jump, gives to Smallwood, gets four yards of margin

> Play action arm punt, Wentz tries for Treggs in double coverage, and Sherman collects it easily at his own 35; 54 yards of net, at least, and S Earl Thomas looks hamstrung

> Wentz has spent most of this year not looking like a rookie who has never played against elite athletes, but in this game, um, he looks like that

> Wilson tries Kearse deep, just out of bounds, then Rawls loses yards as Cox is hurt, and oh hell; he gets up, thank the Lord

> 3rd and 11 and get off the field is Wilson eluding pressure, Baldwin wide open for 34, and yeah, you've seen that play before; DE Connor Barwin down on this play and then up

> From the Green 26 with the game about the get out of hand, Rawls for 8 with violence at the close, and it seems like the road team is losing its appetite for football

> Rawls for 2 and the first as he does his Marshawn Lynch impersonation, then a gadget play where Baldwin throws to Wilson for the score, because it's time for confetti buckets

> Blue 23, Green 7, 22 minutes left

> Smallwood for 4 as Pederson tries to lose with dignity, then long clock and a checkdown for another 4

> 3rd and 2 and keep your pants on is Wentz in the empty set and a Blue timeout; long clock, drop by Matthews, fire up the bus

> CBS notes that Wilson has as many receiving yards as the Seahawks QB; um, yup, we know, they suck

> Rawls for 3, then Wilson evades pressure and gets 3 more; just so frustrating for a DL to chase

> 3rd and 4 and keep your pants on is Wilson to Rawls, but McKelvin hits him right on the catch, and that's a 3 and out

> Ryan to Barner, hop and ended, with Burton taking a late hit for funsies

> From his own 9, Wentz short hops Burton and looks tentative, then Smallwood gets 17 on the right side of the line again

> Green has ran for more than they've thrown today, which doesn't speak much for the chance of a 16-point comeback on the road

> Smallwood for 4, then Barner for nothing, and the offense isn't even snapping the ball quickly, which should tell you all you need to know about Pederson's thoughts about this game now

> 3rd and 6 barely gets snapped before the clock ends, then pressure, Wentz doesn't just take the sack, and he's very lucky to have the fumble recovered by T Hala Vaitai

> Green now -220 in total yards, and it's about to get worse

> Jones with a weak punt, Lockett gets 18 on the return, not sure why I'm still watching

> Wilson for 7 as Cox can't track him down; all day for this defense

> Wilson to Richardson, and it must be nice to have WRs who hold on after getting hit; Blue first down

> McKelvin off because he's always off; Rawls for a few, than Wilson to Lockett for a first, and he can do anything he wants right now

> McLeod separates Graham from a ball, then Wilson misses Lockett in the end zone as we are deep into Stat Paddery

> 3rd and 10 has Wilson missing Graham with no flags, as Bradham gets fortunate that feet tangling isn't called

> Hauschka from 35 makes it 20 unanswered points

> Matthews for 6 as Green goes a little up tempo and tries to make this look less terrible; Smallwood gets the second first down of the half on a draw for 5

> Wentz tries Ertz deep; he's not open and it's not close

> Smallwood for 3 to the left, then 3rd and 7 is to Matthews on a cross for the first, miracle of miracles

> DG-B drops what should have been 12 yards; throw wasn't perfect, but whatevs

> Batted ball as Blue seems to be able to dial up pressure whenever they like, then takes Ertz for 7 on clear four-down territory

> 4th and 3 and long clock, drop by Ertz in front of the sticks, and if there's a less threatening set of wideouts in NFL history, I haven't seen them

> Rawls for 8 on scattered running, then 4 more; if Prosise gets healthy as well, this team gets very dangerous

> Baldwin through tackles for 12, and at this point, I'm just rooting for him for my fantasy team without shame

> Rawls for 2 and then 3, then Wilson eludes the entire Eagles defensive line for about 7 seconds before throwing it away to avoid the sack

> Hauschka from 44 misses, pissing off America's fantasy football nerds, and anyone who bet the over

> Wentz to Matthews for 26 on a drag route; stat paddery, and Green's longest play today

> Wentz to Smallwood for 5, then a tipped ball because of course

> 3rd and 5 with Seattle Fan still yelling a lot out of reflex is pre-snap confusion, then a good ball to Matthews for the first

> Matthews now has 5 for 59, none of them impactful

> Wentz tries a free play to Ertz, who can't make a one-handed catch; free 5 yards on pre-snap

> From the Blue 19, Wentz misses an open Ertz in the end zone, lucky to not be picked; bad touch

> Smallwood for 4, then quick tempo and another give, which fools Blue not at all; 2 yard loss

> 4th and 3 might be defensible to kick the figgie, but Pederson goes for development instead, Wentz to DG-B for 8 and the first

> From the Blue 9, Smallwood on the underneath throw for 3, and a Blue injury

> From the 5, Wentz to DG-B for a score, and that was weak work by backup DBs for Blue, but at least some fight from Green

> Down 13, going for 2, and gets it to Agholor on an out against Sherman, of all people; Blue 26, Green 15

> Sturgis with the funky onside kick that, like all onside kicks, doesn't work

> Cox nearly takes the exchange, and a 5 yard loss, as back up QB Terrell Boykin doesn't like life as an emergency RB; Green timeout

> Wilson keeps for 4; Green timeout

> 3rd and 11 give to FB/DT Will Tukuafu just to get Blue out of town; 4th and 9

> Ryan punts from the Green 45 on an 11-man rush; it gets away, and stops at the Green 16

> Wentz with time to Ertz, for 3, tackled in bounds, but illegal shift wipes that out

> Wentz to DG-B on pure prevent for 21, then Smallwood for 18 more; Vaitai is hurt, which is just another disaster moment from a game filled with them; he's able to get up and avoid the cart, but that looks terrible

> Wentz to DG-B for 9, then misses him while open, another wild high throw

> 3rd and 1 to Barner on an outlet for the first, but it's OPI on DG-B, and the 2 minute warning

> I have no idea if DG-B actually knows that you can't block like that before the throw, because it was absurdly obvious

> Pressure because Blue wants it, holding on Peters on a throw away, and Blue declines for 4th and 10, rather than 3rd and 20

> From the gun for fun, Wentz is tipped on pressure, and yeah, whenever Blue wanted to get to the QB, they did

> Blue 26, Green 15, not as close as that would seem

> Eagles are now 5-5, as dead as a doornail in the NFC East, and all of this would be fine if they hadn't started 3-0

Top 10 NFL Week 11 Ad Questions

Take your hat off indoors, you mook
10) Does beer really need to have its packaging constantly changed to get people to drink it?

9) Is Alexa going to kill itself when confronted with an eternity of living with Garth Brooks?

8) Does the rest of America snort in disbelief at the idea of an endorsement from an Eagles staffer about how they are trying to win championships?

7) Can science come up with something that Chris Hardwick won't shill?

6) Is the choice of James Brown to say "you feel better" in connection with shopping at Wal-Mart on Black Friday intentional comedy?

5) Will I be attacked by a guy with a chain saw if I go to Car Max?

4) If I get faster Internet connection, will I use it to document my child's idiot stunts?

3) Are Honda buyers prone to having their life affected by giant god-like humans that exist just outside of their perception?

2) How do off-putting sitcom stars and half-naked swimmers sell computers?

1) If you've gone "nose blind", but don't actually remove the source of the odors, aren't you the living embodiment of an asshat?

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Week 11 NFL Picks: Going Through The Motions

Buffy Is My Jam
Not going to lie about it...

So, um, last week? Not a good one. This week? Feels a lot like last week. But it's time to play my part, so...

I've been favored to win every week in my work head to head league. I am, of course, in next to last place, as my opponents have racked up the most points in the league. My real-world laundry won last week, but so did every other team in the division, so they are still in last place, and a long way away from a possible playoff position. My main money league continues to trudge along in its no breaks and no hope method, with my last possible value pick (Christine Michael, bought for a $1 in the late game off his great pre-season notices, released today) going into the flotsam pile. It's just been a joy, and that doesn't even begin to get into the national fever dream that's now eight days old, and best left um-discussed, other than to note that nothing about this is, or ever should be, normal.

Oh, and I just read that the Packers picked up Michael. If he turns into something of value now that he's off my roster again, that'd just be. well, expected.

Anyway, the year's ruined, short of a miracle, but miracles only come to those who let them, so. Besides, you all might just be reading these to go the other way, and making serious bank. Who am I to judge?

And with that... on to the picks!

* * * * *

New Orleans at CAROLINA (-3.5)

Two very bitter teams on a short week. Saints have rarely been very good on the road. The Panthers' secondary has been terrible all year -- guess letting CB1 Josh Norman walk for cash wasn't such a good idea -- and the offense has also taken a step back. Saints QB Drew Brees has done damage in this matchup over the course of his career, but he's entering the stage where road games are dicey. Especially without a reliable running game.

Panthers 24, Saints 20

PITTSBURGH (+8) at Cleveland


Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger has owned Ohio's teams for most of his career, and while he's been dog food on the road for much of this year, the poor Brownies catch him coming off a tough loss. Bounce back week for the Yinz.

Steelers 34, Browns 20

Baltimore at DALLAS (-7.5)


The Cowboys are the best team in the NFC. They'll play the Patriots in the Super Bowl. President Trump will be at the game, and everyone will think every part of this is just great, with the biggest ratings and best game ever. I am in no way picking the Cowboys every week from here on out as a reverse jinx. Nor am I contemplating suicide. Also, the Ravens stink on the road.

Cowboys 34, Ravens 24

Jacksonville at DETROIT (-6.5)


I'm not sure why QB Blake Bortles or HC Gus Bradley are still employed, so let's take advantage while we can, gang. Lions are fine at home, especially with QB Matthew Stafford having the best year of his career.

Lions 30, Jaguars 17

Tennessee at INDIANAPOLIS (-2.5)


Colts are coming off a bye, have had some signs of getting their act together on the offensive line, and just win these division games at home. Counting on QB Andrew Luck to be spry with time off, and the Titans to not manage prosperity, either.

Colts 30, Titans 20

BUFFALO at Cincinnati (-2.5)


Bills are coming off a bye and impossible to figure; Bengals are on a short week and eating a 1-point loss. Maybe RB LeSean McCoy is just healthy enough to win this on his own.

Bills 26, Bengals 20

Tampa at KANSAS CITY (-7.5)


Bucs are better on the road then at home, but not particularly good anywhere. Chiefs' defense at home could score, and will dominate.

Chiefs 27, Bucs 17

Chicago at NY GIANTS (-7.5)


The Giants play to everyone's level, which is bad for this kind of point spread, but the Bears are just DOA these days, with WR Alshon Jeffery suspended, QB Jay Cutler giving even less of an eff than usual, and his teammates pretty much just wanting him to lose and get hurt, so they can avoid being near him. Oh, and Smoking Jay is showing his usual airtight political skills by being pro-Trump in a league that's dominated by African Americans. What a genius!


Giants 30, Bears 13

ARIZONA (even) at Minnesota


Man alive, are the Vikings in free fall. A bad offensive line is now injured all over, the RBs haven't stepped up after the loss of Adrian Peterson, and it's all sizing up as another excuses year for QB Sam Bradford after the 5-0 start. I'd like to pick them to bounce back this week, especially in a loud dome against a turnover-prone QB in Carson Palmer, but I am just not seeing the offense score enough against a good Red defense to get it done.

Cardinals 23, Vikings 20

Miami at LA RAMS (+2.5)


The Dolphins come in with a road grading running game and the defense getting to tee off on the first action for Rams QB Jared Goff. I'm really not expecting Goff to set the world on fire, given that it took him this long to get the job over the clearly terrible Case Keenum. But Miami doesn't travel all that well, and even if Goff does not nothing more than miss throws deep, it'll be better than Keenum, especially for RB Todd Gurley.

Rams 19, Dolphins 17

NEW ENGLAND (-13) at San Francisco


Expect Boston Fan to own well over 50% of the seats in this one, because the Bay Area is a nice place to visit, there are a ton of transplants in the area, and the Niners have done everything short of enrolling their fans in Amway to get people to stop paying attention to them. As for the spread, it's high, but the Niners are the worst kind of bad team -- the one that plays fast, and makes their defense look even worse. Last one off the Chip Kelly Bandwagon, please turn off the lights.

Patriots 41, Niners 24

Philadelphia at SEATTLE (-6.5)


I want to pick my laundry here, but they've been bad on the road, and the Seahawks defense is starting to percolate. The Eagles don't have a single WR that will do squat in this game, and QB Carson Wentz isn't ready to manage a road win in this kind of hostile environment. It'll be a grind, because the Eagle DL might dominate for a while, but there will be separation late.

Seahawks 26, Eagles 17

GREEN BAY (+2.5) at Washington


Maybe I'm just stubborn here, but DC's tendencies to spit the bit against teams that aren't terrible seems like it's going to arise here, along with a general lack of readiness for prime time football. I also expect a bounce back from the Pack, who got waxed last week in Tennessee.

Packers 31, Racial Slurs 20

Houston at OAKLAND (-5.5)

Just not seeing QB Brock Osweiler doing enough to help his team in a road game in Mexico City, especially with the Raiders in ascent and coming off a bye. I'm not sure I buy this team as the division's best -- Jack del Rio is no genius, and the rampant penalties are going to cost them a game at some point -- but this isn't the week.

Raiders 27, Texans 17

Last week: 2-11-1

Year: 57-86-4

Career: 816-836-53

Sunday, November 13, 2016

NFL Week 10 Ad Questions

Salad Hate F***
10) Are raccoons who want their friends to taste terrible things making a political statement?

9) Are Nissan truck drivers doing hellish work in an apocalyptic desert landscapes trying too hard to compensate for questions about their masculinity?

8) Why is Domino's trying to sell salads to people that they clearly hate, and how good can a Hate Salad be, anyway?

7) Does McDonald's really think that black people dress up fancy to eat their food, and isn't this all kinds of racist?

6) Are people really going to buy Chevys to avoid being killed in Black Friday surges in discount retail stores?

5) Is anyone else wondering why the guy who is buying an iPhone in the Sprint ad disturbingly happy and looks like he's wearing a lot of eye makeup?

4) Will Smashmouth's notoriously thin-skinned lead singer throws a fit about being dissed by an ancient troubadour, and as always with Geico ads, how does this sell car insurance?

3) On the grand scale of inexplicable acts by women, where does the continued existence of the Hoarder's Bracelet by Pandora rank?

2) Does anyone else notice how little of the things shown in the Macy's ad about happiness can be purchased at Macy's?

1) Will eating KFC make you have ordinary discussions while screaming, due to some previously undisclosed side effect?

Eagles - Falcons Diary / Takeaways

Nelson Agholor's Hands
> A giant flag for Veterans Day makes us all proud to be from a country where our parents f*****

> Pam Oliver still has a job despite being older and not white, so I guess America isn't as Great as it will be later

> Win the toss and defer, because that's what you should do; KR Eric Weems make the return mistake and starts his team at their own 18

> RB Devonta Freeman for 4 in a little bit disturbingly large hole, then long clock and QB Matt Ryan to WR Julio Jones for the slant and physical win over CB Jaylen Mills for the first

> Screen to Freeman for 9 as Fox praises Jones for being humble; humble is a very important value now in AmeriKKKA

> Freeman stopped by DE Brandon Graham for a loss on good penetration, then a false start to make the third down harder

> 3rd and 7 and any stop against this offense is a big deal is incomplete to Jones; CB Nolan Carroll was good on man to man, but the QB missed

> P Matt Bosher gets 50 net yards thanks to rolling; he might give PR Darren Sproles a chance later with that kind of effort

> RB Ryan Mathews for a muddling two as HC Doug Pederson tries to reactivate him, then 4 on a little bit of a fight

> 3rd and 4 and don't blow it early is a dangerous out to WR Jordan Matthews, and it gets there as Fox cites the offense's 30th ranked third down conversion rate; excellent throw

> False start on TE Zach Ertz, who must have been excited because he wasn't in the red zone, and might be actually used; then he gets the next throw for 14 on a nice corner route

> 2nd and 1 is where you could try your deep ball, but it's a give to RB Wendell Smallwood from the shotgun; easy conversion

> From the Green 49, nice play action to Matthews on a slant for 16

> Empty backfield, clean pocket, Sproles for 7, easy

> Mathews on a stretch for the first, and the offensive line is doing the job

> From the Red 23, from the pistol, Mathews for 5 more on good holes; almost had more

> Mathews moves the sticks again on interior line play; C Jason Kelce doing what he does best, which is pull and hit

> From the Red 13, Mathers to the 4 as Pederson wisely keeps it right up the gut

> Tempo burns a Red timeout as Wentz catches them in a sub, and that's just so awesome for a rookie

> 2nd and 2 with tons of options from the 4 should stay on the ground and does; Mathews gets in with absolute ease, and that's just about everything you could ask for out of an opening drive

> Sturgis connects, and it's Green 7, Red 0 after 11 minutes

> Weems gets to the 26 on the short kick, then movement as Red continues to make road mistakes

> Play action, holding not called, screen covered, and a throwaway as LB Nigel Bradham does good work; Red making this all about Jones

> Sprint draw to Freeman for 4, then 3rd and 11 and keep up the avalanche is a throw to WR Mohammad Sanu, who is stopped on a solo do or die tackle to stop the first; great work by Jenkins, good situational pressure by the defense

> Bosher to Sproles for a fair catch at the Green 21, and this team just continues to look different at home

> Rollout and hit to Matthews for 9, who juggles but contains, then a sweet screen to Mathews for 20; just an elegant play design and great blocking

> From the Red 49, Wentz has all day and eventually blows it with a lack of awareness sack for DE Vic Beasley

> 2nd and 15 is a power formation to Smallwood for 7, a bit of an odd call on long yardage, but maybe that's just settling Wentz down after the hit

> 3rd and 8 happens after the first quarter gun, so maybe that was also designed to keep the defense off the field longer

> From the gun, good pocket, open WR, perfect ball, 20 yards and just nice

> Smallwood for a yard as Red commits good violence, then gets another yard on diligence from the pistol

> 3rd and 8 from the Red 25 is No Turnover Land, and he settles for Ertz getting a yard loss on pressure; the kid's good, but needs to be better on those obvious blitz downs

> Sturgis misses, and so much for keeping the momentum

> Freeman for 11 as the run defense does not inspire, then Ryan to Jones off his back foot on pressure, and damn, that was impressive

> DE Connor Barwin ends Freeman for a 2 yard loss, then Ryan hits WR Aldrick Robinson, who is stopped hard

> 3rd and 10 and keep it at a figgie is Ryan from the gun taking Sanu in front of the sticks again, and Jenkins does the job

> Red K Matt Bryant connects, and it's Green 7, Red 3

> KR Kenyan Barner takes a short kick, gets a hole, but can't make Bosher miss; Green starts at their own 34

> Wentz rolls out to avoid a blitz and can't get Ertz on a deep route; line not adjusting to pressure

> Mathews for 2, then on 3rd and 8 and the offense is looking like it's leaking oil is a false start on Peters to make it harder

> 3rd and 13 is max zone, long clock, and a checkdown to Mathews that doesn't move the sticks

> P Donnie Jones with a shank; Weems grabs on the bounce and that's only 34 yards of net from what might have been a deep pin job

> Ryan rolls to Freeman, 16 yards from mobile QB play and a good pocket, then DE Vinny Curry gets a quasi stop for a 1 yard gain

> Jones stopped by LB Mychal Kendricks on first contact, and that was a worrisome 5 yards

> 3rd and 4 and get off the field again is a blitz that doesn't get there, and a completion to Jones for 20 despite great coverage by Carroll; cripes

> From the Green 34, toss to Freeman, big hole, rushing defense just not getting it done

> From the Green 17, Carroll on a run blitz for a loss of 2 for Freeman, then Barwin gets through for a 6 yard sack as Graham's initial hurry gets the QB in his range

> 3rd and 18 from the 25 is Ryan trying TE Austin Hooper on a checkdown; the rookie nearly ping pongs it into an INT, but it hits the turf

> Bryant from 43 is good because no one ever misses figgies against my laundry, and it's Green 7, Red 6

> Matthews for 21 after the bad idea Smallwood return as Pederson remembers interior power was working before

> Smallwood for 3, and that's the 2 minute warning in a lightning fast first quarter

> False start on Ertz again, then a bullet to Matthews for 20 again; another great throw by the QB

> DPI not called on a slant to Matthews, then a sack, strip, and Red fumble as Beasley gets through; RT Hala Vaitai didn't do the job, and Wentz didn't recover his own fumble; yeesh

> With 1:27 and 2 TOs, just a game changing mistake

> Ryan sacked by Graham, DT Fletcher Cox forced it

> Jones for a checkdown, Carroll down afterward is really not good news

> Ryan to Jones again, Jenkins stops in front of the sticks for a 4th and 3; the WR is a touch hobbled

> Bryant on to try from 53, and the long figgie just misses with a slight draw; that's a break

> With 25 seconds and a timeout, a chance at recovery points, but on a screen to Sproles, immediate contact, strip and fumble and FFS, too many mistakes

> Replay looks like the RB never had it fully; Fox says bang bang a few dozen times, and the call should be overturned; it is (phew)

> After the fear, Pederson stays aggro; Wentz hits Matthews on the hands on an open ball, and that's another ridiculous unforced mistake by Green; would have set up the figgie with a catch

> Clock issues, then 3rd and 10 is a screen to Sproles for 9; Green calls timeout and thinks about things

> Running around and throwing it deep is a possibility, as is a short out to move the sticks and try another figgie

> Red thinks it's Hail Maryish time, and Wentz inexplicably throws it into the ground, which gives Red another free play

> The number of mistakes in the past few plays is just off the charts, honestly

> Graham gets pressure, so Ryan throws it away, and that is the half; Green 7, Red 6, and Green gets the ball to start the second half

> Short kick forces Smallwood into a return to the 19

> Mathews for 4, then 1; tentative and not a lot done by the line there

> 3rd and 5 and a very telling down from the gun is a smart outlet to Sproles to move the sticks

> From the Green 36, empty set, Sproles stutters for 12 and dude is just so good at that; he then gets it internally for 11 more

> Three touches, three first downs for the best super-small RB in NFL history

> Smallwood to the left for 19 as Peters and Kelce are aces

> False start on G Isaac Seumolo, then a drop by Smallwood on a not much flat throw

> 2nd and 15 is Smallwood to the left again for 12 easy yards, setting up 3rd and 3 from the Red 20

> Wentz to Ertz moves the chains on a quick hitter for 8, and that was well done

> From the Red 12, Mathews to the 5, but Kelce is called for obvious holding

> From the Red 21, Wentz doesn't give up on the play, but Terrible WR Nelson Agholor bobbles it enough to warrant a challenge; had the WR been worth a damn, this isn't a thing; play is overturned for four whole yards

> From the Red 17, empty set, Wentz to Sproles for six mostly harmless yards

> From the Red 11, 3rd and 9 is Wentz from empty set, tries Agholor as if that if ever works, safe fail throw

> Sturgis from 29 is not great but good; Green 10, Red 6 in the third after a long drive

> Touchback as Fox thanks our veterans; we'll have more to thank soon enough

> Ryan to Jones, perfect ball for 27 yards; Freeman picks up the blitzer and Mills is off by a yard, with Carroll concussed (yikes)

> Freeman for 6, then play action trying for WR Taylor Gabriel, broken up CB Leodis McKelvin

> 3rd and 4 draw gets the first for Freeman, and that was a big damned play, as it's likely worth at least 3 points

> RB Terron Ward on and loses to Curry, then incomplete

> 3rd and 11 in long figgie range is another big damned deal, and it's long clock, then a checkdown to Jones that doesn't move the sticks, but does get the figgie team on

> Bryant makes from 46, and it's Green 10, Red 9

> Barner to the 34 off another short kick, then Smallwood for 5 on more wining interior runs

> Nicely designed screen to TE Brent Celek, who doesn't really warrant throws anymore; he's stripped and gets the room service hop for the first down

> Mathews for 20, again to the left, as the 6-OL set is working

> Bad bubble screen to Matthew loses two, then Wentz keeps it smartly and gets the first with his legs

> Mathews all day up the gut, this time for 14, and can't we just keep doing that

> We just keep doing that on quick tempo, and the RB gets it to the 3 on a crawl

> Mathews stopped just shy, and that's the end of the third quarter; suspect he might have gotten it, and we'll have a ton of time to look at the replays with the quarter change

> Third and goal from near nothing is a terrible left right call, instead of just up the gut; it loses and Pederson blows another call that matters

> Honestly, I'd call Pederson's play calling Reid-esque, but that demeans Andy Reid

> Fourth and goal from the 2 has Pederson going for the figgie again; delay flag, then connecting from 26

> Green 13, Red 9, and this is pretty much the textbook way to let a road team steal a game they shouldn't win

> Freeman loses a yard on massive pressure despite making a man miss, then Ryan hits Gabriel for a touchdown because of course; 76 yard score as the pressure doesn't get there, and McKelvin blows it huge on a pump fake that didn't exist

> Red misses the PAT, and it's 15-13 with 13:15 left, which could be a big deal

> First Red lead, and honestly, this game feels like it should be a 10-point Green lead, but for a couple of yet again mistakes

> Barner with a big return for 51, and the STs nearly got the score back right there, but for Bosher, who looks hurt

> From the Red 45, Wentz to Ertz for 8, that's been there all day

> Mathews for a first on a little surge, rather than an actual hole

> From the Red 34, Wentz to Agholor for 3 yards, and I'd like Josh Huff back instead of him, because he's that terrible

> Wentz to Sproles, second obvious DPI on LB Deon Jones not called, because why should the home team get calls

> 3rd and 7 for a delay of game as Eagle Fan loses his mind, for cause

> 3rd and 12 is a 55-yard FG, so Wentz hits Matthews, who is smashed in the head for no flag, because why should the home team get calls

> Obvious call, obvious fine tomorrow, and yeah, that's back to back brutal non-calls

> Sturgis tries from 55 as Pederson compounds the bad decision, and the kick is just short

> On the off chance that you are still wondering why the ratings for this league keep going down, I have words to speak about officiating

> Pressure for an incomplete, then a deep ball to Jones is overthrown

> 3rd and 10 and get the ball back with some semblance of anger is a blitz, a weak throwaway, and Red is 3 and out

> Bryant in to punt because Bosher is hurt; he gets 30 yards with no return, which is probably all they could hope for

> From the Green 24, Wentz to Ertz for 18, then Sproles for 5

> Ertz again to move the sticks, and things look aggro right now

> All throws, DPI not called on a high throw to Matthews; there will be no make-up calls for Green today

> Sproles for 8 to the left as Kelce gets loose again

> 3rd and 2 snap doesn't count on a false start by Ertz; his third of the day, and yeah, FFS

> 3rd and 7 from the Red 42 is a false start that Beasley makes, and it's so obvious even this crew calls it, to the super-sarcastic cheers of the crowd

> 3rd and 2 from the Red 37 is do or die, and Wentz from the empty set gets it to Sproles to move the chains

> Wentz to Sproles for 7 on good patience, then a deep ball to Matthews, who actually gets a goddamned flag

> I can't say it was a great call, but once every 15 times DPI is committed, it gets called

> From the Red 5, Matthews with the internal hand off, gets in easily, and Kelce does good work again

> Going for 2 while up 4 is what the book says, I guess, and Wentz draws a flag on play action

> Re-try from the one is a give to Mathews, who gets threw one tackle and converts

> Green 21, Red 15, 6:49 left

> Obvious holding on the kickoff return sets up Red at their own 12

> Ryan to Jones for 8, then play action to Jones for DPI on Mills; correct call in a game of incorrect doesn't help

> Ryan called for grounding after the usual 5-second delay and argument

> 2nd and 20 is Ryan to Hooper for 8, setting up a huge 3rd and 12

> Getting off the field now would be massive, and from the gun, Jones is wide open and drops what would have been an easy first

> If Jones wasn't great, you might call footsteps on that one, but nope

> Bryant on again as sub punter, and he gets off another short one for a fair catch of all net

> 5:25 left, on the offense to win it

> Smallwood left for 6 as the line keeps doing the work, and everyone in the stadium says Don't Fumble

> Smallwood again for 2, setting up another huge down

> 3rd and 2 from the gun, empty, and Worst Player In Eagle History Agholor drops the slant that should convert the first down

> Why this guy is on the roster, let alone the field, let alone getting it on the have to have play, is utter batspit

> LB Najeh Goode with a pointless late hit for 15 gift yards, and yeah, my laundry is dumb as hell

> From the Red 35 with 4:07 left, the league's best offense has all they need for the winning touchdown drive

> Freeman for 6 as Red HC Dan Quinn makes sure to bleed the clock and not score too soon

> Tipped ball on pressure, McKelvin can't catch it on multiple chances

> 3rd and 4 and possible killshot again is Ryan to Freeman, wide open down the sideline, but the most obvious OPI ever is actually called

> 3rd and 14 from the Red 31 is another killshot chance, and Ryan from the gun has Freeman for a bubble screen for 9; 4 down territory

> 4th and 5 for the game from the Red 40 is Ryan to Jones, incomplete into triple coverage, and honestly, Green got lucky that the best WR in the NFL didn't make plays late

> With 2:19 left, power set, Smallwood gets four and sits down in bounds to make sure it's a Red timeout

> At the Red 35, yards matter a ton for the possible ending figgie, and Smallwood gets 2 and the second Red timeout

> 3rd and 4 is a sloppy give to Smallwood, who desperately runs through traffic and his QB to get it closer, but no first down

> At 2:01, Red's final timeout; 48 yard figgie try for Sturgis... and Pederson is going for it

> Green timeout to think about how Pederson is going to blow this one

> Sturgis goes back out with no confidence, and hits from 48 anyway

> Green 24, Red 15, two minutes left and yeah, kind of meaningful kick there

> Touchback and knee, and now it's time to see if Green will allow further drama

> Ryan to Jones for 16, then a Hooper drop

> Ryan tries Jones again, McKelvin jumps the route, and that's your ballgame

> Green TOP: nearly 40 minutes, and honestly, could have won by more

> Laundry does to 5-4, still last in the NFC East, but not totally dead in the playoff race, especially if they can play all of their remaining games at home while putting Agholor down

Saturday, November 12, 2016

FTT Off Topic: All Space Is Unsafe Now



Moments from Processing, because Writing is My Process. Play me in, Bob Mould in your moodiest Husker Du days...

> Having lived through Presidents that I've thought very little of for cause and eventual absolute approval by history (i.e., Bush 2, aka the man who pretty much set up the world for failure due to lying us into war)... I keep blaming myself for staying hung up over this. Local officials have much more sway over your life. Dwelling isn't my style. My state went the other way, and was always going to. The virulent racists live, for the most part, in other areas. As a white male, I can pass if I like. So many more people are going to have it so very much worse than me. I work in what might be one of the most recession-proof areas of our economy, and one that will benefit greatly from the election going this way. I pride myself on being able to compartmentalize and get things done, and have a genetic predisposition (yay, Germany!) that makes all of that happen.

And yet, and yet, and yet. Processing.

> My political party, thanks to gerrymandering and the vagaries of the Electoral College, got the most votes for President and the Senate, and though I haven't checked, probably the House as well. We control no branches. That's fun. And by fun, I mean one more area of borderline gasligthting that drives people into quietism or insanity. (Oh, and the other side's close wins in states where they suppressed the vote with fewer machines in minority areas, since the Voting Rights Act was gutted by the GOP-leaning Supreme Court? Yeah, the gaslighting just never gets old, honestly.)

> If you want to find small moments to feel good about, there are plenty. Trump's public utterances, with the notable miss of nothing about how he wants nothing to do with the acts of violence from celebrating supporters or the gloating of the KKK, show he's going much more down the path of Thief, rather than Dictator. World markets may keep him in relative line, and selling out his supporters is a lifelong pattern. One of the easiest ways to lose money in my lifetime has been to invest in a Trump scheme while not being Trump, after all. (The man lost nearly a billion dollars running a casino. There are people who consider him to be a business genius doing this. There's so much that's insane here, I can't even begin. Or, seemingly, end.)

The historical pattern of American progress is breakthrough, backlash, lather rinse repeat, shows that this move towards white nationalism does not have to be a permanent one. There were multiple Senate wins and ballot referendum that showed the nation continues to have a true north of center-left, rather than batspit right wing backlashery. There's a very real chance that this win will eventually be seen as Pyrrhic, especially with the 2020 race aligning with the next Census.

> If you want to engage in darker musings, you can wonder why, exactly, there needs to be any more elections after this one. Strongmen don't tend to do more elections, especially ones that run against media, don't show any inclination to follow laws (and Trump's got ties to organized crime, thousands of lawsuits from unpaid bills, rampant tax cheatery, no release of tax returns to show that he isn't in the tank to the foreign interests that did such Wikileaks. There's a not zero chance that we all just voted in our last event, that we'll go into the strongman, then strongman's kid, aspect of post-democratic government. I realize that all sounds quite paranoid, but we just elected the worst major party candidate in our nation's history, and the people get the government they deserve. Look at the history of nations beyond ours; democracies are more fragile than easily understood.

> Finally (finally? I'm now into the +96 hour mark of depserately wanting to think about something else, and despair that it will never stop), one small point. As a stickler for language and reality on reality's terms, the concept of a "safe space" has always rankled. There is no place in this universe that is safe. Nature and a Beavis-esque God can end any of us at any moment, from health mishaps to concentrated weather, and that doesn't even bring into account all of your countrymen and women with mental issues and access to murder tools. But I get why you wanted to pretend, because a relentlessly realistic view of life would just lead people to logic-driven suicides that would litter the streets with bodies. ("Fun" fact? Depressed people are much more realistic than optimistic ones. Moving on.)

So, this.

We just elected a man who keeps insane grudges on people who have wronged him. Who was aided and abetted in his rise to power by the other superpower with extensive nuclear arsenals. Who pledged to restrict immigration on grounds of religion, to murder innocents with clear war crimes, to engage in mob-style shakedowns of our historic allies, to run negotiations as if he were running a failing casino instead of the most powerful nation on earth. He was elected by people who were on some level fine with racism and sexism, so long as they got something out of it, and for a portion of the audience, that racism and sexism may be the draw, rather than the drawback.

So it should be obvious now, to one and all, that No Space Is Safe. I have people in my social feeds who are now buying guns despite being morally opposed to them, who are teaching their kids how to use them. That's going to end well. These aren't "I'm going to move to X" wealthy dilettantes and idle threat types; the are people with daughters who aren't terribly interested in having backlashes roll over them. People are buying abortion pills in the mail, because they most definitely should. Pot is a winning ballot measure everywhere, and the nation wants meth and heroin more than it wants to live. Especially if living means moving near people who don't look like them, or that someone who does not look like them might be getting something from being a citizen.

There's nothing good about it, nothing to do to bargain with it, no benefit from quieting down about it or from remaining obsessed about it. I just find myself not wanting to do anything, not wanting to celebrate any holidays while the country is in thrall, not wanting to produce anything of artistic merit, not wanting to think anything but ill of my fellow citizens. Depressed people, realism.

Play me out, Bob...

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Week 10 NFL Picks: Whatever

Quickly.
So, um, not going to sugar coat this; the election on Tuesday more or less ended my hopes in humanity, let alone giving a damn about sports, and I was writing this while it happened. Let's just get through this. Maybe something fun will exist later.

* * * * *

CLEVELAND (+10) at Baltimore

Just too many points for a division game, the usual Thursday night mess of offense, and a Browns team that alternates losing badly with losing close. I'm also counting on a Raven letdown after their big win against Pittsburgh. Back door covers are still covers.

Ravens 24, Browns 16

GREEN BAY (-2.5) at Tennessee


If the Packers are going to stay in the race, they are going to have to do it with road games against non-contenders. Step one is a Titan team that can hurt you with the run, but has some banged-up RBs, and no real home field advantage against the notoriously travel-friendly Pack Nation. They shouldn't relax yet, but less suicidal would be good, especially if the offense starts showing up a little earlier.

Packers 31, Titans 24

MINNESOTA (+3) at Washington


Last chance time for the suddenly reeling Vikings, who just haven't looked the same coming out of the bye, and have had significant offensive line issues. But this week, they get to play a DC team that doesn't stop the run against patient teams, and an offense that can give the ball up on defensive pressure. I just don't buy the idea that the NFC East is going to be good from top to bottom all year... especially when their own running game isn't good, and they haven't been able to stretch the field because (shh!) WR DeSean Jackson might not be good any more.

Vikings 22, Racial Slurs 20

CHICAGO (-1.5) at Tampa


Can I share with you just how much fun it has been to have Doug Martin in fantasy this year? Last year's solid RB1 workhorse has been nothing but hurt for a lingering and constant period of time as his team has made rosterable fantasy hay out of street meat. Now even those guys are hurt, and Martin is still on the shelf. Anyway, screw Tampa and screw Martin and screw Florida. Besides, Jay Cutler has a pulse again.

Bears 26, Bucs 20

KANSAS CITY (+3) at Carolina


Chiefs get back QB Alex Smith, and will need him to test a suspect Carolina secondary that has been picking up in recent weeks. I think KC has better quality, and the Carolina offense won't do enough. But it will be a tough slog.

Chiefs 24, Panthers 20

ATLANTA (pick 'em) at Philadelphia


I root for the Eagles, so nothing good will come out of that. Falcons have a bad track record of outdoor work, especially in Philadelphia, but the home team is just perfecting the art of blowing winnable games with suspect decision making. Also, this offense is just too good.

Falcons 31, Eagles 24

LA Rams at NY JETS (+1.5)


Just a feel pick. West Coast team, running game is the one thing that the Jets have historically defended well, angry New York crowd. Don't watch this game.

Jets 16, Rams 13

Denver at NEW ORLEANS (-2)


Saints are hitting on a lot of cylinders on offense, Denver is pretty beat up, and the home field advantage is real, especially when going against a fairly shaky young QB. After watching what the Raiders did to this defense, I think the Saints can run it, too.

Saints 30, Broncos 20

HOUSTON (-1.5) at Jacksonville


I don't know why Gus Bradley is employed, but Houston will enjoy it. It'll be close because neither team is good, but not particularly watchable.

Texans 20, Jaguars 17

Miami at SAN DIEGO (-4)


Chargers have been doing good work on offense, Miami doesn't travel well. Go with the team with an actual QB.

Chargers 24, Dolphins 17

Dallas at PITTSBURGH (-2.5)


Best game of the day, assuming Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger shook off the rust after the first three quarters of nothing burger against the Ravens. Dallas is great, but they don't need this game, and they are due to blow one.

Steelers 27, Cowboys 24

San Francisco at ARIZONA (-13.5)


Niners are just a dead team walking. Lots of that going around right now. The Cards' offense isn't very good right now, but they can run the ball, and that's all that you need to do to turn Chip Kelly into hamburger.

Cardinals 34, Niners 17

SEATTLE (+7.5) at New England


Just too many points to give up to a team with this good of a defense, and I just don't buy the idea that the Pats are a juggernaut. I'd say more about this, but honestly, it's hard to say anything about anything right now.

Patriots 26, Seahawks 20

Cincinnati at NY GIANTS (-2.5)


Cincy has the personnel to compete in this game, but doesn't has a good record on the road, and HC Marvin Lewis craps the bed when put under a spotlight. I'm not sure MNG still counts as one, but hey, close enough.

Giants 30, Bengals 24

Last week: 2-10-1

Year: 55-75-3

Career: 814-825-52

Monday, November 7, 2016

Five Moves For The Eagles, Now That The Playoffs Are Pretty Much Out Of The Question

Doug E. Stale
After today's loss in New York, my laundry has dropped four of its last five, including all three division games. At 4-4, they are in last place in the NFC East, have shown themselves to be deficient in decision making and fourth quarter execution, and probably are even worse than we think, given the number of unsustainable big plays they've been getting in special teams.

And all of this is monumentally frustrating, because in many of the losses in this stretch, they've been a play or two away, with many of the plays not made solely left at the doorstep of rookie HC Doug Pederson. In Detroit, he failed to trust his QB on the most important play of the game, leaving things in the hands of a fumble prone RB on a play that had to go too far, anyway. A week later in DC, the team failed to set a tone early with help for a rookie T making his first start. In Dallas, he refused to allow his QB to test a suspect secondary deep, eventually leading to a choked off field. And in New York today, he repeatedly left points on the board with overly aggressive fourth down tries, and underwhelming play calling on those critical downs.

That's all water under the bridge now, and unlike previous HC Nero Kelly, Pederson isn't so tied into his own Super Genius to prevent any possibility of growth. But the real trouble is that the second half of the schedule is a lot tougher than the first.

Nov 13 - Atlanta
Nov 20 - at Seattle
Nog 28 - Green Bay
Dec 4 - at Cincinnati
Dec 11 - Washington
Dec 18 - at Baltimore
Dec 22 - NY Giants
Jan 1 - Dallas

Given their road game woes, I don't see them winning either in Seattle or Cincy, and the home games are no picnic, especially with the Falcons having major weapons on offense, and Green Bay likely desperate and firing hard to right their season. It's unlikely that they will be favored in any of these games, and very unlikely that they win more than one out of the next four games. Which would put them at 5-7 going into the final four games, in a division where it honestly looks like every other team is going to be over .500.

So the playoffs are, well, gone.

Forget the 3-0 start, because that win against the Steelers turned out to be a mirage. Forget the win against Minnesota, because it turns out that team was just as big of a paper tiger as the Eagles were. Even if they close with a rush with lots of home game goodness, it's not going to be enough, barring collapses in the rest of the division.

So, having said that, let's get to the stuff that needs to happen to set this club up for its best chance in 2017.

1) Stop overdosing on Darren Sproles.

Look, I love Sproles, and every Eagle fan should. He's a borderline Hall of Fame candidate with all-around yardage, his heart is as big as all outdoors, and he's clearly the best RB on the roster right now. He's also ancient by NFL standards, not getting any younger, and won't be part of the next Eagles playoff team. Using him for more than a handful of touches per game, and keeping other players from getting hammered in special teams, is just Pederson sucking a binkie. Give the RB1 spot to rookie Wendell Smallwood, and see if you've got something worthwhile. Or risk going into 2017 not knowing if you need to spend a high draft pick on a RB.

2) Give up on Nelson Agholor.

He's out of excuses. He's healthy, and gets no separation. He's not really fast enough, definitely not strong or big enough, and there's absolutely nothing special about him. I'd much rather spend the next eight games seeing if Bryce Treggs can do something, if Dorian Green-Beckham can get a few more plays in his wheelhouse, and if Jordan Matthews can exist anywhere except the slot. Agholor's going to be out of football in 18 months; let's just cut to the chase already, because at this point, I think Treggs has more of a future. Unless you consider the CFL a future.

3) Start rotating offensive linemen.

Here's something we have to come to grips with, and hopefully sooner rather than later; C Jason Kelce is killing this team. Between the earlier poor snaps, the ever-growing number of penalties, and the plain and simple fact that the guy has always been undersized, he's just far too erratic to be an asset. I get that he's vocal and a clubhouse presence, and that he's been to Pro Bowls. But honestly, none of that matters between the lines. It's time to see if there's anything behind him that might make for a better option, especially in the interior running game. (As for the other spots on the line, we're getting to the point in the season where T Jason Peters gets hurt a lot, and he'd old and expensive; let's see just how bad the options are behind him. At least Hala Vaitai is getting better, and maybe G Brandon Brooks can handle the bigger job. Stefen Wisniewski had some good moments today, too. I doubt they have backups that are actual options here, but just losing with Kelce is starting to get old. Kind of like, well, Kelce.

4) Give Carson Wentz some counter scouting... and maybe even some tough love.

We all love the kid; he's the single best reason to be a fan of the laundry right now. But some warts are starting to emerge. His tendency to keep the ball on run action on critical short down and distances, for one. His inability to avoid sacks on blitz pressure late in games, for another. Missing deep balls with underthrows, for a third. The recent amped up early problem that's leading to first quarter turnovers. And most tellingly, his inability in this spate of close but not quite games to pull the team's ass out of the fire with fourth quarter heroics.

No one wants to see a QB change; that would be beyond pointless. But we also can't just assume the kid is going to get better without feedback, or have him think that the only thing he can do is wait until the WRs stop stinking up the joint. Speaking of which...

5) Play your best personnel. That would be your tight ends.

The Eagle tight ends are an odd mix of mismatched talents. Veteran Brent Celek has good hands, but no separation, and is pretty much just a tackle now. Youngster Trey Burton is more like a movement guy, kind of like an old school fullback, but only in the passing game. (He's also useful on special teams.) And starter Zach Ertz is the best at stretching a defense, but damn near hopeless in the red zone, for reasons that no one has ever really figured out.

Here's the thing, though -- they can all play football. Unlike, say, Agholor, and frequently, Green-Beckham. They all have better hands than Matthews, too.

So play them all, at once. Line Ertz out wide and see if you can turn him into a DeMaryius Thomas kind of threat. Keep Celek in on just about every play to help the line. Use Burton instead of Sproles in the passing game, and see if you can get some separation with power on linebackers. Because just trotting out these terrible WRs isn't working. It's also really not going to work against teams with actual secondaries, like Cincy and Seattle.

Oh, and a bonus?

Strap Pederson to a PlayStation and have him play Madden 24/7 in the off-season for a few months. Honestly. Because I'm not sure we can all wait out the years until he's figured out this whole calling critical plays that aren't terrible on their face problem...

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