Week 12: Five weeks left means time to pack it in

If I were an Eagles fan, I’d quietly gather up my jerseys and all my Eagles-branded paraphernalia and lock it away in a chest somewhere until next season. Well, why not? I mean, the team has already clearly packed it in for the season. Best that the fans follow suit!

Philadelphia lost its seventh consecutive game Monday night and consequently made Carolina’s Cam Newton look like the second coming of Joe Montana.

This lame duck matchup featuring the two worst teams in the NFC seemed like appropriate billing for the lame ducks the Eagles have at coach and, apparently, at quarterback. Maybe Santa will bring Jeffrey Lurie a bulldozer for Christmas. It should help him when he starts tearing the team and staff apart – that is, if the staff makes it that long.

In other news, the Kansas City Chiefs have been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. Surprisingly, everyone in the NFC is still technically alive (although I’d be stunned if we found a pulse in Philadelphia). And what happened to the Cardinals? Remember their strong start at 4-0, including a promising victory in New England? No? Well, it’s not like they’ve won anything for a while, as they, like the Eagles, have lost seven in a row.

Also this week:

— “Movember” is almost over. What’s next? Neck-Beardember?

If anyone watched the melee that was the Giants-Packers game Sunday night, you may have noticed on one of the sideline shots of a frustrated Aaron Rodgers (not shown were his equally frustrated fantasy football owners) that there was quite a furball growing beneath his nose. Apparently, Rodgers grew a mustache in support of “Movember,” an effort during the month of November to raise awareness of prostate cancer and other male cancers. Bravo for the effort, but that ‘stache looks like he could have used it as a broom to sweep up the leftovers off his Thanksgiving Day plate.

— If the average passing play in the NFL gains a little over 6 yards, why in the world would you NOT play your straight up defense?

Lots of Chargers fans were asking themselves that question this weekend, as they allowed the Ravens to convert a 4th and 29 play. The Ravens tied the game on the drive and then went ahead to win in overtime. You all may remember the famous NFL Divisional Playoff game in 2004 between Philadelphia and Green Bay when the Eagles converted a 4th and 26 to tie the game and then win it in overtime. Time and time again, I’ve seen countless teams that, after forcing their opponent into a long-yardage situation, switch from its basic defense to a more preventative scheme. Why? Why not just do what you’ve done to get you to that situation? It’s like going to a dance with a guy, letting him buy you dinner and then ditching him at the dance for another guy. Or, something like that.

— Waving the white flag on the red flags.

Because all scoring plays and turnovers are automatically reviewed, there is no need for a coach to throw a red challenge flag. Doing so results in an unsportsmanlike penalty and the review is negated. Apparently Lions coach Jim Schwartz didn’t realize this and threw a challenge flag after Houston scored a touchdown, even though replay showed the Texans player was clearly down. The Lions were assessed a 15 yard penalty and the TD stood. I can understand the penalty, but does throwing a red flag really have to negate a review? It’s almost like the NFL says, “You screwed up, so we’re going to cost your team 15 yards. Oh yeah, and while we’re at it, and because we don’t like you and because we’re the big boys and can tell you want to do, you don’t get your review either!” What if this had been a playoff game? As a result, the competition committee is discussing the rule they say could be “too harsh” and may consider changing it this year.

Playoff scenarios are starting to take shape, and while I don’t care to get in to all the “if this team’s coach’s mother makes potato soup but only makes enough for her family and not her neighbors” complex scenarios, here is what you need to know this weekend. Baltimore clinches a playoff spot with a win over division rival Pittsburgh. The Ravens can win the division with a win and a Cincinnati loss. Atlanta will clinch a playoff spot with a win and a Seattle loss, and they can win the division with a win and a Tampa Bay loss. And I’m pretty sure I can clinch the best pillow for game watching if I beat my husband to the couch on Sunday morning.

Until next week, friends, enjoy the games!