Gonzo: Birds leave fans woozy

Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb is sacked by Bears Hunter Hillenmeyer and Mark Anderson (97). The Birds' play this season has been unpredictable and sometimes inconsistent.
Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb is sacked by Bears Hunter Hillenmeyer and Mark Anderson (97). The Birds' play this season has been unpredictable and sometimes inconsistent.
Posted: November 29, 2009

Feeling a little queasy? Maybe a little foggy in the head, like you've been infected with a bad case of déjà vu? You're not alone. Happens to a lot of people at this time of year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reminding everyone that bird flu is nasty stuff - particularly the wildly virulent Eagles strain. Just when you start feeling better, it comes back to double you over in pain - usually when a division opponent is in town or the Birds need a critical win.

The city ought to be immune to this by now. Each year it's the same thing, isn't it? They're up, they're down, they "need to do a better job," as Big Red might say. The fans go crazy when they win and even crazier when they lose and we still don't learn anything until January - if then. With the exception of the Super Bowl season a few years ago, nothing is ever easy for the Birds or the fans. Instead, each year we're treated to a heaping serving of "who knows?" If nothing else, it's a testament to that most vile NFL catchphrase, the one that turns my stomach most of all - parity. Hooray for everyone, including the Birds, being average.

And so it continues. The Eagles squeaked out a win last week in Chicago, and they were lucky to do so. As a quick aside, someone at the NovaCare Complex ought to send Jay Cutler a nice fruit basket, or at the very least a thank-you note for gift wrapping that win for the Eagles and freeing them from the crushing yoke of a 5-5 record. They always say it's the thought that counts around the holidays.

The Eagles are 6-4 now, but anyone who tells you they know for sure how this season will end is either dim-witted or lying or both. There's a group out there that thinks the Eagles are better than some give them credit for since they're still above .500 after suffering so many injuries. For sure, the Eagles haven't stayed healthy this year, but injuries don't make Asante Samuel allergic to tackling or Andy Reid vomit at the idea of running the ball with regularity. Some things aren't their fault - but some are, and we shouldn't pretend otherwise.

Looking forward, the schedule is rife with teams every bit as enigmatic as the Birds (the Redskins at home today, followed by the Falcons, Giants, 49ers, Broncos and Boys). Not bad or scary, just potentially confusing and confounding - particularly when the Eagles have proven quite adept at playing to the level of seemingly inferior opponents (hello, Oakland). And why not? It's so much easier than the alternative. Why exert effort to clear the high hurdle when you can just lower yourself and stoop under it?

On a positive note, the kids look pretty good, don't they? Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson, Shady McCoy, Brent Celek - that is one fine crop of youngsters. The 2011 Eagles are going to be fantastic. Get your season tickets now.

Until then, it figures to be more of the same unpredictable - sometimes inconsistent - play. It's what they do. And if you aren't tired of that by now, you have remarkable stamina. It's like they've rewritten the fight song to better reflect another soporific season. Snore, Eagles, snore.

But that's nothing a quick prescription from your friendly Page 2 physician can't fix. Take two. I'll wake you if something new happens.

Not many weeks left in the fantasy football season. You're either preparing for the playoffs or planning for next year. Good luck to everyone but the guys in my leagues.

Start

QB: Carson Palmer, Matt Hasselbeck, Brett Favre

RB: Shady McCoy, Jason Snelling, Ricky Williams

WR: Sidney Rice, Nate Burleson, Michael Crabtree

TE: Brent Celek, Heath Miller, Jeremy Shockey

Bench

QB: Jay Cutler, Joe Flacco, Mark Sanchez

RB: Rashard Mendenhall, Laurence Maroney, Jamal Lewis

WR: Santana Moss, Hines Ward, Devin Hester

TE: Fred Davis, Dustin Keller, Ben Watson

Sunday Sixer

(Home team in caps)

Last week: 3-3

Season: 29-29-2

Colts -3 over TEXANS: Kris Brown is the new Scott Norwood. They should start a support group for kickers who blow it under pressure.

Dolphins -3 over BILLS: Bigger knucklehead on the field today: Ricky Williams or T. O.? Discuss.

TITANS -3 over Cardinals: Maybe Andy Reid should attend a charity event wearing a Peyton Manning jersey. Since Jeff Fisher pulled that move, the Titans are 4-0.

Browns +14 over BENGALS: Brady Quinn is reportedly dating Olympic gymnast Alicia Sacramone. That almost makes up for having to live in Cleveland.

VIKINGS -101/2 over Bears: I would bet against Jay Cutler if the Bears were playing my godson's Pop Warner team.

'Skins +9 over EAGLES: I think the Birds win this game, but that line is more bloated than my stomach was on Thanksgiving.


Contact columnist John Gonzalez at 215-854-2813 or gonzalez@phillynews.com.

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