09.25.15

my father, the 4

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:39 pm by Administrator

see the prior entry for context.

have i spent these last forty years of my life trying to understand myself in order to understand my father? or has it been the other way around? regardless, i’ve always intuitively recognized that he and i are very much the same. thus, the path he has taken in life has served as a projection of my own. his failures have served as powerful warnings of my own potential failures; his relationships have been a point of reference for my own.

understanding myself anew as a type 4 within the enneagram system has immediately shifted my understanding of my father. here was a man who convinced me during my childhood that his tendencies—toward particularity, mercuriality, and severity—were an unfortunate consequence of his upbringing in Korea. he described himself to me as a sick man, a man who was driven to anger by the poverty, corruption, and oppression that he experienced in the land of his birth. my father taught me to loathe Korea and Korean people. and i grew up believing that it was these Koreans—venal, petty, hyperreligious, and irrationally passionate people—that had driven him to melancholy and insurmountable resentment.

but if my father is a 4—and he is most certainly a 4 as i am—there need be no reason to define him as a victim of his circumstances. he could have grown up anywhere, and yet these core traits might very well have emerged regardless. it transforms my idea of him to consider that my father is not lonely and tragic because he was mistreated; he is the man he is because he was designed to be solitary, superior, and supremely particular.

take his extreme fastidiousness about language. my father would not let me finish an idea during conversation if he detected a grammatical error in my speech. i remember being eight years old and hearing him read excerpts from various grammar books on the proper usage of certain idioms and grammatical constructions. one of the things that angered him most was the increasingly colloquial usage of the construction “Just because… doesn’t mean that…” to this day, i cannot use that particular syntactical structure because a dependent clause cannot function as the subject of a sentence.

when i was a child, i thought that my father’s obsession with grammar was a result of his inherent flexibility and his fixation with rules. had i known the enneagram then, i might have thought of him as a “1″. but language to my father has always been about something more profound than a structure. to him, language is beauty. it is power. it is what separates the aristocrat from the plebeian. and oh, does a 4 pride himself in being aristocratic. i recognize now that my father was devoted to understanding the grammar of language because it was an art that exposed the crassness of others while illuminating the uniqueness of his own sensibilities.

it amazes me to consider that language is as important to me as it has always been to him. but while my father’s precision in language functioned to create a boundary between himself and others, i have tried to employ language to transcend or erode the boundary that i feel between myself and others. while my father took pride in the things that separated him from others, i have felt the tragedy of my distinctness. i remember all the times when i was the lone embarrassed non-participant in Catholic communion, at church youth retreats, and at school parties dominated by white people. i remember conversations about religion that made me feel like an outsider. i remember functions with Korean people that made me feel alien, monolingual, and somehow handicapped. throughout my life, i have tried to use language to connect with people around all the issues that have separated me from others.

my father is what he is because it is intrinsic to his design. and, as such, his life demonstrates a clear picture of what my life might look like if i take a similar path. he chose the path that led to isolation; and that is not the path i want for myself. people disappointed him thoroughly, to the point that he disdained society; and though i have been similarly disillusioned by my experiences in community, i want to believe that i can forgive. i want to break the rules that separate me from people. i want to violate that grammar which invalidates the language of others. i want to speak the language that connects us all at the level of our deeply shared feelings, however dark and terrorizing those feelings may be.

by understanding myself, i understand my dad, the one who has envied, the one who has suffered. i feel for him as i feel for myself, because ours is a unique kind of pain. he is not a sick man, despite what he has always said about himself. he is just one of our tribe, a people who walk through a world in which foxes have holes and birds have nests but nowhere is there a place for us to lay our heads

The Romantic

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:17 pm by Administrator

it is purely coincidental, but my wife was doing some enneagram readings of her own and suggested that i might be a 4. i was horrified. the last thing in the world i want is to identify as a 4. i don’t like 4’s. i don’t like how they think. i don’t like how they navigate the world. i even know some 4’s, and i think they are self-absorbed, moody, unstable, and altogether unreliable.

of course, if you read through my last entry (9/21), you’ll see the irony of my hostility toward other 4’s. what i hate in them is very much what i despise in myself. a 4, at his root, is ill at ease in his own skin because there is self-loathing at his core. and the 4 struggles to find happiness because he disables his own pursuit of happiness.

if there is something i ought to have learned through all these years of painfully revealing blogging, it ought to have been this: that i am a man who has never stopped struggling with the basic questions of personal identity. who am i? where do i belong? why does no one understand me? why am i perpetually unhappy? the 4 does not ruminate on these things because he is philosophical or intellectual; the 4 obsesses over these things because he has somehow been unable to experience the peace of mind and social congruence that comes so easily to others.

like other 4’s, i deeply envy the prosperity and equanimity of others, which so starkly contrasts with my perpetual internal sense of poverty and turbulence. when i feel melancholy (which i’m prone to feel) or when i overexert myself in competitive endeavors (which i am known for), what i’m reacting to is my own deep and pervading sense of inadequacy. for my whole life, i’ve been living in a world full of people who seem to get it; but i’ve never gotten it. and because of that, i’ve always been different; i’ve always been an outsider; i’ve always been unhappy.

understanding what i am as a classic sexual/one-to-one “4″ helps me to realize that my sadness, moodiness, frustration, and anger are not necessarily signs that i’m with the wrong people or engaging in the wrong work. 4’s inevitably experience these deeply dysphoric feelings as a result of a profound lack of integration—both personal integration and social integration. the key to a 4’s health and stability, which i’ve learned over these past few years of my personal journey, is their ability to contextualize their very intense feelings without having to emote or impose on others. their feelings, in other words, are not truth in and of themselves. they need to be processed and understood for what they reveal about something far more fundamental. the greatest gift a 4 can realize is the ability to laugh at himself—the ability to weigh even his most indisputable convictions and consider the possibility that they are irrelevant, if not frankly untrue.

the sexual/one-to-one variant of the 4 is termed the Romantic, which unfortunately describes me fairly well. i’m always looking for the perfect thing, which is ever beyond reach and wholly impractical. in one sense, i’m doomed to never be satisfied with what i am or what i have. i will always be the one most inclined to abandon the status quo or to question the essential value of the things others take for granted. i will always love beautiful and artistically rendered things. and while an unhealthy 4 will present himself as jealous, arrogant, or disdainfully superior, a healthy 4 can reveal beauty in a manner that can touch and transform other people. in rare moments, this has been my unique gift. i can do that in my writing; i can do that when i speak to a crowd; i can do that when i connect with individual people in their times of crisis.

the sadness for me in this realization is that my sense of being lost in this world is intrinsic; it is not something i will be able to fix with a new job or a new group of friends. in a very essential way, i was designed to feel alone, to render an art born of personal suffering, and to explore the very darkest side of our common humanity. it makes me distinct (as 4’s are wont to think of themselves), but it is also my particular cross to bear. i’m the romantic; and regardless of my profound disappointment with this particular realization, i can recognize the truth in it. and i can recognize at last that i’m not so special—and perhaps not so alone

09.21.15

the me; and the emotional me

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:15 pm by Administrator

my boss at work has called me his “right brain”. i’ve become well known in my company for being a public speaker/emcee who can connect with large groups of people. and my patients rate me highly for being an active and empathetic listener. to people, i appear “emotionally intelligent”.

but inwardly, i am invariably disconnected from my emotional self. my mind tells me that i ought to feel a certain way, but my emotions do not conform. on an almost daily basis, i have to reckon with an internal emotional universe that i cannot understand. on some days, i have to wrestle with inexplicably intense emotions; many days, i am forced to explain why i feel emotionally dead inside. my heart is like that most awful kind of girlfriend: the woman who keeps you guessing what the hell she is feeling. and it is so damned frustrating to live with her. i’ll be honest; i’d break up with her in a heartbeat if only i could.

i’d say that the reason i probably look “emotionally intelligent” to others is that i’m well-practiced in dealing with an emotionally volatile and perpetually elusive person—myself. and for most of my days, i am constraining, disciplining, and punishing that emotional creature inside of me with structure, routine, and total silence to her demands. and she in turn punishes me by refusing to engage in virtually anything that i do. i have to drag her into everything i do in life; and it appears that the only thing she wants for herself is to slow me down.

now, there are those fairly rare moments when she and i are on the exact same page. when we are in crisis, we are together. there’s an intimate connection that i experience with her when we are up against the wall—when someone has died, when someone is attacking me, when my life is in danger. she’s with me; and because she’s not slowing me down, we’re moving twice as fast mentally, spiritually, and even physically. and when i fight for something of personal importance to me, i feel that profound integration of myself as well. whether i’m speaking, debating, or working a crowd, i feel her power inside of me. instead of poking at me or distracting my thoughts, she’s right there beside me, lending power to my voice and pushing me toward brilliance and even joy. these are the moments that make me fall in love with her. these are the moments that make me forget how much i sometimes despise what she is.

at one point, i considered this internal self-conflict and disconnection to be a form of major depression. i took an SSRI for a year and a half, and i’d say that it nearly destroyed me as a person. instead of instilling flexibility and predictability into that emotional creature inside of me, it suffocated her. granted, she never resisted my rational self; but neither did she ever lend me her passion. her deadness became an intolerable hole in my life, and i lost any desire to live. coming off the SSRI was extraordinarily difficult for me; i had the “zaps” and almost paralyzing nightmares. but after a month or two, i was myself again. she woke up inside of me. i heard her voice again. she was snarky, particular, and idiosyncratic all around, but still, she was beautiful. i resolved never to silence her again.

i have tried to understand this profound schism inside of me through self-assessment tools like MBTI, the Birkman method, the enneagram, and even biblical teachings. the best insights are the ones i have derived from the enneagram. the great struggle for the “7″ is emotional presence—the ability to be in the moment and utterly focused on one thing. the implication of the enneagram is that the 7 must learn to stomach pain, to validate and even subsist in his own negative or dysphoric feelings. i have wrestled with this implication and come to this conclusion: that the people who suggest this trajectory for the 7 are not 7’s themselves. it is logical for someone to suggest that a person who is intensely afraid of emptiness and deprivation stands to gain by persevering through difficulties. but for some 7’s, that kind of “desensitization training” is not possible. this is not because the pain is intolerable to those people. rather, it’s because they cannot engage with their emotions deeply enough to adapt to them; for this kind of person, the repeated experience of pain is like touching the searing hot stove every time. maybe he can dullen the pain, but that’s at the price of burning off his finger.

with time, my experience of inner disintegration is only increasing. while i was in my twenties, it was not unusual for me to experience all-encompassing and integrating feelings. but i find it very unusual now to fully experience a single and distinct feeling. for every hint of happiness, there’s some doubt or fear mixed in. when i want to give myself over to the sadness of a moment, there’s an internal hesitation that makes the experience somehow incomplete. i want to be fully present in something i’m doing, but for some reason, i’m oddly disconnected, preoccupied, or not there. it’s not anhedonia, per se. it’s just a lack of integration. and it’s affecting who i am as a person. i used to be a passionate person. now i’m a conflicted person. i used to be an idealistic person. now, i am a measured person. my days have neither joy nor sadness for me. they are simply a series of tasks and responsibilities to be handled; and while i derive some pleasure from their completion, i realize at the end of every day that she—that spirit within me—simply loathes the way that i live. she cannot bear to talk with me or look at me in the face. such is her shame with the person i have become.

i wonder sometimes if the single integrating experience she wants for us is love. but then i wonder what would happen to me if i gave myself over to that. she would love to fall in love with new people; a new relationship every year would be very exciting for her, i’m sure. but how destructive would that be? how could i and everything that i cherish survive that sort of a life? she would love the thrill of big-stakes gambling and the pursuit of a fortune. but as befits my basic nature, i’ve had my time gambling, drinking, gaming, and clubbing; and at the end of it all, it wasn’t enough for me. would she have me spend my life chasing a feeling, reviving a constant sense of thrill, or constantly starting anew in virtually every possible manner? she wants us to live an adventure. but you can’t build things of value when you’re starting new things all the time. that’s where she and i simply can’t reconcile. i don’t trust her; and she thinks i’m vapid and lifeless. and thus, my life—this battleground between what i know and what i feel—is torn.

the reason that i love music and poetry, the reason that i love getting lost in a big city, and the reason that i hate church but keep coming back to it is that i am a man incapable of finding himself. i understand now that the rest of my life will only continue down this trajectory, half of myself constantly at war with the other half, each one seeking life at the expense of the other. i have come to understand that there can be no truce; and the best times in my life will happen by chance, when two people destined to hate each other strangely and unexpectedly find themselves in each other’s arms at that late hour, willing to forget who they are and, for just that moment, be one

09.14.15

conservatism versus progressivism in the church: a metaphor

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:56 pm by Administrator

imagine with me for a moment that i had an older brother, born (like me) from our korean parents. but while i was born in this country, at a time in my father’s life when his consuming passion was to make me a successful american, my brother was born before my parents left korea. he was born a korean. he, like my parents, became an immigrant to this country—a foreign country.

because my brother came to this country late in his childhood, English was necessarily his second language, and for whatever reason, it was a language that he never learned very well. and because my father wanted to prioritize my education and my prospects in this country, he refused to speak Korean to me, which resulted in my consequent inability to express myself in Korean. obviously, my brother and i had to become somewhat bilingual (he more than i) on account of what was required of us in the home and in society. but we learned to express ourselves best in two languages entirely different from each other.

obviously, the differences that evolved between us as a result of our different circumstances were not limited to language. because of my relative difficulty with the Korean language, i felt distinctly at a disadvantage in situations where Korean was exclusively used—at family gatherings and social events within my parents’ predominantly Korean social circle. in fact, these were situations where i sometimes felt frankly alienated, on account of the barely disguised pity or scorn expressed by the immigrant Koreans who perceived me as unnatural or stupid. in contrast, i felt unrestricted and relatively empowered in situations where English was required, such as school, work, or other public spaces; and these were the places where my brother struggled the most. though my brother was not a provincial, unfriendly, or unapproachable person by any means, his struggles with English made him appear more reserved and less confident than i, who navigated the American world with ease.

people who have come to know my brother and i equally well can see how much we fundamentally share in common. we are not so different in our values, our intelligence, or our capacities to learn and to change. but we can acknowledge that we look dramatically different to the outside world on account of our language preferences; and in turn, our language preferences have profoundly impacted the other ways in which we have chosen to socialize, connect with others, and express ourselves.

there are moments when i am tempted, on account of the unpleasantness i often feel in Korean settings, to dislike Koreans. obviously, there is irony in this, because i am and always will be perceived as a Korean (if not at least an Asian) by the majority of people in this country. and i am sure that there are many times when my brother is tempted to feel negatively toward the English-speaking Americans who have frequently teased or taunted him for his lack of English fluency. strangely and perhaps unfortunately, this becomes most evident when we transfer these hostilities to each other. it is not logical, fair, or right in any way, but there are times when my brother will take out his frustration with the English-speaking world on me. i become the embodiment of the racist American who talks down to him in the classroom or at the store counter. and likewise, i sense his alignment with (and sympathy for) the Koreans who have chided me, jabbed me, and treated me like a handicapped child over the years, and i will inexplicably and suddenly despise him for everything i have experienced at their hands. sometimes these sentiments of disdain will gather into a kind of hatred. sometimes we will hate each other, even though we are, in so many ways, the same.

but there are always the constant, insistent, and poignant reminders of the thing we share that we simply cannot share with anyone else. when mother is badly ill, i know that my brother is the only person in the entire world who understands my inner agony, my plaguing fears. when the Korean team loses the World Cup, my brother is the only one who can know the unique combination of patriotic feeling, anger toward my father, guilt about that anger, and inexplicable sadness that i feel. some people call it “Han”. for my brother and me, it is the deep well of feeling that we drink from, as our source of life. only he and i know where to find this well. only he and i know what that life—bitter, sweet, and utterly delightful—actually tastes like.

i did not ask my brother to be my best man. i do not consider him my best friend. but he is something else, something indescribable. he is the one thing in the world i cannot afford to lose. he is my connection to an identity that i consider precious; i love him, like i love myself.

————–

what progressives and conservatives in the American church struggle to understand is that their differences do not represent moral differences; they represent modal differences. as my fictional brother and i had no choice in what language we were given or in what manner we were compelled to interact with our surrounding world, conservatives and progressives often do not choose their positions; they are compelled to them, on account of other people who have raised and influenced them. so frequently they will ascribe their positions on the political and cultural spectrum of beliefs to other intrinsic qualities: their intelligence, their morality, their values. but in fact, the language that they were taught is itself a separate and equally intrinsic quality. it can be very hard to change. it, in turn, impacts other socialized qualities.

i went to listen to Rachel Held Evans the other night, and i was impressed by this one idea: that progressives in the church are beginning to recognize themselves as a distinct people. they’re proud of their emerging identity; they want to illuminate what separates them from their conservative counterparts; they want to collectively experience a validation of their common resentment of church authorities and oppressive mores. and they are not wrong in recognizing that there are real differences between them and their conservative peers. where this troubles me though is when they express pride in their identity as progressives. and the question i want to raise to them (and to myself) is this: is monolinguality really something to be proud of? is my selective ability to express myself in one language truly to my credit or honor?

progressives would like to believe that their specific language preference in the social discourse makes them more relevant to the unchurched society around them. but this cannot be assumed to be true. in fact, just as there are those who wander into Korean restaurants and stores to experience something distinctly different from what they find in English-speaking society, there are many unchurched folks who walk into Sunday services because they want to experience something different from the rapidly liberalizing social milieu that they live in. conservative or progressive, the church presents a unique story about life and death, and it is the strangely foreign nature of this story that attracts the lost soul to the Gospel. progressives who think that a more “palatable” church will be more effective in its outreach can only substantiate this belief by conjecture. the history of the church really suggests that the Gospel reaches people not because it is easy but because it is quite challenging—if not positively offensive.

if we can see our given “languages” as part of the design of the God who is the Father of us all, we can recognize that we speak and perceive differently from one another so that we, as a family, might have a place in any and all environments that we are called to. progressives and conservatives were intended to inform each other in a way that can increase their “bilinguality” as a corporate church and their bilinguality as individuals; and their differences were intended also to distinctively illuminate the central commonalities they share, which comprise the identity that the Lord most values. obviously, both progressives and conservatives will argue (as they always have, across time) that there are essential aspects of the Christian identity intertwined with the issues on which they differ; but i would argue (as did the apostle Paul, when he addressed Jews and Gentiles in his generation) that our tendency should be to extend the benefit of the doubt with regard to the matters in which we exhibit differences. where we markedly differ, in other words, there may be a contrast that was designated by the Lord—and one which does not necessarily distinguish the righteous from the wrong.

this kind of grace and mutual acceptance is not easy or straightforward by any means. the scripture and what it implies about behavior are often the central points of contention with regard to many of the controversial matters we struggle with—gay marriage, abortion, the inerrancy of scripture, the implications of science. but if we can trust the Spirit in His infinite wisdom, i think we have to be willing to accept that in the face of all threats posed by heresy and false teachings, there is a Spirit who is Lord of all and capable of judging these things; and if these things are critical enough to the life of the church, the Spirit will bring these falsehoods to light, in a manner that exposes the evil of the fruit for what it is. we are called only to be watchful, to be true to the knowledge of God we have been assured of, and to extend grace wherever and whenever it is possible. there is someone appointed to judge; most of the time, that person is not us.

once again, it is not for the conservative or the progressive to be proudly assertive of his position. he or she ought to recognize that the language he was given was meant for the good of the body. if there is something we must agree on, it must be this. the good of the body is the glory of God; we speak, think, and act in this interest, according to the gifts and sensibilities given to us, with this one hope and desire in mind

09.09.15

ashley madison, and egotism

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:32 pm by Administrator

one of the things that probably will never come up in a conversation with my social circle is the Ashley Madison hack, which exposed lots of consumers of the on-line cheating/hook-up service. this morning, i read about the latest casualty of the hack—a middle-aged pastor well-respected in his community, who committed suicide in the aftermath of the scandal.

it won’t come up in conversation because it’s an uncomfortable topic of conversation. it’s uncomfortable because it’s sordid in a way, and it’s tragic, and yet it’s not so far-removed from the activities of most americans’ daily lives. people don’t want to talk about it because they know that it’s something they easily could have tried along the way, like any hook-up app or dating website they might have experimented with before they got married. in some respects, it doesn’t seem so much different from internet porn, which just about everyone (married or not) consumes with regularity.

the sad part for me is reading the stories about the lives unraveled by this sudden and traumatic mix of deception and revelation. people who could once claim social standing on account of their morality and principles are being “outed” as sex addicts and cheaters. for them, the hack is like a social death—a public execution. this might strike you as odd, but my heart goes out to them. i wish i could tell them that what happened to them—this hack, this forced revelation—was wrong. it wasn’t justice. it was cruelty that was inflicted upon them. but it is a cruelty that they will have to endure alone; they will find no sympathizers in this hypocritical society. they will have to accept that everything they are about to lose has to be lost if they’re going to find the thing in themselves that is worth recovering now.

netanyahu survived sexual scandal. so did bill clinton. i think that they were able to do so because they believed that they were much bigger and more profound than the scandals that were threatening to define their lives and legacies. they overcame the scrutiny, persecution, and personal humiliation through a force of will grounded in pure egotism. and i don’t mean to imply a moral fault in this egotism. what i mean to emphasize is that their sense of identity transcended their desires, weaknesses, and behaviors. they could adamantly assert their value in the midst of crisis because they believed in a story about themselves that mitigated their foibles and illuminated their heroic traits. such an egotism can make men blind, careless, and cruel; but as with netanyahu and clinton, it can prove to be their source of strength when the world is against them.

i have thought about bill clinton over the years since the White House scandal. he is obviously well-liked now, and while he will continue to be jabbed and occasionally derided over the Lewinsky affair, it is very clear that he and his reputation have survived that ignominy. i will admit that i admire him for that. bill clinton represents the kind of person who can survive an Ashley Madison hack because he refused to be defined by any single error or character flaw. and i wonder if there is not some powerful psychological or even spiritual lesson in his life and trajectory. by no means would i suggest him as a role model or a hero on account of what he has survived. rather, i would say that bill clinton’s life demonstrates something very important about our basic nature: that people can survive intense and humiliating exposure. they can change the way that society views them. they can dictate how the story of their lives is told. all of this just requires time, resilience, charisma, and, above all else, that steadfast, profound, and unrelenting egotism.

for every exposed philanderer, i wish a story of redemption. but redemption takes time, and egotism—bold, belligerent, insuperable, and self-interested—might be what buys that time

09.07.15

The Philadelphia Eagles’ 2015 Season: Game by Game Predictions

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:01 pm by Administrator

it took him 3 seasons to do it, but chip kelly finally has the team that he believes in. and that’s important for philly fans to take to heart, because kelly has proven that he can’t lead a team that he doesn’t believe in. for two seasons, we have seen chip kelly attempt to fit a square peg in a round hole, and it’s been embarrassing for him and excruciating for the fans. now, i expect to see the best version of chip kelly revealed: the man who leads not by coaching or managing players but rather by tweaking and refining his system.

like i wrote in april, kelly used his transformative off-season this year to instill a particular personality in this group of Eagles. they are not a flashy and athletic group of young men. they are not explosive playmakers. they are mature, disciplined, and intelligent students of the game. when i say that, i think of jordan hicks, kelly’s stunning and revealing 3rd round pick. i also think of sam bradford, nelson agholor, and cory undlin (defensive backs coach). these were not splashy moves intended to make waves. these are personnel that were recruited to play the game by the numbers, one play at a time, with a lean six-sigma intolerance of variations and deviations.

i think that my prediction of an 11-5 season and two playoff wins will strike many people as overly optimistic, but i consider it a conservative projection. the talent that the Eagles acquired this year tells only part of the story. the team has an identity now which can sustain them. they’re not simply a squad trying to run a high-paced offense while maintaining a “bend but not break” defensive scheme. they’re a team that can strive for perfection on both sides of the ball. they’re an offense that can operate with efficiency; they’re a defense that can dominate the line of scrimmage. there are still question marks around our quarterback (can Bradford survive 16 games?), our offensive line (who are Barbre and Gardner at the end of the day?), and our defensive backs (can Carroll stick with his man, and can Thurmond be an effective starting safety?) but the pre-season suggests that we have guys in those positions worth believing in. so i’m coming out of my shell. let’s win some games.

WEEK 1 (AT ATLANTA): W 38-10.

WEEK 2 (DALLAS): W 31-14. Byron Maxwell versus Dez Bryant. Should be fun.

WEEK 3 (AT NYJ): L 17-20. i’m predicting a loss in new york, because i respect that Jets team on both sides of the ball. if there’s still a weakness of the Eagles’ 4-3 “under”, it’s at weak linebacker, where we are talented but inconsistent. Kendricks versus Ivory will be a key matchup here. Decker versus Carroll may be a matchup we lose.

WEEK 4 (AT WAS): W 24-14. the Skins will be the worst team in the NFC East and good for 2 Eagle wins this year.

WEEK 5 (NEW ORLEANS): W 28-17. i don’t buy the revamped Saints defense. Brandon Browner is not elite, and i think this will be Nelson Agholor’s party.

WEEK 6 (NEW YORK): W 30-13. Oh, how we love abusing Eli Manning, who is more overhyped than ever in Ben McAdoo’s woefully overrated offense.

WEEK 7 (AT CAROLINA): W 17-10. Kuechly will have his way, but Cam Newton’s one-dimensional offense will not.

WEEK 9 (AT DALLAS): L 17-24. I’ll give Dallas one of our two contests this year. i’m sure they’ll have their running game figured out by then (Christine Michael) and DeMarco Murray probably will not have his best game of the season against his old team.

WEEK 10 (Miami): W 28-27. it’ll be a close one. Brandon Graham versus Branden Albert will be an important matchup on the line. Nolan Carroll versus Jarvis Landry in the slot will be a tough battle for us to win.

WEEK 11 (Tampa Bay): W 35-7. The Bucs will not be an NFL-level team for the next 3 seasons.

WEEK 12 (AT DETROIT): L 20-35. Detroit will be an improved team this year, and our linebackers will be sorely tested by Ebron and Abdullah in the short passing game.

WEEK 13 (AT NEW ENGLAND): L 14-24. This will be our only losing streak of the season. The Pats’ offensive line can stop our pass rush, and Gronkowski can break our coverage scheme in the secondary.

WEEK 14 (BUFFALO): W 17-13. A difficult win and an important game for us. McCoy won’t run much on us, but we may have trouble keeping Bradford upright in this one. the health of our offensive line at this point in the season will be critical, as we face the Bills and Cards in consecutive weeks.

WEEK 15 (ARIZONA): W 14-10. Another close win, but a win nonetheless on account of Arizona’s ineptitude (and turnovers) on offense.

WEEK 16 (WASHINGTON): W 38-17. It’s always fun to hit week 16 assured of a playoff berth (which we’ll have sealed in week 15) when you have a team like the Skins to toy with.

WEEK 17 (AT NYG): L 13-30. i think we sit murray and bradford in this one and get shellacked by the Jints. doesn’t matter. they’re out, while we’re in.