Once again, congratulations to HOOKBASSGA for being our weekly winner with a 13-3 mark last week, winning through the tiebreaker over funbunch. Incredibly, HOOKBASSGA holds a 17-game lead in our seasonal standings with six weeks to go in the regular season. Who is this Hognosticator extraordinaire? There are many of us on thehogs.net message boards that would like to know and are proud of his/her allegiance to our beloved Redskins.
After my first and last 350-mile / one-way trek to Texas Stadium, I can confirm what most of us already assumed, the place is a dump. I can honestly report that the harassment was minimal and mostly in fun, with the exception of a couple of idiots. The turnout of Washington Redskins faithful made me proud, but not near as proud as the effort put forth on the field by our players and coaches. What a great game to have witnessed despite the loss.
Green Bay at Detroit Amazingly, Detroit has rushed for a net 7 yards over the past two games. The Packers running game isn't much better, so look for this to be a fun game to watch, resembling more of a track meet with plenty of big plays and scoring. Green Bay can better defend against the big play with two of the leagues best cover corners in Al Harris and Charles Woodson, while Detroit's defense has struggled against the pass. The Lions have lost their last three Thanksgiving Day games, with their last win in 2003 against the Pack.
Pick - Packers
New York Jets at Dallas There will be plenty of commentating on this game being the second time Thomas and Julius Jones match up, but we don't really care. Although the Jets were able to record seven sacks last week against Roethlisberger, they'll be lucky to get more than one against the more mobile and elusive Romo – just once, wouldn't it be nice to see him get slammed when a snap goes over his head? Additionally, Laveranues Coles is doubtful, which is a blow to the Jets' chances. The Pukes are undefeated at home this season, while the Jets haven't won on the road – look for that trend to continue, although a Jet win sure would be a nice dessert.
Pick - Pukes
Indianapolis at Atlanta This is one of the NFL Network games that those without coverage won't be real disappointed to miss. With the Jags nipping at their heels in their division, don't expect the Colts to lose focus. The return of Marvin Harrison and Anthony Gonzalez to practice this week will provide an additional lift for the Colts, regardless of whether they play or are limited in their returns.
Pick - Colts
New Orleans at Carolina Both of these teams are coming off of disappointing losses: for the Panthers their fourth straight, and the Saints their second straight. New Orleans has dropped four straight to Carolina, who have yet to win at home this season. Look for the Panthers to continue their domination of the Saints and finally get a win at home, with DeShaun Foster and John Kasay being the difference makers. The loser of this one can kiss the playoffs goodbye.
Pick - Panthers
Buffalo at Jacksonville The Bills are the latest to be coming off their worst franchise loss against New England. To make matters worse, now they travel to Jacksonville, who have won two straight and have a great running back duo of Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew, with their starting running back Marshawn Lynch's status uncertain with a severe high ankle sprain. The Bills have a decent defense and special teams, but not enough offense to win this one on the road.
Pick - Jaguars
Washington at Tampa Bay The Bucs don't have near the weapons that the Pukes do. If Galloway can be contained, Tampa can be shut down and prevented from making big plays by simply making tackles; something our defense did very well last week with the exception of a one-on-one situation with Owens. Time for our defense to step up without Taylor, shut down the big plays and make sure tackles; and for the offense to continue to improve, putting more points on the board.
Pick - Redskins
Seattle at St. Louis St. Louis has won two straight, after starting the season 0-8, but they have yet to win at home and won't start this week. Hasselbeck is nicked and the Seahawks haven't played well on the road (1-3), but they have a divisional lead to protect and should play well enough to beat the injury-riddled Rams.
Pick - Seattle
Minnesota at New York Giants The Vikings are an interesting dichotomy: leading the league in rushing offense and defense, and yet are ranked 31st in the league in passing offense and last in the league in passing defense. Will this cause match up problems for the Giants? One can hope.
Pick - Giants
Oakland at Kansas City Kansas City has beaten the Faiders nine straight. Remarkably, the Faiders have lost 28 of their last 32 games. Oakland could have a chance this week, as they face a struggling offense, with a rookie running back, Kolby Smith (Rd 5, 148th overall, Louisville) getting his first start, and 2nd year-quarterback, Brodie Croyle, getting his second start. Jerry Porter, from D.C., and Ronald Curry, from Hampton, VA, are both interesting off-season acquisition prospects, if they wish to come home, join a winning franchise with a Hall of Fame coach and play for reasonable dollars.
Pick - Chiefs
Tennessee at Cincinnati The Titans are playing for their playoff lives after dropping two straight and have a good shot at a wildcard birth, despite being in third place in their division. The Bengals on the other hand are playing for their jobs and Marvin Lewis' job. Tennessee should be able to run the ball, control the clock and defensively play well enough to win on the road.
Pick - Titans
Houston at Cleveland The Brownies are 4-1 at home and seem to have luck on their side, despite not having a defense. The Texans are 3-0 with Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson both in the game, but their secondary (as mentioned last week) is decimated. Derek Anderson and the Brown's talented receiver corps should be able to make too many big plays for the Texans to keep up. Andre Johnson sure would make a nice addition to the Hurricane contingent in Burgundy and Gold.
Pick - Browns
San Francisco at Arizona The 49ers started off the season with a win against the Cardinals at home, followed by a win over the Rams, but haven't won since. Kurt Warner, who didn't play in that game, has never lost as a starter against the 49ers (7-0). Unfortunately, the Cardinals will win their third game in a row for the first time in five seasons and beat the 9ers for the fifth time in six meetings on Sunday.
Pick - Cardinals
Baltimore at San Diego The Raisins have lost four straight and are 0-5 in their division and 1-6 in conference play, after starting the season 4-2. With the Patriots and Colts up next, they can pretty much count on a losing record if they can't figure out a way to win this one on the road. The Chargers have played well at home (4-1), have more talent and more to play for.
Pick - Chargers
Denver at Chicago Despite dropping 5 of 6 at one point this season, the Broncos have won their last two games and are in a tie with the Chargers for the lead in the AFC West. Denver and Jay Cutler may also welcome back talented wide receiver Javon Walker, who returned to practice this week after missing eight games with an injured right knee. Don't look now but Shanahan could have found another star running back in rookie Andre Hall (undrafted, South Florida), who could see his first start this week with both Travis Henry and Selvin Young hurt. The kid scored his first touchdown last week against the Titans, rushing for 89 yards on seven carries. Unbelievable how bad the Bears are playing defensively. A loss to the Broncos on Sunday will be the fourth straight at Soldier Field for the Bears.
Pick - Broncos
Philadelphia at New England Brady is on pace to shatter the single-season records for touchdown passes, completion percentage and quarterback rating. Randy Moss, with 16 touchdowns, is just 6 shy of Jerry Rice's record 22 set in 1987. This is a special season we are witnessing; it'll be interesting to see how it plays out. With the win, the Patriots clinch the AFC East. McChoke may miss the game, not that it would matter.
Pick - Patriots
Miami at Pittsburgh Another Monday Night Football loser of a game. What gives? The Jets were able to shut down Willie Parker last week; the Dolphins won't be able to repeat that feat. The Steelers will take out last week's frustrations and embarrassment on the lowly Dolphins. The Fish play those same Jets next week, followed by at the Bills, Ravens, at the Patriots, and Bengals. Is there a win in there somewhere? Maybe.
Pick - Steelers