Hognostications Week 14
By: Frank Hastings 
Posted: 2006-12-08
Category: Washington Redskins News
It’s hard enough watching our beloved Skins lose games they should have won – and we’ve seen entirely too much of that lately. To add to our madness, there are the one or two games each week that truly qualify as surprising upsets. The Browns over the Chiefs and the Titans over the Colts – are you kidding me? When trying to hognosticate, one learns to live with an upset or two each week. What’s almost as hard to tolerate as a Redskin collapse are the games where ‘believed to be’ superior teams lose to ‘believed to be’ inferior opponents, at home no less. Cases in point this past week were the Cardinals defeating the Rams in St. Louis and the Jaguars defeating the Dolphins in Miami. Granted the latter is a much closer judgment call of overall team talent. Obviously there are intricate variables that can dictate an outcome in the NFL that often trump what even the ‘so called’ experts or the hardcore fan believes to be a favorite based on the overall team composite. What?!? You guessed it; I’m digging real deep trying to find an explanation for my pathetic position in the Hognostication standings. Can it all just be explained by league parity? Love it or hate it, parity is alive particularly in the NFC. Unbelievably, in week 14, 20 of the 32 teams still have a mathematical shot at making the playoffs. Maybe I should lobby for some parity rule changes to get me back in the Hognostication hunt. Good luck with your picks this week.

Cleveland at Pittsburgh
Although the Steelers are without their two starting safeties (the much missed Ryan Clark – groin and Troy Polamalu – knee), they’ll still blitz often against first time starter Browns backup QB Derek Anderson - who will likely start for the injured Charlie Frye. The Steelers have dominated this match up winning 12 over the last 13.
Pick – Steelers

New York Giants at Carolina
The Panthers may get DeShaun Foster back this week. Jake Delhomme is currently listed as questionable with a sprained thumb on his throwing hand. Some Panther fans might believe that’s a blessing, I don’t. Both teams are fighting for their playoff lives in this one, and it ought to be a good game.
Pick – Giants

Oakland at Cincinnati
Could this be one of those games that I whine about in my introduction next week? For the Bengals sake, I hope not. Those of you that pick the Raiders are much better gamblers than I.
Pick – Bengals

Minnesota at Detroit
This game is being called the ‘lame of the week’. It’ll be interesting to see if Childress has had enough of Brad Johnson’s poor play and goes with rookie, Tarvaris Jackson, who is considered to be the Vikings QB of the future. Chester Taylor’s absence will hurt the Vikings. I expect Kitna and Roy Williams to have some success against the Vikings struggling secondary. It appears problems continue to follow Smoot around and expectations are he’ll be on the move again next off-season. Could a return to the Redskins be an option? Lord knows we need CB depth.
Pick – Lions

Tennessee at Houston
Texan rookie LB, DeMeco Ryans – if you haven’t heard of him, you will. Check out his stat line for last Sunday in Oakland – 15 tackles, a fumble recovery, a forced fumble, a sack, a QB pressure and three pass breakups. He’ll get his turn chasing around and trying to catch Vince Young this Sunday.
Pick – Titans

Indianapolis at Jacksonville
This is going to be a great game. It is extremely difficult to pick the Jags and foresee the Colts losing two straight, but what the hell.
Pick – Jags

Baltimore at Kansas City
The Chiefs are back to their old ways with a defense that struggles to finish the season. That defense gave up over 400 yards to the leagues 2nd worst offense last week. Although the Chiefs have won 18 straight home games in December, I’m picking the Raisins.
Pick – Raisins

New England at Miami
Two good defenses, but only one good offense. Although Miami has been the only team that has handed the Patriots their only two regular season losses in December and January over the last four seasons, I just can’t see Harrington winning a match up against Brady. The Pats win a close one.
Pick – Patriots

Atlanta at Tampa Bay
This is a tough pick. Tampa has historically dominated in this match up and all of the Bucs’ wins this season have come at home. But the Falcons having possible playoff motivation ought to find a way to win this one against a team they beat in week 2 and one that has really struggled offensively this season.
Pick – Falcons

Philadelphia at Washington
JC meet our second most hated rival. It’s time to end the ridiculous talk about the Eagles still being in the playoff hunt. We should be able to run the ball against the Eagles. The question is can our defense keep Garcia contained and shut down Westbrook and Stallworth. Stallworth is listed as questionable with a tweaked hamstring. My bet is he’ll play – but won’t be a factor, as our secondary is playing better thanks to Shawn’s return and some resemblance of a pass rush.
Pick – Redskins

Seattle at Arizona
The Seahawks get a couple of nice confidence building games this week at Arizona and hosting the 49ers next week. Although, the 49ers beat them in week 11. They need a win this week to stay tied for the second seed (first round bye) in the NFC with either the Pukes or Saints.
Pick – Seahawks

Green Bay at San Francisco
This is difficult game to get excited about. Favre has owned the 9ers in the past. If he falters this week, it could be a strong factor in his decision not to return next season after ankle surgery. Look for Gore to open up the passing game for Alex Smith and Antonio Bryant against the 30th ranked Packer pass defense.
Pick – 49ers

Buffalo at New York Jets
Jauron vs. Mangini. Both these rookie coaches have done well this season, with Mangini even giving Jet fans playoff hopes.
Pick – Jets

Denver at San Diego
The Chargers put up 35 and beat the Broncos in week 11 in Denver. They’ll sweep the series and win at home this Sunday. Jay Cutler meets the Terrapin nightmare. Despite his suspension, a fresh Merriman still has 11 sacks this season. He’ll add to that total this week and make up for the lost playing time. Shawne reminds me of the player I always wanted Arrington to be.
Pick - Chargers

New Orleans at Dallas
Oh how I look forward to the downfall that awaits the pukes at whatever point this season. I’m not sure when it’ll happen, but when it does, won’t it just be sweet. Here’s to the pukes maintaining their streak of not winning a playoff game in the last 10 years. I always dread picking the pukes and rooting against my own pick – but at least if they do win, I can take one small and virtually meaningless positive from it. Go Saints!
Pick – Pukes

Chicago at St. Louis
The Rams defense is just plain lousy. If Grossman is going to win back the confidence of his teammates, coach and fans – this’ll be the game to do it in. This one could and should be an ugly one-sided Monday night affair.
Pick - Bears

Last Week’s Results: 8-8
Season to Date: 109-82
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