Hognostications Week 15
By: Frank Hastings 
Posted: 2006-12-15
Category: Washington Redskins News
Front page news here today is that the NFL Network and local cable providers' negotiations are ongoing and have yet to reach an agreement. Thus, no cowpuke game for the majority of the local community (puke country), who are cable and not satellite subscribers, including yours truly (although I do have the DIRECTV's Sunday ticket – but understand and have checked, this doesn't include NFL Network games). Good business for the few local sports bars, but bad business for the NFL. Obviously their business is so good that the NFL can afford to upset just about any fan. They must have foreseen these types of issues coming and just don't care. However, they could not have foreseen or realized just how upset fans are or will become once this hits home.

Fortunately for the NFL (like they care), at least here locally, most of the uniformed public will just blame this on the cable companies, as the cable companies have a history of delayed and untimely contract negotiations with local affiliates that have cost us, most importantly, disruptions in our NFL viewing a couple of times in the past.

I understand that our December 30th game with the Giants will also be a NFL Network game. That really blows for those of us who, for one reason or another, can't spend the evening in a sports bar to watch our favorite team.

In case you were wondering - Arizona, Cleveland, Detroit, Houston, Oakland, Tampa Bay and Washington have been eliminated from playoff contention.

San Francisco at Seattle
Even with an up and down, injury-riddled season that has cost them significant playing time of their starting QB and RB, Seattle will win their 3rd straight NFC West title. I'm not sure if that says a lot about the Seahawks or little about the NFC West. The 9ers have lost 3 straight since defeating the Hasselbeckless Hawks in week 11. The Hawks coming off a loss to lowly Arizona can't help the 9er cause.
Pick – Seahawks

Dallas at Atlanta
Oh, the damn game most of us are not going to get to watch! Here's a 'little monkey' for the NFL Network. Could the demise of the puke nation have started with last week's spanking at the hands of Brees and the Saints? One can hope. What a great game that was to watch. How upsetting will it be if Atlanta wins this one and we're not able to see it? It worked last week; let's try it again. Go Falcons!
Pick – Pukes

New York Jets at Minnesota
The Viking rush defense is giving up a ridiculous 54.1 yards/game. The Jets have a better record on the road than they do at home this season; however the Vikings will shut down their running game, forcing Pennington and Coles to try and beat them.
Pick – Vikings

Cleveland at Baltimore
The Raisins are playing not only for their first divisional title since 2003, but to continue their race with Indy for the AFC's second seed. The Browns are playing to avoid their ninth straight loss to divisional opponents and a winless divisional record this season.
Pick – Raisins

Houston at New England
As a Texan fan, I'll spare you the dissertation on what happened in last week's game or in last year's draft. Let's just say the franchise's front office made an enormous mistake and moved on, if that's possible. Most of us already knew it, and it didn't take last week's performance of Young or Bush to substantiate it. Those performances just poured salt in Houston fans' open wound. That mistake will be talked about for many, many years to come. Troy Smith or Brady Quinn sure would go a long way towards creating a diversion.
Pick – Patriots

Miami at Buffalo
This is one of the week's toughest picks. Both clubs are coming off victories last week over the AFC East's top teams, keeping their playoff hopes alive. I don't like either of their playoff chances, but like the Bills in this one, having won four of the last five in the series, including earlier this season in Miami.
Pick – Bills

Pittsburgh at Carolina
If you haven't seen Joey Porter's interview discussing Kellen Winslow, watch it, it's hilarious. Porter is my kind of football player, tough as nails and only cares about football and his teammates, and doesn't give a damn about his image, public relations or making friends on other teams – particularly in his division. I like the Steelers and another large dose of Willie Parker in this game. The Panthers could easily lose their last six if they drop this one, wrapping up the season on the road in Atlanta and New Orleans.
Pick – Steelers

Washington at New Orleans
Some good news: reports have it that the Saints plan on keeping Joe Horn out for the remaining three regular season games, hoping his groin will heal up for a playoff run. The bad news is Drew Brees didn't appear to miss him on Sunday night. It's hard not to gush over Brees. He's one hell of a good QB and, although I wasn't a big fan of Bush's before, running and receiving all over the puke defense on Sunday evening made me one. If there was ever a need for a ball control, grind it out, offensive game plan – this is it. We must figure out a way to keep Brees and Bush off the field and our defense fresh… and for God's sake, create some turnovers defense! Carlos – I love you man, but how 'bout a freakin' INT?
Pick – Redskins

Jacksonville at Tennessee
For my feeling's regarding VY you can go back here. The guy is a winner and thankfully will keep Fisher in Tennessee and out of Dallas. It's unfortunate for Young that the Titans don't have a defense. The Jags beat the Titans handily 37-7 in week 9 and will do so again this Sunday with a heavy dose of Maurice Drew, a fantastic rookie RB averaging 6.1 yards/carry, and a still-very-effective-when-healthy, Fred Taylor.
Pick – Jaguars

Tampa Bay at Chicago
The Bears clinch the top seed in the NFC if they win this game and we beat the Saints. The Bears defense looked pretty average on Monday night against the Rams, and obviously miss Tommie Harris and Nathan Vasher. The Bucs continue their offensive struggles this season. Gruden hasn't been happy with Gradkowski's play recently and benched him last week in favor of Tim Rattay. Gradkowski will supposedly start but be on a short leash.
Pick – Bears

Philadelphia at New York Giants
This one ought to be a lot of fun to watch. Surprisingly, both teams still have a decent shot at winning the division considering the pukes' poor divisional record. The Giants will make Philthy pay for their poor defensive play of late. Philthy shouldn't have won last weekend and certainly won't win this weekend. The Giants' players, whether they're listening to Coughlin or not, know that there is just too much at stake to lose this game.
Pick – Giants

Detroit at Green Bay
If my assumption from last week holds true, it looks like we'll be seeing Favre return next season. Sure looks like the guy still enjoys playing the game. Unexpectedly, the Pack has struggled at Lambeau this season, but that won't be the case on Sunday as the Lions come to visit. Favre has never lost to the Lions at Lambeau and will lead the Pack to their 15th straight home victory against the lowly Lions.
Pick – Packers

Denver at Arizona
The Cardinals have won 3 of 4, while the Broncos have lost four straight? The Broncos have forgotten how to play the defense that was so dominating in the first half of the season, while the Cardinals offensive line seems to have started to put it together, and are not only protecting Leinart but are also opening some lanes for James. I just can't convince myself, however, to predict the Cardinals' first ever win over the Broncos. Keep in mind, two of the Broncos last four losses were to the Chargers, and overall they're more talented and better coached.
Pick – Broncos

Kansas City at San Diego
RIP Mr. Hunt. What an interesting scenario for Herm Edwards in this match up. The Chargers were 12-4 last season and won the AFC West only to lose to the Edwards-led Jets in the first round of the playoffs. Edwards is 4-1 lifetime against the Chargers. The Chiefs, however, have lost 4 of the last 6 in San Diego and are 2-4 on the road this season. The Chargers are playing for a first-round bye in this year's playoffs. The Chargers won a close game 30-27 at Kansas City in week 7.
Pick - Chargers

St. Louis at Oakland
Rams' fans have had a difficult season losing 7 of their last 8 after a promising 4-1 start. Steven Jackson (and possibly Stephen David) could have a big day against a Raiders defense that has somehow played well against the pass, but ranks 25th in the league in rush defense. The Ram rush defense is even worse, but the Faiders have demonstrated little ability to move the ball on offense and are dead last in the league in total yards/game.
Pick – Rams

Cincinnati at Indianapolis
The Bengals will obviously be challenging the Colt rush defense early and often on Sunday. How can a team with a defensive-minded coach like Dungy, rank dead last in rushing yards allowed per game? Perhaps too much Tampa Two? Look for Palmer and his great receiving trio to have a big game as well, as the Colts over compensate trying to stop Rudi Johnson.
Pick - Bengals

Last Week's Results: 9-7
Season to Date: 118-89

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