This is going to be a tough week to hognosticate with only a few 'easy picks,' and the results could play havoc on the weekly and possibly the seasonal hognostication standings. Not that I'll be a factor, and of course, it's usually those thought to be easy picks' that turn out to be the closer games and sometimes the biggest surprise upsets. Good luck to all and Merry Christmas.
Minnesota at Green Bay Brett Favre versus Alabama State, rookie Tavaris Jackson in his first start and at Lambeau and in late December. As for the series between these two teams, it doesn't get much closer at 45-45-1. I like Favre over a rookie any day, but particularly, late in the season at Lambeau. The Packers defense has played better as of late, and the loss of Viking CB Cedric Griffin (listed as doubtful neck) will benefit that Packers' strength, their passing game. This will also place Smoot back into the Viking secondary and give off season shoppers a chance to see where Fred's head is at these days.
Kansas City at Oakland Ok, so maybe this is a gimme. The Chiefs should take out three weeks worth of frustration on the hapless Faiders.
Carolina at Atlanta How could Vick celebrate his all-time season QB rushing record and then take himself out of a close game at such a critical point in the game and season? And now he states that his groin is fine? We'll see on Sunday. Delhomme is still listed as questionable, and Wenke has played poorly in his place, as expected, as he is 1-16 as a starter.
Tennessee at Buffalo Tough pick. Five straight wins for the Titans. Just think if they had started Young from the start. This is as good as a playoff game for both teams. The loser is more than likely done, and the winner moves on in the playoff race. I think the Titans' winning streak comes to an end.
Tampa Bay at Cleveland Based on Tim Rattay's and the Bucs' play last weekend against the Bears in the overtime thriller, I'm going with the Bucs. I don't think I've picked the Brownies all season. Why start now?
Chicago at Detroit Another pick that should be a no-brainer. Of course the Bears did struggle against the Cardinals earlier this season and the Bucs last week. Go ahead, pick the Lions; I need some help in the standings.
Indianapolis at Houston The Colts will have an easier time than Baltimore keeping pace for the 2nd seed in the AFC. Coming off a big win Monday night with their confidence restored, they should have no problem with the Texans. David Carr will be pressing, as he needs this upset to save his job.
New England at Jacksonville Hmmm ... the Jags are 6-1 at home this season, the Patriots are 5-1 on the road. My hunch is the Jags have much more to play for than do the Pats, as the Pats can lose and still win their division next week in Tennessee. Warning this could be fool's logic; picking against the Patriots is always a hard thing to do, and the Jags have been unpredictable all season.
New Orleans at New York Giants This will be Tiki's last hurrah at Giant Stadium. The Giants need help to make the playoffs, even if they win out, thanks to last week's disappointing loss to Philthy. The Saints are in and playing the next two weeks for the NFC's second seed. So technically the Midgets have much more to play for; however, my gut tells me the Saints have no intention of dropping two in a row to an NFC East opponent.
Baltimore at Pittsburgh This is a mighty tough pick. The Steelers haven't lost since being shut out by the Raisins in week 12, 0-27. Once again, I'll pick based on the premise that the Steelers have much more to play for. On paper, this looks like a stupid pick.
Washington at St. Louis The Sheep think they're baaaaaad, with three pro-bowlers on their offense (Bulger, Holt and Jackson) and their easy shut-out of the Faiders last week. Time to bring the Sheep back down to earth. They really are baaaaaad, and playoffs for the Sheep ... I think not.
Arizona at San Francisco Amazingly, both these teams have beaten their division rival and the defending NFC Champion, Seahawks, in the past two weeks and the 49ers have an outside shot at a division title, if they win out and the Seahawks lose out. These teams are just way too unpredictable. I'll take the 9ers at home.
Cincinnati at Denver The weather could play a major role in this match up. Carson Palmer has an ailing shoulder and possible rotator cuff problems. The cold won't help that ache. Jay Cutler is playing better each week and should take advantage of the Bengals pass defense which ranks last in the league. Besides all that, I'd still pick the Broncos at home with a better defense and running game.
San Diego at Seattle The Seahawks are fortunate to play in such a weak division and would be in the middle or cellar of any other division in the league. As mentioned, after beating the Broncos in week 13, they've lost in consecutive weeks to the Cardinals and the 49ers, and are still not guaranteed a division title or a playoff birth. The Chargers, with the win, will cement a bye in the first round of the playoffs, and accompanied by a Baltimore loss, would secure home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Pick - Chargers
Philadelphia at Dallas This is a game where those of us that bleed burgundy and gold are torn as to who we despise most. Personally, it's the Pukes, and I'd love to see them fold like a taco and forfeit the divisional title to Philthy a McNabbless Philthy at that. That said, and as has become an awful habit, I'll take the Pukes at home and root against my pick once more.
New York Jets at Miami The Jets have won 3 of 4 and beat the Dolphins earlier this season, but even if they win out, will need some help to make the playoffs. Chad Pennington is hot and lit up the Vikings last weekend with a career high 339 yards passing, completing over 74% of his passes. The Jets have played better on the road this season, than at home. The Fish on the other hand are unpredictable, coming in after being shut out by the Bills last week following a shut-out of their own against the Patriots. Will the Dolphin defense be enough? This one will be close and is anybody's guess.
Pick - Jets