Hognostications: Wildcard Weekend
It’s time for Daniel Snyder to get his props not only for coaxing a Hall of Fame coach with nothing to prove out of retirement, but for now retaining Coach Williams with a record-breaking contract. What a pleasure to see some continuity on our sideline - hopefully for years to come. Way to go Mr. Snyder! A visit from Portis’ mom ought to be scheduled for the next sportswriter who decides to jump on the Snyder bashing bandwagon.
Washington at Tampa Bay
It payback time not only for week 10’s questionable loss, but also for the Divisional Round loss in ’99 when the Skins had a 13 point lead in the second half, only to turn the ball over twice and lose 13-14. And who can forget the botched ‘snap’ on the game winning field goal attempt? Interestingly, if the Skins had won in week 10, they would have been the second seed instead of the sixth seed, emerging from a tangle of four 11-5 teams thanks to an 11-1 conference record. Portis has had huge games in each of his two trips as a Skin to Tampa; expect that trend to continue. The Skins’ defense shut down the Buc rushing offense in week 10, but gave up too many big pass plays. Not this week. Chris Simms will not toss another three touchdowns in this one, regardless of Springs’ status. Welcome back Carlos. Now get out there and shut down Galloway!
Pick – Redskins
Jacksonville at New England
Del Rio is taking a gamble by starting Leftwich after a six week absence, figuring that Leftwich can take advantage of the Pat’s poor pass defense (ranked 31st in the League). Cold weather and Leftwich’s rustiness ought to have an impact on the ability to throw the ball, however. Also, the Jags have benefited and are in the playoffs because of a weak second half schedule. That along with a banged up defense will hurt them against a team that knows when to step up and win big games. The Patriots dropkick the Jags back to Jacksonville.
Pick – Patriots
Carolina at New York Giants
The loss of Antonio Pierce (who may be out for the remainder of the season) is a huge loss for the Giants, and I believe this will hurt the Giants eventually. If the Panther defense can step up and Steve Smith can take advantage of a poor Giant pass defense, this one might come down to the wire. However, I lost a lot of respect for the Panthers defense in their critical loss to the lowly Cowgirls, giving up 214 rushing yards. If the Pukes can run all over the Panther defense at home, look for Tiki to have a big day and open up the passing game for Eli and Plaxico at Giants Stadium.
Pick – Giants
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati
Talk about a fun match-up. This is the third meeting of these divisional rivals, with a split during the regular season (each team winning on the road). Willie Parker ran all over the Bungles in Cincy in the first meeting. I believe another strong dose of the running game is in store for the defensively challenged Bungles. Although the Bungles are at home, I have a hard time picking a team that is coming off two losses: the first a loss at home to the Bills and the second a spanking at the Chiefs. Kansas City was already out of the playoffs and still held the Bungles offense to just three points with a suspect defense of their own - regardless of whom Cincy played. Besides, I’ll always pick the team with the better defense and an emphasis on the running game.
Pick – Steelers
Last Week’s Results: 9-7
Season To Date: 167-89
This article was released on 2006-01-04.
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