NFC East: Merril Hoge

NFC Beast Predictions Post

December, 12, 2009
12/12/09
4:57
PM ET
Every Saturday during the season, I make my predictions for games involving NFC East teams. I'm really riding the fence on both the Eagles-Giants and Cowboys-Chargers games. The Eagles have owned the Giants in December and early January, but Tom Coughlin's team is as healthy as it's been in a couple months and the Eagles don't have a lot of veteran leadership.

But before I unveil my predictions, let's take a look at what the experts from Bristol came up with this week. Merril Hoge has been on a roll this season, but he's coming off a rare 8-8 week. Mike Golic went 10-6 during a week where there were some upsets, so let's keep an eye on him.

The esteemed panel came to a split decision on Cowboys-Chargers. Eric Allen, Mark Schlereth, Golic and Hoge went with San Diego. Ron Jaworski, Chris Mortensen, Adam Schefter and Seth Wickersham picked the Cowboys.

Beast prediction: Cowboys 31, Chargers 28

I was shocked that Schefter was the only human panelist to pick the Giants. That doesn't make a lot of sense to me -- especially since the game's being played in Giants Stadium. I think the desperate-team theory will work again for the Giants this week.

Beast prediction: Giants, 21, Eagles 17

Golic, Hoge, Schlereth, Schefter and Wickersham are all picking the Raiders to beat the Redskins. I think Jason Campbell will take advantage of the Raiders' man coverage and have a big day.

Beast prediction: Redskins 21, Raiders 13

Video: Dealing with concussions

November, 23, 2009
11/23/09
10:44
AM ET
video
Merril Hoge discusses how the NFL should handle players with concussions.

Beast Predictions: Eagles by a field goal

November, 8, 2009
11/08/09
7:00
AM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

Before I make my weekly predictions, let's take a look at what the ESPN selection panel came up with for today's NFC East games. Of the eight esteemed panelists, only two picked the Cowboys to win at the Linc tonight. That would be Merril Hoge and Adam Schefter.

The panel has lost a lot of respect for the Giants during this three-game losing streak. Four guys picked the Chargers to walk into Giants Stadium and hand New York its fourth consecutive loss. Eric Allen, Mike Golic, Mark Schlereth and Seth Wickersham all picked the Chargers.

As you probably expected, all eight panelists picked the Falcons over the Redskins. It would be nice for someone other than Dan Snyder to go out on a limb and pick the Redskins, but it would also be foolish at this point in the season. I do have a feeling that the Redskins will keep this one close in the first half. OK, here are the Beast predictions:

Eagles 24, Cowboys 21: The game will live up to all the hype and David Akers will nail the game-winner late in the fourth quarter. I like how Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is playing right now, but he doesn't have a good history against the Eagles. Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott doesn't think Romo responds well to contact and that's why you'll see a lot more blitzes than he called against the Giants last Sunday.

Giants 31, Chargers 20: They desperately need a win -- and I think this is a bad spot for the Chargers. The Giants could get a couple of players back on defense, which will make them a lot more versatile. Philip Rivers is going to get hit a lot in this game. I also think Eli Manning will play well against a Chargers defense that doesn't like to blitz a lot. It's imperative that the Giants get off to a fast start in this game. I think that's exactly what will happen for them.

Falcons 27, Redskins 10: The Falcons have lost two straight games for the first time during the Mike Smith era. I don't think the Redskins are poised to make it three in a row. New play-caller Sherman Lewis has had more time to familiarize himself with the personnel, but with tight end Chris Cooley out of the lineup, there aren't many weapons. I think the Falcons will overwhelm the Redskins' inexperienced offensive line.

OK, have a wonderful Sunday. I'll be in Philly for Cowboys-Eagles.

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