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After Wild Weekend, NFL Should Return to Normalcy

Column by Chris Brocoum
Sports Columnist

Well rested and relaxed from a long summer, I return ready to take on a new NFL season. Except I'm a week late. However, judging by some of the scores from Week 1, I wasn't the only one who wasn't in proper football form.

Lets talk about blowout for a second. Dallas over Pittsburgh 37­7? Sure the Steelers lost some key free agents over the summer but lets get real. The Patriots stomped San Diego 41­7? Maybe Bill Parcells wasn't such a key player after all. The Jets over Seattle 4­3? Amazing.

Then there is the injury factor. The Niners lost three players including Steve Young and Jerry Rice (supposedly out for six months). Suddenly the 49ers who only strengthened an impressive team over the off season adding Kevin Greene and Rod Woodson aren't looking so untouchable especially after choking against a decent Tampa Bay team.

It seems that now is the time to make some bold predictions. Hmmm. Well, Green Bay and Dallas figure to be power houses as usual in the NFC, but don't count out the Vikings or San Francisco, depending on what happens with the injury situation. Also keep an eye on the Redskins, they were surprising last year but they should be legitimately solid this year.

In the AFC, the Patriots definitely looked awesome last week, but they should be challenged by the Broncos. And I'd be hard pressed to bet on Jimmy Johnson and the Dolphins having another .500 year. Bear with me, but you know I have to put a word in for the Steelers. They will rebound strong after suffering their worst lost under Bill Cowher.

The Picks, week 2:

Buffalo got stomped last week and the Jets did some stomping. I can't believe I'm saying this but the N.Y.

Carolina should make easy work of the Falcons, especially after a tough loss to the 'Skins. Look for Carolina to come out hard.

Baltimore suffered a close loss to Jacksonville and Cincinnati pulled off an impressive comeback against Arizona. Take Baltimore.

The Tennessee Oilers. That name makes about as much sense as having the Carolina Panthers in the NFC West. Miami should have little trouble.

Minnesota at Chicago. Now this is a classic NFC rivalry. Minnesota will win but watch out for a nasty game. This is some real football right here.

New England's offense is running like a finely tuned machine. Drew Bledsoe had a career game. Indianapolis struggled against Miami. The Patriot's should continue to cruise.

New Orleans lost last week in a close overtime game. You gotta feel sorry for the poor guys, who says Ditka has lost his fury? San Diego should still be picking up the wreckage from the New England Express. You gotta go with Ditka.

San Francisco is coming to St. Louis. Injuries or not, San Fran is twice as good as St. Louis. Take the Niners.

Tampa Bay eeked one out last week over an injury ridden San Francisco team. You have to give them credit though, because they were the ones doing the injuring. Detroit all the way.

Washington­Pittsburgh. Authors note: I was born in Pittsburgh, raised in Maryland watching the 'Skins. How am I supposed to pick this one? As much as I like the Redskins, I think Bill Cowher is one of the best young coaches to come along in a while. He'll take the thumping Dallas dished out last week personally. The Steelers won't lose twice at Three Rivers.

Denver at Seattle. Is this a laugher or what? Denver beat K.C. by 13, Seattle lost to the Jets by 38. You do the math. Take Denver.

I think Philly has potential. They are potentially going to get wrecked by Green Bay.

The Giants are coming off a strong performance in Week 1. The Jaguars are coming off a strong performance last year in the playoffs. Jacksonville all the way.

Dallas Cowboys at Arizona. Well, I don't like the Boys. Never have and never will. But I have to admit they are a whole lot better than the Cardinals. Look for fighting amongst Barry Switzer and the other big Cowboy egos because they'll be bored by the end of the first quarter.

Monday Night Special: Both these former power houses seem to be in a state of limbo lately. Both teams have pride but the Raiders have mystique. Look for the Raiders to pull out a close one in Oakland.

Season record 0­0. Last season final, 98­67. Definitely need to break the century mark this yearŠ