Look for Roethlisberger, Steelers To Defeat the Patriots on Sunday
ASSOCIATE SPORTS EDITOR
Here’s a roundup of this week’s NFL action:
Game of the Week: Patriots at Steelers
Easily the game of the week, this might be a preview of the AFC title game. The Steelers ended the Pats long winning streak last year, and then lost to them in the playoffs. This will be heavyweight boxing match, part three.
The Patriots looked flat against Carolina last week, mostly because QB Tom Brady was ineffective. Pittsburgh QB Big Ben Roethlisberger, on the other hand, looked comfortable. The key will be Pats RB Corey Dillon, who also wasn’t great last week. They need him to keep in stride with the Steeler offense. But with no Charlie Weis, no Romeo Crennel, I’ll take Big Ben this weekend.
Upset Special: Buccaneers at Packers
Favre will not go 0–3 this year, even if he were missing his arms and legs. The Packers may not have Jevon Walker, but the trio of Robert Ferguson, Donald Driver and Ahman Green will break through the Bucs defense. This game will be close, but the Cheeseheads will prevail for their first win of the season.
Bengals at Bears: This was almost the game of the week. Bengals QB Carson Palmer is going to have to face a team that’s only given up 15 points in two games. In fact, the Bears have scored more touchdowns on defense and special teams than their two opponents have total. They will have enough D to keep Palmer and RB Rudi Johnson in check.
Falcons at Bills: Another great game, assuming the Bills offense wakes up from its total shutdown last week. The rushing attack of the Falcons also needs to pick it up. Both teams are coming off losses and will be pumped to redeem themselves. The Falcons have the better team and should win by a touchdown or more.
Panthers at Dolphins: I doubted the Panthers last week. I will never doubt them again, especially not against the Ricky-less Dolphins. When you beat the Patriots, you get a freebie your next game, as far as I’m concerned. The Dolphins’ spiral of doom will continue; they will not be able to run the ball at all.
Jaguars at Jets: Maybe Jag’s OC Carl Smith isn’t such a genius after all. The Jags managed nothing offensively against the Colts. The Jets, on the other hand, reminded the Dolphins that Miami is still pretty bad. Will Jets QB Pennington heat up enough to take down the Jags defense? I think so.
Giants at Chargers: The question is not who will win, but how much Giants QB Eli Manning will be booed when he is introduced. The Giants will put up a bigger fight than people think. The Chargers, however, will rebound from their heartbreaking loss to the Broncos. They may not win by a touchdown, but they’ll win nonetheless.
Saints at Vikings: The Saints looked a little lackluster in the game Monday night; maybe it was because Giants’ stadium isn’t actually their home field. Vikes QB Daunte Culpepper has to play better at some point; hopefully for the Vikings, it will come before September ends. Can it get worse for him than eight interceptions and no TD passes? I’m going with the Vikings and giving the points to the Saints; betting Culpepper finally awakens from his long summer slumber.
Titans at Rams: Two average teams will play a closer game than you think. The Rams are favored by a touchdown, but I’d stay away from them. The Titans might not win the game, but they won’t lose by that much.
Cardinals at Seahawks: The Seahawks had a huge win against the Falcons last week. If they can beat Falcons QB Vick, they should be able to manhandle Cards QB Kurt Warner, who has thrown almost 90 passes with only one TD.
Chiefs at Broncos: The Broncos had nice run defense last week. They’re going to need it again this week against the two-headed monster of Chiefs RBs Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson. I don’t see them doing as good a job as they did against Tomlinson last week.
Cowboys at 49ers: What happened to the Cowboys Monday night? The 49ers will be a good way to get that meltdown.
Browns at Colts: The Browns may have been my upset special last week, but this week they will be pummeled by the Colts. Maybe that Colt defense isn’t so fake after all.
Raiders at Eagles: Two teams with the two best receivers in the NFL can’t make this game worth watching. The Eagles will land in the endzone early and often. The Raiders will go home 0–3.