Look for the Steelers’ Defense To Top Jacksonville on Sunday
By Yong-yi Zhu
ASSOCIATE SPORTS EDITOR
This week’s NFL Roundup:
Game of the Week: Jaguars at Steelers
The Steelers might not have QB Ben Roethlisberger or even Tommy Maddox, but they still have a terrific defense. They also have the Bus to carry them. However, Pittsburgh will need to get through John Henderson and Marcus Stroud of the Jags’ interior defensive line. The Jaguars are coming off a big Sunday night victory and are probably too excitable to win another big one. I look for the Steelers to win a huge defensive battle, by less than a field goal.
Upset Special: Vikings at Bears
The Bears’ defense might be great, but that’s not enough to compensate for the Kyle Orton-led offense. The Vikings are being given three points, but I have a gut feeling that they are going to win this game outright. Vikes QB Daunte Culpepper will find the end zone more often than he has in previous games.
Patriots at Broncos: The Patriots gave up 298 passing yards to Matt Schaub. When was the last time Matt Schaub passed for any yards, let alone that many? Denver QB Jake Plummer is just a bit better than Schaub and the Denver running game will dominate the Pats’ run defense. The Broncos will probably win by a touchdown or more.
Dolphins at Buccaneers: This game reunites the two Auburn running backs who should have won a national title together. We now know how good that Tiger team really was, considering the difference both are making in their respective clubs. But at the end of the day, the Cadillac will be king, and the Bucs will win by at least a touchdown.
Panthers at Lions: If the Panthers can only beat the Cardinals by four points, they might have trouble against the Lions. Let’s just say that Panthers RB Stephen Davis needs to carry for more than 46 yards if Carolina is to win the game. Lions QB Joey Harrington should still be deported in my opinion.
Bengals at Titans: The Bengals suffered a tough loss against the Jags last week, but against the Titans, they should not have nearly as much trouble. RB Rudy Johnson will run well against Tennessee since the Titans gave up 130 yards to Dominic Davis. The Bengals are three-point favorites, but should win by more than that.
Browns at Ravens: The Ravens’ defense was decimated last week by the Lions’ rushing attack. However, Browns RB Reuben Droughns should not present them any problems. The Ravens are coming off a tough loss while the Browns are coming off a big win. The result will easily be flipped this time around.
Giants at Cowboys: We saw two weeks ago why Giants QB Eli is a Manning. Unfortunately for him, the Cowboys are playing well, especially after having picked apart the Eagle defense. The Cowboys QB Drew Bledsoe, with his experience, will be the difference maker. The Cowboys will win by a couple of touchdowns.
Redskins at Chiefs: Perhaps I was na ve in going with the Redskins last week; I won’t make the same mistake again. The Chiefs have what it takes to get through the Skins’ defense, especially from the running game. The Arrowheaders will win the game, but probably not by a full touchdown.
Texans at Seahawks: RB Sean Alexander is a wrecking ball in the Seahawks’ offense, and apparently so is QB Matt Hasselbeck. Two touchdowns and 316 yards scored last week mean that Seattle is probably going to crush the Texans. The only difference between Houston and Tennessee is that the Seahawks will destroy the Texans in primetime, rather than the afternoon.
Rams at Colts: The Colts continue to roll. Without Coach Mike Martz, the Rams are a sinking ship without a captain. But I wouldn’t give the Colts two touchdowns. Somewhere between 7 and 10 points is more likely to be the margin of victory.
Chargers at Raiders: The Chargers played the Steelers tough Monday night; they won’t have to do nearly as much against the Raiders this Sunday. The Bolts will win by at least a touchdown.
Jets at Bills: QB Vinny Testaverde didn’t prevent the Jets from losing last week, but the fact that the Jets only gave up four field goals was ridiculously impressive. The Bills are not even the caliber of team that the Bucs were. Look for this one to be an upset by the Jets.
Falcons at Saints: Falcons QB Matt Schaub may be a better quarterback than Michael Vick, but he is not a better player. Now that Vick is back against the Saints, the Falcons will get on track dominating the running game and relying less on the pass. The Falcons will win this game by a touchdown.