Expect an Offensive Battle Sunday As the Steelers, Bengals Face Off
By Yong-yi Zhu
ASSOCIATE SPORTS EDITOR
Here’s a preview of this week’s NFL games:
Game of the Week: Steelers at Bengals
Big Ben is back and that means trouble for the Bengals, who almost lost to the Titans last week. The Steelers now know how much they need their starting quarterback. This game will be high scoring with two talented offenses. The Steelers will win by correcting the mistakes they made against the Jaguars last week.
Upset Special: Chargers at Eagles
The bettors may be billing the Eagles in this game, but I think Chargers RB LaDanian Tomlinson will be too much for that Philadelphia defense. He put on a major show last week and will continue to build his resume this week. The Eagles will score a lot too, but because of their week off, they will not be as sharp. Look for the Bolts to win by a field goal.
Packers at Vikings: Two teams that are both suffering after playoff seasons last year will make a good match up. The Vikings finally understand the value of Randy Moss, as QB Daunte Culpepper can do nothing without him. They also don’t have a rushing defense. The Packers are well rested after a 52-point romp and bye week. The Cheeseheads will win by at least a TD.
49ers at Redskins: The ’Skins may have suffered a tough loss against the Chiefs last week, but their run defense looked solid. Since the 49ers don’t have a run or a passing game, they won’t muster up much scoring against the Washington defense. Take the Skins and give the points.
Cowboys at Seahawks: The Boys underachieved against the Giants last week but still won. Hawks’ RB Shawn Alexander is about as far from underperforming as you can get. He will run well against Dallas but won’t get four TD’s like last week. I still look for Seattle to take the game by a touchdown or more.
Ravens at Bears: Can you just picture a 2-0 game? Two of the stingiest defenses collide, both coming off of division wins. Somehow, Chicago exploded last week against the Vikings, and if they were able to neutralize the Viking offense, they will stop Ravens’ QB Anthony Wright.
Broncos at Giants: The Broncos will win this game after their big romp over New England. They don’t have the greatest passing defense in the world so Giants QB Eli Manning will be successful, but they will run well against the Giants’ defense.
Bills at Raiders: Kelly Holcomb worked out well last week and against a horrible Oakland pass defense; he will do just fine. Bills’ RB Willis McGahee will play well also. The Bills will win outright: Oakland cannot contain the Bills offense and also can’t score without a running game.
Lions at Browns: Lions’ QB Joey Harrington is struggling even with his talented receivers. Thank goodness for the Browns, who have a terrible passing defense. QB Trent Dilfer is going to be harassed a bit by the Lions secondary, which will cost Cleveland the game.
Titans at Cardinals: The Cardinals lose games even though they play in the horrid NFC West and have a prolific offense. The Titans challenged the Bengals last week and should win outright in the desert simply because Steve McNair is a great field general.
Jets at Falcons: I had too much faith in Vinny last week, picking the Jets over the Bills. I won’t make the same mistake twice. The Falcons are still elated over the penalty call that saved them a trip to overtime against the Saints. They should limit the Jets’ passing game as Mike Vick and Warrick Dunn run all over the place.
Saints at Rams: QB Marc Bulger is not playing this weekend. That means complete ineffectiveness for the Ram offense and a convincing win by the Saints.
Chiefs at Dolphins: The Dolphins gave up major rushing yardage last week, and this week will be no different. The Chiefs will win this game by a wide margin.
Colts at Texans: A team that hasn’t won will host a team that hasn’t lost. Enough said. Houston will lose by three touchdowns; Dom Capers will lose his job.