In a Sunday Showdown Of Two Top AFC Teams, Expect a Chargers Win
By Yong-yi Zhu
Here’s what to expect on Sunday in the NFL:
Game of the Week: Chiefs at Chargers
What a game this will be. It pits two of the best teams in the AFC against one another. The Chiefs’ defense will not hold back Chargers RB LaDanian Tomlinson, and he will continue his romp of defenses. On the other hand, the Chiefs running game will be pretty powerful as well. I would take the Chargers because they know they need to get on track to make the playoffs.
Upset Special: Eagles at Broncos
The Eagles limited LaDanian Tomlinson to just seven yards for the entire game last week. They will need to contain the Broncos rushing game to win this week. I see them doing more than that: they will go back to the ground game and also give the Chargers a big dose of WR Terrel Owens. The Broncos want victory after their last minute collapse to the Giants this week, but this NFC East opponent is just too tough.
Redskins at Giants: The difference in this game will be Giants’ QB Eli Manning’s poise. He has grown right before our eyes and is now ready to take the Giants back to the playoffs.
Cardinals at Cowboys: The Cowboys will rebound from the tough loss to Seattle last week and beat up on the Cardinals. Arizona took advantage of a Steve McNair-less Tennessee team, but this week, the Cowboys will not be so easy to push over.
Bears at Lions: The Lions have a much better shot now that Jeff Garcia is their quarterback. With him at the helm and the core of receivers that the Lions have, they can go on a real playoff run. The Bears have a good passing defense, but an even better run defense. I see the Lions winning this one, simply because Garcia is just a better quarterback than Kyle Orton.
Browns at Texans: The bettors are actually billing the Texans as the favorites in this game. I highly doubt that will be the result. The Browns did not have a good performance against the Lions, but QB Trent Dilfer is at least an experienced quarterback. Besides, they can always rely on RB Reuben Droughns.
Packers at Bengals: This one could end up being a lot closer than it appears on paper. After losing a big game like last week, the Packers will be more disciplined. They will stick to the running game and be as physical as they can with the Bengals. I would take the Packers to lose by less than a touchdown.
Jaguars at Rams: St. Louis needs to run the ball because QB Jamie Martin will not get it going against the Jaguar secondary. However, establishing the run will be tough, as Marcus Stroud and John Henderson are a major force in the middle of the Jaguars’ line. The bettors are giving the Rams a field goal, I think the Jags are going to win by more than that.
Vikings at Panthers: The Vikings pulled out a miracle last week. Daunte Culpepper finally showed some poise in putting together a game winning drive. The Panthers won’t give them the chance to do that this week. The Panthers are going to win by a touchdown or more.
Dolphins at Saints: The Saints have been inconsistent. They could not stop the run last week, and they won’t stop the Dolphin running backs this week. Miami will win this game because the Saints have a horrible rush defense.
Ravens at Steelers: This should be a bigger defensive showdown than people might expect. The Ravens will lose, but they will keep the Steelers closer than Pittsburgh would like. I don’t expect this to be more than a one score game.
Buccaneers at 49ers: Last week, a good defense and a decent offense killed the 49ers. This week will be a little better, but the end result should still be the same. Take the Bucs and give the points in this game.
Raiders at Titans: No QB Steve McNair, no win for the Titans against the Raiders. I know Titans QB Volek is a good passer. He’s just not a good field general.
Bills at Patriots: The Patriots finally begin the easier part of their schedule. They are well rested and should defeat the Bills by two touchdowns.