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Expect the Browns and Steelers to bounce back

September 15, 2011
By RICH GIBSON - Times Leader Sports Writer (rgibson@timesleaderonline.com) , Times Leader

All things considered, I'll take a 10-6 opening week ledger in this perilous business of forecasting National Football League outcomes.

The good: I felt relatively confident tabbing Big Ben and the Steelers to take a bird bath in Baltimore. The final score (35-7) is of little concern. Seven turnovers gets you toasted almost anywhere.

The bad: Cleveland's incredulous fourth quarter meltdown on a play I'm still finding hard to believe.

The ugly: My confidence in selecting Kansas City at home was rewarded in a 41-7 beatdown by Buffalo.

Does it get any better? Don't bet on it.

SUNDAY

SEATTLE AT PITTSBURGH: Hard to imagine the Black & Gold not responding in their home opener at Heinz Field vs. another flock of dirty birds. Steelers, 27-13.

CLEVELAND AT INDIANAPOLIS: Call me crazy, as most readers have over the years. But I truly like Colt McCoy and his teammates to make immediate amends for last week's fiasco. That is, assuming Peyton Manning hasn't discovered a miracle comeback cure. Browns, 17-13.

OAKLAND AT BUFFALO. I've visited both of these cities and can't say I'm in any hurry to return. Bison continue to roll. Bills, 28-17.

KANSAS CITY AT DETROIT: Everything here points to another feel-good Lions' victory in their home opener. Instead, make this my week two Upset Special. Chiefs, 21-14.

GREEN BAY AT CAROLINA: How about that rookie QB named Newton? Arizona held him to 400-plus passing yards in a superb NFL debut. The stadium will be rocking in Charlotte. Never mind. Packers, 30-14.

ARIZONA AT WASHINGTON: One of Sunday's most competitive matchups in our nation's Capitol where Rex Grossman makes a subtle return to Planet Earth. Cardinals, 20-16.

BALTIMORE AT TENNESSEE: Ravens will still be feeling it after their satisfying division KO of Pittsburgh. A letdown seems inevitable. But can the Titans take advantage? Not quite. Ravens, 24-17.

JACKSONVILLE AT NEW YORK JETS: Jags scored gritty week one win over Tennessee while Rex Ryan and company did likewise in rallying past Dallas. No such drama expected in this one. Jets, 27-10.

TAMPA BAY AT MINNESOTA: Both suffered tough season-opening losses by a touchdown. Purple Gang should be the first to get well. Vikings, 30-21.

CHICAGO AT NEW ORLEANS: Bears were off the chart great in gunning down Falcons last week. Unlikely, though, they can duplicate that performance in the Big Easy. Saints, 28-13.

SAN DIEGO AT NEW ENGLAND: All kinds of pressure on Chargers' defense after watching NE nearly score at will vs. Miami. Brady Bunch looks awesome early-on. Patriots, 31-20.

HOUSTON AT MIAMI: Dolphins catch no early break, facing pair of high-octane scoring machines to start their season. Keep your eye on Matt Schaub and company this fall. Texans, 34-21.

CINCINNATI AT DENVER: Marvin Lewis just got a call from NASA. His team has officially come back down to earth. Broncos, 35-14.

DALLAS AT SAN FRANCISCO: Tony Romo can't wait to put that game one nightmare behind him. Niners, however, won't go down easy. Cowboys, 24-21.

PHILADELPHIA AT ATLANTA: Falcons have work cut out and will likely need a lights-out performance in this prime time battle of the birds. Eagles, 14-10.

MONDAY

ST. LOUIS AT NEW YORK GIANTS. Always a treat watching Giants' coach Tom Coughlin's usually classic sideline reaction when things aren't going well. Someone here is destined for an 0-2 start. Giants, 23-16.

LAST WEEK: 10-6.

Gibson may be reached at rgibson@timesleaderonline.com

 
 

 

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