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Browns, Steelers: Be careful what you wish for

September 22, 2011
By RICH GIBSON - Times Leader Sports Writer (rgibson@timesleaderonline.com) , Times Leader

Week number three is here in the NFL where games are never won on paper. However...

Steelers vs. Colts minus Peyton Manning. Browns at home vs. the 0-2 Dolphins.

It says here both could get caught napping and should consider a pre-game shot of 5-Hour Energy.

Elsewhere, a majority of too-close-to-call matchups are on Sunday's card which likely translates into my first sub-.500 weekend of expert analysis. Let the coin-flipping begin.

SUNDAY

MIAMI AT CLEVELAND. This one figures to go the distance with a late Phil Dawson field goal providing the outcome. Browns, 23-20.

SAN FRANCISCO AT CINCINNATI. Marvin Lewis and company will be stoked for their home opener while Niners are smarting after letting one get away last week. 49ers, 27-20.

NEW ENGLAND AT BUFFALO. This should be a reality check for 2-0 Bills, though I think they find a way to keep it close at home. Patriots, 24-17.

NEW YORK GIANTS AT PHILADELPHIA. With or without a healthy Michael Vick, Philly has enough to knock off the G-men. Eagles, 28-17.

JACKSONVILLE AT CAROLINA. After impressive season-opening win over Tennessee, Jaguars resembled roadkill last week in blowout loss to Jets. Go with the home team here and their young gun at quarterback. Panthers, 23-16.

DENVER AT TENNESSEE. Pair of 1-1 teams both looking to get over an early season hurdle. One of Sunday's most competitive games. Titans, 20-17.

DETROIT AT MINNESOTA. 0-2 Vikes have managed to surrender fourth quarter leads in both of their losses while Lions looking for unimaginable 3-0 start. Vikings, 27-23.

HOUSTON AT NEW ORLEANS. An early season test for a Houston club I see as legit postseason contenders. This would certainly be categorized a statement win. Texans, 30-28.

BALTIMORE AT ST. LOUIS. We're assuming Ravens received their wake-up call last week, though Rams' Sam Bradford appears a star in the making. Ravens, 24-20.

NEW YORK JETS AT OAKLAND. Jets seeking 3-0 start and should pull through, however, the Raiders' Nation will make their presence felt. Jets, 34-20.

KANSAS CITY AT SAN DIEGO. I'm not so sure 11 guys from Neffs couldn't line up and beat injury-riddled KC which appears in for a long, grueling season. Chargers, 28-13.

ATLANTA AT TAMPA BAY. Bucs came from nowhere to overtake Vikings last week. Lightning won't strike twice in the Bay. Falcons, 27-17.

GREEN BAY AT CHICAGO. NFC North head-knocker where Bears' defense is in for another long day. Packers, 33-17.

ARIZONA AT SEATTLE. Unimpressive Seahawks need a hug after enduring second road loss last week in Heinz Field. Cards, meanwhile, must work hard to mess this one up. Cardinals, 23-17.

SUNDAY NIGHT

PITTSBURGH AT INDIANAPOLIS. No rhyme or reason for Steelers to upchuck in Indy. Still, it's getting late and I need an Upset Special. Colts, 24-20.

MONDAY NIGHT

WASHINGTON AT DALLAS. Rex Grossman's early season run of good luck comes to a logical end while the 'Boys carry over momentum from last week's improbable OT win at Frisco. Cowboys, 31-17.

LAST WEEK: 11-5. SEASON: 21-11. UPSET SPECIALS: 1-1.

Gibson may be reached at rgibson@timesleaderonline.com

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