Steelers, Browns, Bengals seek to avert 0-2 starts
This column strugged to an 8-7 NFL opening week report card. In fact, we needed both Monday night outcomes (Ravens, Chargers) to avoid a sub .500 start.
But our struggles paled to those achieved by the Browns, Bengals and Steelers, each of whom fell to the Eagles, Ravens and Broncos, respectively.
Pat Shurmar’s Browns did make it close, dropping a one-point reversal to Philly in a comedy of errors. Cincinnati was schooled by Joe Flacco who passed for 299 yards in Baltimore’s convincing victory.
Pittsburgh, meanwhile, played Peyton Manning and Denver close to the vest before eventually succumbing, 31-19.
History indicates teams which endure 0-2 starts face difficult odds in rebounding to earn postseason berths, thus the local trio experience a legitimate sense of urgency to rebound this weekend.
The same holds true for this column!
CHICAGO AT GREEN BAY. Count the Packers among those seeking to avert starting their season at 0-2. The Pack was outplayed at home vs. a sound San Francisco combine. Hard to imagine Green & Gold duplicating that feat in one if the league’s most spiritied rivalries. PACKERS, 30-17.
ARIZONA AT NEW ENGLAND. Unexpected week one win for the Redbirds. They’re in for a reality check Sunday at Foxborough. PATRIOTS, 37-14.
TAMPA BAY AT NEW YORK GIANTS. Bucs played exceptional defense in holding off Carolina while G-Men were surprised by Cowboys. ‘Nuff said. GIANTS, 33-13.
NEW ORLEANS AT CAROLINA. One of week two’s most intriguing matchups between two teams who were disappointments in their respective openers. SAINTS, 27-23.
BALTIMORE AT PHILADELPHIA. Flacco and company were dominant, though they’re coming off a short work week and must play in hostile territory. RAVENS, 17-14.
HOUSTON AT JACKSONVILLE. Jags nearly pulled out improbable last-minute win at Minnesota, only to allow a game-tying 55-yard field goal before falling in OT. Housron will have its hands full. TEXANS, 24-21.
OAKLAND AT MIAMI. Dolphins were humbled by Houston and are staging their home opener vs. erratic Oakland. So, here’s our upset specisl. RAIDERS, 28-20.
KANSAS CITY AT BUFFALO. These two combined to yield 40 and 48 points, respectively in week one losses. Buffalo rates the nod here based on home field advantage. BILLS, 20-16.
CLEVELAND AT CINCINNATI. Following Baltimore blowout, Marvin Lewis personally requested week two visit from Brownies. BENGALS, 38-14.
MINNESOTA AT INDIANAPOLIS. Andrew Luck appears to have a terrific career ahead. At home, the league’s first round draft pick could well earn his initial victory. But….VIKINGS, 27-21.
WASHINGTON AT ST. LOUIS. Dubious debut for RG3 who played like a well-schooled vet in ‘Skins’ week one road win in Big Easy. A letdown seems likely and isn’t out of the question. REDSKINS, 24-17.
DALLAS AT SEATTLE. Speaking of letdowns, Dallas is primed for one in the Pacific Northwest. Still, Tony Romo should play well enough to pull one out. COWBOYS, 19-17.
NEW YORK JETS AT PITTSBURGH. Gang Green certainly got Dick Lebeau’s attention, piling up 48 points against Buffalo. No such repeat performance in Heinz Field where Black & Gold must turn it up on both sides of the ball. STEELERS, 28-17.
TENNESSEE AT SAN DIEGO . Titans smarting from home field downer vs. New England. Which equals a rebound victory. TITANS, 31-17.
DETROIT AT SAN FRANCISCO. Should be another ratings bonanza for NBC. Lions could be in over their heads. 49ERS, 27-17.
DENVER AT ATLANTA. No mile high help for Peyton this week who absorbs first setback vs. an impressive Atlanta combine. FALCONS, 30-20.
LAST WEEK: 8-7. UPSET SPECIAL 0-1.
Gibson may be reached at email@example.com