by Rick Rockwell
This season's predictions are now up to the same rate of success as last year, if you only use last week as a guide. Sure, your semi-friendly prognosticator judged incorrectly when it came to the champion Pittsburgh Steelers, but how could we have predicted Ben "Big Ben" Roethlisberger's stomach flu? Let's hope his black cloud does not affect our numbers this week.
Last Week: .688
This Season: .656
Game of the Week: Bengals at Steelers
Some folks forget the Bengals won their division last year. Despite the way the Steelers were shut down on Monday night, they always come alive home at Heinz Field. Take the World Champs.
Packers at Lions
This is a real Loser's Bowl, but because both teams will play sloppy unwieldy games it will be close and fun to watch. Who knows, with these teams, this could decide who gets the NFL's first draft choice. The Lions win at home.
Jaguars at Colts
Like the game in Pittsburgh, this will be playoff caliber football, but the Colts have the edge at home.
Rams at Cardinals
Both of these teams are inconsistent and underachieving. But someone has to win, right? Take the Rams in a close one.
Broncos at Patriots, Sunday Night
Both of these teams have not come up to full steam this year yet, but this game should do the trick. The Patriots have some avenging to do, considering how the refs helped Denver beat them in the playoffs last year. Take the Patriots at home.
Panthers at Buccaneers
The loser of this one will be winless and likely out of the running in the very competitive NFC South. Look for the Panthers to start their rebound here and bury the Bucs.
Jets at Bills
So the underappreciated Bills (yes, this column had written them off until they bit the Dolphins hard) are better than they looked at first glance, due to a hard-hitting defense. The Jets will keep it close but the Bills will win by at least a field goal.
Bears at Vikings
The Vikings have proven to be the Upset Kings of 2006. Can they do it again this week? I am no longer a doubter. That purple team that can't seem to get any respect knocks off the swaggering Bears.
Ravens at Browns
The Ravens' defense is as bone-crushing as they come. The Browns will not survive.
Eagles at 49ers
The Eagles will want to vent some anger over their choke of last week. The 49ers will be the victims.
Giants at Seahawks
This matchup produced one of the best games last season. Too many folks doubt the Giants this year though. If Tiki Barber is healthy, New York will show that Seattle is still a bit listless from its Super Bowl Hangover. Pick Big Blue.
Titans at Dolphins
The Dolphins are due to wake up from their trance right about now. The Titans are a great cure for a winless record.
Falcons at Saints, Monday Night
This game is a must-see just to witness New Orleans' spirit revived with the reopening of the Super Dome. However, the Saints will only be able to ride that emotion for about a half. The Falcons should explode to a big win in the latter half of the game.
Washington at the Texans
This week the outcome should be different when Washington travels to Texas. Washington needs this win badly. The Texans just know how to lose badly. Pick Joe Gibbs and his crew.
After this week, the season should settle into a nice groove. Enjoy!
by Rick Rockwell