by Rick Rockwell
One week into the season and already fans in Washington, Dallas, Denver and other cities are in panic mode. Lose your opener and your team has less of a chance to make the playoffs, but one game does not a season make. Last week, your semi-friendly prognosticator was a bit off from last season but still did better than a coin flip.
Last Week: .625
Last Season: .689
Game of the Week: Chiefs at Broncos
The toughest division in the National Football League (NFL) is still the American Football Conference (AFC) West. The loser of this one could be in a deep hole at least for the first half of the season. So much for my prediction that the Chiefs would win this division. Not with quarterback Trent Green on his back recovering from a wicked hit last Sunday. The Broncos take this at home.
Cardinals at Seahawks
With all the talent the Cardinals have, they will make this game close. But not close enough. The Seahawks will show Kurt Warner and his bunch they are still one level better.
Washington at Cowboys, Sunday Night
The loser here could be in deep trouble in the league’s second toughest division, the National Football Conference (NFC) East. Like last year, legendary coach Joe Gibbs sneaks off with the win in Dallas.
Raiders at Ravens
These are two hard hitting teams that are both bursting with talent. But the Raiders are still under-achievers. The Ravens soar in a close one.
Steelers at Jaguars, Monday Night
The Jaguars always seem to surprise the rest of the league. Not this year after dismantling Dallas on opening day. So now they are the favorites against the World Champs? I learned the hard way last week: don’t pick against the Champs, even if they don’t know who will be at quarterback. The Steelers will win this defensive struggle.
Saints at Packers
After catching the scoreless Packers’ fiasco against the Bears last weekend, it is obvious the Lions are NOT the weakest team in the league. It hurts to say this, but quarterback Brett Favre’s Packers are the worst. They will play the Saints close at home, but New Orleans comes out with the win.
Giants at Eagles
Even while losing, the Giants looked impressive last week, playing the Colts at a playoff level in the first game of the season. The Eagles are recharged but the Giants will remind them who won the division last time around. This will be a black and blue affair with the Giants on top (barely) at the end.
Buccaneers at Falcons
In this important early season tussle in the exciting NFC South, the Falcons will show their resurgence and leave the Bucs grasping for answers.
Panthers at Vikings
Like last season, the Vikings are proving you must not underestimate them. But the Panthers should get into gear this week. Last week, they must have mistaken Atlanta for a preseason game. Take the Panthers.
Detroit at Chicago
After last week, the Lions showed they have a lot more spark in their tank than expected. But Chicago is the more complete team. The Bears should cruise.
Bills at Dolphins
Did Sports Illustrated put a voodoo hex on my Hero Team, the Dolphins? Why did they pick them to go to the Super Bowl? Why?! Well, despite all that, the Dolphins should tally their first win, against the Bills. When will that team learn J.P. Losman is always a safety waiting to happen?
Rams at 49ers
The Rams have a defense? The Broncos discovered indeed they do. The 49ers will discover this too. They won’t be able to cruise up and down the field like last week when quarterback Alex Smith gets no protection. The Rams should make this look easy.
Browns at Bengals
The Bengals want to show off for their home opener. The Browns are the victim. This will not be pretty.
Texans at Colts
The Colts don’t have a running game? So what? They looked like they were in playoff form last week. Too bad for Houston. The real question: will the Colts score 50 points?
Patriots at Jets
These teams really hate each other. The difference: the Patriots are still good enough to beat anyone in the league, and the Jets are still reorganizing. Quarterback Tom Brady will look much improved this week with another win under his belt.
Titans at Chargers
Do they have to play this game? The Titans still look like the junior varsity. If you thought the Chargers chewed up the Raiders on Monday night, well then this will be a major shredding.
The crystal ball will definitely be clearer after Week Two. Enjoy!
by Rick Rockwell