Thursday, June 20, 2013
JETS (1-1) at DOLPHINS (1-1), 1 p.m.
Outlook: The Jets' defense is allowing 130.5 yards on the ground, and the Dolphins haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher in 16 consecutive games. Forcing Mark Sanchez to win with his arm is enough to sap confidence from any Jets fan. Make it a venue call.
Prediction: Dolphins, 20-17
BILLS (1-1) at BROWNS (0-2), 1 p.m.
Outlook: The Dog panel actually was deadlocked on Jags-Colts and this game as the worst matchup of the week. So it went to the tiebreaker: Cities Where I'd Least Like To Live. Buffalo has a hot runner in C.J. Spiller, but otherwise this game tips toward the Browns. Rookie QB Brandon Weeden showed signs of life last week, fellow rookie Trent Richardson rushed for 109 yards, and the defense is surprisingly solid and will get to Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Prediction: Browns, 24-23
RAMS (1-1) at BEARS (1-1), 1 p.m.
Outlook: Erratic Jay Cutler and da Bears looked awful against Green Bay last week but should enjoy a nice home bounceback. Both teams' top RBs are hobbled (Steven Jackson, Matt Forte). So give me the better team, at home, with a long week to prepare. Plus, Cutler has won five in a row at Soldier Field.
Prediction: Bears, 27-20
BUCCANEERS (1-1) at COWBOYS (1-1), 1 p.m.
Outlook: After his team's big laydown in Seattle last week, Jerry Jones is liable to storm the field if Dallas drops this one. I'm hunching a rout by the Cowboys. Dallas has won four in a row in series, Tony Romo is 11-0 on TDs/picks in past three meetings with Bucs, and Tampa's defense has done little to suggest it might start turning this around here.
Prediction: Cowboys, 34-16
49ERS (2-0) at VIKINGS (1-1), 1 p.m.
Outlook: If anybody can find a weakness in San Francisco, let me know. It's early, but Niners were my preseason Super Bowl pick and I'm feeling good. Alex Smith is so efficient (216 consecutive passes with no INT), and that defense is terrific. WR Randy Moss plays his ex-team for the first time and should leave his former home with a smile on his face.
Prediction: 49ers, 24-13
CHIEFS (0-2) at SAINTS (0-2), 1 p.m.
Outlook: Welcome to the Disappointment Bowl. The fact one of these winless teams is the week's biggest point-spread favorite tells you how awful the other has been. Have a feeling the desperation will make for a very entertaining game, but New Orleans is still a tough place to bring a defense that just isn't playing well.
Prediction: Saints, 37-24
BENGALS (1-1) at REDSKINS (1-1), 1 p.m.
Outlook: Robert Griffin III is the first rookie QB since 1969 with TD passes of 65-plus yards in both of his first two games. Long-suffering Redskins fans are psyched, this is their home opener, and the place should be electric.
Prediction: Redskins, 30-27
LIONS (1-1) at TITANS (0-2), 1 p.m.
Outlook: Titans tend to play NFC teams well (14-3 run), but that's a trend to ignore. Lions Coach Jim Schwartz, a former 10-year Tennessee assistant, simply brings a clearly superior team into his old stadium. Lions have a banged-up secondary, but assuming WR Calvin Johnson plays (ankle, questionable), Detroit shouldn't have much trouble.
Prediction: Lions, 27-20
JAGUARS (0-2) at COLTS (1-1), 1 p.m.
Outlook: Here are a couple lower-tier teams trying to find their way forward with young quarterbacks, but there the similarities end. One of those QBs happens to be a superstar-in-the-making in Andrew Luck. The other is so-so Blaine Gabbert, about whom the best that can be said is that the jury is out. Give me Luck any day.
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