Don’t say goodbye to Bronc’s ’till after the bye week
Question of the year: which AFC team is going to win the Super Bowl? With the Broncos on a bye week, it’s time to aim the Lay-Z-Boy at the CBS lineup to get a hint of which team from the AFC will avenge all those terrible Super Bowl losses from the ’80s and ’90s.Broncos on a bye week: It’s time for the mastermind to step up and take some of the heat for the Broncos recent losses. Micah Knorr deserved a shot at the field goal, and three big defensive let-downs gave New England the edge in a game the Donkeys should have won. But don’t despair Jake Plummer will be back after the bye week, as will Ephraim Salaam, and the orange and blue have every chance to go 6-1 and earn the wildcard berth.Arizona at Pittsburgh: These two teams haven’t played in six years, but it doesn’t take long to figure who will win the defensive battle. The Steelers’ fourth-ranked rushing defense should be able to stifle Marcel Shipp and keep the Cardinals from winning three in a row. Steelers 24-17.Atlanta at N.Y. Giants: This has all the markings of a blowout. Kerry Collins has a good chance of breaking 300 yards with the second-ranked Giants’ pass offense. Atlanta, on the other hand, has the league’s 32nd ranked pass defense. Easy money: Giants 35-12.Chicago at Detroit: Make way for the silver and blue, who destroyed the silver and black in week 9. But wait a minute, what about Chris Chandler? Chicago 19-16.Cleveland at Kansas City: The boys in red have a running game bound to thrash the Bears even on a bad day. And playing at home in a banner year is what football players love to do: Kansas City 36-14.Houston at Cincinnati: Here’s two teams that both play with heart, and could both come out with stellar squads NEXT SEASON. Still, there’s no way the Texans can stop the passing game. The Texans were whalloped last week against Carolina in every category except one: the score. Not so this time: Cincinnati 24-21.Indianapolis at Jacksonville: Edgerrin James is just getting rolling, and Jacksonville’s sputtering offense can’t put up points against the growing power of the Indy D-line: Indy 27-9.Miami at Tennessee: Game of the week. The question is, can Tennessee run the ball against Miami? The answer is a sound NO. But no worries as Steve McNair tosses the Titans into a higher spot in the power rankings. And like I said last week, Dolphins fans are now learning about how good Brian Griese is at coughing up the ball in the final minutes of important games. His numbers are good, but he’s simply not a winner: Tennessee 31-28.Seattle at Washington: Isn’t Seattle already IN Washington? (duh?) Anyway, it’s a good thing that these two teams are playing each other. That way at least one team can take a break before continuing on their late-season downward spiral: Seattle 19-16.Tampa Bay at Carolina: Tampa can’t lose after a loss, or win after a win. The trend continues in a low-scoring game in Carolina: Tampa Bay 13-10.Minnesota at San Diego: San Diego’s pass defense against Minnesota’s pass offense? You’ve got to be kidding. Not to mention Minnesota can run the ball, too. A little Doug Flutie magic only goes so far: Minnesota 38-17Buffalo at Dallas: Don’t look for Buffalo to score a lot of points in this one. And Quincy Carter and the Dallas offense will get the job done even if it isn’t pretty: Dallas 17-6.N.Y. Jets at Oakland: Finally someone the Jets can really beat up on. And there’s very little that Oakland seems to be willing to do about it. Remember the ’98-’99 Broncos? Same deal with the silver and black this year except they don’t have the ring: N.Y. Jets 21-19.Baltimore at St. Louis: How well does the St. Louis offense operate under pressure? Not well, I’m afraid. Too bad the Baltimore offense doesn’t operate well, period: St. Louis 16-10.Philadelphia at Green Bay: A good game with two teams on the wire. Who’s got more juice, Bret Favre or Donovan McNabb? No doubt it’s the man in packer yellow in Lambau on Monday night: Packers 24-23.