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Does Almost Count?

The opening week of the 2009 season featured three AFC divisional matchups; Jacksonville vs. Indianapolis (South), Buffalo vs. New England (East) and San Diego vs. Oakland (West).  Of particular note, each game pitted a juggernaut against a team that has been feverish in recent years. Despite suffering losses, the Jaguars, Bills and Raiders were competitive with their superiors.  Are these teams turning the corner? Will the “almosts” blossom into wins? 

Let’s find out:

Falcons over Panthers– Jake Delhomme has accounted for 11 turnovers in his last two meaningful games.  Carolina signed AJ Feely recently, but I’m not sure that’ll be enough to fix its woes at the quarterback position.  At this rate, Delhomme and John Fox could be job hunting at season’s end.

Vikings over Lions– Although Brett Favre has not performed well in Detroit, he’ll have Adrian Peterson to make up for his shortcomings. Detroit’s wait for a win continues.

Packers over Bengals– Chad Johnson is fixated on doing the Lambeau Leap. He should be more concerned with if he’s able to evade Green Bay’s speedy defense.

Jaguars over Cardinals– I’m thinking Jacksonville’s young defense will be able to impose its will at the line of scrimmage.

Raiders over Chiefs– Oakland’s physicality made an impression on me. “JaMarcus Russell is still trying to find his way, but the running game and defense will prevail over a Kansas City team in search of an identity itself.

Patriots over Jets– The arrival of Rex Ryan has given Gang Green a sense of swagger that could be comparable to that of Broadway Joe’s.  It’ll fuel the Jets to leave everything on the field, but Bill Belichick will make life for Mark Sanchez rough and the Brady Bunch will escape a hard fought battle.

Saints over Eagles– Even if Donovan McNabb toughs out the fractured rib and plays, it won’t be enough for a Philly win.  The Eagles’ defense will have the misfortune of dealing with a cool Brees.

Titans over Texans– If Houston’s offense was stagnant against an up and coming defense last week, shouldn’t we expect the same result, if not worse, against a more established Tennessee unit?

Redskins over Rams– Washington is expected to pummel St. Louis. They were supposed to do that last year, but we  know how that turned out. Unless the offense shows vast improvement in the areas of play calling and execution, the burgundy and gold is in for a scare.

Bills over Buccaneers– Whether you like him or not, Terrell Owens is a playmaker. If Buffalo wants to win, his number has to be called more than three times.  Tampa Bay’s defense seems vulnerable, so seize the opportunity and get the ball to T.O.

49ers over Seahawks– As prolific as Seattle’s offense looked in its season opener, you can’t expect a repeat performance. There’s a new attitude in San Francisco and we’ll be made aware of it at the Seahawks’ expense.

Bears over Steelers– An old adage tells us everything starts up front. With that said, Pittsburgh’s offensive line seems to have picked up where it left off in 2008, allowing Ben Roethlisberger to get sacked four times in his last outing.  On the other hand, Chicago’s defense accounted for four sacks of its own, which suggests Big Ben could have another rough day in the office.

Browns over Broncos– If not for Brandon Stokley being in the right place at the right time, Denver is one game in the hole.  Don’t look for a Mile High Miracle against Cleveland.

Ravens over Chargers– Have you seen the latest memo? Baltimore is evolving into a passing team. That’s the last thing San Diego needs, given their pass defense looks penetrable.

Cowboys over Giants– Warning…Dallas will not open Cowboys Stadium the same way it closed Texas Stadium.  The ‘Boys will be fired up christen their new digs the right way.  Besides, Tony Romo plays his best ball between September and November. 

Colts over Dolphins– If Indianapolis found ways to win during the string of Marvin Harrison injuries, I’m sure that tradition continues in Anthony Gonzales’ absence. 

In all of the excitement that was Week 1, I pulled off a 12-4 mark.  The quest for an above average winning percentage has begun.  What teams will contribute to my cause this week?  Tune in and find out.  Once again, enjoy the games and we’ll do it again in another week. 

Written by Antoine Hoffman

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