Debut of Walker's AFC North picks

Posted by ESPN.com’s James Walker

We’re going to have even more fun in Year 2 of the AFC North blog. So let’s start by unveiling a new feature Thursday of picking a winner for each division game in 2009.

I know, I know. There’s a lot of pressure as our hard-core AFC North fans will have no problem piling on if I struggle picking games. But I don’t plan on it this year, so neither should you. (How’s that for confident trash talk? Hope I can back it up.)

With the Pittsburgh Steelers kicking off the regular season tonight, here is the AFC North blog’s picks for Week 1:

Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers, Thursday at 8:30 p.m.

Analysis: The Titans are talking a little too much for my liking, while Pittsburgh has been eerily quiet. Where I’m from, it’s the quiet ones you have to worry about.

Pick: Steelers, 17-13

Kansas City Chiefs at Baltimore Ravens, Sunday at 1 p.m.

Analysis: The Chiefs don’t have their former offensive coordinator (Chan Gailey) and may not have their starting quarterback (Matt Cassel), either. The Ravens have Haloti Ngata, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs and Ray Lewis. Advantage Baltimore.

Pick: Ravens, 24-10

Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday at 1 p.m.

Analysis: The lowly Broncos are the perfect opponent for a rusty Carson Palmer. Cincinnati gets its first win much earlier than last season.

Pick: Bengals, 24-17

Minnesota Vikings at Cleveland Browns, Sunday at 1 p.m.

Analysis: The Vikings aren’t 100 percent sure who they’ll face at quarterback, although all indications are pointing to Brady Quinn. I doubt it matters all that much to Vikings tailback Adrian Peterson.

Pick: Vikings, 20-10

Last week’s record: N/A

Overall record: N/A

Projected Week 1 record: 4-0 (Ha!)