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Friday, September 10, 2010
Walker's AFC North picks

By James Walker
ESPN.com

We're baaaaaaaack!

After a very successful 2009 season which saw the AFC North blog finish 20 games above .500, we're back for another year of division predictions.

"Walker's AFC North picks" is one of our most popular blogs during the season. When I was wrong, I had to hear it from readers and even AFC North players. The Bengals, for example, had a great time poking fun at my picks as they were sweeping the division last season. But overall I was consistently picking winners.

Let's kick off the 2010 season with a bang! Here are my AFC North picks for Week 1. All times ET:

Cincinnati Bengals at New England Patriots, 1 p.m. Sunday

Skinny: I really like this matchup of Cincinnati's receivers against New England's young cornerbacks. But I'm having a hard time picking against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick in their home opener.

Pick: Patriots, 27-24

Atlanta Falcons at Pittsburgh Steelers, 1 p.m. Sunday

Skinny: Pittsburgh's defense will play well. But its offense will struggle to score points in quarterback Dennis Dixon's second NFL start.

Pick: Falcons, 16-13

Cleveland Browns at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1 p.m. Sunday

Skinny: The Browns really struggle in season openers, going 1-10 since returning to the NFL in 1999. I might be in the minority, but trends like this stand out.

Pick: Buccaneers, 21-20

Baltimore Ravens at New York Jets, 7 p.m. Monday

Skinny: This should be one of the best games of Week 1. Look for Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco to make a few more plays than Jets counterpart Mark Sanchez.

Pick: Ravens, 20-17

Comment: Feel free to chime in.