Friday, September 14, 2012
Fearless Friday Forecast: Week 2 picks
By Jamison Hensley
Here are my predictions for the Week 2 games involving AFC North teams:
Bengals 24, Browns 13: The Bengals are coming off an embarrassing effort on national television and are looking to redeem themselves in front of a sold-out Paul Brown Stadium. Cincinnati won't be taking Cleveland lightly, especially after two close games last season. The Browns had trouble stopping wide receiver A.J. Green in clutch situations when they had Joe Haden. It's going to be hard for Cleveland to stop Green from making big plays without its best cornerback. This will be another pressure-filled day for Browns rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden if defensive end Carlos Dunlap is back from a knee injury.
Ravens 30, Eagles 27: For the past two seasons, the Ravens won the season opener before imploding in the Week 2 game. That's not going to happen this time. The Ravens are going to Philadelphia, which is a homecoming for coach John Harbaugh (who was an Eagles assistant for a decade) and quarterback Joe Flacco (who grew up 10 minutes from where the Eagles play). There will be no problems with mental focus. With Flacco, the Ravens' offense will continue to click and need to help out a defense that will have trouble quieting Michael Vick. The Ravens win in a shootout.
Steelers 20, Jets 10: The Steelers' defense won't be on the top of its game, especially if linebacker James Harrison and Troy Polamalu are both sidelined with injuries. But there is a huge difference in going from playing Peyton Manning to Mark Sanchez. Yes, Sanchez had a strong Week 1 performance against the Bills (266 yards passing, three touchdowns). But he has been turnover-prone at times and is facing a Pittsburgh defense that is ticked off after allowing 17 second-half points Sunday night. The Steelers, who have been focused on increasing takeaways this season, will come up with some big plays.
Last year's record: 38-12 (.760)