This week’s showdown between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New Orleans Saints is gut-check time for both teams.  The Steelers have had a lot of people picking them as the toughest team in the league, but they nearly let one slip away against a good Miami Dolphins team last week.  The Saints have shown flashes of their championship form, but also flashes of the Aints, too, especially in last week’s embarrassing home loss to Cleveland.  The Saints get Reggie Bush back this week, but that should make little difference against the Steeler’s defense.  Expect Ben Roethlisberger to get a better handle on the ball, and the Steelers to win 24-14.

Update: Del Dolemonte says in the comments that Bush will be out the next two weeks.  I’ll keep the score prediction the same, though.

Last week I went 4-2, my first winning week in a while, to move my season record to 24-19.  Can I extend my streak? go

  • Vikings at Patriots – Brett Favre says he’s ready to start despite having two small fractures in his ankle.  Brad Childress isn’t so sure.  That will be all of the suspense in this game, as New England will protect Tom Brady from Minnesota’s non-existent pass rush and beat the hapless Vikings, 30-19.  Tarvaris Jackson will play at least one half tomorrow.  Bank on it.
  • Packers at Jets – I hear Jazz wailing already.  The Pack has got talent, but they almost lost to the Vikings despite having two touchdowns on interceptions (one directly, the other set up) on sandlot passes from Favre and another one given to them by poor officiating, while the refs took a good one away from the Vikes.  They have to go on the road where they’re 1-2 and play New York, who’s 2-1 at home.  Jets beat Packers, or at least Jets stand by while Packers beat themselves, 28-17.
  • Dolphins at Bengals – Miami hasn’t won one at home yet, but they’re perfect on the road.  Bengals are 2-4 and only 1-1 at home.  Both teams have better talent than their records indicate, but Miami’s the only one that occasionally plays like it.  Dolphins use the running game to bulldoze the Bengals, 24-13.
  • Seahawks at Raiders – The Raiders ran up the score against the Broncos last week, so they may have started to turn the corner on their years-long bout of futility … but Seattle’s too tough for Oakland this year.  The Raiders will wish they could have banked a TD or two from last week.   Seahawks beat Oakland in a close battle, 27-24.
  • Texans at Colts – This is probably the game of the week.  Houston beat Indianapolis to start the season, but that was in Houston.  Indy needs the win to keep Houston from owning the first tiebreaker, because both teams are going to finish near the top of their division this year.  Peyton Manning will work his magic and the Colts will get their Monday night revenge, 27-21.

No suspensions for vicious hits last week, so apparently the message got through, at least temporarily.  I’m going to bet there’s one hit that will give the NFL a chance to make an example of someone this week.