The one bright spot for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ embarrassing home loss in last week’s opener is that none of their AFC North competitors did any better. Cleveland, Baltimore, and Cincinnati all lost last week too, and this week the Steelers visit the Bengals to attempt to restart their season. The Bengals lost on the road last week, though, and played the most competitive game in the division. Pittsburgh usually plays better on Mondays, though, so I’ll go with the Steelers to break out of their one-week funk, 27-17 over the Bengals on the road (Monday Night Football, 8:30 pm ET, ESPN).
The Steelers weren’t the only ones stumbling out of the gate last week. My picks went 2-5 for the opener, so I’d better pick up my game as well:
- Vikings at Bears (1 pm ET, Fox) – Adrian Peterson started off the game last week with a huge run for a TD, but quieted down almost immediately afterward as the Vikes looked rather ordinary. Da Bears looked tough at home, edging the Bengals, and they should be able to do the same in their second home game. Chicago over Minnesota 24-17.
- Redskins at Packers (1 pm ET, Fox) – Neither of these teams looked impressive last week, even though both QBs ended up throwing for over 300 yards. With the Pack at home, though, it’s difficult to see how Mike Shanahan improves enough to win. Pack 33-24 over the Redskins.
- Titans at Texans (1 pm ET, CBS) – This should be an interesting game, but not as good as it looks on paper. The Titans were the beneficiaries of the Steelers’ ineptitude last week, but Houston won’t be anywhere near as generous. Texans 33-21 over the Titans.
- Broncos as Giants (4:25 pm ET, CBS) – The Battle of the Mannings comes at a bad time for baby brother. Peyton tossed 7 TDs against the Ravens in the season opener and has had 10 days’ rest, while Eli bumbled his way into an embarrassing loss against Dallas a week ago. Neither team has a rushing game, so it’s going to be the QB battle, and Peyton’s going to win it in a 35-31 win over Eli.
- 49ers at Seahawks (8:30 pm ET, NBC) – Now this may be the game of the week. San Francisco looked smoking hot against the Pack last week, and Colin Kaepernick threw his first 400-yard game in a shootout. Russell Wilson threw for 320 but the Seahawks could only get into the end zone once. That’s not going to cut it against Kaepernick and the 49er offense, and while the line has Seattle by one, I think this will be a mild upset. 49ers win 28-17 over Seattle on the road.