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Steelers face desert storm; Browns seek bounce back

October 20, 2011
By RICH GIBSON - Times Leader Sports Writer (rgibson@timesleaderonline.com) , Times Leader

In three starts away from the friendly confines, the Steelers have not fared particularly well.

They did just enough to get by winless Indianapolis but were blasted in Baltimore and handed a 17-10 loss in Houston.

Sunday's road test at 1-4 Arizona appears a favorable matchup for Mike Tomlin's club which likely will need a 60-minute effort against a fired-up Cardinals' combine.

The Black & Gold are capable of losing this one and may well do so should their defense not record a takeaway or two. How Pittsburgh's O-line responds will be an additional telling factor.

On the lakefront, the Browns square off with NFC West opponent Seattle in a meeting of 2-3 teams.

Cleveland's two wins (Miami, Indianapolis) are against teams with a combined 0-11 record.

Considering the Browns must make a return trip to the west coast (San Francisco) then head to Houston, you may suggest Sunday is of the must-win variety.

Cincinnati enters its bye week an unexpected 4-2 and having just bid adios to disgruntled quarterback Carson Palmer. The Bengals were clear winners in that deal.

This column, meanwhile, compiled a rare 10-3 ledger last week with the Browns, Cowboys and Lions failing to turn the trick. Onward:

SUNDAY GAMES

CHICAGO VS. TAMPA BAY (AT LONDON). If I'm an American tourist in the UK this weekend, I'm passing on this bloody battle and hanging out, instead, in Trafalgar Square. Otherwise, a rather key game versus two pseudo contenders. Bears, 27-21.

SAN DIEGO AT NEW YORK JETS. Chargers' bye week won't amount to much facing New York team starting to hit its stride. Jets, 26-17.

WASHINGTON AT CAROLINA. Change at quarterback for 'Skins comes at a bad time against Carolina club which appears far better than its 1-5 ledger might suggest. Panthers, 31-17.

DENVER AT MIAMI. Expect the beaches to be packed on an 80-degree afternoon in south Florida. Only the strong survive in this titanic struggle vs. teams a combined 1-9. Broncos, 23-16.

SEATTLE AT CLEVELAND. A home field loss here sends Pat Shumur's ball club spiraling to the depths of the AFC North Division. Give them a couple more weeks, anyway. Browns, 20-14.

ATLANTA AT DETROIT. It'll be interesting to see how men of Motown respond to first loss last weekend. Atlanta, at 3-3, is beginning to resemble a team of underachievers, thus this is a statement game. Falcons, 28-24.

HOUSTON AT TENNESSEE. An AFC South showdown with Titans coming off bye week and Texans threatening to watch their season come unglued. Game of the day. Texans, 31-28.

PITTSBURGH AT ARIZONA. Black & Gold's track record on the road should make for a much closer result than needed. Cards go down fighting. Steelers, 21-20.

KANSAS CITY AT OAKLAND. Chiefs have rebounded nicely following horrendous start. These AFC West matchups are generally highly-competitive. Raiders, 21-17.

GREEN BAY AT MINNESOTA. There's no reason to imagine Minny Ha-Ha with a chance against unbeaten Pack, particularly coming off short week and blowout loss at Chicago. Thus, a drug test could be in order. Upset Special. Vikings, 34-27.

ST. LOUIS AT DALLAS. Surely, Tony Romo and company can't find a way to lose this one. Pretty good chance Rams are taking back seat to baseball Cardinals this weekend. Cowboys, 35-20.

SUNDAY NIGHT

INDIANAPOLIS AT NEW ORLEANS. How good would that Drew Brees-Peyton Manning Super Bowl rematch have been? Best viewing for this dud is at Pat O'Briens Pub in the French Quarter. Saints, 27-13.

MONDAY NIGHT

BALTIMORE AT JACKSONVILLE. And, the ideal location to view this potential debacle is at one of our favorite hangouts - Hooter's on Jacksonville Landing. By the second quarter, Jags' fans won't care anymore. Ravens, 23-10.

LAST WEEK: 10-3. SEASON: 53-37. UPSET SPECIALS: 1-5.

Gibson may be reached at rgibson@timesleaderonline.com

 
 

 

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