I guarantee that there won't be a repeat of the following when New England and Pittsburgh meet on Monday night in a rematch of last season's AFC finalists:
?Two special teams TDs for New England. Nobody gets that lucky twice...and the Steelers fired their special teams coach.
? Referee Ed Hochuli spotting the ball on the wrong hash mark for the Steelers' Josh Miller's punt, which set up a TD on the runback.
? Drew Bledsoe relieving an injured Tom Brady—unless someone puts through an emergency call to Buffalo.
?An upset. The game opened at pick 'em.
Both teams have had the entire off-season to prepare for this...can we call it a "crucial" so early in the season? Why not? Motivation abounds. The Steelers want revenge. The Patriots are burning because they're the defending Super Bowl champs but nobody's picking them to do much this year.
Bill Belichick's cerebral defense can outscheme Pittsburgh's passing attack, which is why I think the Steelers will try to pound it on the ground—at least for a while. Brady must prove that last year wasn't a fluke, which I think he'll do. The kid's the real thing.
Logic says go with the Steelers, who'll turn the blitzers loose on Brady. But that same logic never would have had New England winning a Super Bowl last season. Patriots are the pick.
I have only one upset this week, so let's get it out of the way. Carolina to beat Baltimore and its young quarterback, Chris Redman, who might not be ready for an opening-day road start. I see around six turnovers, total, for both teams.
Here's one that looks so easy, it scares me. Dallas will bring the heat against Houston's expansion babies, who are minus both offensive tackles and have a sore-legged rookie QB, David Carr. The spread should be double-digit, but it's not, though all the signs point to a Cowboys blowout.