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Original Issue

Dr. Z's Forecast

I just can't shake the idea that the Steelers are heading for a blue period. Against Denver on Sunday, I saw them outhustled and outhit by a team that had earned a reputation for softness. Pittsburgh got its yards through finesse or by Big Ben dodging a rush and finding something in the midst of confusion. I didn't see the hard, honest gains that were once the team's trademark. Worst of all, I saw a defense that used to have fairly tight control allow Denver to drive for the winning field goal in the last 1:10, which is usually an indication of a sagging pass rush.

Now, if you could choose a team against whom the Steelers might regain their composure, the Bengals would be close to ideal: a bit disorganized, certainly not as physical as Pittsburgh. So I'm having trouble figuring out why I'm leaning toward Cincy as my upset special. Maybe it's because the spread is so tiny, especially with the game in Cincinnati, a place that's been friendly to the Steelers. They've won their last six there. Maybe it's because I don't really trust the Pittsburgh secondary or pass rush. Maybe it's because I can see Carson Palmer (right) putting up big numbers that the Steelers will fail to match. Cincy is my upset pick.

I can't find any more upsets. As of Monday it wasn't clear who'd be the Jets' QB, but a move to Kellen Clemens would stir things up enough to give the Jets a win over Buffalo. The game might be anticlimactic after Indy on Monday night, but I think the Jaguars will have enough left to beat the Bucs. The Saints will feast on a struggling 49ers O-line, and Chicago gets revenge against Detroit. The Eagles bounce back and win one in Minnesota. I like Cleveland, even on the road, better than St. Louis. In the Monday-nighter, if the Broncos show anything near the emotion that carried them past Pittsburgh, they will beat Green Bay.

Last week 5--3
Season 35--20