By Lynn Saternow
Herald Sports Editor
FOR THE LAST few years loyal Cleveland fans have wanted the Browns to play as well as the Pittsburgh Steelers. It finally happened last Sunday.
They played just as well as the Steelers. In other words: They both stunk!
But the good news is: They both are tied for the lead in the AFC North Division with Cincinnati and Baltimore. The bad news is: They are tied for last place as well.
Obviously that will change very quickly this weekend. Cleveland is at Baltimore today, while Pittsburgh visits Cincy on Monday night.
Baltimore isn’t the same team that won the Super Bowl last season. Gone are some key parts of that club, including defensive leaders like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.
That showed in the opening game at Denver when Peyton Manning passed for 7 touchdowns and the Broncos destroyed the Ravens.
Needless to say, the Ravens were embarrassed and will be out to prove something this week against the Browns. Meanwhile, Cleveland looked pathetic against the Miami Dolphins.
The offensive-line play was horrible and the receivers dropped several passes they should have reeled in. When that happens, it spells bad news for the quarterback and Brandon Weeden was thumped pretty good.
The showing was especially disappointing for long-suffering Browns fans who expected much more out of the club this season and the new coaching staff. No one was talking Super Bowl, but 7 or 8 wins would certainly be nice as they build for the future.
Right now, that doesn’t look like much of a possibility, unless things improve quickly. Won’t happen today as Baltimore rocks the Browns, 30-13.
Pittsburgh has been great on Monday nights in the past. But that was then, this is now. Remember, they were also great (undefeated) in home openers under Mike Tomlin before Sunday.
The young front line was suspect coming into the season, but when center Maurkice Pouncey went down for the year, it really hurt. And then to lose Larry Foote on the other side of the ball, it really created problems even against a team like Tennessee that is not regarded as a playoff contender.
Tomlin has been under fire after not making the playoffs last year and the season start doesn’t bode well for his stay in Pittsburgh, unless there is a big turnaround. With the injuries that were suffered last week, I don’t see that happening. The Bengals will roll over Pittsburgh, 23-6.
Last week my picks were a ridiculous 13-2. Following are this weekends picks (betting line in parentheses just for fun):
New England (-12) over NY Jets
Arizona (plus 1) over Detroit
Atlanta (-7) over St. Louis
San Fran (plus 3) over Seattle
Philly (-8) over San Diego
Houston (-9) over Tennessee
Indy (-3) over Miami
Buffalo (plus 3) over Carolina
Green Bay (-71⁄2) over Washington
Dallas (plus 21⁄2) over Kansas City
Oakland (-51⁄2) over Jacksonville
New Orleans (-31⁄.2) over Tampa
Denver (-41⁄2) over NY Giants
Chicago (-61⁄2) over Minnesota