Who will be king in AFC North?

Ben­gals-Ravens game takes on added im­por­tance

Calgary Herald - - SPORTS - BARRY WILNER

Con­sid­er­ing what hap­pened in the rain in Cleve­land last Sun­day, the rugged AFC North looks like it will be wide open.

Thurs­day night’s visit to Cincin­nati by Bal­ti­more takes on an ex­tra bit of im­por­tance, even in mid-Septem­ber, af­ter the di­vi­sion-favourite Pitts­burgh Steelers stum­bled and bum­bled to a 21-21 tie against the Browns.

The Ravens were all over Buf­falo from the start as Joe Flacco re­cap­tured some of that 2012 cham­pi­onship form and the de­fence de­stroyed the Bills. The Ben­gals fell in a big hole at In­di­anapo­lis and showed far more gump­tion than usual by climb­ing out of it to win.

The Ravens and Ben­gals are pick-em at Paul Brown Sta­dium. It’s hard to fathom we’re pre­dict­ing Cincin­nati will start the sea­son 2-0. But ...

Ben­gals, 21-20

Oak­land (+6) at Den­ver

Bron­cos will put Mile High hit on Jon Gru­den’s Raiders.

Best bet: Bron­cos, 23-13 Min­nesota (+1) at Green Bay

No mir­a­cle fin­ishes for A-Rod and Pack this time.

Upset spe­cial: Vik­ings, 27-20 New Eng­land (-2) at Jack­sonville

AFC Cham­pi­onship Game re­match. No re­venge for Jaguars.

Pa­tri­ots, 27-16

Kansas City (+5½) at Pitts­burgh

Steelers fall be­hind even more in AFC race.

Chiefs, 26-24

L.A. Charg­ers (-7) at Buf­falo

Bills can’t pos­si­bly be as bad as they looked in opener. Or ...

Charg­ers, 27-10

Ari­zona (+13) at L.A. Rams

Car­di­nals can’t pos­si­bly be as bad as they looked in opener. Or ...

Rams, 26-10 Detroit (+5½) at San Fran­cisco Lions can’t pos­si­bly ... you get it. 49ers, 20-17

Mi­ami (+3) at New York Jets

Bat­tle to keep pace with Pa­tri­ots in AFC East.

J-E-T-S, 23-21

Carolina (+5½) at At­lanta

Red zone scares Fal­cons, strange oc­cur­rence for a team wear­ing that colour.

Fal­cons, 20-17

Philadel­phia (-3) at Tampa Bay

If Buc­ca­neers win this, time to re-eval­u­ate.

Ea­gles, 21-20

In­di­anapo­lis (+5½) at Wash­ing­ton The re­vival con­tin­ues in D.C. Wash­ing­ton, 26-19

Cleve­land (+8) at New Or­leans

Who thought Saints would be more em­bar­rassed in opener than Browns?

Saints, 27-15

New York Gi­ants (+3) at Dal­las

NBC and NFL love this prime­time matchup. Hey, they both are 0-1, guys.

Cow­boys, 17-16

Seat­tle (+3) at Chicago, Mon­day night

Bears need to put Lam­beau col­lapse be­hind them.

Bears, 20-16

Hous­ton (no line) at Ten­nessee

Tough start for banged-up Ti­tans.

Tex­ans, 23-13


Last week: Against spread, 8-7-1; Straight up, 10-5-1

Best bet: 1-0 against spread, 1-0 straight up

Upset spe­cial: 0-1 against spread, 0-1 straight up

Joe Flacco

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