NFL-The Lineman looks to improve on Week One stumble


Sept 11 (Reuters) - Each Wednesday, The Lineman offers his predictions and analysis of six matchups from that week's National Football League (NFL) schedule.

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Last Week 2-4

Pick of the Week 0-1

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Dallas Cowboys (1-0) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-0)

(Line: Cowboys +2.5)

The Chiefs won just two games last season yet this year they have been tipped as favorites for the second consecutive week.

Blowing out the toothless Jaguars is one thing, giving up points to the Cowboys is another.

I like the Chiefs, I really do. I expect them to be the NFL's comeback team of the year and coach Andy Reid and castoff quarterback Alex Smith are doing some good things but let's not get too excited.

Dallas displayed some cracks against the New York Giants in a sloppy Week One win but they still forced six turnovers and have quality talent on both sides of the ball.

Arrowhead Stadium will be rocking for the Chiefs home opener and is always a tough place to play and Tony Romo is banged up.

But the Cowboys explosive passing game and balanced attack should be enough to bring Chiefs fans back reality.

The 'Boys are back in town. Take Dallas and the 2.5.

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Denver Broncos (1-0) at New York Giants (0-1)

(Line Broncos -4.5)

The Broncos showed why they are the popular pick to be crowned Super Bowl champs in demolishing the Baltimore Ravens and the Giants showed why they aren't in a Week One horror show that included six-turnovers.

Manning Bowl III will attract Super Bowl-like hype but this should not be much of game.

Peyton, who tossed a NFL record-equalling seven touchdowns against the Ravens, has had a vice-like grip on family bragging rights going 2-0 against younger brother Eli and will keep his perfect record intact this Sunday.

Broncos have had 10 days to prepare for the Giants and Peyton has a frightening arsenal of receivers to throw at the G-Men's leaky defense.

Even with the Giants' Week One woes, Eli still passed for 450 yards and four touchdowns but just won't have enough ammunition to out gun his older brother.

Denver has won 12 consecutive regular season games. Might as well it 13.

Take the Broncos and give up the 4.5.

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New Orleans Saints (1-0) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1)

(Line Saints -3.5)

Coach Sean Payton is back on the sideline and all is right in the Big Easy as the Saints marched to an impressive win over the division rival Atlanta Falcons in Week One.

I don't expect any letdown on Sunday when the Saints take on the undisciplined Bucs, who were shot down by the Jets.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees has won three straight over Tampa Bay and has thrown for more than 300 yards in six consecutive games.

With receivers like Lance Moore and Marques Colston, expect Brees to light it up again this Sunday.

Strong Brees blows through Tampa Bay.

Take the Saints and give up the 3.5.

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Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1) at Oakland Raiders (0-1)

(Line Raiders -5.5)

Both teams enter Week Two looking for their first win and the Jaguars still searching for a touchdown.

After watching their team get thumped by the Kansas City Chiefs in Week One, Jaguars fans can start thinking about the number one pick in next year's draft.

The Raiders aren't going to the Super Bowl this season but showed some fight in a 21-17 road loss to the Indianapolis Colts last week.

Terrelle Pryor could be the quarterback the Raiders have been searching for while the Jags have already turned to backup Chad Henne after an injury to Blaine Gabbert.

The only 'Black Hole' - a section of Oakland's stadium frequented by the team's most rowdiest fans - the Jaguars really need to worry about is the one their season is being pulled into.

Raiders rule. Take Oakland and give up the 5.5.

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San Francisco 49ers (1-0) at Seattle Seahawks (1-0)

(Line 49ers +2.5)

Seattle is the home of Grunge rock, Starbucks and the loudest, most hostile and stadium in the NFL.

Seattle failed to impress last week in a 12-7 win over the Carolina Panthers but the Seahawks are a very different bird at home where they have not lost since Dec. 24, 2011.

The Seahawks are also a very good team with a dynamic young quarterback in Russell Wilson and one of the NFL's top defenses that has put them on the short list of Super Bowl contenders.

The Niners, however, are also on that list and performed at a higher level in Week One by downing the Green Bay Packers.

Colin Kaepernick passed for career-high 412 yards and three touchdowns against the Pack and has new favorite target in sure-handed Anquan Boldin, who hauled in 13 catches for 208 yards and a touchdown in his 49ers debut.

This one ends in a San Francisco treat. Take the Niners and the 2.5.

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Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1) at Cincinnati Bengals (0-1)

(Line Bengals -6.5)

Looks like tough times are back in Steeltown after an uninspiring 16-9 loss to the Tennessee Titans that saw Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger sacked five times.

The Bengals were also losers in Week One but came up just short against another quality opponent in the Chicago Bears.

Back at home, the Bengals must show they are worthy of the preseason hype that had them positioned to take control of the AFC North.

The Steelers have won 10 of the last 11 meetings in Cincinnati, including three straight under the bright lights of nationally-televised Monday Night Football matchups.

Lights out for the Steelers this Monday.

Take the Bengals and give up the 6-5. (Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Frank Pingue)

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