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Titans at Steelers ... or is it the Oilers at Pittsburgh?

Pro Picks

Posted: Friday, September 26, 2003

When the NFL realigned, it split up Pittsburgh and Tennessee, a good old AFC Central rivalry dating back to the days when the Titans were the Houston Oilers.

No, they're not talking anymore about whether Mike Renfro had both feet down in the end zone in the 1979 AFC title game although that was one of the plays that eventually led to instant replay.

But this remains a good rivalry, even if it's not played as often these days. Last season, the Titans beat the Steelers 34-31 in overtime to reach the AFC championship game, and the players know each other well.

Pittsburgh is favored by three points home-field advantage in what shapes up as a defensive game. Both teams have been stingy in their two victories, with Pittsburgh shoring up a pass defense that was very leaky a year ago.

''I think it's just us being coordinated and trying to eliminate the big things. Last week, there were only two plays over 14 yards. That was big,'' coach Bill Cowher says.

Good rivalry. Close game.

STEELERS, 17-16

Philadelphia (plus 3) at Buffalo

Buffalo's offense was stifled so badly in Miami it looked at times like the Eagles, who have scored just 10 points in two games.

Eagles are still hurting in the secondary, which Drew Bledsoe will exploit.

BILLS, 24-13

Kansas City (minus 3) at Baltimore

The Chiefs are the better team, but a 4-0 start is hard, even if you're good.

RAVENS, 21-20

New England (plus 3) at Washington

The Patriots' injury list keeps getting longer. Maybe too long to beat the Spurriers.

REDSKINS, 24-20

Green Bay (minus 4) at Chicago

New Soldier Field opens. Packers by default the NFC North probably couldn't beat the top MAC teams.

PACKERS, 20-5

Dallas (plus 3) at New York Jets

Tuna start: One game in Dallas, two at the Meadowlands.

COWBOYS, 20-19

San Francisco (off) at Minnesota

The ''off'' is for Daunte Culpepper, who says he'll play in pain.

Either way, this is the Vikings' first game outside the NFC North.

49ERS, 19-6

Indianapolis (minus 2) at New Orleans

Peyton goes home for the second time as a pro. The Colts are another team not good enough to be 4-0.

SAINTS, 24-23

Atlanta (plus 6) at Carolina

Rumor has it Julius Peppers will line up at tight end for Carolina.

PANTHERS, 13-3

Arizona (plus 10 1/2) at St. Louis

It's 72 degrees in the dome, not 106.

RAMS, 24-3

Detroit (plus 13) at Denver

Denver has all the negatives: It should let down after beating a hated foe on Monday night. And it's a short week.

See NFC North, above.

BRONCOS, 41-9

San Diego (plus 7) at Oakland

The Raiders were horrible in their last two games and the Chargers may be due.

CHARGERS, 20-19

Cincinnati (plus 6) at Cleveland

The Bengals are playing better but ...

BROWNS, 16-13

Jacksonville (minus 3) at Houston

The Texans finally meet a team in their own class.

TEXANS, 9-8

LAST WEEK: 8-6 (spread); 11-3(straight up)

SEASON: 25-20-1 (spread), 32-14 (straight up)



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