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Archive for Thursday, September 7, 2006

Backup Batch good enough for Steelers

September 7, 2006

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Now we know how much Ben Roethlisberger is worth to Pittsburgh: five points, according to the folks in Vegas.

That was what the Steelers were favored by over the Dolphins when the line was established for tonight's opener at Heinz Field. Then Roethlisberger underwent an appendectomy, the game came off the board, and when it reappeared, it was a pick 'em.

So now it's Charlie Batch for the Steelers against Daunte Culpepper and the Dolphins. Culpepper demonstrated during the exhibition season that he has recovered well from the knee injury that cut short his season with Minnesota.

Batch is no slouch - he was 2-0 as a starter for Pittsburgh last season. And he was Detroit's starter for the better part of four seasons, from 1998-2001.

But he's from Pittsburgh, and he says he'll be a little nervous starting before the home folks.

"I've got to calm myself down because I'm excited, and to be able to start at home and do this in front of family and friends is great," Batch said.

Batch is a competent backup, and Culpepper needs to get back on track.

STEELERS 17-15

Indianapolis (minus 3) at New York Giants

The Manning bowl with the party line (set by Archie?): Peyton and Eli aren't playing against each other, their playing against the other team's defense.

Eli wants to show big brother something. The Colts want to be lower profile than the past two seasons - they started 13-0 last season, and in 2004, Peyton was breaking a bunch of records. Hunch: Giants pass rush gets in Peyton's face, just as the Steelers and Chargers did last year.

GIANTS 24-20

Dallas (plus 21â2) at Jacksonville

T.O. or not T.O? Look to defense.

COWBOYS, 13-7

Atlanta (plus 41â2) at Carolina

The Panthers beat the Falcons twice last season by a combined 68-17.

PANTHERS, 28-10.

Minnesota (plus 5) at Washington (Monday night)

The Redskins and their fans are a little too confident. Still ...

REDSKINS, 18-7

San Diego (minus 3) at Oakland (Monday night)

Philip Rivers can win his debut by handing off to LaDainian Tomlinson.

CHARGERS, 27-26

Baltimore (plus 3) at Tampa Bay

Tough place to start for Steve McNair.

BUCS, 13-12

Buffalo (plus 81â2) at New England

The Patriots keep scouring the waiver wire for receivers. But Tom Brady is still one of the top two QBs in football.

PATRIOTS, 23-8

Cincinnati (plus 3) at Kansas City

Assuming Carson Palmer is as good as he was in preseason, the K.C. defense gets exposed. As usual.

BENGALS 34-27

Seattle (minus 31â2) at Detroit

Only 31â2? Rod Marinelli has made Lions tougher.

SEAHAWKS, 27-19

Chicago (minus 3) at Green Bay

Long, long, long, long year for Brett.

BEARS, 20-3

New Orleans (plus 3) at Cleveland

And more waiver wire.

BROWNS, 28-24

Denver (minus 31â2) at St. Louis

Pining for the old days in St. Louis.

BRONCOS, 31-20

Philadelphia (minus 31â2) at Houston

The Texans picked up five guys off the waiver wire the day after the final cuts. Sign of a bad team.

Would they rather have Ron Dayne or Reggie Bush on their team?

EAGLES, 27-20

San Francisco (plus 7) at Arizona

Imagine a full stadium (63,400) yelling loudly for the Cardinals.

CARDINALS, 27-12

New York Jets (plus 3) at Tennessee

Two more waiver-wire teams - neither will win much this year, so get the wins when you can.

JETS, 12-10

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