Thursday, September 20, 2018

Ravens-Bengals could be significant in AFC North

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

So Thursday night's visit to Cincinnati by Baltimore takes on an extra bit of importance, even in mid-September, after the division-favorite 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 defense 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.

Two teams many projected as also-rans for 2018 delivered some impressive opening performances.

"That game is behind us," Ravens safety Tony Jefferson says. "Although it's great to have momentum, it's over with. It's a new week. This is a division opponent; they know us very well and we know them very well."

Perhaps. But these Bengals seem to have a resilience not seen often in recent seasons, though Cincinnati did show such moxie in the previous meeting with Baltimore.

The Ravens ended the season hosting the Bengals and fell 31-27 on Andy Dalton's 49-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd with 44 seconds left. That eliminated Baltimore from the playoffs and sent Buffalo into the postseason.

The Ravens, ranked No. 9 in the AP Pro32, and No. 16 Bengals are pick-em at Paul Brown Stadium. It's hard to fathom that Pro Picks is predicting Cincinnati will start the season 2-0. But that's where we'll go.

BENGALS, 21-20

KNOCKOUT POOL

We warned everyone last week that we aren't very saintly in these things, and New Orleans' flop proved that. We're obligated to keep trying and will go with the LA RAMS.

No. 28 Oakland (plus 6) at No. 14 Denver

Not exactly Orange Crush defense, but Broncos will put Mile High hit on Jon Gruden's Raiders.

BEST BET: BRONCOS, 23-13

No. 3 Minnesota (plus 1) at No. 6 Green Bay

No miracle finishes for A-Rod and Pack this time, though this isn't much of an ...

UPSET SPECIAL: VIKINGS, 27-20

No. 1 New England (minus 2) at No. 5 Jacksonville

AFC championship game rematch — and perhaps harbinger for January. No revenge for Jaguars.

PATRIOTS, 27-16

No. 7 Kansas City (plus 5 1-2) at No. 11 Pittsburgh

Steelers fall behind even more in AFC race and Chiefs prosper.

CHIEFS, 26-24

No. 19 Los Angeles Chargers (minus 7) at No. 32 Buffalo

Bills can't possibly be as bad as they looked in opener. Or maybe they are.

CHARGERS, 27-10

No. 31 Arizona (plus 13) at No. 4 Los Angeles Rams

Cardinals can't possibly be as bad as they looked in opener. Or maybe they are.

RAMS, 26-10

No. 30 Detroit (plus 5 1-2) at No. 23 San Francisco

Lions can't possibly ... you get it.

49ERS, 20-17

No. 18 Miami (plus 3) at No. 17 New York Jets

Battle to keep pace with Patriots in AFC East — at least through two weeks.

J-E-T-S, 23-21

No. 8 Carolina (plus 5 1-2) at No. 10 Atlanta

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

FALCONS, 20-17

No. 2 Philadelphia (minus 3) at No. 15 Tampa Bay

If Buccaneers win this, time to re-evaluate.

EAGLES, 21-20

No. 29 Indianapolis (plus 5 1-2) at No. 12 Washington

Redskins were as pleasant a surprise as Bucs last week. Revival continues in DC.

REDSKINS, 26-19

No. 27 Cleveland (plus 8) at No. 13 New Orleans

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

SAINTS, 27-15

No. 24 New York Giants (plus 3) at No. 25 Dallas

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

COWBOYS, 17-16

No. 21 Seattle (plus 3) at No. 22 Chicago, Monday night

Bears need to put Lambeau collapse behind them.

BEARS, 20-16

No. 20 Houston (no line) at No. 26 Tennessee

Tough start for banged-up Titans.

TEXANS, 23-13

___

2018 RECORD:

Last Week: Against spread (8-7-1). Straight up (10-5-1)

Season Totals: 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

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/tag/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Comments
Top 5 at Noon: A discussion with DeSantis; Confederate group banned from club may take legal action; and more

Top 5 at Noon: A discussion with DeSantis; Confederate group banned from club may take legal action; and more

RON DESANTIS SPEAKS ABOUT GAMBLING, CHARTER SCHOOLS, DIFFERING FROM RICK SCOTT, AND HIS CONCERNS WITH STUDENT TESTINGThe Buzz sat down with Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis last week to discuss his stance on a variety of issues. Read t...
Updated: 5 minutes ago
Confederate group banned from Temple Terrace country club, may take legal action

Confederate group banned from Temple Terrace country club, may take legal action

TEMPLE TERRACE -- After complaints from city residents, the Temple Terrace Golf & Country Club has notified the City Council that it will not rent space again to the Sons of Confederate Veterans for its annual banquet.The country club’s ex...
Updated: 16 minutes ago
Football player, band member, advanced student, girl: Pasco eighth-grader does it all well

Football player, band member, advanced student, girl: Pasco eighth-grader does it all well

TRINITY — Julie Michael stood in the metal bleachers, flute poised at her lips, ready to play the national anthem with the Seven Springs Middle School advanced band.As the band segued into the school fight song, the eighth-grader continued per...
Updated: 17 minutes ago
Bloomingdale High School teacher secretly recorded 'multiple’ students since January 2017, records show

Bloomingdale High School teacher secretly recorded 'multiple’ students since January 2017, records show

BRANDON — When Bloomingdale High School teacher Mark Ackett was arrested last week and accused of placing cell phones in a changing room to record students undressing, several question remained unanswered.Among them: When did the recording beg...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
Delayed Pasco charter school aims for Oct. 1 move to new site

Delayed Pasco charter school aims for Oct. 1 move to new site

Plato Academy Trinity has told parents and students it's targeting Oct. 1 to open its new building on Old County Road 54.It still has several permits to obtain if it wants to meet that latest deadline.The Pasco County charter school, serving about 25...
Updated: 26 minutes ago
Colorado-based alternative fuel company to hire 45 at new $10 million factory in Plant City

Colorado-based alternative fuel company to hire 45 at new $10 million factory in Plant City

PLANT CITY — Alternative fuel firm MLMC Florida will open a $10 million factory near the Hillsborough-Polk county line and will create 45 new jobs paying an average salary of at least $58,383 a year, officials said Thursday.Based in Parker, Colo., ML...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Ruth: DeSantis should study Florida Constitution, quit lying about Gillum

Ruth: DeSantis should study Florida Constitution, quit lying about Gillum

You could certainly be forgiven if you observed the early stages of the Ron DeSantis campaign for governor and concluded the candidate was practicing the politics of shameless fear-mongering.After all, DeSantis, R-Trump Minnie-Me, has all but suggest...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Publix has pumpkin spice everything on sale, and other deals this week in coupons (Sept. 20-26)

Publix has pumpkin spice everything on sale, and other deals this week in coupons (Sept. 20-26)

Sometimes, the coupon gods align. And, man, that’s beautiful because everyone loves so-cheap-it’s-almost-free stuff.Vegetarians rejoice: This week’s steal of a deal is for you. Publix has Quorn "chick’n" nuggets and patties on BOGO (buy one, get one)...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Homes sales jump in Pinellas and Hillsborough in August after months of declines

Homes sales jump in Pinellas and Hillsborough in August after months of declines

Home sales in August hit their highest levels in a year in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties as prices throughout the Tampa Bay area continued to rise. In Pinellas, sales of single-family homes jumped nearly 7 percent from the same month a year ago....
Updated: 1 hour ago
Carlton: Should felons who have done their time get to vote? Citizens of Florida, it’s in your hands

Carlton: Should felons who have done their time get to vote? Citizens of Florida, it’s in your hands

It’s not often that we citizens — busy with work, paying the bills, living our lives — find ourselves with the power to right a fundamental wrong.But here in Florida, we’re about to get that chance.On the November ballot — amongst all those candidate...
Updated: 1 hour ago