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A look at NFL handicapping with the PFW editor lobbying to become Las Vegas bureau chief.

Week One thoughts: Ravens, Browns may be up against it

About the Author

Recent posts by Mike Wilkening

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Updated Oct. 06, 2010 @ 7:27 p.m.
By Mike Wilkening

So ... anyone want to make a case for the Ravens in Week One?

The Ravens will be starting rookie QB Joe Flacco, who completed only 52 percent of this throws in the preseason and has a habit of holding onto the ball too long. RB Willis McGahee is not 100 percent as he comes back from knee surgery. And the defense may be without S Ed Reed, the quarterback of the secondary. Without Reed, the Ravens' secondary could be in a world of trouble.

The surprise is not that Baltimore is an underdog; it's that it is getting less than a field goal as of this writing.

Chalk that up to the public's lack of confidence in the Bengals, a team and franchise seemingly spinning its wheels. They aren't without their own injury concerns; WR Chad Ocho Cinco will be playing with a shoulder harness, and WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh missed the preseason with a hamstring ailment.

But if the Bengals can't beat the Ravens, you would have to think they are in for another long season.

Ohio's other pro football entrant hosts the powerful Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, and you're going to have to look long and hard for someone making a strong case for the Cleveland Browns to pull off this upset. Dallas opened as a three-point favorite, and the money has flowed in on the Cowboys, who are now 5.5- or 6-point favorites. Don't be surprised if the line closes at or near seven; it's a late-afternoon affair, Dallas is a public team and more than a few bettors, excited about another season of America's de facto pastime, will be looking to double down after the early games.

How the Browns' secondary plays will likely tell the tale for Cleveland. CBs Eric Wright and Brandon McDonald must hold up, and safeties Sean Jones and Brodney Pool cannot make mistakes in coverage.

 

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