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Not quite a Super rematch

- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 19, 2011

As Super Bowl rematches go, this one isn't quite so super.

The Steelers edged the Cardinals 27-23 in 2009 in one of the more memorable NFL championships, with Santonio Holmes' tightrope-walking act in the back corner of the end zone giving Pittsburgh the winning score and its record sixth Super Bowl crown. That catch ended Arizona's stunning and sensational run to its first shot at a league title since 1948 _ when the Cardinals lived in Chicago and were blanked 7-0 by Philadelphia in the championship game.

Neither team has resembled a threat for the crown thus far. Although Pittsburgh is 4-2, it hasn't been particularly impressive on either side of the ball. Yes, the Steelers are first in overall defense and against the pass, but they have been sloppy and injury prone on D despite those yardage rankings.

The offense has scored 29 points fewer than division rival Baltimore, and the Ravens have played one fewer game.

Still, Pittsburgh is a 3 1/2 point favorite at Arizona, which is 1-4, has 11 giveaways and comes off a bye that followed a distressing 34-10 flop against previously winless Minnesota.

Making the Steelers a favorite on the road is dangerous business. They are 1-2 away from Heinz Field, and the victory was a close one at weakling Indianapolis.

"It's very obvious we've performed to a winning level at home, we haven't done so on the road," coach Mike Tomlin said. "We've got to perform better on the road than we have."

Arizona has lost four straight overall since an opening win against Carolina. Here comes No. 5.

STEELERS, 26-20

Baltimore (minus 7 1/2) at Jacksonville, Monday night

Ravens have looked like the AFC's best team so far. Jacksonville isn't its worst, but is close to the bottom.

BEST BET: RAVENS, 23-6

Denver (plus 3) at Miami

The stands will be packed at Sun Life Stadium, with fans shouting T-E-B-O-W, T-E-B-O-W.

UPSET SPECIAL: BRONCOS 16-13

Chicago (minus 1) vs. Tampa Bay at London

Bucs headed to London early in week, Bears don't arrive until later. Shorter trip will be more fruitful.

BEARS, 20-17

Kansas City (plus 3 1/2) at Oakland

Carson Palmer to the rescue with Jason Campbell injured. Funny feeling Palmer won't help this week.

CHIEFS, 23-21

Atlanta (plus 3 1/2) at Detroit

Wonder if Mike Smith's handshake/back slap will offend Jim Schwartz. Won't matter because Lions will win.

LIONS, 24-22

San Diego (minus 2) at New York Jets

Jets need to play much better than they have for last month. Chargers haven't been great either.

CHARGERS, 23-17

Green Bay (minus 8) at Minnesota

Vikings throwing Christian (Ponder) to the Packers.

PACKERS, 31-9

Houston (plus 3) at Tennessee

For the AFC South lead. Titans make a statement against reeling, banged-up Texans.

TITANS, 27-21

Washington (plus 2 1/2) at Carolina

Panthers are dangerous every week and ready for some wins.

PANTHERS, 28-17

Seattle (plus 3) at Cleveland

Browns boss Mike Holmgren gets to see what Pete Carroll has done with his former team.

BROWNS, 17-16

St. Louis (plus 13) at Dallas

For all their woes, Cowboys look like a Dream Team compared to Rams.

COWBOYS, 33-16

Indianapolis (plus 14) at New Orleans

NBC coveted this one as a matchup of Peyton Manning and Drew Brees in Manning's hometown. Now, it's a mismatch.

SAINTS, 35-17

___

RECORD:

Against spread: 8-5 (overall 51-34-2); straight up 10-3 (overall 62-28).

Best Bet: 2-4 against spread, 4-2 straight up.

Upset Special: 5-1 against spread, 3-3 straight up.

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