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Dogs came out barking and may go on

Sep 14, 2004 7:45 AM

Are you qualified to be an NFL head coach? Keep your resume fresh.

Five of the seven teams guided by new bosses bit the dust on Sunday. Denny Green, Tom Coughlin and Norv Turner all had been given the boot in the last few years and were back for more punishment. Recently promoted coordinators, Lovie Smith and Mike Mularkey, were snake-bitten in the final moments.

Joe Gibbs and Jim Mora Jr. were the only new coaches to break into the win column. Gibbs picked up where he left off in Washington and Mora defeated his old 49ers team.

I felt like I had a real solid read on many of the teams coming out of the preseason. Lets see if The Dog can hunt down winners for a second consecutive week.

Rams (+ 2) at Falcons: Five of Rams’ 12 wins last season were by six points or less. Only managed seven-point win over injury-plagued Cards. Underrated Cards, or overrated Rams? I’ve made up my mind, at least for Week 2. Vick didn’t have a big game in San Francisco but he took care of business. FALCONS.

Steelers (+4½) at Ravens: How badly is Kyle Boller dragging Baltimore down? Ravens offense putting too much pressure on their great defense. Can it be long before you see Kordell Stewart behind center? Steelers blew 2 TD lead with Oakland but put one last drive together to win by 3. Expect Pittsburgh to hang tough again this week. STEELERS.

Texans (+3½) at Lions: How tough can this game be for Detroit now that the huge monkey, 24 straight road game losses, has been lifted? Lions have to be relieved after winning their first road contest since December 2000. Losing Charles Rogers will hurt, but Harrington has some other great targets, especially Roy Williams, who had 69 yards on four catches against Bears. A big blow to Texans’ confidence when Chargers won see-saw battle last Sunday. LIONS.

Bears (+8) at Packers: Bears didn’t win the money versus Lions. However, they did show better than I expected. Looks like Lovie Smith has a chance to field a defense that will keep the Bears close and win some money. Grossman didn’t play badly, although he did throw two picks, including one at the end of the game. Bears may catch Green Bay feeling a little cocky. BEARS.

Broncos (— 4) at Jaguars: Jags played uninspired for nearly the entire game last week in Buffalo and still managed to win in the final seconds. I’m still looking for big things from Fred Taylor, even though he only managed 61 yards against Bills. Leftwich didn’t have a great game, either. One of those two will step up big this week. Jags always keep it close. JAGS.

Panthers (+3) at Chiefs: KC may not have fixed its defensive woes by just bringing in "The Gun." They may have neglected the necessary replacement of some key defensive positions. Gunther Cunningham can’t tackle the runners and cover the receivers. He’s just the defensive coordinator! PANTHERS.

49ers (+7) at Saints: Could the Saints possibly drop their first two with both games being at home? Not likely but seven points is too many to give. Niners defense actually showed some improvement from last season. 49ERS.

Skins -3 at Giants: Kurt Warner is very vulnerable to picks and fumbles. The second game in the second coming of Joe Gibbs features win No. 2. Brunell wasn’t flashy last week, but with Clinton Portis running like he did, who needs a great QB? SKINS.

Colts (+3) at Titans: Miami is bad, but I’m not sure what to think of the Titans yet. One thing is for sure, if Edgerrin James holds onto the ball, Colts beat the Patriots by 7 or 10 points last Thursday nite! COLTS.

Seahawks (-4) at Bucs: If you read my column last week you know I’m not real high on Brad Johnson or Charlie Garner. Seattle looks like possible Super Bowl material. Seahawks should be deep enough to handle the Alexander injury if he’s out. SEAHAWKS.

Pats (— 8) at Cards: Denny Green has Arizona believing they’re better than they really are. Nearly upset the Rams. May give Pats all they can handle. Josh McCown handled the pressure well last week and should do the same thing here. CARDS.

Browns (+4) at Cowboys: Taking Jeff Garcia’s mobility over Vinny Testaverde, who had a pretty decent game against Vikings but was out-gunned by Culpepper. BROWNS.

Bills (+4) at Raiders: The Raiders impressed me with the way they battled back against Pittsburgh. Bills fans shocked by defenders allowing a four-yard desperation, up-for-grabs pass to slip through their hands for a big loss. RAIDERS.

Jets (-3) at Chargers: Chad Pennington was so accurate it was scary on opening day. Curtis Martin keeps turning the hands back on Father Time, rushing for 196 yards versus Bengals. Brees looked very impressive in Houston, as did Tomlinson. JETS.

Dolphins (+3½) at Bengals: I can "Feeley" the pain I see on Wannstedt’s face. I feel very bad for him but I think he’s going down this season. A.J. is not the answer here. Carson Palmer looked more mature than expected versus Jets. BENGALS.

Vikings (+ 4) at Eagles: The McNabb/Owens love-fest officially kicked off with the demolition of the G-men. This is a much tougher tryst. Culpepper threw for five TDs against Dallas. VIKINGS.

Last week: 11-4

Season: 11-4