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Bengals Playing without LT Whitworth, Browns Won’t Have DE Rubin for Week 1

It’s finally Week 1 of NFL Sundays. Are you ready?

In the AFC North, the Cincinnati Bengals, after their well-ocumented preseason on HBO’s Hard Knocks, will kick off the season against the Chicago Bears on Sunday. The team announced on Saturday that starting left tackle Andrew Whitworth will be out for the game.

Andrew Whitworth

Andrew Whitworth

Battling a knee injury that had been documented in Hard Knocks, Sunday’s absence will represent Whitworth’s first missed start in 68 games. He missed practice all week and the Pro Bowler said of the news via Cincinnati.com, “I have to continue to progress the way I have. It’s weird, I haven’t played in a game but I’ve been out here every day, even the days they’ve had days off. I’m just trying to keep my head down and keep working.”

In Whitworth’s place, Anthony Collins will continue pinch hitting. He’s been playing in the spot during the preseason. Sunday’s start represents his first one at left tackle since 2008–his rookie year–and his first start period in two seasons. He’ll go up against the Chicago Bears veteran defensive end Julius Peppers. In 2012, Peppers had 11.5 sacks.

For the Bengals, they enter the season with expectations as a Super Bowl contender. They have some nice offensive weapons to showcase this season including rookie running back Gio Bernard and All Pro wide receiver A.J. Green. Good luck going up against the Bears defense as Green has 82 1/2  total receiving yards on Sunday (-125 o, -105 u) and quarterback Andy Dalton could have 219 1/2 passing yards (-115 o/u).

The Bengals have lost their last four of five Week 1 games. Sunday’s should be a tight one with the Bears getting a slim win (-2.5, 42 o/u).

Cleveland Browns without DE Ahtyba Rubin

For the Cleveland Browns, they’ll begin the season without starting left defensive end Ahtyba Rubin in Sunday’s game versus the Miami Dolphins, reported NFL.com.

Ahtyba Rubin

Ahtyba Rubin

Rubin has been dealing with a calf injury and had been listed as questionable during the week. He will be missed as the team moves to a 3-4 defense. Billy Winn will likely get the starting nod for Rubin.

The Browns may have another starting defensive player likely joining Rubin on the sidelines, starting cornerback Buster Skrine. He incurred a shoulder injury in Thursday’s practice, reported Cleveland.com. Should Skrine not play, look for Chris Owens to take his place.

For the Browns, they’re playing under a new coach this season, Rob Chudzinski. Questions have lingered about its starting sophomore quarterback Brandon Weeden but he had a good preseason.

In Week 1, Weeden has 240 1/2 total passing yards (-115 o/u) and running back Trent Richardson sits with 80 1/2 rushing yards (-125 o, 105 u).

As for a Week 1 win, it’s another close one with the nod going to the Browns (-2, 40.5 o/u).

Steelers Looking for a 2013 Win

After going without a preseason win, the Pittsburgh Steelers will look to reverse this in the regular season by playing the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.

Troy Polamalu

Troy Polamalu

For this team, I’m not going to write about a key injury this week but instead say the team is happy to have its super star safety Troy Polamalu back after he missed nine games last season due to a calf injury. Coming off an 8-8 season, the Steelers hope to return to the playoffs and with their safety back, they’re more confident.

According to ESPN, since 2009 when Polamalu has not played in a game, the Steelers have given up an average of more than 20 points but with the player, they have allowed 15.5 points in games.

Vegas believes in the Polamalu effect and this week, the Steelers will finally get a W (-6.5, 42 o/u).

And on a final note…

Here’s an interesting Week 1 stat: Only 1.7 percent of teams that lost their Week 1 games have gone on to win the Super Bowl since the league playoffs grew to 12 teams back in 1990.

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