CBSSports.com pro football writers Pete Prisco and Clark Judge face off weekly throughout the season.
|Pete Prisco||Clark Judge|
|Which of the surprise Week 1 winners -- Chicago, Carolina and Atlanta -- has the best chance of making the playoffs?|
|I'll go with Carolina. The most impressive thing about the road victory at San Diego was how physical the Panthers were on both sides of the ball. They ran it well and they did a solid job on LaDainian Tomlinson. And it's good news when Jake Delhomme can lead the game-winning drive. His recovery from elbow surgery has been impressive. He might actually have more zip on his passes. The Bears would be my second choice, but I still have concerns about their passing game. They ran it against the Colts, which took the pressure off Kyle Orton, but I want to see how he does when he's forced to win a game. Atlanta is a year or two away. But the Falcons will be feisty every Sunday.||Well, we're about to find out. It's the winner of Sunday's Chicago-Carolina game, and I suspect it will be Carolina. The Panthers pulled the improbable last weekend: They went across country to San Diego and beat the Chargers without Steve Smith in the lineup. Impressive. I know they had to rely on a last-second TD, but they dominated the first half with a rushing attack that looks as solid as any we've seen with this club. OK, so Matt Forte was solid, too, but I guess I trust Jake Delhomme to make more plays than Kyle Orton, and here's why: In his last five starts Delhomme has 11 TDs, one interception and a 4-1 record. I'll take that.|
|Which of the so-called power teams in the AFC -- the Colts, Jaguars and Chargers -- should be the most concerned after their Week 1 loss?|
|The Jaguars. They needed to do two things to take the next step this season. One was to improve the passing game. The second was to improve the pass rush. They did neither against the Titans. Quarterback David Garrard was harassed all day long and didn't make throws when given time. He was off. The line is a big problem now, with all three projected inside starters out with injuries, one for the season. It's always troubling for a quarterback when he can't feel comfortable stepping into his throws because of trash around his legs. It will help when they get receiver Jerry Porter back, but when does that happen? The pass rush netted one sack last week, even though they blitzed more than they did last season. Rookie first-round pick Derrick Harvey and second-round pick Quentin Groves have to give this team some speed rush -- or else. It is just one game, so the panic shouldn't be there for the Jaguars. But they went 0-for-2 against the Titans in the two areas they need to improve to be a Super-type team.||Jacksonville. It's not only that the Jags lost to a tough division opponent, it's that they lost two more members of an offensive line that couldn't protect David Garrard anyway. In case you missed it, he was sacked seven times. Now you subtract Vince Manuwai and Maurice Williams from a unit that already was missing Richard Collier, and I have to ask: Where's Tony Boselli when you need him? The Jags' situation is complicated by playing in the AFC South, where there are two other playoff teams from last season. The Colts will be fine because they have Peyton Manning, but does anyone know if Garrard is for real? If Jacksonville can't run for more than 33 yards we get to find out.|
|How much more time does Scott Linehan have in St. Louis? Who's the replacement?|
|I'll give him to the bye week for the Rams, which comes in the fifth week. If the Rams are 1-3 or worse, 0-4, then the Rams might be forced to make a change. The Eagles did what they wanted to do against the Rams, and now the Giants come to St. Louis. After that, it's a road game at Seattle and then a home game against Buffalo before the bye. If they don't win at least one and maybe two, the change could come. If there is a change, I think the Rams will turn to defensive coordinator Jim Haslett as the replacement. Haslett has a great rapport with the players and has the head-coaching experience. He deserves another chance to be a head coach. Wonder if this is the chance he wants?||I give him a half-year before the walls start closing in. Look at the Rams' schedule: It's brutal. They have the Giants on Sunday, then travel to Seattle, before taking on -- in order -- Buffalo, Washington, Dallas and New England. That sure looks like 0-7 from where I'm sitting, which means it could be adios for Linehan by midseason. If that happens, the Rams have a ready-made successor on the staff in defensive coordinator Jim Haslett. If that were to happen, my guess is that the Rams would make him the interim coach, watch carefully and give him a shot at a permanent job if the club does something it didn't last weekend -- have a pulse.|