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CBS: Harmon Forecast -- Week One


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Harmon Forecast -- Week One

The Harmon Football Forecast is one of the most highly regarded and widely read sports features in the country, published in over 200 newspapers.

It all began when Bob Harmon began predicting college and NFL games in 1957. He devised a mathematical formula that picked winners correctly between 72 and 78 percent of the time; most seasons getting almost 75 percent of his picks right.

Today, Jim Harmon and his staff are the only forecasters who predict exact scores and chart every college and pro team.

Thursday, Sept. 9, 2004

*New England 28 Indianapolis 21 - Starting the season with a 15-game winning streak, the NFL champion Patriots look ready to pick up where they left off. N.E.'s 24-14 win over the Colts in the AFC title game was its fourth straight series win.

Sunday, Sept. 12, 2004

Baltimore 14 *Cleveland 10 - Two struggling offenses need help from their QB's, the Ravens from Kyle Boller, who's still finding his way, and the Browns from former 49er Jeff Garcia. Baltimore punished Cleveland in 2003, 33-13 and 35-0.

*Buffalo 20 Jacksonville 17 - Speaking of struggling offenses, the Bills' will be new head coach Mike Mularkey's biggest challenge. Buffalo beat Jacksonville easily last season, 38-17, but the Jaguars are expected to improve dramatically.

*Chicago 26 Detroit 13 - Meanwhile, in the trenches of the Black and Blue division, Lovie Smith takes over as coach of the Bears, who got past the offensively inept Lions at home in '03, 24-16, then lost to them in Detroit, 12-10.

*Denver 31 Kansas City 27 - The battle for the AFC West title starts here, but the Chiefs need a lot more defense to defend their division crown. After a one-point K.C. win over the Broncos last season, Denver swamped the Chiefs 45-27.

*Houston 19 San Diego 16 - With so many young players on both clubs, the Texans and Chargers will be looking up at their rivals in the AFC South and West, respectively. In their only meeting, two years ago, S.D. shut Houston down 24-3.

*Minnesota 29 Dallas 20 - What will Vinny Testaverde and Eddie George bring to the Bill Parcells big top in Dallas? Can the Vikings put their second-half-of-'03 collapse behind them? These teams haven't butted heads in four years.

*N.Y. Jets 14 Cincinnati 13 - Call this an upset, because the Jets rank 26th in opening-day winning percentage. All eyes will be on Bengals rookie QB Carson Palmer, but N.Y. has won the last four games in this series, most recently in '01.

*Philadelphia 24 N.Y. Giants 14 - The Giants have shaken things up big time, with new head coach Tom Coughlin and a QB duel between Kurt Warner and Eli Manning. The Eagles have taken five of the last six from N.Y. -- 14-10 and 28-10 last year.

*Pittsburgh - 26 Oakland 16 - Angry? The Raiders? After a 4-12 season? Norv Turner may need a whip and a chair to take charge of this near-mutinous mob. Even the Steelers' anemic offense dominated Oakland's woeful defense in '03, 27-7.

*St. Louis 21 Arizona 9 - Making their debut on the road for the 16th time in 17 years, the Cardinals face a Rams team that, many other problems aside, has won seven of its last nine openers -- and four straight games over Arizona.

*San Francisco 30 Atlanta 24 - This could be wild, with the 49ers -- who needed OT twice to sweep the Falcons last year, 16-13 and 37-31, and still need help in the secondary -- facing a guy named Vick who, it's a safe bet, is raring to go.

Seattle 20 *New Orleans 18 - And here are the two losingest opening-week teams: The Seahawks have a record of 8-20, and the Saints are 11-26. Both clubs are looking for improved play from their defenses. In '03 Seattle spanked N.O. 27-10.

Tampa Bay 23 *Washington 16 - Why Joe Gibbs wants the pressure of being Redskins owner Dan Snyder's fifth coach in five years is beyond us, but lord knows, Washington needs him. The Buccaneers pounded the 'Skins in D.C. last year, 35-13.

Tennessee 27 *Miami 21 A potential game of the week, which will begin to answer the question, How badly will the weak-passing Dolphins miss Ricky Williams? The Titans emphatically ended a five game series losing streak in '03, 31-7.

Monday, Sept. 13, 2004

Green Bay 21 *Carolina 14 - One of the week's hardest picks, matching two of the NFL's top ground games and throwing into the mix the Packers' often maniacally motivated game-breaker, Brett Favre. G.B. edged Carolina 17-14 two years ago.

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