Posted by ESPN.com’s James Walker
With one game already in the books, let’s dig into the weekend mailbag.
Parth from Baltimore and Matt from Philadelphia want to know -- after Troy Polamalu’s knee injury with the Pittsburgh Steelers -- what I think of the “Madden Curse.”
James Walker: It’s real, Parth and Matt. The facts are there for all to see. If I were Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald, I would stay in the house this weekend and ask out of Sunday’s game. Just kidding. I think.
Greg from Maryland (Stand up!) wonders why the Tennessee Titans stopped coming after Ben Roethlisberger in the fourth quarter and overtime.
James Walker: The Titans are not a heavy-blitzing team, Greg. They’re one of the few that do very well bringing just four players. But it also seemed when Tennessee brought five or six it usually worked. Titans coach Jeff Fisher is known as a conservative coach, and I agree that he trusted his four-man pass rush way too much late in the game. Ben Roethlisberger, like most great quarterbacks, will pick defenses apart with a lot of time in the pocket.
Zach from Chillicothe, OH writes: I saw your predictions JW and I wanted to throw out my own: Bengals win 19-3, Titans win 20-17, Ravens win 31-14 and the Vikings win 24-9. I hope you see this and post it when I get all them right!
James Walker: Well, you’re 0-1 already, Zach. Let me do the picks in the AFC North from now on, OK?
War from Mentor, OH wants to know if the Cleveland Browns plan to use both quarterbacks Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson.
James Walker: Only if one is injured or benched. All indications are that Quinn will be the starter, and Browns head coach Eric Mangini already said that he’s not interested in a two-quarterback approach. It’s too confusing and more likely to hurt the team’s continuity than help.
John from Baltimore, Md. writes: James, I have never seen Ed Reed get as many penalties as Troy Polamalu did Thursday. Not to mention when Reed gets the ball he takes it to the house!
James Walker: Our community just couldn’t resist this week.
Jason Myers from Annapolis, Md. is curious to get my take on potential blackouts.
James Walker: My take is the NFL should temporarily lift the blackout rule this year due to historic economic circumstances. It would be a great statement by the league to reward its fans during this tough period. But the NFL is a business first and has every right to take a hard-line stance on a blackout rule that’s been in place for a while.
Steven from Cincinnati wants to know “where’s the love” for his Bengals and their No. 24 rating in the latest power rankings.
Bug Genovese from San Jose, CA also adds: “Cleveland No. 28 -- your knowledge is superficial at best.”
James Walker: Steve and Bud, I’ve been saying for weeks that ESPN.com streamlined the power rankings to four voters this year. Therefore, I am no longer a part of the process. Every week I will let readers know where AFC North teams rank. But your ire towards me is misdirected this year.
Nick from Portsmouth, NH wants to know about the possibility of Lorenzo Neal returning to the Baltimore Ravens.
James Walker: With the rapport between Neal and Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, it’s always a possibility, Nick. Neal is on Baltimore’s short list if needed. But the team is playing Le’Ron McClain more at fullback this year, and if that continues to work, Neal’s services may not be needed at the moment.