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A Panthers upset brews in 'welcome back Julius' week

The theme in Week Five is coming back.

Ben Roethlisberger is coming back to the Pittsburgh Steelers this week after serving his bad behavior/public humiliation penalty from NFL commissioner/middle linebacker Roger Goodell.

Santonio Holmes returns to the New York Jets after being suspended for four games for violating the league's 'Don't Do That' policy.

And, you may have noticed, the Chicago Bears' Julius Peppers returns to Charlotte for the most eagerly anticipated game a winless team can play the fifth week of the season.

There will be plenty of discussion about what kind of reception Peppers will receive upon being introduced.

Some people will boo him. Some people will cheer him. Some will be in line to get a beer. I'll take option No. 3.

As for Week Five:

CHICAGO at CAROLINA: Wonder if Peppers has met Jimmy Clausen?

If not, he'll probably get the chance on Sunday. Surprise - Panthers 23, Bears 20.

JACKSONVILLE at BUFFALO: Yes, I know the Jags beat the Colts. But that was last week. Bills 24, Jags 20.

DENVER at BALTIMORE: In a league currently without an exceptional team, the Ravens may be the best - if that doesn't sound too much like Yogi Berra. Ravens 27, Broncos 13.

ATLANTA at CLEVELAND: If Eric Mangini doesn't make it in Cleveland, would Jon Gruden go back to work with Mike Holmgren there? Just wondering. Falcons 31, Browns 14.

KANSAS CITY at INDIANAPOLIS: Everybody who had Kansas City as the last remaining unbeaten team in the NFL this season please raise your hand. Not all at once. Colts 31, Chiefs 21.

TAMPA BAY at CINCINNATI: Think of this week's lineup of games as a lunch buffet. This game is cole slaw. Bengals 24, Bucs 10.

GREEN BAY at WASHINGTON: Who says there's nobody to love in D.C? What about Donovan McNabb? Packers 26, Redskins 17.

ST. LOUIS at DETROIT: Two words you don't often associate with the Rams: Winning streak (even if it is just two in a row).

The definition of optimism: Picking the Lions to win. Lions 28, Rams 21.

NEW YORK GIANTS at HOUSTON: Uh, Houston, the Giants have a problem. Sorry, couldn't resist the cliché. Texans 27, Giants 17.

NEW ORLEANS at ARIZONA: Three things that quickly became irrelevant:

Recently fired CNN host Rick Sanchez


The Arizona Cardinals.

Saints 34, Cardinals 20.

TENNESSEE at DALLAS: The Cowboys are due for one of those big wins that gets their starry-eyed fans jazzed about the possibilities. This may be the one. Cowboys 34, Titans 13.

SAN DIEGO at OAKLAND: Phillip Rivers can name his number this week. Chargers 41, Raiders 20.

PHILADELPHIA at SAN FRANCISCO: What do these 49ers have in common with the soon-to-be Charlotte 49ers football team? Both are winless at the moment. 49ers 24, Eagles 17.

MINNESOTA at NEW YORK JETS: Brett Favre needs one more touchdown pass to reach 500. Hello, Randy Moss. Jets 29, Vikings 20.

Last week: 8-6

Season: 32-29