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Rating The Games

November 24, 2002|Jim Barrero

**** Makings of a classic

*** Smash-mouth football

** Good for an end around

* Strictly fantasy fodder

** Buffalo (5-5) at New York Jets (5-5), 10 a.m.: Jet receiver Lavernaues Coles says of him and Chad Pennington, "One of the high goals was to try to be a Jerry Rice and Steve Young combination." Keep climbing, Lavernaues. LINE: New York by 3.

* Detroit (3-7) at Chicago (2-8), 10 a.m.: The bad news: In more than 80 years, the Bears have never lost nine straight games, but face that prospect this week. The worse news: One of the Lions' three wins was against the Bears. LINE: Chicago by 5 1/2.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday November 26, 2002 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 8 inches; 318 words Type of Material: Correction
Rating the games -- A Sports chart on NFL games Sunday incorrectly reported that the Carolina Panthers defeated the Atlanta Falcons, 30-0, in their first meeting of the season. The Falcons defeated the Panthers, 30-0, on Oct. 20.

** St. Louis (5-5) at Washington (4-6), 10 a.m., Channel 11: Patrick Ramsey calls Ram quarterback circumstance a "win-win situation." Then again, anything compared to the Redskins would seem to fit that description. LINE: St. Louis by 4.

*** San Diego (7-3) at Miami (6-4), 10 a.m., Channel 2, KNX (1070): Suffering from an extreme case of East Coast bias, the Chargers have won only once in that time zone in the last seven years. And even that victory hardly counts since it was against the Cincinnati Bengals in the opener this season. LINE: Miami by 3.

** Atlanta (6-3-1) at Carolina (3-7), 10 a.m.: Rodney Peete and the Panthers humiliated Falcons, 30-0, earlier this season. Peete brings with him a history of convincing performances around Thanksgiving. Ask Troy Aikman and UCLA. LINE: Atlanta by 3 1/2.

** Jacksonville (5-5) at Dallas (3-7), 10 a.m.: Since taking over at quarterback for the Cowboys three games ago, Chad Hutchinson hasn't thrown an interception in 86 attempts. He also hasn't won a game and Dallas has scored only 24 points. LINE: Jacksonville by 2 1/2.

** Cincinnati (1-9) at Pittsburgh (5-4-1), 10 a.m.: Kordell Stewart earned teammates' respect by not speaking up when he was benched for Tommy Maddox. Now, with the Steelers in crisis mode, Stewart's performance could speak volumes. LINE: Pittsburgh by 11.

** Minnesota (3-7) at New England (5-5), 10 a.m.: Former Raider linebacker Greg Biekert, now a Viking, has had this game circled on his calendar "for personal reasons." He was the one who recovered Tom Brady's fumble that was later overturned in last season's playoffs. LINE: New England by 7 1/2.

*** Cleveland (5-5) at New Orleans (7-3), 10 a.m.: In 1999, the resurrected Browns got their first victory against the Saints on a Hail Mary pass. A mere three years later, only five players from that Cleveland team remain and only three Saints are left. Love that salary cap. LINE: New Orleans by 5 1/2.

*** Tennessee (6-4) at Baltimore (4-6), 10 a.m.: Titan tackle Henry Ford knows how much Ray Lewis means to the Ravens: "It's similar to the Jackson Five without Michael." So if Lewis plays, don't expect the Titans to moonwalk their way through this one. LINE: Tennessee by 2.

** Oakland (6-4) at Arizona (4-6), 1 p.m., KMPC (1540): About 25,000 members of Raider Nation are expected to make the trek to Tempe, Ariz. Didn't realize that Friends Fly Free promotion was still going strong. LINE: Oakland by 8.

** Kansas City (5-5) at Seattle (3-7), 1 p.m.: Seahawk quarterback Matt Hasselbeck with the delusional quote of the week: "We're not that far from being good." LINE: Kansas City by 3.

** New York Giants (6-4) at Houston (2-8), 1:15 p.m., KNX (1070): Michael Strahan throws Texan quarterback David Carr a backhanded compliment: "I take my hat off to that," he says of Carr's 53 sacks, "because that's tough." LINE: New York by 5 1/2.

**** Green Bay (8-2) at Tampa Bay (8-2), 1:15 p.m., Channel 11, KLSX-FM (97.1): The winner of this game could determine whether the NFC title game is played in sunny central Florida or the unbearable winter of Wisconsin. LINE: Tampa Bay by 3.

*** Indianapolis (6-4) at Denver (7-3), 5:30 p.m., ESPN, KLSX-FM (97.1): Broncos are dominant during the day (7-0), but nightmarish at night (0-3). Linebacker Ian Gold might have a solution: "Maybe we need to have a powwow over a bonfire." LINE: Denver by 6 1/2.

*** Philadelphia (7-3) at San Francisco (7-3), Monday, 6 p.m., Channel 7, KNX (1070): Now it all makes sense. Koy Detmer, Donovan McNabb's replacement at quarterback for the Eagles, has thrown only 17 passes in the past three years. That explains where he found all the time to grow that hideous beard. LINE: San Francisco by 7.

-- Jim Barrero

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