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Rating The Games

October 06, 2002|Jim Barrero

**** Makings of a classic

*** Smash-mouth football

** Good for an end around

* Strictly fantasy fodder

** New York Giants (2-2) at Dallas (2-2), 10 a.m., Channel 11: Measuring stick? Both teams have defeated the Rams this season, but that doesn't really tell us anything, does it? LINE: Pick.

**** Oakland (3-0) at Buffalo (2-2), 10 a.m., Channel 2, KMPC (1540): "He's on fire," Raider Coach Bill Callahan says of Bill quarterback Drew Bledsoe. No wonder this one has a potential for fireworks. LINE: Oakland by 3.

** Tampa Bay (3-1) at Atlanta (1-2), 10 a.m.: Since leaving Tampa Bay to sign a $28.5-million deal with Atlanta, running back Warrick Dunn wins Kevin Brown award by averaging 40.3 yards per game. LINE: Tampa Bay by 1.

** Arizona (2-2) at Carolina (3-1), 10 a.m.: Panthers last week barely miss out on first 4-0 start? With a victory, Cardinals could match best start since 1991? What in the name of Jesse Ventura is going on here? LINE: Carolina by 4.

** Washington (1-2) at Tennessee (1-3), 10 a.m.: Steve Spurrier never has been too popular in Knoxville. Now he tries to conquer Nashville. By the way, past conquests of Vanderbilt don't count on the resume. LINE: Tennessee by 5.

* Cincinnati (0-4) at Indianapolis (2-1), 10 a.m.: Says Bengal linebacker Takeo Spikes on winless start: "I don't know if it's the all-time low, but it ain't too far from it." Don't sell your team so short, Takeo. You've arrived. LINE: Indianapolis by 13 1/2.

**** New England (3-1) at Miami (3-1), 10 a.m., KNX (1070): "We have to fix this now," Patriot defensive lineman Steve Martin says of team's poor run defense. To stop Ricky Williams, he'll need to be a wild and crazy guy up front. LINE: Miami by 3.

** Pittsburgh (1-2) at New Orleans (3-1), 10 a.m.: Saints have had to brace for two big storms the last two weeks. Now Hurricane Cowher comes to town, but chances are it will fade into a tropical depression. LINE: New Orleans by 3.

** Kansas City (2-2) at New York Jets (1-3), 1 p.m.: Hmm, let's see ... Chiefs are NFL's highest-scoring team and Jet defense ranks 31st out of 32. Go ahead and draw your own conclusions. LINE: Kansas City by 3.

**** San Diego (4-0) at Denver (3-1), 1 p.m.: After what happened to the Chargers last season in wake of 3-0 start, it's good to hear their enthusiasm has been tempered this year. Win this one and then you can pop off. LINE: Denver by 5 1/2.

*** Philadelphia (3-1) at Jacksonville (2-1), 1:15 p.m.: Last week Eagle safety Brian Dawkins caught a TD, made an interception, recovered a fumble and recorded a sack. This week he comes home to Jacksonville for victory party. LINE: Philadelphia by 3.

** St. Louis (0-4) at San Francisco (2-1), 1:15 p.m., Channel 11, KNX (1070): Considering the opponent, it's Catch-22 week for the 49ers. If they win, people will complain that it wasn't by enough points. If they lose, fans will turn their attention back to the Giants. LINE: San Francisco by 7.

*** Baltimore (1-2) at Cleveland (2-2), 5:30 p.m., ESPN: Last time Browns were on national TV, they lost to Pittsburgh, 43-0. That, and the fact the "old" Browns are coming to town, should provide plenty of incentive. LINE: Cleveland by 6 1/2.

*** Green Bay (3-1) at Chicago (2-2), Monday, 6 p.m., Channel 7: Maddening stat of the day for Bear fans: Brett Favre is 9-1 at Soldier Field. On positive side, Favre has never won in Champaign. So what if he's never played there. LINE: Chicago by 1 1/2.

Open date: Seattle, Detroit, Minnesota, Houston.

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