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Week 7 Breakdown

October 18, 2002|Mike Penner | Times Staff Writer

CHICAGO AT DETROIT

Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m.

The line: Chicago by 3.

Quick slant: Cosmo wants Harrington! Chicago wants Chandler!

Plot: In its current issue, Cosmopolitan magazine includes Detroit rookie quarterback Joey Harrington among its "Hottest Hunks in the U.S." (In Detroit, one win in three starts for the Lions qualifies one for "hot" status. Not sure about Cosmo's requirements.) Meanwhile, in Chicago, where hot hunks are slabs of beef charred at Ditka's, fans and media have tired of Jim Miller and are clamoring for the city's most eligible backup quarterback -- this year, it's Chris Chandler. The Bears have an injury-riddled defense and the league's 29th-ranked rushing attack. Yes, it's Miller's fault.

Monday's headline: "Bears Botch Decisive Field Goal -- Chicago Wants Chandler!"

*

BUFFALO AT MIAMI

Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m.

The line: Miami by 4.

Quick slant: Dolphins are 5-1 and reeling.

Plot: For a few more hours, Miami rules the football world, with the Hurricanes topping the college polls and the Dolphins perched in the treacherous position as consensus No. 1 in the thousands of NFL "power rankings," printed weekly because they need to be revised weekly. Next week will be no different, as the Dolphins try to outscore Buffalo's potent offense without quarterback Jay Fiedler (out six to eight weeks because of a broken thumb) and, most likely, first-team wide receivers Oronde Gadsden and Chris Chambers, also injured. New quarterback Ray Lucas last started a game in 1999.

Monday's headline: "Dolphins Don't Party Like It's 1999"

*

CAROLINA AT ATLANTA

Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m.

The line: Atlanta by 4.

Quick slant: Having seen enough, Vick says, "Hit me!"

Plot: Chris Weinke versus Doug Johnson -- this one had the makings of, hmm, OK, a matchup that might have interested Florida State and Florida fans before they knew better. Last week, Johnson, filling in for injured Michael Vick, led the Falcons to a 17-10 road victory over the Giants. Which explains why Vick declared himself ready long before Coach Dan Reeves would. Vick says his shoulder is "95%" and maintains his only concern is getting hit by a 300-pound Panther lineman. That drew a laugh from Reeves: "I'd say there's a real good chance Mike will get hit on Sunday."

Monday's headline: "Welcome to October: Weinke's In, Panthers Lose Fourth Straight"

*

MINNESOTA AT NEW YORK JETS

Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m.

The line: New York by 3.

Quick slant: Chad and Randy marshall forward.

Plot: Five years after they connected for 24 touchdowns for the 1997 Marshall Thundering Herd, quarterback Chad Pennington and receiver Randy Moss are reunited, amid less than pleasant circumstances. Pennington makes his second start for the 1-4 Jets, Moss may or may not deem a few passes worthy of his attention for the 1-4 Vikings. Pennington has had to answer many questions about his old college teammate, who declined all interview requests, presumably because he was miffed he didn't think of Terrell Owens' hide-the-pen-in-the-sock Monday night routine first.

Monday's headline: "Thundering Herd of Viking Fans Storms Off Moss Bandwagon"

*

SEATTLE AT ST. LOUIS

Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m.

The line: St. Louis by 5.

Quick slant: Bulgermania!

Plot: Now that the Rams' first out-of-nowhere, feel-good, Chunky Soup-ready quarterback story is sidelined because of a broken finger, St. Louis has gone bonkers over its third-stringer-turned-hero in the conquest of the Raiders, Marc Bulger. Bulger didn't throw much -- only 21 passes, a decent quarter's production for Kurt Warner -- but he turned three into touchdowns, causing the NFC to name him its offensive player of the week and Ram Coach Mike Martz to pretty much lose it. Martz on Bulger: "Actually, he's the best passer we have." Actual quote. Yes, it had been a long time between Ram victories.

Monday's headline: "Martz on Bulger: Well, OK, But He's Still Better Than Dilfer"

*

DENVER AT KANSAS CITY

Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m.

The line: Denver by 3.

Quick slant: Dick Vermeil's toast to the NFL: Points all around!

Plot: The Chiefs lead the NFL in scoring, averaging more than 34 points a game, and they are 3-3, suggesting the Kansas City defense might not be quite up to snuff. Or possibly the worst defense of all time. The Chiefs have allowed 2,580 total yards -- on pace to break the '81 Colts' NFL record of 6,793. The Chiefs have also yielded 1,889 yards passing -- on pace to break the '95 Falcons' record of 4,541. On the plus side: Chief quarterback Trent Green has flung enough touchdown passes to outscore his defense every other week. On the down side: Green has a bad ankle and is only 60-40 to play Sunday.

Monday's headline: "Four More TDs for Holmes; Chiefs Fall to 3-4"

*

SAN FRANCISCO AT NEW ORLEANS

Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: Channel 11.

The line: New Orleans by 2.

Quick slant: Terrell Owens, travel writer, visits New Orleans.

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