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Pro Football

Rating The Games

October 20, 2002|Jim Barrero

**** Makings of a classic

*** Smash-mouth football

** Good for an end around

* Strictly fantasy fodder

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** Chicago (2-3) at Detroit (1-4), 10 a.m.: Veteran Chris Chandler gets nod at quarterback over injured Jim Miller. "It feels like 10 years since I've played," Chandler said, proving that the older you get, the faster time really does fly by. LINE: Chicago by 3.

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*** Buffalo (3-3) at Miami (5-1), 10 a.m.: Here's one for you fans of exotic bets: What will be higher, the number of completions for Drew Bledsoe or the number of carries for Ricky Williams? LINE: Miami by 4.

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** Carolina (3-3) at Atlanta (2-3), 10 a.m.: Panthers lead the league with 25 sacks, certainly not the stat Falcon quarterback Michael Vick, returning from a shoulder injury, wants to hear. LINE: Atlanta by 5.

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* Minnesota (1-4) at New York Jets (1-4), 10 a.m.: If ever there was a week for Randy Moss to break out, this has to be it. Hard to believe that by the end of this one, the Jets' 31st-ranked defense will keep Moss at 8.8 yards per catch. LINE: New York by 3.

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** Seattle (1-4) at St. Louis (1-5), 10 a.m.: Mike Martz calls Mike Holmgren "one of the all-time great head coaches." Holmgren says of Martz: "I hope he takes it easy on us." Imagine if these teams were actually good. LINE: St. Louis by 5.

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*** Denver (4-2) at Kansas City (3-3), 10 a.m.: If Tony Gonzalez does to rookie Sam Brandon what everyone expects, maybe he, too, should consider donating to the Kenoy Kennedy fund or at least writing a thank-you note. LINE: Denver by 3.

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*** San Francisco (4-1) at New Orleans (5-1), 10 a.m., Channel 11, KNX (1070): On this trip to the Big Easy, NFL is looking into rumor that Terrell Owens will have beads and a camcorder tucked in his sock for use during post-touchdown "celebrations." LINE: New Orleans by 2.

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** Jacksonville (3-2) at Baltimore (2-3), 10 a.m.: Who will win the Salary Cap Bowl? Kind of hard to figure since so few faces remain from days when these teams battled for supremacy in the AFC Central. LINE: Baltimore by 1.

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** Houston (1-4) at Cleveland (2-4), 1 p.m.: Chris Palmer returns to Cleveland. In his honor, Butch Davis read one of Palmer's old speeches after loss to Tampa Bay last week as he alluded to things such as "no quick remedies" and "staying positive," and urged all to "stay the course." LINE: Cleveland by 9.

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*** San Diego (5-1) at Oakland (4-1), 1 p.m., Channel 2, KMPC (1540): Charger Coach Marty Schottenheimer is careful not to offend Raiders. But when asked about rivalry, the former Chief coach says, "I just don't sense it here." Charger fans must love to hear that. LINE: Oakland by 7.

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** Dallas (3-3) at Arizona (3-2), 1:15 p.m., KLSX-FM (97.1): OK, this is "no excuses week" for Emmitt Smith in his pursuit (175 yards shy) of Walter Payton. Smith called Sun Devil Stadium "one of the best conditioned fields we play on all year." He better at least get it down to double figures. LINE: Arizona by 3.

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** Washington (2-3) at Green Bay (5-1), 1:15 p.m., KNX (1070): Let's see, you have two teams with makeshift offensive lines ready to do battle. Wonder which quarterback has the advantage, veteran All-Pro Brett Favre or rookie wreck Patrick Ramsey? LINE: Green Bay by 7.

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**** Tampa Bay (5-1) at Philadelphia (3-2), Channel 11, 1:15 p.m.: Eagles have eliminated Buccaneers from playoffs the last two years. Tampa Bay hasn't given up a touchdown in three games and Philadelphia is averaging 33 points per game. Something has to give. LINE: Philadelphia by 3.

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** Indianapolis (4-1) at Pittsburgh (2-3), Monday, 6 p.m., Channel 7, KNX (1070): Steelers are 12-1 against Colts in games in Pittsburgh. Last time Colts won in Steel City was in 1968 when they were from a different town (Baltimore) and accomplished the feat in a different place (Pitt Stadium). LINE: Pittsburgh by 4.

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Open date: New England, Cincinnati, New York Giants, Tennessee.

-- Jim Barrero

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