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Pro Football

Rating The Games

October 27, 2002|Jim Barrero

**** Makings of a classic

*** Smash-mouth football

** Good for an end around

* Strictly fantasy fodder

** Seattle (1-5) at Dallas (3-4), 10 a.m.: Cowboys don't play at home again until Nov. 24, so if Emmitt Smith wants to break Walter Payton's record at Texas Stadium, he had better step up. LINE: Dallas by 2 1/2.

** Detroit (2-4) at Buffalo (4-3), 10 a.m.: Both teams have matched (Lions) or surpassed (Bills) their victory totals from last season. So much for incentive. LINE: Buffalo by 7 1/2.

** Cleveland (3-4) at New York Jets (2-4), 10 a.m.: Victories by both teams last week momentarily lifted the doom and gloom from their seasons, but what will become of the loser after today? LINE: New York by 3.

*** Oakland (4-2) at Kansas City (3-4), 10 a.m., Channel 2, KMPC (1540): Raiders averaging 434 yards per game and almost 33 points. Chiefs averaging 390 yards and 34.1 points. Raider defense is beleaguered. Chief defense is porous. What does this all mean? Look for a 10-7 game. LINE: Oakland by 2 1/2.

** Tampa Bay (5-2) at Carolina (3-4), 10 a.m.: Randy Fasani better put that Stanford education to use and devise a plan to keep himself from being humiliated by the Buccaneers' No. 1 defense in his first start at quarterback. LINE: Tampa Bay by 7.

*** Atlanta (3-3) at New Orleans (6-1), 10 a.m., Channel 11: Cousins Michael Vick and Aaron Brooks face one another for the first time. Vick already has sent a message by winning -- on the road, no less -- the all-important ticket request matchup, 25-20. LINE: New Orleans by 4.

* Tennessee (2-4) at Cincinnati (0-6), 10 a.m.: The last time the Bengals started a season 0-6, the next time out Corey Dillon rushed for an NFL-record 278 yards in a 31-21 win against Denver. LINE: Tennessee by 5 1/2.

** Chicago (2-4) at Minnesota (1-5), 10 a.m., KNX (1070): How's this for motivation: Viking Coach Mike Tice whips out obscure positive statistics to keep his young team from losing hope, then says, "Unfortunately, stats are for losers." Huh? LINE: Minnesota by 1.

*** Pittsburgh (3-3) at Baltimore (3-3), 10 a.m.: "It's going to be a bad-blood type game," Steeler receiver Plaxico Burress says. "There's bad blood between us, regardless," Raven linebacker Ray Lewis says. What else is there to say? LINE: Pittsburgh by 2.

*** Arizona (4-2) at San Francisco (4-2), 1 p.m.: Cardinals have been flying under the radar all season and they get another chance today since the baseball Giants are the talk of San Francisco and no doubt will remain the focus through the weekend. LINE: San Francisco by 8.

*** Denver (5-2) at New England (3-3), 1:15 p.m., Channel 2: From the getting-a-little-ahead-of-yourself dept.: Bronco receiver Rod Smith says, "This is a playoff game for us.... We have everything stacked against us." Someone remind him the calendar hasn't even reached Halloween yet. LINE: New England by 3.

* Houston (1-5) at Jacksonville (3-3), 1:15 p.m.: Texans must avoid the temptation of looking ahead to next week, however enticing that might be. Bengals come to town. LINE: Jacksonville by 10 1/2.

** Indianapolis (4-2) at Washington (2-4), 5:30 p.m., ESPN, XTRA (690), KLSX-FM (97.1): Redskins lose last week and Steve Spurrier responds with another series of lineup changes. Colts lose and Tony Dungy keeps everything the same. Hmm, wonder whom the players respect more? LINE: Pick.

*** New York Giants (3-3) at Philadelphia (4-2), Monday, 6 p.m., Channel 7, KNX (1070): Eagles know division race goes through the Giants, but consider these numbers: Under Jim Fassel, Giants are 3-9-1 in prime-time games and 1-5 on Monday night. Eagles are 6-0 at night under Andy Reid, including 2-0 on Monday. LINE: Philadelphia by 7.

Open date: Miami, San Diego, Green Bay, St. Louis.

-- Jim Barrero

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