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Week 10 Capsules

November 07, 2003|Lonnie White | Times Staff Writer

TAMPA BAY AT CAROLINA

Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m., Channel 11.

The line: Tampa Bay by 3.

Introduction: The Buccaneers already have learned that it is very difficult to repeat as Super Bowl champions, and now they have to play the Panthers on the road.

Plot: The Panthers' Stephen Davis, listed as questionable because of an ankle injury, is the NFL's second-leading rusher with 992 yards. Tampa Bay quarterback Brad Johnson is having a solid season, having thrown for 2,058 yards and 16 touchdowns. Johnson could have a big game against the Panthers' secondary.

Bottom line: If Tampa Bay can limit Carolina's production on first down and force Jake Delhomme into early-down passing situations, the Buccaneers will avenge their Week 2 loss to the Panthers.

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HOUSTON AT CINCINNATI

Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m.

The line: Cincinnati by 5 1/2.

Introduction: Sign of progress: Last week, the Bengals were favored but lost at Arizona. This week, they are favored again. When was the last time that happened?

Plot: The Bengals took one on the chin last week against the Cardinals. If Cincinnati wants to be considered a contender in the weak AFC North, it has to beat teams like the Texans. Houston played a strong game last week in defeating Carolina. David Carr, who had been hampered by an ankle injury, is expected to return at quarterback.

Bottom line: After getting burned by Arizona quarterback Jeff Blake's running last week, the Bengals will welcome a chance to go after either of Houston's stationary quarterbacks, Carr and Tony Banks.

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CHICAGO AT DETROIT

Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m.

The line: Detroit by 2.

Introduction: Old-school football with the Bears and Lions. This should be a good game between traditional division rivals who are coming off rare decisive victories.

Plot: The Bears are not a bad team when they can stick to their running game with Anthony Thomas, who is averaging 4.9 yards a carry. Chicago quarterback Chris Chandler has a 3-1 record, with five touchdown passes, in four starts against Detroit. With 13 interceptions and eight touchdown passes, Detroit quarterback Joey Harrington is still prone to mistakes, but he played well in last week's victory over Oakland.

Bottom line: The Bears have not played too well on the road, and the Lions should have plenty of confidence after defeating the Raiders.

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INDIANAPOLIS AT JACKSONVILLE

Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m.

The line: Indianapolis by 6.

Introduction: After last week's big victory at Miami, the Colts can't afford to take the improving Jaguars and quarterback Byron Leftwich lightly.

Plot: Quarterback Peyton Manning keeps getting the job done, and the Colts have shown plenty of heart in winning seven of their first eight games. The Colts have not lost to the Jaguars in five meetings. The best move Jacksonville Coach Jack Del Rio made was going with Leftwich early this season. The rookie quarterback has either run or passed for a touchdown in seven consecutive games.

Bottom line: Jacksonville has lost three games by a touchdown or less, so expect the Jaguars to give Coach Tony Dungy and his Colts a good test.

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CLEVELAND AT KANSAS CITY

Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m., Channel 2.

The line: Kansas City by 9 1/2.

Introduction: The undefeated Chiefs will be looking for their ninth victory this season, and they have their home-field advantage going for them. They have not lost at Arrowhead Stadium since Oct. 20, 2002.

Plot: The Browns will start Kelly Holcomb at quarterback but will be without suspended running back William Green. Cleveland has the sixth-best defense in the league. Kansas City running back Priest Holmes has accounted for 1,103 total yards from scrimmage. Quarterback Trent Green has thrown for 11 touchdowns.

Bottom line: The Chiefs simply have too many weapons and too much balance to lose at home to the Browns, but Kansas City could be a little flat after a bye week.

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ATLANTA AT N.Y. GIANTS

Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m.

The line: Giants by 10 1/2.

Introduction: With Michael Vick expected to be sidelined at least two more weeks, Coach Dan Reeves will start Kurt Kittner at quarterback.

Plot: The Giants squeezed out an overtime victory over the Jets last week and are in the thick of the NFC playoff picture. Quarterback Kerry Collins leads the NFL with 2,185 yards passing. The Giants' Tiki Barber has rushed for 687 yards but has scored only one touchdown. The Falcons are giving up 418 yards a game. Atlanta wide receiver Peerless Price has caught a pass in 58 consecutive games. Reeves needs one more victory to reach 200 in his career.

Bottom line: Both teams give up a lot of points, but the Giants have the better offense and are playing at home.

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ARIZONA AT PITTSBURGH

Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m.

The line: Pittsburgh by 7 1/2.

Introduction: If the Steelers are to make a push to win the AFC North, they have to start by defeating the Cardinals, who have played solid football the last two weeks.

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