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Rating The Games

November 16, 2003|Lonnie White

**** Makings of a classic

*** No remote needed

** Good to keep checking

* Strictly fantasy fodder

** Houston (3-6) at Buffalo (4-5), 10 a.m. Thanks to the strong play of rookies Domanick Davis and Andre Johnson, the Texans have grown into a team that's fun to watch. That's not the case with the boring Bills. LINE: Bills by 7.

*** Washington (4-5) at Carolina (7-2), 10 a.m. The Redskins remain an interesting team because of Coach Steve Spurrier. The Panthers are interesting because they win. LINE: Panthers by 6.

** St. Louis (6-3) at Chicago (3-6), Channel 11, 10 a.m. The Rams lose some of their explosiveness in cold-weather outdoor games played on grass, but they are still playing the offense-deprived Bears. LINE: Rams by 6.

*** Kansas City (9-0) at Cincinnati (4-5), 10 a.m. Since wide receiver Chad Johnson guaranteed a victory for the Bengals, this game should have extra meaning for Coach Dick Vermeil and the undefeated Chiefs. LINE: Chiefs by 6.

* Arizona (3-6) at Cleveland (3-6), 10 a.m. If you're a Brown fan and want Coach Butch Davis replaced, this could be the game that triggers the move. Losing to the Cardinals at home can do that to a coach. LINE: Browns by 6.

*** Baltimore (5-4) at Miami (5-4), 10 a.m. The Dolphins may not be explosive but they are tough. Coach Dave Wannstedt will need a total team effort against the physical Ravens, who will start Anthony Wright at quarterback. LINE: Dolphins by 6.

** Atlanta (2-7) at New Orleans (4-5), KAVL (610), KFWB (980), 10 a.m. The Saints are playing their best football of the season and the Falcons are still waiting for injured quarterback Michael Vick to return. LINE: Saints by 8 1/2.

*** N.Y. Giants (4-5) at Philadelphia (6-3), KLSX-FM (97.1), 10 a.m. Now that Rush Limbaugh has completed rehab, he might have noticed how the Eagles have been winning with Donovan McNabb still at quarterback. LINE: Eagles by 3 1/2.

** Jacksonville (2-7) at Tennessee (7-2), 10 a.m. There's bad blood between the Titans and Jaguars, which adds a little spice to a game featuring quarterbacks Steve McNair of Tennessee and Byron Leftwich of Jacksonville. LINE: Titans by 10.

** San Diego (2-7) at Denver (5-4), Channel 2, Channel 8 (San Diego), KMPC (1540), KFMB (760, San Diego), XEXX (1420, Spanish), 1 p.m. The Broncos' offense should get a lift with Jake Plummer back at starting quarterback. The Chargers counter with Doug Flutie, who continues to prove that he has found the fountain of youth. LINE: Broncos by 8.

** N.Y. Jets (3-6) at Indianapolis (7-2), 1 p.m. The play of quarterback Chad Pennington might have brought new life to the Jets' offense, but their defense will have its hands full with the Colts' Peyton Manning. LINE: Colts by 6.

** Minnesota (6-3) at Oakland (2-7), XTRA (690/1150), KFWB (980), XPRS (1090), 1:15 p.m. The Vikings' defense looked extremely weak in last week's loss at San Diego. Coach Mike Tice is hoping a game against Rick Mirer and the bickering Raiders can turn things around. LINE: Vikings by 4 1/2.

** Detroit (3-6) at Seattle (6-3), 1:15 p.m. Riding a two-game winning streak, the Lions will try to hand the Seahawks their first defeat at home this season. Too bad Detroit doesn't have anyone to catch Joey Harrington's passes. LINE: Seahawks by 10 1/2.

*** Green Bay (4-5) at Tampa Bay (4-5), Channel 11, KLSX-FM (97.1), 1:15 p.m. Two sub-.500 teams hungry for a victory make this game a potential classic. Nothing is better than a Brett Favre-vs.-Warren Sapp matchup. LINE: Buccaneers by 4.

*** Dallas (7-2) at New England (7-2), ESPN, ESPN Deportes, KLSX-FM (97.1), 5:30 p.m. Bill Parcells vs. Bill Belichick. A showdown between two of the best coaches in the NFL. This is the type of game that you have to get excited about. LINE: Patriots by 4.

** Pittsburgh (3-6) at San Francisco (4-5), Channel 7, Monday, 6 p.m. The Steelers are hoping to make a late push for the playoffs, and the 49ers might have found their quarterback of the future in Tim Rattay. LINE: 49ers by 4.

-- Lonnie White

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