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Week 12 Capsules

November 21, 2003|LONNIE WHITE | Times Staff Writer

SEATTLE AT BALTIMORE

Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m.

The line: Ravens by 3.

Introduction: Linebacker Ray Lewis and the Raven defense have been playing excellent football, but that hasn't prevented Baltimore from losing two games in a row.

Plot: If the Seahawks are to win the NFC West, they'll have to start winning away from home. Seattle, 1-3 on the road, plays four of its last six on the road. Matt Hasselbeck has thrown for at least 200 yards in eight consecutive games. Baltimore is expected to start Anthony Wright at quarterback for the second consecutive week. Jamal Lewis leads the league in rushing but has fumbled three times in the last two games.

Bottom line: The Ravens have discovered they can't win only with defense and Jamal Lewis, which should open the door for the Seahawks.

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INDIANAPOLIS AT BUFFALO

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

The line: Colts by 3.

Introduction: Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning is having a strong season and passed for more than 400 yards in last weekend's 38-31 victory over the New York Jets.

Plot: The Bills' Drew Bledsoe is not the same quarterback without receiver Eric Moulds, who did not play in last weekend's loss to Houston because of a nagging groin injury. Running back Travis Henry, who leads Buffalo in rushing, is questionable because of a hairline fracture in his right leg. The Colts are hoping to have receiver Marvin Harrison back. He sat out last weekend's game because of a hamstring injury.

Bottom line: Look for Coach Tony Dungy's Colts to win, but the Bills won't make it easy for them.

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PITTSBURGH AT CLEVELAND

Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m.

The line: Browns by 3.

Introduction: The up-and-down Browns will be looking for their second win in as many weeks after a blowout victory over Arizona.

Plot: The Brown offense was nearly unstoppable against Arizona, with quarterback Kelly Holcomb passing for 392 yards and three touchdowns. Running back James Jackson, who scored twice against Arizona, will get his third start in place of suspended starter William Green. Quarterback Tommy Maddox passed for 327 yards Monday, but the Steelers still lost, 30-14, at San Francisco. Amos Zereoue leads the Steelers in rushing with only 335 yards.

Bottom line: In the dreadful AFC North, a two-game winning streak may be good enough to move into first place.

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CAROLINA AT DALLAS

Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m.

The line: Cowboys by 3.

Introduction: Coach Bill Parcells and the Cowboys may have a dominant defense, but the jury is still out on their offense and quarterback Quincy Carter.

Plot: Dallas suffered its second shutout defeat of the season, 12-0, against New England last weekend. Carter has thrown nine touchdown passes but also 12 interceptions, three last weekend against the Patriots. The Cowboys have the NFL's top defense against the pass, giving up only 154.8 yards per game. Carolina leads the NFC South by three games and has won its last two.

Bottom line: The Panthers have won seven games by less than a touchdown and their ability to win close contests gives them an edge against the Cowboys.

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SAN FRANCISCO AT GREEN BAY

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

The line: Packers by 4 1/2.

Introduction: The Packers are hoping to build on last weekend's impressive road victory over Tampa Bay, the NFL's defending Super Bowl champion.

Plot: The Packers have the league's most effective ground attack. Green Bay leads the NFL in rushing with 166.5 yards a game. For the 49ers, quarterback Tim Rattay is 2-0 since taking over for injured starter Jeff Garcia, and wide receiver Terrell Owens has been putting up big numbers with Rattay in the lineup.

Bottom line: If Ahman Green can rush for at least 100 yards against the 49ers, the Packers will win and move a step closer in their quest for an NFC playoff berth.

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NEW ENGLAND AT HOUSTON

Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m.

The line: Patriots by 5 1/2.

Introduction: The Patriots have emerged as a contender in the AFC, thanks to their suffocating defense.

Plot: New England has won six in a row despite a shaky offense. Kevin Faulk leads a Patriot running game that ranks 11th among 16 AFC teams. Tom Brady has 11 touchdown passes and eight interceptions. Houston will start Tony Banks at quarterback after he stepped in for injured David Carr and led the Texans to a 12-10 victory at Buffalo last week. Rookie Domanick Davis leads Houston in rushing with 655 yards; Andre Johnson tops the receivers with 46 catches for 711 yards.

Bottom line: The Patriots don't have a strong running game but their defense is strong and Brady makes enough big plays to beat the Texans.

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DETROIT AT MINNESOTA

Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m.

The line: Vikings by 10 1/2.

Introduction: The slumping Vikings will be looking to end a four-game losing streak. The Lions are winless in five road games this season.

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