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Week 12 Capsules

November 21, 2003|LONNIE WHITE | Times Staff Writer

Plot: Word around the league is that you can run against the Chiefs' defense and that's exactly what the Bengals and Rudi Johnson did last Sunday. Kansas City has the NFL's 31st-ranked defense against the run, giving up 130.5 yards a game. Kansas City running back Priest Holmes needs 76 yards rushing to reach 1,000 and five more catches to get to 50.

Bottom line: With their playoff hopes long over, expect the Raiders to play hard. Still, the Chiefs have too many weapons to lose two in a row.

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CINCINNATI AT SAN DIEGO

Kickoff: Sunday, 1:15 p.m.

The line: Bengals by 3.

Introduction: The Chargers will start veteran quarterback Doug Flutie for the third week. The Bengals have moved into a first-place tie in the AFC North with Baltimore.

Plot: Cincinnati Coach Marvin Lewis has the Bengals believing they are a playoff team after winning four of their last five, including a victory over Kansas City. Quarterback Jon Kitna is having his best season as a pro with 2,297 yards passing and 15 touchdowns, with nine interceptions, and the Bengals have not been in contention this late in a season since 1990. San Diego is coming off an embarrassing 37-8 loss at Denver.

Bottom line: Expect the Bengals' stretch playoff run to continue with a road victory over the Chargers, who have had a season to forget.

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WASHINGTON AT MIAMI

Kickoff: Sunday, 5:30 p.m., ESPN.

The line: Dolphins by 6 1/2.

Introduction: Now that the Dolphins have seen what Brian Griese can do at quarterback, the team can't wait to get starter Jay Fiedler back into the lineup.

Plot: In last week's overtime victory over Baltimore, Miami running back Ricky Williams rushed for 100 yards for the first time since the third week of the season. The Dolphins rank 27th in the NFL in total yards at 282.9. Griese has thrown four touchdown passes and four interceptions in four starts for Miami. Washington suffered a tough three-point loss at Carolina last week and has lost five of its last six games.

Bottom line: It's now or never for the Dolphins, who should be able to run Williams enough to defeat the Redskins.

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N.Y. GIANTS AT TAMPA BAY

Kickoff: Monday, 6 p.m., Channel 7.

The line: Buccaneers by 5 1/2.

Introduction: The Buccaneers have too many major problems to think that deactivating one player will turn things around for the defending Super Bowl champions.

Plot: The Buccaneers believe that they will be a better team without Keyshawn Johnson, but the wide receiver does not play defense. The Buccaneers have lost three consecutive games while giving up more yards on the ground than the Arizona Cardinals. The Giants have lost their last two games. New York quarterback Kerry Collins ranks 13th in the NFC in third-down passing.

Bottom line: In a battle between two disappointing 4-6 teams, the Buccaneers should benefit from playing at home.

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