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Week 13 Capsules

November 28, 2003|Lonnie White | Times Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA AT CAROLINA

Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m.

The line: Panthers by 1 1/2.

Introduction: The Eagles will get a chance to show everyone that they are legitimate Super Bowl contenders.

Plot: Quarterback Donovan McNabb has been doing a great job of spreading the ball around in the Eagles' offense. In last week's win over New Orleans, McNabb completed 16 passes to 10 receivers. Running back Brian Westbrook has four combined touchdowns rushing and receiving over the last two weeks for the Eagles. The Panthers' Stephen Davis leads the team with 1,143 rushing yards but has not rushed for 100 yards in three games.

Bottom line: The Panthers' once dominant defense has displayed a few cracks, so look for McNabb to exploit Carolina's suspect secondary.

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SAN FRANCISCO AT BALTIMORE

Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m.

The line: Ravens by 3.

Introduction: If Baltimore quarterback Anthony Wright can pass like he did in last week's victory over Seattle, the Ravens will be hard to beat.

Plot: The 49ers need a victory to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. San Francisco has not won a road game this season, being outscored, 118-73 in five games. Wideout Terrell Owens is tied for fourth in the NFC in receptions with 61. Baltimore running back Jamal Lewis leads the NFL in rushing with 1,364 yards and is averaging 5.1 yards a carry. Baltimore has the NFL's fourth-best run defense, giving up 101.5 yards a game.

Bottom line: For the Ravens to keep pace with Cincinnati in the AFC North, they have to win home games like this one.

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ARIZONA AT CHICAGO

Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m.

The line: Bears by 4 1/2.

Introduction: The quarterback formally known as slash, Kordell Stewart, is back and the Bears are happy to have him.

Plot: Stewart stepped in for injured veteran Chris Chandler and accounted for 76 yards, including a key fourth-down touchdown run in a 19-10 victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday. Chicago has the 31st-ranked passing offense in the league at 143.8 yards a game. The Cardinals are 0-5 on the road. Arizona rookie wide receiver Anquan Boldin has 66 catches for 999 yards. The Cardinals are ranked 30th in the league in defense against the pass at 223.1 yards a game.

Bottom line: The Bears have won three of their last six games, while the Cardinals can't win on the road.

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ATLANTA AT HOUSTON

Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m.

The line: Texans by 3.

Introduction: Quarterback Tony Banks has found new life leading the Texan offense while the Falcons can only hope to have Michael Vick back before Christmas.

Plot: With Vick still not ready to return to the lineup, Atlanta will start Doug Johnson. The Falcons will be without injured running back Warrick Dunn, who leads the team in rushing (672 yards) and is second in receiving (37 catches for 336 yards). Atlanta has the NFL's worst defense against the pass, giving up 251.1 yards a game. Rookie wide receiver Andre Johnson leads the Texans in catches with 50 for 748 yards and four touchdowns.

Bottom line: The Falcons and Texans are playing well, but Houston will have an edge playing at home.

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NEW ENGLAND AT INDIANAPOLIS

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

The line: Colts by 4.

Introduction: A matchup of two of the AFC's elite teams features top big-play quarterbacks in the Colts' Peyton Manning and Patriots' Tom Brady, but there may be a twist.

Plot: Manning leads the NFL in passing yards with 3,105 to go with 19 touchdown passes but felt a twinge in his right arm in practice Wednesday. The Patriots had to dig deep to come from behind and defeat Houston in overtime last week. Brady passed for 368 yards and two touchdowns against the Texans. The Patriot defense has given up 13 touchdowns in the 32 times opponents have gotten inside their 20-yard line.

Bottom line: The Patriots have been winning with defense but that will not be enough to defeat the Colts.

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BUFFALO AT N.Y. GIANTS

Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m.

The line: Giants by 3.

Introduction: Quarterback Drew Bledsoe and the Bills lost at home to the Colts, while the Giants are trying to finish the season on a strong note.

Plot: Bledsoe has thrown nine interceptions this season and does not have a touchdown pass since Oct. 19 against Washington. Buffalo running back Travis Henry needs to rush for 143 yards to give him 1,000 for a second consecutive season. New York quarterback Kerry Collins leads the NFL with 451 attempts and ranks second with 262 completions. Running back Tiki Barber leads the Giants in rushing and needs 27 more yards to reach 1,000-yard season.

Bottom line: The Giants will give Coach Jim Fassel something to smile about with a home victory.

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CINCINNATI AT PITTSBURGH

Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m.

The line: Steelers by 3.

Introduction: The Steelers can really tighten the AFC North race with a victory over the Bengals, who have won three in a row and five of their last six.

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