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Week 6 Capsules

October 10, 2003|Lonnie White | Times Staff Writer

OAKLAND AT CLEVELAND

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

The line: Cleveland by 3.

Introduction: After losing at Chicago last week, the Raiders are under .500 and struggling to stay in the AFC West race.

Plot: Cleveland's offense has picked up since quarterback Tim Couch took over as starter. In an impressive victory over Pittsburgh last week, the Browns not only passed the ball well, but running back William Green rushed for more than 100 yards for the first time this season. The Raiders have allowed 131 points, second-most in the AFC.

Bottom line: The Raiders have to find a reliable running game or this will be a lost season for the defending AFC champions, who could have major trouble against the improving Browns.

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PHILADELPHIA AT DALLAS

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

The line: Philadelphia by 1.

Introduction: Coach Bill Parcells and the surprising Cowboys will make a major statement if they can pull off a home victory over Donovan McNabb and the Eagles.

Plot: Led by quarterback Quincy Carter and receivers Joey Galloway and Terry Glenn, the Cowboys have the NFL's No. 1 offense. Philadelphia's injury-plagued secondary, rated 31st in the league against the pass, will be tested often. McNabb leads all quarterbacks in rushing with 174 yards.

Bottom line: Expect the Eagles to run the ball better than expected and for McNabb to gain his sixth consecutive victory over the Cowboys. If Dallas loses, every NFC East team will have at least two losses.

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KANSAS CITY AT GREEN BAY

Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m.

The line: Green Bay by 2.

Introduction: Dynamic kick-returner Dante Hall leads the undefeated Chiefs in a key inter-conference road game against Brett Favre and the Packers.

Plot: Coach Dick Vermeil's team is solid in all areas, but the Chiefs will still face a difficult challenge against Green Bay. Running back Ahman Green rushed for 118 yards and two touchdowns last week to lead the Packers to an easy victory over previously unbeaten Seattle. Kansas City's defense is tied for the league lead with 15 takeaways. Priest Holmes leads the Chiefs in rushing (483 yards) and receiving (21 catches for 198 yards).

Bottom line: If Kansas City quarterback Trent Green can outplay Favre, the Chiefs win.

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CAROLINA AT INDIANAPOLIS

Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m.

The line: Indianapolis by 5.

Introduction: The Colts' Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison get the undefeated Panthers after making Tampa Bay's defense look ordinary Monday night.

Plot: Manning leads the NFL in passer rating (103.2) and has eight touchdown passes in his last two games. Indianapolis has the league's highest-scoring offense (31.6 points per game), while Carolina has allowed only 48 points. The Panthers are built around running back Stephen Davis, who is the first player in franchise history to rush for more than 100 yards in four games in a row.

Bottom line: The Panthers have one the NFL's fiercest defensive units, but their offense is one-dimensional, and that will be a problem on the road against the Colts.

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MIAMI AT JACKSONVILLE

Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m.

The line: Miami by 3.

Introduction: Rookie quarterback Byron Leftwich and the Jaguars will seek their second victory in as many weeks, but they will face the veteran Dolphins, who have won their last three games.

Plot: Dolphin running back Ricky Williams has rushed for 386 yards and three touchdowns but is averaging only 3.4 yards a carry. Miami quarterback Jay Fiedler has thrown five touchdown passes and four interceptions. Running back Fred Taylor leads Jacksonville in rushing (422 yards) and receiving (20 catches).

Bottom line: The Jaguars may not be in the same class as the Dolphins, but they do have Leftwich, who leads the league in fourth-quarter passing with 224 yards and three touchdowns without an interception.

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N.Y. GIANTS AT NEW ENGLAND

Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m.

The line: New England by 3.

Introduction: The Patriots might have found a No. 1 running back in Mike Cloud, who rushed for 73 yards and two touchdowns in seven carries last week against Tennessee.

Plot: Quarterback Kerry Collins has put up some good passing numbers, but the Giants' offense has struggled to score points. Running back Tiki Barber, who scored 11 touchdowns last season, has reached the end zone only once in four games. New England quarterback Tom Brady has thrown more interceptions (seven) than touchdowns (six).

Bottom line: Expect the Giants to execute better offensively, but they may still have trouble scoring against the Patriots, who are strong against the run.

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CHICAGO AT NEW ORLEANS

Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m.

The line: New Orleans by 5 1/2.

Introduction: The Bears will be looking to add to the Saints' woes after their come-from-behind victory over the Raiders last week.

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