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Rating The Games

October 12, 2003|Lonnie White

**** Makings of a classic

*** No remote needed

** Good to keep checking

* Strictly fantasy fodder

** Oakland (2-3) at Cleveland (2-3), Channel 2, XTRA (690/1150), 10 a.m. Time for Raider haters and Dawg-Pounders to unite. If the Raiders continue to miss tackles, as they did last week at Chicago, the woofing will go on endlessly. LINE: Browns by 2 1/2.

*** Philadelphia (2-2) at Dallas (3-1), Channel 11, 10 a.m. Now that the Eagles are playing better football and have Troy Vincent back in the secondary, the Cowboys will get their first real test since they defeated the New York Giants on a Monday night. LINE: Cowboys by 1.

*** Kansas City (5-0) at Green Bay (3-2), Channel 8 (San Diego), KLSX-FM (97.1), 10 a.m. If the Chiefs' Dante Hall returns a kick for a touchdown, wouldn't it be fun to watch him make the Lambeau Leap into the stands and celebrate with Packer fans? OK, maybe not. LINE: Packers by 1 1/2.

**** Carolina (4-0) at Indianapolis (5-0), 10 a.m. Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison have proved that you should never turn away from a Colts' game. It also can't hurt to finally watch a full game with the Panthers. LINE: Colts by 5.

** Miami (3-1) at Jacksonville (1-4), 10 a.m. Rookie quarterback Byron Leftwich is the league's newest attraction, but the Jaguars are playing the Dolphins, who don't care if they're boring as long as they continue to win. Run, Ricky, run. LINE: Dolphins by 3.

** New York Giants (2-2) at New England (3-2), 10 a.m. Tom Brady and Kerry Collins may not be glamorous quarterbacks, but they know how to throw the football. This could be an exciting, enjoyable game. LINE: Patriots by 3.

* Chicago (1-3) at New Orleans (1-4), 10 a.m. The Mike Ditka Bowl. The Bears are on a roll after beating the Raiders in overtime, whereas the Saints just can't get their act together. This is a game that only Ditka, a former Chicago and New Orleans coach, could love. LINE: Saints by 5 1/2.

** Houston (2-2) at Tennessee (3-2), 10 a.m. Although the Titans' Steve McNair is a proven quarterback with a strong resume, and the Texans' David Carr is considered one of the league's top young players, this game doesn't excite. LINE: Titans by 10.

*** Tampa Bay (2-2) at Washington (3-2), KFWB (980), KAVL (610), 10 a.m. Thanks to Warren Sapp, the Redskins definitely will be ready to rumble with the Buccaneers, who will be fired up after Monday night's embarrassing overtime loss to Indianapolis. LINE: Buccaneers by 3.

** Baltimore (2-2) at Arizona (1-4), 1:15 p.m. It's a good idea to keep checking in on the Ravens' Jamal Lewis to see whether he's making a run at the NFL's single-game rushing record again. The Cardinal defense is that bad. LINE: Ravens by 5 1/2.

** Pittsburgh (2-3) at Denver (4-1), Channel 2, XPRS (1090), KFWB (980), KAVL (610), 1:15 p.m. This could be an interesting game if quarterback Tommy Maddox stops having passes intercepted and the Steelers remember how to tackle. It also helps that Denver's Clinton Portis is one of the league's most exciting running backs. LINE: Broncos by 6 1/2.

* Buffalo (3-2) at New York Jets (0-4), KLSX-FM (97.1), 1:15 p.m. Unless you are a New York native or nostalgic for the AFL, this game misses the mark. Drew Bledsoe versus Vinny Testaverde just doesn't cut it. LINE: Bills by 2 1/2.

** San Francisco (2-3) at Seattle (3-1), ESPN, KLSX-FM (97.1), KAVL (610), 5:30 p.m. The Seahawks can make a major statement with a strong effort against former coach Dennis Erickson's 49ers one week after losing a tough game at Green Bay. And then there's always the unpredictable Terrell Owens. LINE: Seahawks by 3 1/2.

** Atlanta (1-4) at St. Louis (1-3), Channel 7, Monday, 6 p.m. It's a shame that we will not get a chance to hear "Monday Night Football" analyst John Madden break down a play by Atlanta's injured quarterback Michael Vick. LINE: Rams by 12.

-- Lonnie White

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