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Week 8 Capsules

October 24, 2003|Lonnie White, Times Staff Writer


Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m.

The line: Chicago by 3.

Introduction: Two of the NFL's worst teams will square off with the Lions counting on struggling quarterback Joey Harrington, who was nearly benched this week.

Plot: The Bears have a better chance of pulling things together because they can grind it out with running back Anthony Thomas. Kordell Stewart is expected to return at quarterback for Chicago, which is coming off a dismal loss at New Orleans last week. The Lions also will try to run the ball, but running back Olandis Gary will not find the same holes. Detroit's rushing defense is giving up 129.5 yards a game.

Bottom line: Expect the Bears to pound Detroit's defense and utilize Stewart's mobility to pick up their second victory of the season.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday October 26, 2003 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 54 words Type of Material: Correction
Pro football -- The Chicago Bears played Seattle Oct. 19, not New Orleans, as reported incorrectly in a Sports capsule Friday about the Chicago-Detroit game. It also was reported incorrectly that quarterback Kordell Stewart will start for the Bears today against Detroit. The team announced last week that Chris Chandler will start today's game.



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

The line: Baltimore by 1 1/2.

Introduction: Journeyman Danny Kanell will make his first start at quarterback for the Broncos, who are trying to keep pace with Kansas City in the AFC West.

Plot: With veteran Steve Beuerlein sidelined for the season because of a finger injury and starter Jake Plummer out at least another two weeks because of a broken foot, the Broncos are counting on Kanell. His job will not be easy against the Ravens, who are ninth in the NFL in total defense. Baltimore quarterback Kyle Boller needs to have a big game if the Broncos slow down the league's leading rusher, Jamal Lewis.

Bottom line: Expect Denver running back Clinton Portis to be the difference with his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.



Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m.

The line: Pittsburgh by 1 1/2.

Introduction: The Rams are 4-1 since Marc Bulger took over as starting quarterback, but the Steelers will be tough to defeat at home.

Plot: Third-string running back Arlen Harris will get his first NFL start for the Rams, who are hoping that All-Pro Marshall Faulk returns to the lineup soon after sitting out the last month because of injuries. The Steelers will give veteran Jerome Bettis his first start of the season at running back. The Pittsburgh defense is allowing 243.2 yards a game, second-best in the league.

Bottom line: As long as Coach Mike Martz keeps it simple, the Rams will have too much firepower for the Steelers, who have not been playing well with Tommy Maddox at quarterback.



Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m.

The line: Seattle by 1 1/2.

Introduction: First-year Coach Marvin Lewis has the Bengals in the thick of the AFC North race and will be shooting for his third victory.

Plot: The Seahawks have responded well since suffering their only loss at Green Bay earlier this month. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck has won nine of his last 12 starts for Seattle, which ranks third in the league with a plus-10 turnover margin. Expect running back Corey Dillon to get more carries for the Bengals after complaining about his lack of work -- and asking to be traded -- this week.

Bottom line: If the Bengals can slow down Seattle running back Shaun Alexander, they'll be in position to steal another victory from a favorite.



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

The line: Tampa Bay by 6 1/2.

Introduction: The "Are the Cowboys That Good?" tour will continue for Coach Bill Parcells against the defending champion Buccaneers, who are coming off a disappointing performance in San Francisco.

Plot: Dallas has the NFL's top-ranked defense, giving up 242 yards a game. The Cowboys are allowing only 14 first downs a game. Quarterback Quincy Carter has passed for 1,367 yards and seven touchdowns for the Cowboys, who lead the NFC East by two games. Defensive end Simeon Rice has 37 1/2 sacks in his last 32 games for the Buccaneers.

Bottom line: Dallas has a strong secondary that will be tested by Tampa Bay quarterback Brad Johnson, who should complete enough big plays to pull out a win.



Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m.

The line: Tennessee by 3 1/2.

Introduction: Titan quarterback Steve McNair continues to make his run for NFL most valuable player.

Plot: First-year Jacksonville Coach Jack Del Rio gets his chance at stopping McNair, who leads the league in passing yards (1,791) and is second in touchdown passes (12). The Titan offense leads the AFC, averaging 349.6 yards a game. The Jaguars will start rookie Byron Leftwich, who has touchdown passes in five consecutive games. Jaguar running back Fred Taylor ranks fifth in the AFC in yards from scrimmage with 697.

Bottom line: The Titans have been winning behind McNair but they will need a running game (whatever happened to Eddie George, anyway?) to defeat the Jaguars.



Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m.

The line: New England by 5 1/2.

Introduction: The Browns' quarterback situation continues to be a mess. The Patriots, meanwhile, have been getting it done with a punishing defense.

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