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Week 9 Capsules

October 31, 2003|Lonnie White | Times Staff Writer

OAKLAND AT DETROIT

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

The line: Oakland by 2 1/2.

Introduction: With Marques Tuiasosopo starting at quarterback in place of Rich Gannon, the Raiders will try to salvage their season, beginning with the Lions.

Plot: Under first-year Coach Steve Mariucci, Detroit has been inconsistent, with starting quarterback Joey Harrington throwing 12 interceptions and eight touchdown passes. Tuiasosopo looked good in the Raiders' last game against Kansas City when he rallied Oakland in the second half, only to fall a yard short of sending the game to overtime. Jerry Rice leads Oakland in receiving, but he has yet to score a touchdown.

Bottom line: It's time for Oakland's defense to step up and carry the Raiders while Tuiasosopo gets used to being a starter.

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SAN DIEGO AT CHICAGO

Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m.

The line: Chicago by 2 1/2.

Introduction: The Chargers and the Bears. It doesn't get much better than this if you like losing football. Between them, these teams have won three games.

Plot: San Diego quarterback Drew Brees played one of his worst games with three interceptions in the Chargers' loss to Miami on Monday night. San Diego running back LaDainian Tomlinson is third in the AFC in rushing with 719 yards. Chicago rookie running back Brock Forsey rushed for a team-high 56 yards and a touchdown in the Bears' 24-16 victory over Detroit last week.

Bottom line: With receiver David Boston having a big game, look for the Chargers to finally have a bright spot in an already forgettable season under Coach Marty Schottenheimer.

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N.Y. GIANTS AT N.Y. JETS

Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m.

The line: Giants by 2.

Introduction: After knocking off previously undefeated Minnesota last weekend, the Giants will try to dampen any hopes the Jets have of making a push for the playoffs.

Plot: Quarterback Kerry Collins led the Giants to a season-high 450 total yards against the Vikings. Defensive end Michael Strahan has had two sacks in his last three games for the Giants. Quarterback Chad Pennington is expected to play more for the Jets after getting his first action of the season last week in a loss at Philadelphia.

Bottom line: The Jets have the NFL's top pass defense, but they will be without injured end John Abraham and that may be the difference for Collins, who should have a big game.

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CAROLINA AT HOUSTON

Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m.

The line: Carolina by 6 1/2.

Introduction: The Texans are expected to be without injured starting quarterback David Carr, who suffered an ankle injury in last week's loss at Indianapolis.

Plot: With veteran backup Tony Banks starting at quarterback, Houston faces a difficult battle against the Panthers. The Texans' Domanick Davis leads NFL rookies with 409 yards rushing. The Panthers scored a come-from-behind victory at New Orleans last weekend. Carolina quarterback Jake Delhomme has thrown only five interceptions in 189 passes this season.

Bottom line: As long as the Panthers give the Texans a heavy dose of running back Stephen Davis, Carolina should be able to win its second consecutive road game.

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INDIANAPOLIS AT MIAMI

Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m.

The line: Miami by 3.

Introduction: Quarterback Brian Griese looked strong in his debut with the Dolphins, and he may be the missing piece of the puzzle for Coach Dave Wannstedt.

Plot: Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning leads the league in touchdown passes with 15. But Manning will need Edgerrin James and the Colts' running game to be effective against the Dolphins' defense. Miami has the NFL's best scoring defense in limiting opponents to 12.4 points a game. Miami has won five of the last six meetings between the teams.

Bottom line: The Colts' run defense will get a workout, trying to slow Miami running back Ricky Williams, who will provide the edge for the Dolphins in a close game.

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JACKSONVILLE AT BALTIMORE

Kickoff: Sunday, 10 a.m.

The line: Baltimore by 7.

Introduction: In a battle of rookie quarterbacks, Jacksonville's Byron Leftwich will face Baltimore's Kyle Boller.

Plot: Despite Boller's mediocre numbers, the Ravens lead the AFC North. Boller has thrown five touchdown passes with seven interceptions. Baltimore has been winning with running back Jamal Lewis, who has 987 yards rushing, and defense. The Ravens have given up only 132 points all season. Jacksonville running back Fred Taylor leads the team in rushing and receiving. The Jaguars' defense is second in the NFL in limiting teams to 3.21 yards per rush.

Bottom line: Expect Baltimore middle linebacker Ray Lewis to have a special greeting for Leftwich, who continues to improve with each start.

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NEW ORLEANS AT TAMPA BAY

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

The line: Tampa Bay by 8.

Introduction: Fresh off a convincing victory over Dallas, the Buccaneers will be trying for two in a row as they try to keep pace with Carolina in the NFC South.

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