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Rating The Games

September 14, 2003|Lonnie White

**** Makings of a classic

*** Smash-mouth football

** Good for an end around

* Strictly fantasy fodder

*** Miami at N.Y. Jets, 10 a.m. Jay Fiedler vs. Vinny Testaverde is a quarterback matchup that will never be confused with Bob Griese vs. Joe Namath. The Dolphins know that if they lose, Coach Dave Wannstedt's job may be in jeopardy. LINE: Dolphins by 3.

** Detroit at Green Bay, 10 a.m. Because of injuries to wide receivers, Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre may wish that radio announcer Max McGee were still playing. LINE: Packers by 6 1/2.

** Washington at Atlanta, 10 a.m. The Falcons may still be a solid team without quarterback Michael Vick, but they sure are not as exciting with backup Doug Johnson. Even with Steve Spurrier as coach, the Redskins are just as boring. LINE: Falcons by 3.

*** Tennessee at Indianapolis, 10 a.m., KLSX-FM (97.1). Except for a few Steve McNair scrambles, these two AFC South powers are as exciting as oatmeal for breakfast. LINE: Colts by 2.

** Buffalo at Jacksonville, 10 a.m. With Drew Bledsoe at quarterback, the Bills are one team that throws the ball. Buffalo also has a running back worth watching in Travis Henry and an exciting ball-hawking defense. LINE: Bills by 3.

*** Cleveland at Baltimore, 10 a.m. Middle linebacker Ray Lewis will be ripping things up for the Ravens and defensive end Courtney Brown will be setting it down for the Browns. Wearing a mouthpiece while watching is strongly recommended. LINE: Ravens by 2.

** Houston at New Orleans, 10 a.m. With Deuce McAllister running the ball and Aaron Brooks looking to make big plays, the Saints feature a potent offense that never seems to reach its potential. LINE: Saints by 8 1/2.

*** San Francisco at St. Louis, 10 a.m., Channel 11. If you need to know whether the Rams are ready to play, just check out running back Marshall Faulk's body language. When he's into a game, he has a little pep in his step. When he's not, forget about it. The 49ers will be hoping to see the latter. LINE: Rams by 3.

**** Pittsburgh at Kansas City, 10 a.m., Channel 2. This is the game of the day, featuring two up-and-coming teams. Kansas City Coach Dick Vermeil continues to get the most out of running back Priest Holmes, while quarterback Tommy Maddox gets the most out of the Steelers' offense. LINE: Chiefs by 3 1/2.

** Seattle at Arizona, 1 p.m. The Seahawks turned a lot of people into fans last weekend with their impressive victory over New Orleans, but one game does not make a Super Bowl champion. LINE: Seahawks by 4 1/2.

** Carolina at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. Quarterback Jake Delhomme will have his work cut out, trying to get Carolina into the end zone. LINE: Buccaneers by 9 1/2.

** Denver at San Diego, 1:15 p.m., KMPC (1540), KLSX-FM (97.1), KFMB (760), XEXX (1420). Quarterback Jake Plummer looked a lot like Ryan Leaf in his debut with the Broncos. Plummer should have an easier time against the Chargers, who will play two rookies in their dime packages. LINE: Broncos by 3.

** Cincinnati at Oakland, 1:15 p.m., Channel 2, XTRA (690, 1150). If you're a Raider fan who likes to see your team dominate an opponent, this is a must-watch game. LINE: Raiders by 12.

*** New England at Philadelphia, 1:15 p.m., XPRS (1090). Donovan McNabb and the Eagles cannot play any worse than they did against Tampa Bay on Monday. Look for Philadelphia to be more aggressive offensively. LINE: Eagles by 4 1/2.

*** Chicago at Minnesota, 5:30 p.m. ESPN, KLSX-FM (97.1). Any time Randy Moss is playing, especially on national television, it figures to be a good game to watch. Unfortunately, the Vikings are playing Kordell Stewart and the Bears, who may be the NFL's worst team. LINE: Vikings by 8.

*** Dallas at N.Y. Giants, 6 p.m. Monday, Channel 7, KMPC (1540). Even if the Giants crush the Cowboys, watching New York-area fans' response to Cowboy Coach Bill Parcells should be interesting. LINE: Giants by 7 1/2.

-- Lonnie White

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