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The Nickel Package

Times staff writer Sam Farmer breaks down five areas worth watching in today's NFL matchups

October 09, 2005|Sam Farmer

5 GOLDEN OLDIES

Bryant Young, San Francisco, DE, 33

* NFL sack leader is bright spot on a bad defense.

Donnie Edwards, San Diego, LB, 32

* Still wraps up as well as any tackler in the league.

Troy Vincent, Buffalo, FS, 34

* Former Eagle cornerback has aged gracefully with Bills.

Keenan McCardell, San Diego, WR, 35

* His five touchdown catches lead the NFL.

John Carney, New Orleans, K, 41

* Tied for seventh in scoring with 32 points.

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5 LOCKS

* Tampa Bay over N.Y. Jets -- Stifling Buccaneer defense will set the tone.

* Indianapolis over San Francisco -- Manning should throw at least three TD passes in a rout.

* Carolina over Arizona -- Panther quarterback Jake Delhomme is sharper on the road.

* Philadelphia over Dallas -- Eagles have owned teams in the second half this season.

* Denver over Washington -- Redskins are undefeated but are far from overwhelming.

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RATING THE 1ST-ROUND PICKS

***** Tampa Bay RB Carnell "Cadillac" Williams. His shoes have already been sent to Canton.

**** Philadelphia DT Mike Patterson. Eagles happily swapped Corey Simon for the former Trojan.

*** Dallas DE DeMarcus Ware. Has had shining moments, is ready for increased role.

** Jacksonville WR Matt Jones. College QB turned receiver still has lots of room to grow.

* Tennessee CB Adam "Pacman" Jones. Training-camp holdout still gets booed by home fans.

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5 TELLING STATISTICS

* The Ravens, who play at Detroit, are 1-7 all-time indoors.

* Miami has 10-plus penalties in each of its first three games.

* New England has given up 108 points in its first four games, most since 1994.

* The Rams, who play host to Seattle, have at least one turnover in 32 consecutive home games.

* San Diego, which has scored 40-plus points in consecutive games, hasn't done so in three consecutive games since 1982.

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5 DOOMED DEFENSES

* San Francisco -- 49ers are catching Peyton Manning at the wrong time.

* Dallas -- Cowboys gave up average of 32.2 points in last 10 vs. Philly.

* Arizona -- Cardinal opponent Carolina is on pace for club scoring record.

* New England -- Banged-up Patriots don't register many takeaways anymore.

* San Diego -- Chargers score a lot of points, but they give up a lot too.

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