Carolina (1-4) at Washington (0-5) Time: 1 p.m. today...

October 21, 2001

Carolina (1-4) at Washington (0-5)

Time: 1 p.m. today, chs. 45, 5.

Line: Panthers by 3 1/2 .

Outlook: This is the game that could make the Panthers well. But QB Chris Weinke is hobbled with a thigh injury, and that could put the ball in the hands of RB Tshimanga Biakabutuka, who had a career-best 142 yards rushing against the Redskins in 1999. Biakabutuka also has a fumble problem. Washington's defense has begun to make strides, but the 31st-ranked offense is still reeling. This is one of a few games the Redskins could win.

Chicago (3-1) at Cincinnati (3-2)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Bengals by 1.

Outlook: The Bears are showing some intriguing signs. The offense has allowed a league-low two sacks, and the defense has allowed the fewest points in the NFL. The Bears are tough against the run, ranking seventh, so RB Corey Dillon will have to earn his yards. The key for the Bengals is QB Jon Kitna's turnover ratio. They're 0-2 when he throws an interception, 3-0 when he doesn't.

New England (2-3) at Indianapolis (2-2)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Colts by 10 1/2 .

Outlook: The Colts are still smarting from the 44-13 loss in Foxboro three weeks ago, and they've dropped two in a row. More puzzling is QB Peyton Manning's season. He's thrown nine interceptions and four have been returned for TDs. Watch Patriots CB Ty Law, who has four career interceptions vs. Manning, returning two for scores. More to the point, the Patriots have beaten the Colts in nine of the past 11 meetings.

Tennessee (1-3) at Detroit (0-4)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Titans by 5 1/2 .

Outlook: The Titans, who like to run, will go after Detroit's 25th-ranked rush defense. The Lions, who like to throw, will go after Tennessee's 30th-ranked pass defense. Titans RB Eddie George isn't where he should be, but he's making progress. Reinstated Lions QB Charlie Batch had a breakout game last week against Minnesota with 345 yards, but didn't get the win. The Titans have won eight in a row vs. NFC teams

St. Louis (5-0) at N.Y. Jets (3-2)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Rams by 7.

Outlook: The Rams' offense could be limping after the physical game against the Giants last week. QB Kurt Warner and RB Marshall Faulk took a beating. The Rams' secondary looked vulnerable against QB Kerry Collins, and Jets QB Vinny Testaverde could exploit the weakness. If Testaverde doesn't make big mistakes, the Jets could make it interesting, but the Rams should survive.

Atlanta (2-3) at New Orleans (3-1)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Saints by 8.

Outlook: The Falcons have the worst pass defense in the league, so Saints QB Aaron Brooks could have a big game. The Saints swept the two games last year, collecting 11 sacks against Atlanta. Falcons QB Chris Chandler has a 110.6 career passer rating against New Orleans. The Saints beat Carolina on the final play of the game last week. RB Ricky Williams is averaging 4.5 yards a carry.

Pittsburgh (3-1) at Tampa Bay (2-2)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Bucs by 5.

Outlook: The Steelers lead the league in rushing yards and average per carry (5.73). That's the style Bucs coach Tony Dungy likes, but hasn't found this season. The Bucs rank 30th in rush offense and RB Warrick Dunn is hobbled. Bucs QB Brad Johnson threw for three TDs last week, his first of the season. But the Bucs' defense hasn't played to form, either. Dungy, who played and coached for the Steelers, is 13-8 vs. AFC.

Denver (3-2) at San Diego (3-2)

Time: 4:05 p.m. today, Ch. 9.

Line: Broncos by 2 1/2 .

Outlook: Denver could face a dilemma against the Chargers' defense. Broncos QB Brian Griese has a sore shoulder, and they may need his arm because San Diego is No. 2 in rush defense, giving up just 3.0 yards per carry. The Chargers also have 15 takeaways, second most in the league. After two straight road losses, the Chargers will try to regroup at home. QB Doug Flutie is 20-3 at home in his NFL career, but has never started vs. Denver.

Kansas City (1-4) at Arizona (1-3)

Time: 4:05 p.m. today.

Line: Chiefs by 2.

Outlook: Arizona's haggard defense is made to order for the Chiefs' offense. QB Trent Green has been struggling, but the Chiefs shouldn't have a problem moving the ball on the Cardinals, who are 27th in total defense and lost DE Kyle Vanden Bosch this week. The Cardinals likely will try to take advantage of Kansas City's suspect run defense, too. Arizona QB Jake Plummer has thrown just one interception the past two weeks.

Green Bay (4-1) at Minnesota (2-3)

Time: 4:15 p.m. today, chs. 45, 5.

Line: Packers by 3.

Outlook: Packers QB Brett Favre will try to follow up his flawless game against the Ravens by dissecting the league's 29th-ranked pass defense. But Favre is only 2-7 in Minnesota and has 12 interceptions in those nine games. QB Daunte Culpepper continues to be the Vikings' most effective rusher. His four rushing TDs lead the NFC, and his 1,367 passing yards rank third. WR Randy Moss, who has scored seven TDs in six career games against Green Bay, has a gimpy ankle.

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