N.Y. Jets (3-3) at Carolina (1-5) Time: 1 p.m. today...

October 28, 2001|By Los Angeles Times

N.Y. Jets (3-3) at Carolina (1-5)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Jets by 2 1/2 .

Outlook: Last season against Carolina, Vinny Testaverde completed 16 of 21 for 255 yards and two TDs, a 147.9 passer rating. Carolina has good cornerbacks in Doug Evans and Michael Rucker, but their linebacker corps has been depleted because of injuries. Rookie QB Chris Weinke has 10 interceptions.

The pick: New York. Jets are wildly inconsistent but have a good enough defense to stymie Weinke.

New Orleans (3-2) at St. Louis (6-0)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Rams by 12.

Outlook: Saints QB Aaron Brooks played well against the Rams last season, but he will be facing a completely retooled St. Louis defense. The Rams, the league's only undefeated team, are 17-0 at home with Kurt Warner starting. He has four 300-yard games this season and leads the league in accuracy (69.3 percent). RB Trung Candidate stepped in nicely for the injured Marshall Faulk last Sunday.

The pick: St. Louis. No one can match the Rams' offense, and the defense is much stronger.

San Francisco (4-1) at Chicago (4-1)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Bears by 2 1/2 .

Outlook: These teams have not met at Soldier Field since the 1988 NFC title game, when the 49ers cruised, 28-3. The 49ers, coming off a bye week, have won three in a row and have a solid, if conservative, offense led by versatile QB Jeff Garcia. Typically, the Bears are all about defense. Rookie RB Anthony Thomas broke a club rookie record with 188 rushing yards vs. Cincinnati last Sunday.

The pick: Chicago. The 49ers will have a tough time against the league's stingiest scoring defense.

Cincinnati (3-3) at Detroit (0-5)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Lions by 3.

Outlook: Blanked by the Bears on Sunday, Cincinnati is out to prove its quick start was no fluke. QB Jon Kitna is getting more comfortable with the offense, and his line is doing a good job of protecting him. Corey Dillon gained only 30 yards against Chicago but should have better luck against Detroit, which has a tough time stopping the run. Lions QB Charlie Batch has passed for 683 yards and six TDs in the past two games.

The pick: Cincinnati. It's about time for Dillon to have a breakout game. Why not on the Silverdome turf?

Minnesota (3-3) at Tampa Bay (2-3)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Bucs by 3.

Outlook: Minnesota had a horrible start, but is coming off two consecutive victories and looked solid against Green Bay. Tampa Bay has dropped two in a row, and its offense is ghastly. The Bucs have rushed for 24 and 64 yards in the past two games. Minnesota needs to run to neutralize Tampa Bay's pass rush. Daunte Culpepper threw for 322 yards in Week 3, a 20-16 victory by Minnesota.

The pick: Minnesota. The season series is even over eight years, but the Vikings are poised to break it.

Arizona (2-3) at Dallas (1-4)

Time: 4:05 p.m. today.

Line: Cardinals by 3.

Outlook: Jake Plummer threw for a career-high 465 yards vs. the Cowboys in 1998 and last season completed 18 of 24 passes and had a career-long run of 31 yards. Plummer will be scanning the field for his favorite receiver, David Boston, and for RB Michael Pittman, who rushed for 95 yards and caught four passes for 42 yards last week.

The pick: Dallas. The Cowboys are coming off a bye and usually play well at home against Arizona.

N.Y. Giants (3-3) at Washington (1-5)

Time: 4:05 p.m., chs. 45, 5.

Line: Giants by 7 1/2 .

Outlook: The Redskins are coming off their first victory of an otherwise hopeless season, and would love to knock off their division rivals, if only for pride. Good luck. The Giants should be able to control the clock and tempo by handing off to Ron Dayne and Tiki Barber. The Redskins can't stop the run and will have particular problems with that tandem. Giants WR Amani Toomer had seven catches for 97 yards in his last game against the Redskins.

The pick: Giants. Michael Strahan, who has 10 1/2 sacks in four games, should cause problems for Redskins QB Tony Banks.

Miami (3-2) at Seattle (3-2)

Time: 4:15 p.m. today.

Line: Dolphins by 2 1/2 .

Outlook: The last time Miami played Seattle, the Dolphins' defense had four interceptions, two by CB Sam Madison. But the Dolphins are not as strong on defense as they were last season and have been unable to apply sufficient pressure on quarterbacks. Expect them to blitz, blitz, blitz. Miami RB Lamar Smith has been nursing a sore ankle but should be ready to play against his former team.

The pick: Seattle. QB Matt Hasselbeck returns against a Dolphins secondary that has not intercepted a pass in four games.

Buffalo (1-4) at San Diego (4-2)

Time: 4:15 p.m. today.

Line: Chargers by 7.

Outlook: The marquee matchup is Doug Flutie vs. Rob Johnson. But it's really the old Bills vs. the new ones. San Diego's roster includes five former Buffalo players. Watch for Flutie to get WR Jeff Graham involved early and often, and for rookie RB LaDainian Tomlinson to break loose after a ho-hum game against Denver. Chargers CB Ryan McNeil leads the league with six interceptions.

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