Dallas (2-4) at N.Y. Giants (3-4) Time: 1 p.m. today...

November 04, 2001|By Los Angeles Times

Dallas (2-4) at N.Y. Giants (3-4)

Time: 1 p.m. today, Ch. 5.

Line: Giants by 10 1/2 .

Outlook: Pro Bowl LB Jessie Armstead might not play. That does not bode well for the Giants, who face an offense that is second in NFC rushing (140.8 yards). Michael Strahan has 12 1/2 sacks in five games, the most in a five-game span in NFL history. Watch for Dallas RB Troy Hambrick, who has 23 carries for 193 yards, and is pushing Emmitt Smith.

The pick: Dallas. The Giants averaged 1.9 yards a carry against Washington. Without a ground game, you can't win.

Carolina (1-6) at Miami (4-2)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Dolphins by 9 1/2 .

Outlook: Two good players in this matchup -- Carolina WR Muhsin Muhammad and Miami RB Lamar Smith -- have dropped off the map recently. Unlike the Panthers, the Dolphins have been able to pick up the slack. They are aiming for their fifth consecutive start of 5-2 or better. That shouldn't be a problem against the Panthers, who are giving up a robust 373.3 yards a game.

The pick: Miami. Carolina has yet to rebound from the humiliation of losing to Washington.

New England (3-4) at Atlanta (3-3)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Falcons by 3.

Outlook: Bill Belichick is supposed to be a defensive guru, but the unit seems to get worse by the week. Keeping Atlanta in check early will be a challenge. The Falcons have outscored opponents 48-3 in the first quarter. Atlanta's rushing attack has rolled up at least 100 yards in five of six games.

The pick: Atlanta. If the Falcons can keep him upright, Chris Chandler should present big problems for New England's defense.

Tampa Bay (3-3) at Green Bay (4-2)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Packers by 5.

Outlook: The Bucs looked horrible against Pittsburgh two weeks ago, then seemed like a completely different team in pounding the Vikings, 41-14. The Packers are coming off an open date, and the rest should do battered QB Brett Favre good. He says his throwing arm feels fine, despite the blow he absorbed late in a blowout loss at Minnesota.

The pick: Green Bay. The Packers have not lost at home to Tampa Bay since 1989.

Jacksonville (2-4) at Tennessee (2-4)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Titans by 3.

Outlook: When RB Eddie George hobbled off the field in the second half Monday at Pittsburgh, the already-flat Tennessee offense looked horrendous. If George can't play, QB Steve McNair has to pick up the slack. Jacksonville looked decent in an 18-17 loss to the Ravens on Sunday, with Mark Brunell throwing for 306 yards.

The pick: Tennessee. The Titans' home-field advantage should be enough this time.

Indianapolis (3-3) at Buffalo (1-5)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Colts by 3.

Outlook: Dominic Rhodes, an undrafted rookie, will fill in if Colts RB Edgerrin James can't go. That would put a lot more pressure on QB Peyton Manning, who is struggling with his accuracy. Buffalo is starting to get the hang of coach Gregg Williams' system. Thirty-two Bills have been in the NFL fewer than two years, so a slow start is understandable.

The pick: Buffalo. QB Rob Johnson typically plays well against the Colts; in his past four starts against them, he has completed 65.9 percent of his passes.

Detroit (0-6) at San Francisco (4-2)

Time: 4:05 p.m. today.

Line: 49ers by 8 1/2 .

Outlook: There has been some bickering in San Francisco that the offense is too conservative. QB Jeff Garcia wants to open it up, and so does WR Terrell Owens. Meanwhile, the Lions can't seem to get anything right -- the West Coast offense has flopped, the quarterback situation is a mess and injuries are rampant.

The pick: San Francisco. The 49ers should win handily, although Detroit can score in spurts.

Philadelphia (3-3) at Arizona (2-4)

Time: 4:05 p.m. today, Ch. 45.

Line: Eagles by 6 1/2 .

Outlook: The big question for the Eagles: How to stop Cardinals QB Jake Plummer? He has five fourth-quarter comebacks against Philadelphia, including one this season. The Eagles could be without Pro Bowl MLB Jeremiah Trotter. If he can't go, he will be replaced by Barry Gardner, who moved inside this season. Gardner isn't nearly as good at covering tight ends and running backs.

The pick: Philadelphia. With or without Trotter, the Eagles should be up to ending the Cardinals' jinx.

Cleveland (4-2) at Chicago (5-1)

Time: 4:15 p.m. today.

Line: Bears by 4 1/2 .

Outlook: Cleveland's defense, which leads the league with 13 interceptions, will get a boost from the return of DE Courtney Brown, expected to make his 2001 debut. The Bears have given up only two sacks, the best protection in the league. QBs Jim Miller and Shane Matthews are both playing well. Miller, sidelined by a hip pointer in the second quarter of the victory over San Francisco, will start if he feels up to it.

The pick: Cleveland. The Bears are coming off a huge overtime victory, so a letdown could be brewing.

Seattle (3-3) at Washington (2-5)

Time: 4:15 p.m. today, chs. 13, 9.

Line: Seahawks by 2 1/2 .

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