Nfl Week 7

October 20, 2002|By Chicago Tribune

Chicago (2-3) at Detroit (1-4)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Bears by 3.

Key stat: It's the Bears' No. 23-ranked offense vs. the Lions' No. 30-ranked defense.

Worth watching: Lions RB James Stewart, averaging 4.6 yards per carry, has scored five TDs in his past five games vs. the Bears. Bears' Rosevelt Colvin leads the NFL with seven sacks.

Outlook: Rookie QB Joey Harrington has been brilliant at times for the Lions. Can the Bears' banged-up defense stop him? More importantly, can starting QB Chris Chandler give the Bears a badly needed spark?

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

Time: 1 p.m. today.

TV: Ch. 9.

Line: Dolphins by 4 1/2 .

Key stat: Dolphins have won four straight vs. the Bills.

Worth watching: Miami goes with Ray Lucas in place of injured QB Jay Fiedler. Bills QB Drew Bledsoe has thrown 14 TD passes vs. five interceptions.

Outlook: This is a big opportunity for the Bills to become contenders in the AFC East. But their defense is weak, and it probably won't be able to stop Dolphins RB Ricky Williams.

Seattle (1-4) at St. Louis (1-5)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Rams by 5 1/2 .

Key stat: Seattle is 27th in the NFL in offense and 28th in defense.

Worth watching: QB Marc Bulger, who led the Rams to last week's upset of the previously unbeaten Raiders, makes his second start. Seahawks QB Trent Dilfer is having a middling year -- three TDs, three interceptions.

Outlook: Is Bulger going to be a winning quarterback, or was last week an aberration? This week may not tell, but Bulger and Marshall Faulk will supply enough offense to lift the Rams.

Carolina (3-3) at Atlanta (2-3)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Falcons by 5.

Key stat: Panthers' three straight losses have been by a total of seven points.

Worth watching: QB Michael Vick is expected back from a shoulder injury for the Falcons. Panthers WR Muhsin Muhammad, who had 10 catches in his last game in Atlanta, is healthy again.

Outlook: Without injured QB Rodney Peete, the Panthers will continue to struggle on offense. The Falcons know how to play the Panthers, as Atlanta has won the past four meetings.

Minnesota (1-4) at N.Y. Jets (1-4)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Jets by 3.

Key stat: It's the Vikings' No. 4 rushing offense vs. the Jets' No. 32 rushing defense.

Worth watching: RB Michael Bennett leads the Vikings with 280 yards rushing (4.2 per carry). Jets QB Chad Pennington, making his second start, has thrown two TD passes vs. three interceptions.

Outlook: Two of the league's disappointments meet in a game of no consequence. The Vikings are not the greatest outdoor team.

Denver (4-2) at Kansas City (3-3)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Broncos by 3.

Key stat: Chiefs have won five of the past six meetings against the Broncos.

Worth watching: In three games vs. the Chiefs, QB Brian Griese has thrown one TD pass and three interceptions. Kansas City RB Priest Holmes leads the NFL with 653 yards rushing (4.6 per carry) and nine TDs.

Outlook: The Broncos are reeling from a last-minute loss to the Dolphins and now must visit Arrowhead, where they've lost 10 straight. Th Chiefs can move the ball, but haven't been consistent on defense.

San Francisco (4-1) at New Orleans (5-1)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

TV: Ch. 5.

Line: Saints by 1 1/2 .

Key stat: San Francisco is second in the NFL with a turnover differential of plus-7.

Worth watching: WR Terrell Owens (24 catches, three TDs) has averaged 115 receiving yards in his past three games vs. the Saints. WR Joe Horn leads the Saints with 36 catches, two for TDs.

Outlook: This is a pivotal meeting of two NFC division leaders. The Saints' defense hasn't held anyone under 20 points all season, and San Francisco's defense should contain Horn.

Houston (1-4) at Cleveland (2-4)

Time: 4:05 p.m. today.

Line: Browns by 9.

Key stat: Texans have lost both of their road games -- by 21 to the Chargers and by 18 to the Eagles.

Worth watching: Quarterbacks who were No. 1 picks in the draft: the Texans' David Carr (2002) and the Browns' Tim Couch (1999).

Outlook: This is the Browns' first home game since Couch was booed. Perhaps seeing another expansion team will remind Cleveland how far the Browns have come in three years.

San Diego (5-1) at Oakland (4-1)

Time: 4:05 p.m. today.

Line: Raiders by 7.

Key stat: Raiders have won seven of the past eight meetings.

Worth watching: WR Jerry Rice leads the Raiders with 31 catches, two for TDs. WR Curtis Conway paces the Chargers with 34 catches, four for TDs.

Outlook: Chargers QB Drew Brees proved last week he can bring a team from behind to win, but the Raiders have more incentive after losing last week in St. Louis.

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

Time: 4:15 p.m. today.

Line: Cardinals by 3 1/2 .

Key stat: It's the Cowboys' No. 13 rushing offense vs. the Cardinals' No. 9 rushing defense.

Worth watching: Cowboys QB Quincy Carter has thrown for 200 yards in five straight games. RB Thomas Jones leads Cardinals with 310 yards rushing (4.5 per carry).

Outlook: This is a big test for the Cardinals, who have an opportunity to become a factor in the playoff race for the first time under coach Dave McGinnis. Emmitt Smith's pursuit of Walter Payton's NFL rushing record -- he needs 175 yards -- runs into a solid rushing defense.

Tampa Bay (5-1) at Philadelphia (3-2)

Time: 4:15 p.m. today.

Line: Eagles by 3 1/2 .

Key stat: Eagles have beaten the Bucs three times in the past two seasons (twice in the playoffs).

Worth watching: Bucs DT Warren Sapp is second in the NFL with six sacks. The Eagles' leading rusher is QB Donovan McNabb (241 yards, 7.3 per carry).

Outlook: The Bucs lead the NFL in defense and the Eagles are No. 3, so a big play or two by McNabb should make the difference.

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