Today's Game

Nfl Week 5

October 05, 2003|By Chicago Tribune

Oakland (2-2) at Chicago (0-3)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Raiders by 4.

Key stat: Bears' losses have come by average of 22.7 points.

Players to watch: Anthony Thomas, averaging 6.1 yards per carry after 67-yard TD run vs. Green Bay, may be getting back to 2001 form. Raiders' Rich Gannon has thrown only one interception in 138 passes.

The buzz: Bears haven't rushed the passer well and haven't been opportunistic in the secondary. Gannon should have plenty of time to find Jerry Rice and Tim Brown open. Bears' best hope is to control the ball with Thomas.

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

Time: 1 p.m.

TV: Chs. 45, 5.

Line: Cowboys by 7.

Key stat: Cowboys have beaten Cardinals 12 straight at home.

Players to watch: Cardinals' Emmitt Smith, averaging a modest 3.3 yards per carry, goes back to Dallas. His replacement, Troy Hambrick, is averaging 3.9 per attempt.

The buzz: Probably the biggest surprise this season is that Dallas leads the league in total offense even though Quincy Carter has thrown only two TD passes. Cowboys also are fourth against the run, so Smith is unlikely to enjoy his homecoming.

Miami (2-1) at N.Y. Giants (2-1)

Time: 1 p.m.

TV: Chs. 13, 9.

Line: Pick 'em.

Key stat: It's Dolphins' No. 13 offense vs. Giants' No. 32 defense.

Players to watch: Giants' Kerry Collins is off to the fastest start of his career with six TD passes in three games. Ricky Williams is averaging a modest 3.7 yards per carry for Dolphins.

The buzz: Giants have overcome offensive line injuries to get off to a good start, while Dolphins have played well since their Week 1 loss to Houston. If Tiki Barber continues to excel, Giants can control this one.

Minnesota (4-0) at Atlanta (1-3)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Vikings by 4.

Key stat: Vikings are second in NFL with plus-8 turnover differential.

Players to watch: Vikings' Moe Williams is averaging 4.7 yards per carry. Falcons' T. J. Duckett is averaging 5.6.

The buzz: Gus Frerotte has done a better job replacing Daunte Culpepper than Doug Johnson has done filling in for Mike Vick. And Vikings should be able to run the ball at will anyway.

Seattle (3-0) at Green Bay (2-2)

Time: 1 p.m..

Line: Packers by 2.

Key stat: Seahawks lead NFL with plus-12 turnover differential.

Players to watch: Matt Hasselbeck, who has 18 TD passes vs. eight interceptions in his past nine starts, faces the team that traded him. Packers' Ahman Green is averaging 5.7 yards per carry.

The buzz: Mike Holmgren brings his team back to his old neighborhood for the second time, this time with a hot quarterback. Green is capable of huge plays, as Bears found out last Monday night.

Denver (4-0) at Kansas City (4-0)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Chiefs by 3.

Key stat: Chiefs have won seven of past 10 vs. Broncos at home.

Players to watch: Jake Plummer has thrown seven TD passes and no interceptions in the past three games. Chiefs' Trent Green has four TD passes vs. five interceptions this season.

The buzz: Early-season showdown for first place in the AFC West. Two high-powered offenses meet, and Chiefs' Priest Holmes should be the difference.

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

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Bills by 8.

Key stat: Bills have won past five meetings.

Players to watch: Bengals' Jon Kitna has thrown four TD passes vs. no interceptions in the past seven quarters. Bills' Takeo Spikes lines up for the first time against the team with which he refused to re-sign.

The buzz: If Travis Henry returns from a rib injury, Bills should shake out of their offensive slump - they've scored just 20 points in losing two straight. Bengals expect to go without banged-up Corey Dillon.

New Orleans (1-3) at Carolina (3-0)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Panthers by 6 1/2 .

Key stat: Panthers are going for first 4-0 start in club history.

Players to watch: Deuce McAllister is averaging 4.3 yards per carry for Saints. Ex-New Orleans backup Jake Delhomme makes his third start for Panthers.

The buzz: Panthers go for their third victory of the season against an NFC South rival and should get it behind the running of Stephen Davis, who is averaging 5.3 yards per carry.

Tennessee (3-1) at New England (2-2)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Titans by 1.

Key stat: Titans are 38-30 on the road under coach Jeff Fisher.

Players to watch: Titans' Steve McNair leads NFL in passing and has thrown eight TD passes vs. one interception. Patriots' Tom Brady is struggling with a sore elbow and has thrown seven interceptions.

The buzz: While other teams get more attention, Titans are floating along with 14 victories in their past 17 games. Titans may even get Eddie George and the running game going against beat-up Patriots defense.

San Diego (0-4) at Jacksonville (0-4)

Time: 4:05 p.m.

Line: Jaguars by 3.

Key stat: Chargers losing by 13.5 points per game, Jaguars by 9.0.

Players to watch: Running backs are these teams' hopes: Fred Taylor is averaging 4.7 yards per carry for Jaguars, LaDainian Tomlinson 5.2 for Chargers.

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