Today's Games

Nfl Week 6

October 12, 2003|By Chicago Tribune

Carolina (4-0) at Indianapolis (5-0)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Colts by 5.

Key stat: Colts lead NFL with 31.6 points a game.

Players to watch: Peyton Manning leads NFL in passing (103.2 rating), and has thrown NFL-high 11 TD passes vs. only four interceptions. Panthers' Stephen Davis leads NFC with 565 rushing yards (5.3 a carry.)

The buzz: Colts haven't faced a defense like Carolina's. With Edgerrin James likely to sit again, Carolina's aggressive front four can take off. Panthers will make it interesting, but Colts' Marvin Harrison will add to his NFL-leading six TD passes.

Chicago (1-3) at New Orleans (1-4)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Saints by 5 1/2 .

Key stat: Saints lead NFL in converting third downs (49.3 percent).

Players to watch: Deuce McAllister is averaging 4.6 yards a carry for Saints. Anthony Thomas averages 5.9 for Bears.

The buzz: Bears can win by controlling the ball with Thomas and not turning it over. The loss of tackle Keith Traylor and linebacker Warrick Holdman may be too much for the Bears' defense to overcome.

Houston (2-2) at Tennessee (3-2)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Titans by 9 1/2 .

Key stat: Titans have won 13 of their past 16 regular-season games.

Players to watch: Texans CB Marcus Coleman leads AFC with four interceptions. Titans' Jevon Kearse is second in AFC with 4 1/2 sacks.

The buzz: Both of the Texans' victories have come in the final minute, but the Titans won't let this one get that close. Derrick Mason will add to his 33 receptions, which are tied for league lead.

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

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Cowboys by 1.

Key stat: Eagles are NFL-best 19-6 on the road since 2000.

Players to watch: Cowboys' Quincy Carter has been respectable with four TD passes and four interceptions. Donovan McNabb has thrown seven TD passes vs. one interception in past three games vs. Cowboys.

The buzz: Cowboys have had an easy early schedule; the Eagles a difficult one. Since their bye week, the Eagles have gone 2-0 and scored 50 points. An improving McNabb should lead Eagles to their seventh straight victory over the Cowboys.

Miami (3-1) at Jacksonville (1-4)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Dolphins by 3.

Key stat: Dolphins have allowed 12 points a game.

Players to watch: After two starts, Jaguars rookie Byron Leftwich is third in the NFL in passing with 95.8 rating, with five TD passes vs. three interceptions. Ricky Williams is averaging a modest 3.4 yards a carry for the Dolphins.

The buzz: The Jaguars have committed to Leftwich as their starter even when Mark Brunell's elbow heals. In this one, Miami's defense should be able to throw enough surprises at Leftwich to make him play like a rookie. He'll find out facing the Dolphins isn't like playing the Texans or Chargers.

Kansas City (5-0) at Green Bay (3-2)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Packers by 1 1/2 .

Key stat: Packers have won past two (vs. Bears and Seahawks) by a combined 73-36.

Players to watch: Chiefs' Dante Hall already has tied NFL record with four kick returns for TDs (two punts, two kickoffs). Packers' Ahman Green leads NFL with seven rushing touchdowns.

The buzz: Can anyone stop Hall? Will the Packers even kick in his direction? Packers are improving, and Chiefs are coming off an emotional one-point victory over AFC West rival Denver. They have to lose at some point.

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

Time: 1 p.m.

TV: Chs. 45, 5

Line: Bucs by 3.

Key stat: Bucs' losses have been to teams with combined record of 9-0 (Panthers, Colts).

Players to watch: Bucs' Simeon Rice has four sacks and 33 1/2 in his past 30 games. Redskins' Laveranues Coles is tied for NFL lead with 33 catches, one for a TD.

The buzz: Unless Bucs have a letdown after their historic collapse against the Colts on Monday night, their defense should control the game.

Oakland (2-3) at Cleveland (2-3)

Time: 1 p.m.

TV: Ch. 9

Line: Browns by 3.

Key stat: Raiders haven't held anyone to fewer than 20 points all season.

Players to watch: Tim Couch has reclaimed the Browns' starting job after completing 20 of 25 in rout of Steelers last week. Raiders' Shane Lechler leads NFL with 51.1-yard punting average.

The buzz: Raiders can't stop the run, which will give Browns' inconsistent William Green a chance to improve on his 3.4-yard average. Raiders need a big passing day from Rich Gannon.

N.Y. Giants (2-2) at New England (3-2)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Patriots by 3.

Key stat: Giants lead NFL with 15 sacks.

Players to watch: Giants' tight end Jeremy Shockey has 21 catches for 10.4-yard average and one TD. Patriots' Tom Brady has thrown six TD passes vs. seven interceptions.

The buzz: Patriots can run the ball with Antowain Smith and Mike Cloud, who ran for 74 yards and two touchdowns last week. Can Kerry Collins get the ball to Ike Hilliard (team-high 25 catches) and Shockey?

Buffalo (3-2) at N.J. Jets (0-4)

Time: 4:15 p.m.

Line: Bills by 2 1/2 .

Key stat: Jets are scoring only 11.3 points a game.

Players to watch: Bills' Travis Henry has rushed for 345 yards and four TDs in three games against Jets. Jets' Shaun Ellis leads NFL with five sacks.

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