Today's Games

Nfl Week 8

October 26, 2003|By Chicago Tribune

Dallas (5-1) at Tampa Bay (3-3)

Time: 1 p.m.

TV: Ch. 5.

Line: Bucs by 6.

Key stat: It's Cowboys' No. 1 defense vs. Bucs' No. 3 offense.

Players to watch: WR Terry Glenn leads Cowboys with 23 catches, four for TDs. Bucs QB Brad Johnson leads NFL with 13 TD passes vs. only six interceptions.

The buzz: This is a chance for the Cowboys to show they can beat a good team; this is the Bucs' chance to show they are getting back to the business of defending their Super Bowl title. The Bucs are fighting injuries, but the Cowboys aren't ready to win a game like this yet.

Detroit (1-5) at Chicago (1-5)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Bears by 3.

Key stat: Bears have been outscored 43-6 in the first quarter.

Players to watch: After completing 19 of 34 against Seattle, the Bears' quarterback job is Chris Chandler's to lose. Detroit sticking with struggling QB Joey Harrington (seven TDs vs. 10 interceptions).

The buzz: Only a rash of injuries stands between the Bears and their second victory of the season. For all the problems the Bears have, the Lions have more, including a 19-game road losing streak.

Carolina (5-1) at New Orleans (3-4)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Saints by 2.

Key stat: Saints have beaten Bears and Falcons by a combined 65-30 the past two weeks.

Players to watch: Saints QB Aaron Brooks has climbed to third in the NFC in passing with 10 TD passes and only four interceptions. Ex-Saint Jake Delhomme returns home having thrown seven TD passes vs. five interceptions.

The buzz: The Saints can counter the running of the Panthers' Stephen Davis with Deuce McAllister and they should know how to exploit the weaknesses of Delhomme, who was their backup before signing with Carolina.

Cleveland (3-4) at New England (5-2)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Patriots by 5.

Key stat: Patriots have won 15 of past 20 at home, where they are 3-0 this season.

Players to watch: Browns RB William Green is averaging 3.9 yards per carry. Patriots S Eugene Wilson leads team and NFL rookies with three interceptions.

The buzz: The Patriots have beaten AFC contenders Miami and Tennessee. Only a letdown after an overtime victory over the Dolphins should stop the Patriots against Cleveland and its struggling offense.

N.Y. Giants (2-4) at Minnesota (6-0)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Vikings by 5 1/2 .

Key stat: Vikings lead NFL with turnover differential of plus-13.

Players to watch: Vikings QB Daunte Culpepper leads NFL in passing, mainly because he has thrown seven TD passes and no interceptions. Giants QB Kerry Collins has thrown seven TD passes vs. nine interceptions.

The buzz: The Giants were expected by some to be the class of the NFC East, but they've scored only 26 points in three games (all losses) since their bye week. The Vikings, who haven't been held under 23 points all season, should cruise to their 10th straight victory.

Seattle (5-1) at Cincinnati (2-4)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Seahawks by 2.

Key stat: Seahawks have converted 46.6 percent of third downs, second best in the NFL.

Players to watch: RB Shaun Alexander is averaging 4.5 yards per carry for the Seahawks. RB Corey Dillon is averaging only 3.3 for the Bengals.

The buzz: Dillon has to earn some kind of bad timing award, saying he wants to leave Cincinnati now that the Bengals have won two of their past three. The Bengals are rallying around new coach Marvin Lewis, but Mike Holmgren has the Seahawks winning close games.

St. Louis (4-2) at Pittsburgh (2-4)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Steelers by 1 1/2 .

Key stat: Since their bye week, the Rams have outscored Falcons and Packers 70-24.

Players to watch: Rams WR Torry Holt leads NFL with 45 catches (36 for first downs) and has seven TD receptions. The Steelers are giving Jerome Bettis, averaging 2.9 yards per carry, another shot as the featured running back.

The buzz: The Rams are coming together under QB Marc Bulger, who has thrown 10 TD passes vs. seven interceptions. Does Bettis have anything left? The Rams should finally get a road win.

Tennessee (5-2) at Jacksonville (1-5)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Titans by 4.

Key stat: Titans have won past three meetings.

Players to watch: Titans DE Jevon Kearse is second in AFC with 6 1/2 sacks. DE Tony Brackens leads the Jaguars with four, including one in each of the past two games.

The buzz: With QB Steve McNair enjoying a huge season (12 TD passes vs. two interceptions), the Titans look like a Super Bowl team. Kearse and fellow DE Kevin Carter, who had three sacks in his past two games against the Jaguars, will be too much for rookie QB Byron Leftwich.

San Francisco (3-4) at Arizona (1-5)

Time: 4:05 p.m.

TV: Ch. 45.

Line: 49ers by 6 1/2 .

Key stat: 49ers have won past five meetings.

Players to watch: RB Garrison Hearst is averaging 4.8 yards per carry for the 49ers. The Cardinals are getting 3.7 yards per carry from RB Marcel Shipp.

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