Today's Games

Nfl Week 12

November 23, 2003|By Chicago Tribune

Carolina (8-2) at Dallas (7-3)

Time/TV: 1 p.m., Ch. 5.

Line: Cowboys by 3.

Key stat: Both defenses have held opponents without TDs twice.

Players to watch: Panthers QB Jake Delhomme has 10 TD passes. Cowboys QB Quincy Carter has nine TD passes.

The buzz: If the Panthers can run RB Stephen Davis at his season clip of 4.9 yards per carry, they can stay on course for the top seed in the NFC playoffs. But the Cowboys' defense has been tough all season and should be the difference.

New England (8-2) at Houston (4-6)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Patriots by 5 1/2 .

Key stat: Patriots have allowed only 9.6 points per game the past five weeks.

Players to watch: DT Ted Washington returned to the Patriots last week after missing six games and made four tackles. Texans QB Tony Banks has thrown three TD passes.

The buzz: Banks starts again for the injured David Carr, but he'll have trouble putting together drives against this defense.

Jacksonville (2-8) at N.Y. Jets (3-7)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Jets by 4.

Key stat: Jaguars are 0-5 on the road.

Players to watch: The quarterbacks from Marshall: Jets' Chad Pennington has thrown 31 TDs vs. six interceptions as the starter; Jaguars' Byron Leftwich has thrown eight TDs vs. 11 interceptions this year.

The buzz: Jets' Santana Moss has 47 catches, including AFC-high nine for TDs. Jaguars RB Fred Taylor has a sore knee.

Indianapolis (8-2) at Buffalo (4-6)

Time/TV: 1 p.m., Ch. 9.

Line: Colts by 3.

Key stat: Bills had more safeties (two) than TDs (zero) last week.

Players to watch: Will Colts QB Peyton Manning continue his great season? Will Bills QB Drew Bledsoe continue his nightmarish season?

The buzz: Now that RB Travis Henry is questionable with a leg injury, will the Bills even get into position to kick field goals? They have no TDs in the past three weeks.

San Francisco (5-5) at Green Bay (5-5)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Packers by 4 1/2 .

Key stat: Packers have lost four of their past six home games.

Players to watch: 49ers WR Terrell Owens has 56 catches, five for TDs. RB Ahman Green leads the Packers in receptions (41).

The buzz: The Packers have won two tough road games in the past three weeks (Vikings, Bucs). If QB Brett Favre's thumb isn't bothering him too much, the Packers will score enough. QB Tim Rattay makes his third straight start for the 49ers.

Detroit (3-7) at Minnesota (6-4)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Vikings by 10 1/2 .

Key stat: Vikings have won seven of past eight vs. the Lions.

Players to watch: QB Daunte Culpepper has 16 TD passes for the Vikings. Lions QB Joey Harrington has thrown 15 interceptions.

The buzz: The Vikings have allowed 129 points during a four-game losing streak, which has included two West Coast games. Getting home will help, and so will facing the anemic Lions.

Pittsburgh (3-7) at Cleveland (4-6)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Browns by 3.

Key stat: Steelers are 1-3 on the road.

Players to watch: In his past four games, Browns QB Kelly Holcomb has thrown six TD passes. Steelers WR Hines Ward leads the AFC with 64 catches.

The buzz: Given the woebegone state of the AFC North, the Bengals' schedule and the Ravens' offense, the winner of this game still will have an outside shot at the division title.

New Orleans (5-5) at Philadelphia (7-3)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Eagles by 5 1/2 .

Key stat: Eagles haven't allowed more than 17 points in their past five games.

Players to watch: Eagles RB Brian Westbrook is averaging 5.2 yards per carry. Saints RB Deuce McAllister is averaging 4.7 per carry and has rushed for 100 yards in seven consecutive games.

The buzz: Both teams are playing like they belong in the playoffs. The Saints have won four of five, the Eagles seven of eight after an 0-2 start.

Chicago (3-7) at Denver (6-4)

Time: 4 p.m.

Line: Broncos by 10 1/2 .

Key stat: Under Mike Shanahan, the Broncos are 75-11 when leading after three quarters.

Players to watch: The running backs. Clinton Portis is averaging 4.9 yards per carry for the Broncos. Anthony Thomas is averaging 4.5 for the Bears.

The buzz: If the Bears can run the ball against this defense, they have a chance for an upset. The goal is to keep the ball away from Broncos QB Jake Plummer, who can hurt the Bears with his legs and his arm.

St. Louis (7-3) at Arizona (3-7)

Time: 4:05 p.m.

Line: Rams by 7 1/2 .

Key stat: Rams have won three straight vs. the Cardinals.

Players to watch: Can Rams RB Marshall Faulk build on his 103-yard rushing day against the Bears? RB Marcel Shipp is averaging 4.0 yards per carry for the Cardinals.

The buzz: The Cardinals have won three of their past four home games, and not against patsies (Bengals, 49ers, Packers). The Cardinals' poor pass rush will make it easier on Rams QB Marc Bulger.

Tennessee (8-2) at Atlanta (2-8)

Time: 4:15 p.m.

Line: Titans by 6 1/2 .

Key stat: Titans have won five straight, never allowing more than 17 points.

Players to watch: Falcons RB Warrick Dunn is averaging 5.9 yards per carry. Titans RB Eddie George is gaining 3.0 yards per attempt.

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