Today's games


Game of the week

PANTHERS (5-2) @BUCS (5-2)

TIME -- 1 p.m.

LINE -- Panthers by 1 1/2

SKINNY -- Carolina has won the past four meetings in a bitter division rivalry. The Panthers will come after QB Chris Simms, who lost his first start of the season in San Francisco. Holding WR Steve Smith in check - that's under 100 yards - will be crucial for the Bucs. They have the personnel in the secondary to do it.

PICK -- Panthers

Worth seeing

RAIDERS (3-4) @CHIEFS (4-3)

TIME -- 1 p.m.

LINE -- Chiefs by 4

SKINNY -- In another bitter series, the Chiefs have won five in a row over the Raiders, including a 23-17 decision in Week 2. The Chiefs' defense has been tagged for an average of 27.2 points in its past five games, though, so it should be a shootout.

PICK -- Chiefs


TIME -- 1 p.m.

LINE -- Falcons by 2 1/2

SKINNY -- The Dolphins got their two-headed running game in gear with Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams last week. The Falcons have their own run tandem in RB Warrick Dunn and QB Michael Vick. Dunn quietly is having a spectacular season.

PICK -- Dolphins

BEARS (4-3) vs. SAINTS (2-6) @BATON ROUGE, LA.

TIME -- 4:05 p.m.

LINE -- Bears by 3

SKINNY -- Chicago will put the squeeze on QB Aaron Brooks and a limited Saints offense. This is a game that should help Bears QB Kyle Orton's development. It's unlikely, but there's always the chance the Saints will play up to their talent.

PICK -- Bears

CHARGERS (4-4) @JETS (2-5)

TIME -- 1 p.m.

LINE -- Chargers by 6 1/2

SKINNY -- Herman Edwards decided to stick with QB Vinny Testaverde despite a three-fumble, one-interception effort vs. Atlanta, which says a lot about the coach's confidence in Brooks Bollinger.

PICK -- Chargers

LIONS (3-4) @VIKINGS (2-5)

TIME -- 1 p.m.

LINE -- Vikings by 1

SKINNY -- Veteran QB Brad Johnson will try to play a stabilizing role for the Vikings in the absence of the injured Daunte Culpepper. The Lions go back to QB Joey Harrington this week, and that can't be good.

PICK -- Vikings


TIME, TV -- 4:15 p.m., chs. 13, 9

LINE -- Steelers by 4

SKINNY -- Everybody likes to visit Lambeau Field and play against Brett Favre these days, especially since the Packers are on the verge of total collapse. QB Charlie Batch gets the call for injured Ben Roethlisberger.

PICK -- Steelers

TITANS (2-6) @BROWNS (2-5)

TIME -- 1 p.m.

LINE -- Browns by 3

SKINNY -- Two teams going through growing pains will seek a reprieve from the losing.

PICK -- Browns

Easy to miss

GIANTS (5-2) @49ERS (2-5)

TIME, TV -- 4:05 p.m., chs. 45, 5

LINE -- Giants by 11

SKINNY -- A West Coast trip after an emotional week could lead to a letdown for the Giants. That's Tom Coughlin's biggest worry.

PICK -- Giants

TEXANS (1-6) @JAGUARS (4-3)

TIME -- 1 p.m.

LINE -- Jaguars by 13 1/2

SKINNY -- The Texans can breathe easy now that they've got a win. The Jaguars have a chance to end their 30-point scoring drought in this game.

PICK -- Jaguars


TIME -- 4:05 p.m.

LINE -- Seahawks by 4

SKINNY -- Cardinals QB Kurt Warner returns as starter against the team that already has beaten him once this season, 37-12, in Week 3.

PICK -- Seahawks

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