Today's games

NFL Week

December 18, 2005|By KEN MURRAY | KEN MURRAY,SUN REPORTER

Games of the week

CHARGERS (8-5) @ COLTS (13-0)

TIME, TV -- 1 p.m., chs. 13, 9

LINE -- Colts by 7

SKINNY -- As long as the Colts play this game for real, Peyton Manning will have no trouble taking advantage of the Chargers' 27th-ranked pass defense. The bigger question is, will Colts coach Tony Dungy keep running Edgerrin James into the NFL's No. 1 run defense? And after failing to win at home against Miami, how can San Diego win in the RCA Dome?

PICK -- Colts

STEELERS (8-5) @ VIKINGS (8-5)

TIME -- 1 p.m.

LINE -- Steelers by 3 1/2

SKINNY -- Now we find out if the Vikings' resurgence is legitimate. They are just 1-5 against winning teams and couldn't get an offensive touchdown in that lone win (vs. the Giants). Pittsburgh, meanwhile, rediscovered its identity by pounding the Bears. Look for more of the same, even on turf.

PICK -- Steelers

FALCONS (8-5) @ BEARS (9-4)

TIME, TV -- 8:30 p.m., ESPN

LINE -- Bears by 3 1/2

SKINNY -- Injuries could very well dictate the winner. Falcons QB Michael Vick has bruised ribs and would be ill-advised to scramble much. The Bears are missing both starting safeties, and it showed in their tackling last week against the Steelers.

PICK -- Bears

WORTH SEEING

BENGALS (10-3) @ LIONS (4-9)

TIME -- 4:05 p.m.

LINE -- Bengals by 8 1/2

SKINNY -- The Bengals are just fine-tuning what they'll need for the postseason. They should be able to pick QB Jeff Garcia's pocket a couple of times.

PICK -- Bengals

EAGLES (5-8) @ RAMS (5-8)

TIME -- 1 p.m.

LINE -- Rams by 3

SKINNY -- Even while the debate over Donovan McNabb rages, the Eagles play on. This week, they'll see if they've fallen below the poverty line and the Rams.

PICK -- Eagles

BROWNS (4-9) @ RAIDERS (4-9)

TIME -- 4:05 p.m.

LINE -- Raiders by 3

SKINNY -- The Raiders bounce back to a disgruntled Kerry Collins today. If the Browns weren't so bad on the road (1-6), they might actually win this one.

PICK -- Raiders

SEAHAWKS (11-2) @ TITANS (4-9)

TIME -- 1 p.m.

LINE -- Seahawks by 7

SKINNY -- QB Steve McNair is a shadow of his former self, and the Titans don't have much else. This could be interesting for about a quarter.

PICK -- Seahawks

Easy to miss

PANTHERS (9-4) vs. SAINTS (3-10) @ Baton Rouge, La.

TIME, TV -- 1 p.m., chs. 45, 5

LINE -- Panthers by 9 1/2

SKINNY -- The Saints removed the guesswork here when they announced Todd Bouman will start at QB for out-of-favor Aaron Brooks. This will be a lot easier for the Panthers now.

PICK -- Panthers

JETS (3-10) @ DOLPHINS (6-7)

TIME -- 1 p.m.

LINE -- Dolphins by 9

SKINNY -- And to think, the Jets beat the Dolphins in Week 2 before Chad Pennington got hurt.

PICK -- Dolphins

49ERS (2-11) @ JAGUARS (9-4)

TIME -- 1 p.m.

LINE -- Jaguars by 16

SKINNY -- The Jaguars probably will make 49ers QB Alex Smith pay for their loss to the Colts.

PICK -- Jaguars

CARDINALS (4-9) @ TEXANS (1-12)

TIME -- 1 p.m.

LINE -- Cardinals by 2

SKINNY -- The Texans should let Dan Reeves call the plays.

PICK -- Texans

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