What's My Line

Carolina over New Orleans: The Panthers are the real deal. Controlling the ball with Stephen Davis and an efficient passing attack, Carolina may not be an offensive machine but their ball-control offense more than supplements an already excellent defense. Against a New Orleans team that is suffering from numerous injuries on the defensive side of the ball to go along with a loss of confidence, the Panthers should roll to an easy win. The Jim Haslett watch in New Orleans will intensify next week.

For the line players

Away/Home Matchup

Home team line

Insiders Pick

Minnesota at Atlanta

        +4

Minnesota

Cincinnati at Buffalo

        -7.5

Cincinnati

New Orleans at Carolina

        -7

New Orleans

Oakland at Chicago

        +4.5

Oakland

Arizona at Dallas

        -7.5

Arizona

Seattle at Green Bay

        -2.5

Seattle

Denver at Kansas City

        -4

Denver

Tennessee at New England

        +1.5

Tennessee

Miami at New York Giants

        +0.5

Miami

San Diego at Jacksonville

        -3

San Diego

Washington at Philadelphia

        -5.5

Washington

Detroit at San Francisco

        -7

San Francisco

Cleveland at Pittsburgh

        -6.5

Pittsburgh

Indianapolis at Tampa Bay

        -4.5

Indianapolis

For the straight-up players (Pssst, we do well in this area)

Minnesota over Atlanta : Yes, Minnesota is that good and will climb to 5-0 on Sunday. It really doesn't matter who the quarterback is (Gus Frerotte starts for Daunte Culpepper (back), the Vikings are playing extremely well and have too many weapons for a Falcons team that is in turmoil. The Atlanta defense has regressed, the defensive backs are ordinary at best and the front-seven can be run upon. Don't think for a minute that the physical Vikings haven't noticed the opportunity to pound the ball at the Falcons. Michael Vick cannot return soon enough for a team that has played without confidence or consistency.

Buffalo over Cincinnati : Buffalo is coming off of two losses against the Dolphins and Eagles. Playing at home against an improved, but not quite ready for prime-time Bengals team, the Bills have everything to lose against Cincinnati . Without running back Corey Dillon in the lineup, the Bengals were not effective on the ground against the Browns and Cincinnati will need to run the ball against the Bills to be successful, in which they won't. Opposing defenses have done well in recent weeks against drew Bledsoe and the Bills passing game, but the Cincinnati defense does not have the talent in the backfield to stop Bledsoe and company.

Carolina over New Orleans : The Panthers are the real deal. Controlling the ball with Stephen Davis and an efficient passing attack, Carolina may not be an offensive machine but their ball-control offense more than supplements an already excellent defense. Against a New Orleans team that is suffering from numerous injuries on the defensive side of the ball to go along with a loss of confidence, the Panthers should roll to an easy win. The Jim Haslett watch in New Orleans will intensify next week.

Oakland over Chicago :  The Chicago Bears may be the medicine that an old Raiders team could use about now. Basically battered and beaten, only to make a late-game charge saved Oakland from yet another disappointing and embarrassing defeat. Once a season full of promise and talk of another Super Bowl appearance, 2003 has not been kind to the men and silver and black, that was until this Sunday when the Raiders will feast on the offensively depressed and defensively challenged Bears. Oakland is not that good, but Chicago is terrible.

Dallas over Arizona : There is something about Bill Parcells that is a constant, he wins. Regardless of the talent on the roster, Parcells has a way in getting players to believe they will win, not can win. Now in Dallas , Parcells has taken the roster left over from the Dave Campo era, made a handful of changes and presto, the Cowboys are 2-1 and starting to look like a team with a future. Something has to be said here, the Cardinals are not a good team defensively and they have their moments offensively, which all adds up to not being enough to hang with the rejuvenated Cowboys under the ‘Tuna'.

Seattle over Green Bay : Looking at this game on paper, the numbers would lead one to believe that the Seahawks should stroll into Lambeau Field and put a hurting on the Packers. Well, that is why they play the game, sometimes the numbers do not add up. If Green Bay is to be successful against the Seahawks, they will have to run the ball effectively with Ahman Green, which will open up the tight Seattle defense. Defensively, the Packers are an average on their best day. In Seattle , here is a team that has been on a roll since the middle of last season. Offensively, the Seahawks are strong in the running game and explosive in the passing game. Defensively, Seattle has drastically improved under the tutelage of defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes. This one could be a shootout, one that we like the Seahawks in.

Kansas City over Denver : This meeting will be the first of two divisional games that could tell what direction the AFC West will take. Regardless of the records, these two teams battle and ultimately play in close games against one another. Jake Plummer takes the resurgent Broncos road-show to Kansas City , where Arrowhead Stadium will be rocking for the battle of these two undefeated teams. At home, with more offensive firepower and an improved defense, the Chiefs appeared poised to remain undefeated for another week after turning back a spirited effort by Jake, Clinton, and the boys.

Tennessee over New England : Simply, New England is one banged-up football team, that alone makes them dangerous, but not enough so to knockoff the Titans. Tennessee rarely flashy, as evidenced in their victory last Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. But, the Titans find a way to win and Steve McNair has shown his will has allot to do with the success of this team. The creative Bill Belichick may fool McNair into some mistakes Sunday with all his schemes, but the talent of the physical Titans should prevail against an undermanned Patriots squad.

Miami over NY Giants: This should be the tale of two teams that have yet to find their calling card early in the 2003 season. Miami has been inconsistent offensively and have ridden the ample wheels of one Ricky Williams. Defensively, Miami comes off their best effort of the season, in defeating the Bills 17-7 and shutting down quarterback drew Bledsoe. For the Giants, they have played very well offensively, seemingly having the ability to turn it on at any time. Defensively, the Giants have struggled mightily and will need to play much better to beat the Dolphins. Miami will attempt to use ball control against the Giants, expect the G-Men to load the box to contain Williams and force quarterback Jay Fiedler to beat them. Could be interesting, but the Dolphins receivers have an advantage over the Giants in the nickel. Now, can Fiedler get the job done? We think so.

Jacksonville over San Diego : This game is the contest of what is against what could have been. Jaguars' rookie quarterback Byron Leftwich makes his second-start of the season and wide receiver Jimmy Smith just happened to walk through the door as an enticing target. In San Diego , Drew Brees is throwing the ball to whom? LT can't do it all himself, but he'll certainly try. In a game matching two teams fairly equal offensively, the Jacksonville defense may be slightly ahead of the Chargers, being said and at home, take the Jags.

Philadelphia over Washington : The Redskins have a chance to make an enormous statement here and grasp momentum in the rough and tough NFC East division. After getting off to a terrible start, the Eagles have the opportunity to get back in the mix with a win over the Redskins on Sunday. The Eagles have not played well in their new home and need to regain the home field advantage they had in old Veterans Stadium. Patrick Ramsey has had a solid start to the season and has grasped the offense of Steve Spurrier. It has certainly helped that the Redskins have incorporated a running game into the fun-and-gun offense, to keep defenses honest. In a game of major importance, the Eagles fans will rally behind the team, it did not hurt that the Eagles manhandled the Buffalo Bills last week. The story of this game could come down to the defenses and we like the Eagles in this one, though it will be close.

San Francisco over Detroit : Steve Mariucci returns to San Francisco home to face his old team. Imagine, coming back to the bay with a team sporting an identical record as the team that he was forced to depart from, how ironic. Mariucci's Lions are improving by the week and are on the cusp of consistency and respectability, while the 49ers are struggling with an offense that was intended to enhance the deep-threat and big-play ability of the wide receivers. Again, Terrell Owens has found a way to alienate teammates and coaches with his latest outburst about the play of the team and specific teammates. San Francisco is ripe for the picking, but the troubles Detroit has in the defensive backfield could be to their demise in this game. Take the 49ers, but Detroit can win this game.

Pittsburgh over Cleveland : Rivalry games, almost every week we see one of these contests and there are few better than the Browns and Steelers. Coming into this battle, neither team is playing well, and both teams have found losing an easier task than in the 2002 season. Cleveland will lineup an offensive line whose play has been substandard, causing change at numerous positions which has hampered the team's rushing game, as well as a passing offense that was expected to be explosive. For the Steelers, they are looking to regain their identity of being a physical football team. The offensive line has struggled, teams have been able to run the ball against the Steelers and the secondary is again questionable. There is no clear favorite in this contest, so stick with the home team, the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Tampa Bay over Indianapolis : This game has all the makings of what could be an interesting contest. Former head coach Tony Dungy returns to Tampa Bay guiding his undefeated Indianapolis Colts into the fire-storm known as the Buccaneers defense. Nobody should know the Tampa Bay defense better than Dungy, but Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning has struggled against teams that are defensively similar to the Buccaneers. The pressing Tampa Bay defense will attempt to force Manning into mistakes and he makes them often. The Indianapolis defense is much improved and may have enough backbone to slow a Tampa Bay offense that has been more opportunistic than good. If Indy wins this game or hangs tough in Tampa Bay , then I'll believe they are a serious contender.

 

 


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