Sunday Predictions and Injury Report

<p><i>Home teams in CAPITAL letters</i><br> <br> <b>Carolina over NEW ORLEANS</b><br> <br> The Panthers have something to prove after having their helmets handed to them by the Titans a week ago. Carolina squeaked out a close victory over the Saints earlier in the season and New Orleans is playing much better now. This should be a close game with the Panthers ball-control offense taking charge late in the game.

QUESTIONABLE - LB Brian Allen (groin), DT Brentson Buckner (hip), DT Shane Burton (groin), RB Nick Goings (concussion), WR Karl Hankton (hamstring), LB Dan Morgan (concussion), WR Muhsin Muhammad (concussion)

PROBABLE - S Mike Minter (back), RB DeShaun Foster (thumb)

New Orleans
OUT - DE Darren Howard (wrist)

QUESTIONABLE - LB Sedrick Hodge (knee), DT Grady Jackson (finger), WR Donte' Stallworth (thigh)

PROBABLE - TE Ernie Conwell (shoulder), WR Michael Lewis (groin)

NEW ENGLAND over Cleveland

Cleveland is a very good road team and will pose a serious challenge to the Patriots. The Browns offensive line has been decimated by injury and will face a multitude of games and stunts they have never encountered before against this Bill Belichick defense. New England offense figures to attempt to run the football, but more likely they will rely on their effective short passing game against a Cleveland defense that has been stout against the pass and average against the run.

New England
OUT - LB Ted Johnson (foot), DT Ted Washington (leg)

QUESTIONABLE - G Joe Andruzzi (shoulder), WR Deion Branch (ankle), LB Matt Chatham (leg), S Je'Rod Cherry (knee), TE Daniel Graham (shoulder), CB Ty Law (ankle/ribs), LB Willie McGinest (neck), WR David Patten (knee), LB Roman Phifer (leg), RB Antowain Smith (shoulder), LB Mike Vrabel (arm)

PROBABLE - QB Tom Brady (arm)

QUESTIONABLE - C Jeff Faine (knee), G Shaun O'Hara (knee), T Barry Stokes (ankle)

PROBABLE - RB William Green (shoulder), QB Kelly Holcomb (leg), T Ryan Tucker (chest), DT Gerard Warren (thumb)

TAMPA BAY over Dallas

The match of overachievers against the Super Bowl champion underachievers. A battle of wits matches Bill Parcells against Jon Gruden. The common thought is the Tampa Bay defense should bury the Dallas offense led by quarterback Quincy Carter, but the Cowboys have been efficient in the vertical passing game, an area which the Buccaneers have had some issues. Tampa Bay's defense loses its stream and aggressiveness when the opposition takes the game right at them, you can bet Parcells will have his guys ready to get physical with the Buccaneers front-seven. Losing defensive back Brian Kelly in the secondary will be noticed, this should be a defensive battle and we will give the home-team the nod in a close one.

Tampa Bay
OUT - CB Brian Kelly (chest)

DOUBTFUL - WR Joe Jurevicius (knee), S John Lynch (shoulder)

QUESTIONABLE - T Roman Oben (hand)

PROBABLE - CB Ronde Barber (hamstring), TE Ken Dilger (foot), QB Shaun King (ankle), LB Shelton Quarles (forearm/elbow), DE Simeon Rice (back), G Jason Whittle (shoulder)

QUESTIONABLE - TE James Whalen (ankle)

PROBABLE - TE Dan Campbell (quadriceps)

BALTIMORE over Denver

This match up on Sunday does not bode well for the Denver Broncos. Heading into this battle, they are the better team, when all the pieces are in place. Relegated to the third and possibly fourth quarterbacks on the roster, the complexion of this game dramatically changes. Third-string quarterback Danny Kanell will start this game, but fourth-team quarterback Jarious Jackson will be close by as Kanell has been sick with the flu for the past 48-hours. Defensively, both teams have had struggles in recent weeks, with Baltimore opening up the offense last week for rookie quarterback Kyle Boller once the team fell behind by 24 points against the Cincinnati Bengals. This game figures to be a close one, as neither team has shown the ability to consistently pose an offensive threat that would light up the scoreboard.

DOUBTFUL CB Tommy Knight (leg)

PROBABLE G Bennie Anderson (shoulder), S Gary Baxter (knee), QB Kyle Boller (shoulder), T Orlando Brown (back), WR Ron Johnson (knee), RB Jamal Lewis (shoulder), WR Marcus Robinson (leg)

OUT - QB Steve Beuerlein (finger), DE Bryant McNeal (back), QB Jake Plummer (foot), T Ephraim Salaam (knee)

DOUBTFUL - WR Ed McCaffrey (knee)

QUESTIONABLE - WR Chris Cole (ankle)

PROBABLE - LB Keith Burns (knee), RB Reuben Droughns (shoulder), DT Mario Fatafehi (knee), S Nick Ferguson (knee), DT Daryl Gardener (wrist), TE Patrick Hape (concussion), QB Danny Kanell (flu), S Kenoy Kennedy (ankle), CB Willie Middlebrooks (toe), C Tom Nalen (ankle), TE Shannon Sharpe (knee)

CHICAGO over Detroit

If this game were played in week-two, we may have went with the Lions. Chicago has played reasonably well in recent weeks and matches up well with the Lions. Veteran quarterback Chris Chandler is keeping the seat warm for rookie Rex Grossman, but with the Bears playing competitive football, a change is not yet to be made. Detroit is struggling on both sides of the ball; offensively the team has been terribly inconsistent. The fingers have been pointed at second-year quarterback Joey Harrington for the dismal run the team has been on, but offensive line woes, a lack of a rushing attack, and poor play from the wide receivers all figure into the mix. Chicago should have too much offense and defense for the Lions to cage up this week.

OUT WR Marty Booker (ankle), WR Ahmad Merritt (neck)

DOUBTFUL TE Desmond Clark (toe), RB Anthony Thomas (foot), DT Keith Traylor (knee)

QUESTIONABLE DE Phillip Daniels (toe), LB Warrick Holdman (ankle), RB Adrian Peterson (ankle), QB Kordell Stewart (leg)

PROBABLE S Mike Green (groin)

OUT WR Eddie Drummond (ankle/knee), P John Jett (calf), WR Charles Rogers (collarbone)

QUESTIONABLE CB Roderick Babers (illness), S Corey Harris (neck), S Terrence Holt (concussion), T Stockar McDougle (shoulder), CB Jimmy Wyrick (ankle)

PROBABLE LB Jeff Gooch (hip), QB Joey Harrington (finger)

MINNESOTA over New York Giants

Can the Giants pull a rabbit out of the hat and find a way to knock off the unbeaten Minnesota Vikings? I would not chalk this one up in the victory column just yet. The Giants have been terribly inconsistent, turnovers and a lack of solid play from the offensive line has placed this team in a do or die situation. While they have not been playing well, New York has the ability to move the football through the air and while the Vikings have been rolling through the opposition, the possibility exists for the Giants to push them in Minnesota. New York has played much better defense in recent weeks and will be seriously challenged by a Minnesota team that can move the ball through the air or power it on the ground. I do not see the Giants pulling off a shocker here, but I believe this one will be close, take the Vikes to continue their roll.

DOUBTFUL - LB Raonall Smith (hamstring)

QUESTIONABLE - WR D'Wayne Bates (foot)

PROBABLE - WR Kelly Campbell (calf), DT Billy Lyon (leg)

New York Giants
OUT - K Matt Bryant (hamstring), CB William Peterson (back)

DOUBTFUL - WR Willie Ponder (hip)

PROBABLE - RB Tiki Barber (calf), DE Kenny Holmes (knee), TE Marcellus Rivers (shoulder), TE Jeremy Shockey (foot)

Seattle over CINCINNATI

The Cincinnati Bengals have the look of a team that will continue to grow under the tutelage of Marvin Lewis. After years of losing, being a doormat for the opposition, the Bengals in the short tenure of Lewis have become a competitive force. Granted, this team is 2-4, but they could easily be 5-1 with break here and there. Defensively, Cincinnati has improved, but greater depth along the defensive line is necessary, as they have had problems against the rush. Playing against a Seattle team that is equally explosive on the ground as they are through the air, the Bengals will face their toughest challenge to date. The Seahawks are for real. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck has a very solid offensive line in front of him, with two very good receivers, and an extremely talented running back in the backfield. The Seattle defense is vastly improved, which should be the difference in a game that should be competitive into the fourth quarter.

OUT - TE Ryan Hannam (knee)

DOUBTFUL - LB Tracy White (ankle)

QUESTIONABLE - LB Chad Brown (foot), WR Bobby Engram (shoulder), WR Darrell Jackson (foot), CB Ken Lucas (ankle), T Floyd Womack (toe)

OUT - WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh (hamstring)

PROBABLE - S Rogers Beckett (thigh), RB Corey Dillon (groin), G Matt O'Dwyer (foot)

St. Louis over PITTSBURGH

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher wants to go old school. The Bus, Jerome Bettis has been removed from the garage and the team intends to regain that Steelers power football scheme of old. Giving the ball to Bettis behind a geeked up Pittsburgh offensive line that has lobbied for a return of the power rushing game could make matters very interesting at Heinz Field on Sunday. Rushing effectively, the Steelers would keep a questionable defense off the field, which will struggle against a St. Louis team that may be only now getting their act together. Quarterback Marc Bulger and wide receiver Tory Holt have been terrific over the past couple of weeks and it would take Bettis keeping them off the field to get the Steelers close enough to win this one. The Rams will win this one, but the Steelers have the goods to make this a good game.

St. Louis
OUT - LB Tommy Polley (elbow)

QUESTIONABLE - S Adam Archuleta (ankle), RB Marshall Faulk (hand/knee), CB Travis Fisher (groin), WR Mike Furrey (appendix), CB Kevin Garrett (hamstring), RB Lamar Gordon (ankle), S Jason Sehorn (foot)

PROBABLE - WR Kevin Curtis (leg), WR Torry Holt (ankle), LB Robert Thomas (shoulder), T Kyle Turley (concussion)

OUT - T Mathias Nkwenti (back-IR), TE Jay Riemersma (knee), T Marvel Smith (shoulder)

PROBABLE - LB Clint Kriewaldt (hamstring), S Mike Logan (groin)

Tennessee over JACKSONVILLE

Maybe running back Eddie George and his 2.8 yards per carry average can get off in this game. I would not bet on it, we will see some of running back Robert Holcombe in this game spelling George, but the real story will be the efficient and explosive passing game led by quarterback Steve McNair. McNair could be the MVP of the league right now and he is facing a Jacksonville defense that is far from a polished unit. The only way Tennessee falls on its face in this one would be overconfidence, which is always a possibility. Jaguars rookie quarterback Byron Leftwich should have some success against a Tennessee defense, which has been far less than stellar in the team's solid start. Jacksonville has some solid weapons on the offensive side of the ball and will make a run at the Titans. In the end, this looks like Tennessee by 14.

OUT - S Donnie Nickey (foot), CB Samari Rolle (elbow)

QUESTIONABLE - WR Drew Bennett (hamstring), RB Chris Brown (hamstring), DT Albert Haynesworth (elbow), S Tank Williams (groin), TE Frank Wycheck (concussion)

OUT - QB Mark Brunell (elbow)

DOUBTFUL - CB Jason Craft (knee), WR Jimmy Redmond (foot)

QUESTIONABLE - LB Keith Mitchell (neck), CB Kiwaukee Thomas (groin)

San Francisco over ARIZONA

Coming off a surprising manhandling of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Sunday, the 49ers may have saved their season. On a downward slide and turmoil creating havoc in the Bay Area, San Francisco tightened up some inconsistent play in their finest overall effort of the season. Running the football has been a constant in the San Francisco offense for the past two decades, the coaching staff had gotten away from this aspect of the offense in recent weeks, placing increased pressure on quarterback Jeff Garcia and an injury riddled offensive line. Arizona has some weaponry on the offensive side of the ball, which could create problems for a San Francisco defense that had been suspect in recent weeks. Quarterback Jeff Blake provides the Cardinals leadership on the offensive side of the ball, running back Marcel Shipp should be given a heavy workload for an Arizona team that can be competitive if they can keep their below average defense off the field. The bottom line in this battle is, Arizona is a poor defensive team and an inconsistent offensive team, and the 49ers should feast on this team.

San Francisco
OUT - TE Eric Johnson (collarbone), CB Jason Webster (knee)

DOUBTFUL - T Derrick Deese (ankle)

QUESTIONABLE - DT Anthony Adams (toe), S Dwaine Carpenter (Achilles)

PROBABLE - WR Arnaz Battle (toe), G Eric Heitmann (ankle), C Jeremy Newberry (ankle/quadriceps/leg), WR Terrell Owens (groin), CB Ahmed Plummer (knee), G Ron Stone (wrist), WR Tai Streets (quadriceps)

OUT WR Jason McAddley (hamstring), RB Emmitt Smith (shoulder)

DOUBTFUL K Bill Gramatica (back), DT Derrick Ransom (ankle)

PROBABLE DT Wendell Bryant (ankle), WR Bryan Gilmore (ankle), S Quentin Harris (groin), WR Bryant Johnson (shoulder), DE Kenny King (toe), G Cameron Spikes (back)


Houston may be an improving team, but their defensive backfield has not played well this season and they will face what may be the best quarterback in the league right now, Peyton Manning. Indianapolis will get running back Edgerrin James back in the lineup for this contest, providing the Colts with a two-headed monster in James and wide receiver Marvin Harrison to utilize. Indianapolis' defense is again improved in the 2003 season, utilizing the deep cover-two zone scheme, the defensive backs have not had the problems as in years past of getting beaten over the top. For Houston, the game plan is simple. Try to keep quarterback David Carr upright, work the passing game to loosen the line of scrimmage and give the Colts a steady dose of running back Dominick Davis. Protecting Carr will be critical for the Texans to have any success against a Colts defense that has become aggressive with their defensive front-seven. Take the Colts; this one is over in the third quarter.

OUT - RB James Mungro (knee), LB Jim Nelson (collar bone)

DOUBTFUL - RB Ricky Williams (ankle)

QUESTIONABLE - CB Cliff Crosby (groin), T Ryan Diem (ankle), T Tarik Glenn (knee), CB Joseph Jefferson (pelvis), T Adam Meadows (knee)

PROBABLE - TE Dallas Clark (foot), CB Walt Harris (knee), RB Edgerrin James (back), DT Montae Reagor (knee), RB Dominic Rhodes (knee), C Jeff Saturday (back), RB Detron Smith (head), C Justin Snow (elbow), LB Marcus Washington (foot)

QUESTIONABLE - LB Charlie Clemons (ankle), CB Aaron Glenn (groin)

PROBABLE - CB Jason Bell (knee), G Milford Brown (knee), DE Gary Walker (toe), CB Kenny Wright (head)

PHILADELPHIA over New York Jets

Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb has played as poorly as any quarterback in the league, yet head coach Andy Reid is sticking with his guy, for now. Against the Giants, the Eagles were very fortunate to escape with a win at home, mainly thanks to a running game that regained some of its lost flair. If McNabb struggles early against the Jets this week, look for Reid to pull the plug. As for the Jets, could 2003 be a replay of the 2002 season? We do not believe so, as the Jets struggled mightily against the upstart Houston Texans last Sunday in coming away with the victory. Quarterback Chad Pennington will see action for the first time in the regular season after surgery on his left wrist and he will have a vastly improved Santana Moss to throw the ball to. A much-maligned New York defense has played much better in recent weeks, mainly due to the coaching staff getting the linebackers closer to the line of scrimmage and in fluxing some youth and quickness onto the field. This will be a close game, one where the Jets may be a defensive takeaway from winning the game.

OUT - S Brian Dawkins (foot), G Jermane Mayberry (elbow)

DOUBTFUL - CB Roderick Hood (hamstring)

QUESTIONABLE - DE Jerome McDougle (ankle), CB Bobby Taylor (foot), T Tra Thomas (wrist)

PROBABLE - S Michael Lewis (quadriceps), QB Donovan McNabb (leg/thumb), S Quintin Mikell (hamstring), WR Todd Pinkston (knee), DT Corey Simon (chest), LB Nate Wayne (hip)

New York Jets
OUT - CB Donnie Abraham (shoulder), CB Jamie Henderson (knee), S Jon McGraw (shoulder)

PROBABLE - WR Wayne Chrebet (back), LB Mo Lewis (hip/hamstring)

KANSAS CITY over Buffalo

Buffalo is one of those teams that play well for a couple weeks, then get caught sleeping at the wheel for a couple weeks. They looked dynamite in the first two weeks of the season, then went on vacation for a couple weeks, and returned vigorously against the Redskins last week. Quarterback Drew Bledsoe has the ability to be one of the best in the game when he receives the protection required for a stationary quarterback, the organization did this team no favors when they failed to replace wide receiver Peerless Price in the off-season. The Bills have been easier to defense. Defensively, the Bills are improved, but not to the level of a team, that is a serious Super Bowl contender. Facing the explosive Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo will need to be aggressive at the line of scrimmage and pressure quarterback Trent Green. If the Bills can contain running back Priest Holmes and force Green into mistakes, the Buffalo offense behind Bledsoe may have the opportunity to pick apart a Kansas City defensive backfield which has been average at best, but has come up with critical turnovers through out the 2004 season. This should be on heck of a game and we look for the Chiefs to remain undefeated for another week.

Kansas City
QUESTIONABLE - LB Fred Jones (foot), CB Dexter McCleon (thigh), DE R-Kal Truluck (ankle)

PROBABLE - LB Shawn Barber (knee), RB Derrick Blaylock (hamstring/hip), WR Marc Boerigter (toe), DT John Browning (shoulder), QB Trent Green (thigh), RB Priest Holmes (shoulder), LB Kawika Mitchell (hamstring), WR Johnnie Morton (ankle), S Greg Wesley (knee), S Jerome Woods (shoulder)

DOUBTFUL - DT Ron Edwards (shoulder)

QUESTIONABLE - RB Sammy Morris (abdomen), WR Eric Moulds (groin)

PROBABLE - T Mike Williams (neck), RB Sam Gash (ankle)

Miami over SAN DIEGO

Ricky Williams over right guard, Ricky Williams around the left tackle, get the message. The Dolphins will do what they do best, and that is run the football with Williams and setup the middle passing game with Brian Griese, who starts in place of the injured Jay Fiedler (this is where Miami fans applaud). The Miami defense should pose a difficult challenge to San Diego quarterback Drew Brees in the passing game. Defensively, teams have shown the ability to throw the football on the Dolphins this season, but the feeling in Miami is the Chargers do not have the firepower to defeat the Dolphins through the air. San Diego will be fired up for this Monday night battle and will feed the Dolphins a steady dose of LaDainian Tomlinson. Take the Dolphins, the San Diego passing offense is too inconsistent to be relied upon.

QUESTIONABLE - DT Larry Chester (neck/shoulder), T Mark Dixon (ankle), QB Jay Fiedler (knee), RB Rob Konrad (knee)

PROBABLE - DT Tim Bowens (hand), WR James McKnight (oblique), LB Junior Seau (hamstring), DE Jason Taylor (elbow), LB Zach Thomas (calf)

San Diego
OUT - TE Stephen Alexander (groin)

QUESTIONABLE - C Jason Ball (ankle), WR Reche Caldwell (wrist), S Vernon Fox (groin), CB Quentin Jammer (ankle)

PROBABLE - P Darren Bennett (ankle)

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