Today’s NFL action

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 10, 2002

Washington 24, Jacksonville 7. The Redskins, who have all the predictability of a UFO sighting, continue their attempts to perfect the Fun ‘N Gun offense today. Against a Jaguar team that’s lost four straight, they shouldn’t have too much trouble. Kenny Watson is anxious to prove that he’s a not a one-hit wonder after burning Seattle last week, and Bruce Smith has rejuvenated on the ‘Skin defense. If Champ Bailey can keep Jimmy Smith under control, &uot;Hail to the Redskins,&uot; will be playing tonight.

Cincinnati 10, Baltimore 9. The Bengals are coming off a big win over Houston, which puts them on as much of a &uot;roll&uot; as a 1-7 team can be. But they might get lucky again this week against a Baltimore team that’s as brittle as plate glass. Cincinnati hasn’t scored on the Ravens in their last three contests, losing 75-0. Today, they start to get revenge.

New Orleans 33, Carolina 14. The Panther defense has allowed only 14.6 points per game, but they haven’t had to deal with a Saint offense that’s racked up 32 points per contest. NO’s defense is suspect, but Rodney Peete (look up the word &uot;journeyman&uot; in the dictionary and see if his picture’s there) hasn’t made anyone nervous since he came into the league.

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Green Bay 50, Detroit 3. This game could bring Howard Hug-hes to the betting tables. Detroit hasn’t won in Green Bay since the Gulf War, and it won’t happen today. The last time the Packers started 7-1 was in 1996, when they won the Super Bowl. If I were Mike Sherman, I’d keep Brett Favre on the sidelines (except for the first play – gotta keep that 165-consecutive-start streak goi-ng!) and let the Packer reserves trounce the Motor City Kitties.

New York Giants 23, Min-nesota 12. The Giant offense exploded last week for 394 yards in a win over Jacksonville, and a defense that’s stumbled to a 2-6 record might give them even more room to work. If Daunte Culpepper doesn’t get hot early (and he might, now that he’s got first-round pick Bryant McKinnie to protect him), the Applers should have a memorable day.

Philadelphia 33, Indianapolis 8. Had this game been played earlier this season, it might have been a toss-up. But the Colts are without Edgerrin James, and Peyton Manning has been erratic, tossing 11 interceptions in eight games. Add the fact that the Eagle defense is second in the league, and the Colts might be out to pasture quick. Indianapolis is 30th in the league against the run, so with Duce Staley and Donovan McNabb (attempting to become the first quarterback in league history to run for a touchdown in five consecutive games) should rack up the yardage.

Pittsburgh 21, Atlanta 20. The Steelers have Tommy Maddox, who came out of nowhere (actually, the XFL, but what’s the difference?) to turn the Steelers into contenders, and Hines Ward and Plaxico Burress (the best name in the NFL!) are one of the NFL’s top tandems. Jerome Bettis is out, but Amos Zereoue burned Cleveland last week for 112 yards. But a certain local fireball named Vick is leading the Falcons, so they can never be counted out.

St. Louis 17, San Diego 10. The Rams are trying to become the second team in NFL history to go 5-5 after starting 0-5 (the first was our beloved Skins last season), and they will if Marshall Faulk has a good game. This one is another toss-up, but the Rams get the Pick because any team with a three-game winning streak is full of momentum.

Tennessee 30, Houston 6. The Oilers (whoops, I meant Titans) are playing some of their best football this season, winning three straight to tie for the lead in the weak AFC South. Eddie George has been showing some new life, rushing for 314 yards the past three games, and Jevon Kearse might be back today.

Arizona 6, Seattle 3. Neither team has played any defense lately, but the Cardinals at least have scored a touchdown here and there, like in their 27-14 loss to St. Louis last week. Mike Holmgren is going balder every week, and something tells me that it’s not hereditary!

New England 28, Chicago 13. Tom Brady finally kicked things into high gear last week, throwing for 310 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-7 whomping of Buffalo. Chicago’s defense is doing its job, but its offense seems to be infected with eternal exhaustion. With the Bears reeling faster than Lennox Lewis’ punching bag, this one might end quickly.

San Francisco 30, Kansas City 28. Here’s another potential shootout. The Chiefs may have Priest Holmes, who leads the league with 857 yards, but they also have a defense that has allowed a league-high 30 points per game. With Jeff Garcia, Terrell Owens, and Garrison Hearst around, the defense might go back on its heels.

Miami 13, New York Jets 10. About the Dolphins’ best bet is to let Ricky Williams carry on every other play – with 758 yards and six touchdowns, he’s much more reliable than Ray Lucas, who’s pretending to play quarterback until Jay Fiedler’s thumb heals. Miami gets the Pick, but it won’t be an upset if the Jets fly away with this one.

Denver 28, Oakland 20. Four weeks ago, the Raiders were looking down their nose at the NFL. Now they’re trying to keep their heads above water. The Oakland defense has given up 24.5 points per contest, and a Denver offense that spent their bye week recuperating will be ready to raise the average. The Raiders haven’t won at Mile High Stadium since 1994, and that streak should continue tomorrow night.