Skins try to recover against New York

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 17, 2002

New York Giants 30, Washington 7. The Redskins are reverting to the whole &uot;Play like champs one week, chumps the next,&uot; attitude that we’ve been seeing since the Joe Gibbs’ departure. Their defense was Swiss cheese in last week’s loss to Jacksonville, and the offense is staggering along with Shane Matthews looking like a deer in the headlights. The Giants, who lost receivers Ike Hilliard, Ron Dixon and Tim Carter over the past two weeks, don’t have a passing game, and their defense won’t scare anyone. But with Tiki Barber and Ron Dayne around to carry the ball, the

Giants should win handily.

New Orleans 37, Atlanta 35. If this game is half as good as the Falcon’s 37-35 win on Oct. 27, it’s going to rock the cashba. Cousins Aaron Brooks and Michael Vick bring out the best in one another, and it doesn’t have far to come. Brooks roared past Carolina last week, and Vick led his Birds back from a 17-point deficit in the last nine minutes to secure a 34-34 knot with Pittsburgh. Vick doesn’t have Duece McAllister to hand off to like Brooks does, but he proved on Oct. 27 that he didn’t need him. The thirst for redemption gives the Saints the Pick, but don’t be surprised if Vick pulls a shocker out of his helmet.

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Cleveland 17, Cincinnati 0. The fact that the Browns are second with a record of 4-5 says something terrifying about the AFC North. The fact that the Bengals are 1-8 says something normal about the team from the city that Jerry Springer was once the mayor of.

Indianapolis 42, Dallas 7. The Colts are on the high of a season after slaughtering Philadelphia 35-13 last week, and they even did it without Edgerrin James, who’s questionable today with a hamstring injury. Peyton Manning put on a clinic against the NFC’s best defense, completing 18 of 23 passes for 319 yards, and the defense hammered Duce Staley and Donovan McNabb. Today, they face an offense that averages only 12.8 points per game.

Buffalo 21, Kansas City 12. Neither team is playing defense, but the Bills have the edge for two reasons. First, Drew Bledsoe and the rest of the Buffalo offense is anxious to atone for their 38-7 loss to New England two weeks ago. Second, the Chief offense hasn’t shown its usual firepower lately, such as last week’s 17-13 loss to San Francisco. If Priest Holmes doesn’t get hot early (though he’s as flammable as gasoline), Kansas City won’t take this one.

Green Bay 28, Minnesota 6. The Metrodome is Brett Favre’s Achilles heel; he’s 2-8 in Minnesota, including a 35-13 loss last season. But the Packers have a new incentive to play for today; a win by them and a loss by Detroit gives them the NFC North. The Vikings might win if they get ahead early, so look for the Pack to roar out of the gates.

Philadelphia 12, Arizona 9. If not for last week’s humiliation by the Colts, the Eagles would be the heavy favorite. But a 35-13 loss can put craters in a team’s confidence. Philadelphia’s offense is struggling under Donovan McNabb, scoring just three touchdowns the last three games. The Cardinals are getting desperate after three losses, so they might play like the team that has helped Jake Plummer to a 6-3 career mark against Philly.

Pittsburgh 30, Tennessee 28. Game of the week, hands up and down. The Titans are on a four-game winning streak, and the Steelers have won five of their last seven (which would have been six wins had the defense not fallen asleep last week and let Michael Vick burn them). But while the Titan offense is embarrassing its opponents (Eddie George has 400 yards in the past four games), their defense is tentative, which could give Tommy Maddox, Plaxico Burress, and the rest of a Steeler offense a straight path to victory.

Jacksonville 30, Houston 8. The Texans got lucky in a 21-19 win over the Jags last Oct. 27, a win that came on a last-second field goal. So Jacksonville will probably put this one away by halftime.

San Francisco 35, San Diego 13. The 49er offense is rolling after wins over Oakland and Kansas City, while the Chargers are starting to slip like they did last season. The San Fran defense held Priest Holmes to 51 yards last week, so they shouldn’t have too much trouble with LaDanian Tomlinson.

Carolina 13, Tampa Bay 6. Yes, that’s really the Pick. Why? Simple. The Bucs may have the league’s best defense, allowing 12.1 points and 255.1 yards a game and scoring five touchdowns. But their offense is unreliable, with journeyman Brad Johnson at the helm. Rodney Peete (another man of many journeys) threw for 310 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s loss to New Orleans, so if anyone can find a way through the Bay, it’s him.

Miami 17, Baltimore 13. This is a battle of disappointing teams. The Dolphins have lost three straight since Jay Fielder’s thumb went south, while the Ravens have lost two of their last three after Ray Lewis’ shoulder went out of whack. The Dolphins get the Pick, but Ricky Williams, who had one of the worst games of his career last week when the Jets held him to 53 yards and he fumbled inside the five, needs to step up and play like he can.

New York Jets 30, Detroit 17. Check this out; the Jets are in last place in the AFC East with a 4-5 record. However, they’re just one game behind first place Miami, New England, and Buffalo. And a win today (which shouldn’t be difficult, since the Lion defense doesn’t have anyone who can stop Curtis Martin) should make that one game vanish quickly.

Seattle 28, Denver 24. Here’s another upset Pick. The Sea-hawks tore through Arizona last week, while Oakland embarrassed the Broncos. Denver may be ranked first in the AFC in defense, but Rich Gannon picked them apart for 352 yards. Can Shaun Alexander do the same?

Oakland 50, New England 10. With the Raiders ahead 13-10 in the AFC title game last January, Tom Brady faded back on a snowy Foxboro field. Hit by several Raiders, he dropped the ball, and Oakland recovered. But the officials ruled the drop an incomplete pass, enabling the Patriots to continue a drive that resulted in a game-tying field goal and overtime victory. If that doesn’t provided enough incentive for the Raiders to continue the winning streak that they began last week in a domination of Denver, nothing will.

St. Louis 49, Chicago 3. Marshall Faulk picked a good time to be hurt; the Munchkins of the Midway couldn’t stop a Bennetts Creek Pop Warner team, so he won’t be necessary. Marc Bulger, who re-energized the Rams to four straight wins after Kurt Warner went down, also wants to go out on a bang in his final start; Warner returns next week. Today, the Rams become the second team in NFL history to go from 0-5 to 5-5 (just like the Skins last year).