One of the NFL’s oldest rivalries adds another chapter today

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 2, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Dallas 30, Washington 6. I bet there’s a collective chop-licking going on in Dallas right now, as the Cowboys prepare to get back on track (after last week’s loss to Tampa Bay) by waxing their most hated rival. The ‘Skinnies haven’t won in Texas since 1995, and without their top two running backs (Ladell Betts and Trung Canidate) and a backup if Patrick Ramsey gets hurt (possible, since he’s been sacked 22 times this season), they shouldn’t today.

New York Giants 26, New York Jets 17. I’m still re-checking the headlines to make sure that the Giants actually did beat Minnesota last week. But if they did (and I’ll still be checking those headlines later today), they’ve got a bigger lift than any team in the NFL. The New York defense held Randy Moss to two catches in the second half, and a still-rusty Chad Pennington doesn’t have receivers like Moss to hit. The Giants have won nine of their last 12 against AFC East opponents.

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Indianapolis 14, Miami 13. Brian Griese made his case to be the Dolphins’ starter last week, going 20 or 29 for 192 yards in a 26-10 victory. Problem is, it was against San Diego, who could make anyone look like Johnny Unitas. Peyton Manning had a better day against a (slightly) better team, hitting 22 of 30 for 269 yards against Houston. This game will be won by whoever proves their stats true; Miami leads the league with 73.9 rushing yards allowed and 12.4 points allowed, while the Colts are tops with 354.9 yards per game and 29.8 points.

Carolina 42, Houston 16. The Panthers are back on track with an overtime win against New Orleans last week, and Stephen Davis set a team single-game rushing record with 178 yards. Against a team that’s 20th in the league against the run, he may break it today. With David Carr questionable with a bum ankle, the Texans may turn to Tony Banks – and if he couldn’t get it done for Washington not too long ago, what makes anyone think he can do it in Texas?

Oakland 28, Detroit 13. Marques Tuiasosopo may have one of the greatest names in the league, but now he’s got to back it up with numbers. The Raiders signed Sean Gilbert (back to the subject of forgotten ‘Skins) to bolster a defense that’s starting to improve, allowing just 30 points the past two games. Against an offense that hasn’t even completed a pass of over 20 yards since Oct. 5, they should look and feel even better today.

Baltimore 17, Jacksonville 7. Everyone knew that Baltimore had a fine offense with Jamal Lewis, but their defense was suspect – until last week, when some of the doubters were silenced with a 26-6 slaughter of Denver. Jacksonville is a ship without a sail caught in a high wind on a stormy night, giving away last week’s loss to Tennessee – just one more in a 1-6 season.

Tampa Bay 20, New Orleans 17. The Tampa Bay defense played like the team of last season in last week’s whomping of Dallas, and now they look to get revenge on a Saint team that swept them last season. New Orleans, which lost a game fraught with controversial officiating to Carolina last week, has to turn their frustration into results if they’re to have a shot.

Chicago 24, San Diego 19. After upsetting Cleveland on Oct. 19, the Chargers were brought back to reality with a 26-10 loss to Miami last week. Chicago might be on its way to .500 (well….maybe) after trashing Detroit last week, and now that they have Anthony Thomas (the NFC leader with 5.5 yards per carry) back to torment one of the league’s worst defenses, they should slough this one out.

Cincinnati 24, Arizona 13. For a team trying to win three straight for the first time in nearly four years, the Bengals couldn’t have picked a much more suitable opponent; the Cardinals have been one of the proverbial laughingstocks for years. Jon Kitna has thrown for 954 yards and eight touchdowns over the last four weeks, and Rudi Johnson showed that the Bengals have a new rushing weapon, charging for 101 yards in last week’s win over Seattle (another one that has me looking back through the papers!).

Seattle 42, Pittsburgh 10. The Steelers are just not getting things done this year, which may mean Bill Cowher’s job after the season. The Seahawks are looking to regroup after falling to Cincinnati last week, and they need a big win to restore their confidence.

Philadelphia 25, Atlanta 17. The Eagles got a much-needed win last week against the Jets, with Donovan McNabb shutting up some critics with a 17-of-23, 141-yard show. Now within a game of Dallas in the NFC East, Philly needs to carry on, and now they’re playing a team that hasn’t had a reliable defense all year.

St. Louis 28, San Francisco 17. Marshall Faulk may return today, but Mike Martz might not need him; after all, he’s got Marc Bulger, Tony Holt and rookie Arlen Harris (81 yards and three touchdowns in his first career start last week in a win over Pittsburgh) to play with. After losing Jeff Garcia and the game to Arizona last weekend, San Fran might start to drift faster than an Alcatraz trip.

Minnesota 20, Green Bay 19. Both teams are chomping at the bit, as the Vikings want to come back after a loss to the Giants and the Packers haven’t won for three weeks (one of which was a bye). But all the Giant loss did was prove that the Vikings are human after all; they still managed 359 yards of offense and Dante Culpepper threw for 241 yards. With Brett Favre around, the Packers can never be counted out.

New England 16, Denver 10. Both teams have been chewed by the injury bug, but the Patriots at least have a reliable quarterback in Tom Brady; the Broncos are playing Danny Kannell. Kevin Faulk and Daniel Graham have emerged as new forces for New England, so they should find a way past a patchwork defense.

Last week: 9-5

Overall: 57-45