NFL Countdown

Steve Coad -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 6:38 AM ET

Philadelphia (2-0) at Detroit (2-0) The line: Eagles by 4

The skinny: Sunday, 1 p.m. The Lions haven't had a 3-0 start since 1980, when they roared out the gate 4-0. The theme song in Motown that year was Another One Bites the Dust, but before dusting off our songsheets and dancing shoes after 23 sorry seasons, it needs to be pointed out that the Eagles are soaring, too. A critical matchup pits Philly corners Sheldon Brown and Lito Sheppard, both 5-foot-10, against Lions rookie wideout Roy Williams, who stands 6-foot-3. Williams leads the NFL with 17.8 yards a catch. Brown and Sheppard held Randy Moss to 69 yards in receptions in Monday's 27-16 win over the Vikings.

Cody's call: Eagles 28-10

Pittsburgh (1-1) at Miami (0-2)

The line: Dolphins by 1

The skinny: Sunday, 1 p.m. From the moment the Steelers selected Ben Roethlisberger in the first round (11th overall from Miami of Ohio) of this year's NFL draft, it's been clear that two-year starter Tommy Maddox was just keeping the position warm for the 6-foot-4, 242-pound Roethlisberger. Well, with Maddox shelved by an elbow injury last Sunday, Roethlisberger's learning curve will certainly accelerate. In a good taste of action last week's 30-13 loss to the Ravens, the rookie threw for two TDs but also had two passes picked off. Miami's D is No. 1 vs. the pass, allowing just 88.5 yards a game. But Miami is surrendering 138 yards a game on the ground, meaning teams don't have to throw to mash Miami.

Cody's call: Steelers 27-24

Arizona (0-2) at Atlanta (2-0)

The line: Falcons by 10

The skinny: Sunday, 1 p.m. This one is all about Michael Vick, who must be the focus of Arizona's No. 32-ranked defence (No. 30 vs. the pass, No. 24 against the run). In last Sunday's 34-17 doubling of the Rams, Vick was the definition of a balanced offence unto himself -- he ran 12 times for 109 yards and completed 14 passes for 179 yards. Associated Press football writer David Mordkoff warns: If the Cardinals pay too much attention to Vick's speed (and they have to respect it) and devote too many defenders to trying to keep him in the pocket, he'll beat them with the deep pass.

Cody's call: Falcons 26-17

Cleveland (1-1) at N.Y. Giants (1-1)

The line: Giants by 2 1/2

The skinny: Sunday, 1 p.m. The Giants forced seven turnovers in last Sunday's 20-14 win over the favoured Redskins, linebacker Barrett Green returning a fumble recovery 16 yards for a touchdown. The Browns have scored only two TDs in their two games, but kicker Phil Dawson has picked up the slack. He shares the NFL lead with 20 points and has made 16 straight field goals, the longest current streak in the NFL. The Brownies are already riddled with injuries and will be without defensive stars Courtney Brown and Gerard Warren and rookie tight end Kellen Winslow.

Cody's call: Giants 20-17

Houston (0-2) at Kansas City (0-2)

The line: Chiefs by 9 1/2

The skinny: Sunday, 1 p.m. Go ahead and diss the Chiefs' D. Seen by some as a Super Bowl contender, Kansas City has surrendered 62 points in two games, most in the league. A major matchup just might be Texans quarterback David Carr vs. corner Eric Warfield. Carr has thrown three interceptions already, sharing the league high, and has been sacked seven times. Warfield's two interceptions share the NFL lead. The Texans have outgained opponents in both their losses, but they have an NFL-worst minus-six turnover differential and their seven giveaways trail only to Washington.

Cody's call: Chiefs 33-21

New Orleans (1-1) at St. Louis (1-1)

The line: Rams by 7

The skinny: Sunday, 1 p.m. This games revives the noggin-knockin' between the former NFC West rivals. In any case, it's a stellar matchup. The Rams are great at home and the Saints are 19-13 on the road under head coach Jim Haslett. Rams receiver Andre Bruce will receive copious attention from Saints corners Ashley Ambrose and Fred Thomas. Bruce leads the loop with 17 snags and is third in yards gained with 214. In 13 career games vs. New Orleans, Bruce's gaudy numbers include 71 receptions for 1,263 yards and 11 TDs.

Cody's call: Rams 31-21

Jacksonville (2-0) at Tennessee (1-1)

The line: Titans by 6

The skinny: Sunday, 1 p.m. The Titans have won the last five meetings between the teams and 10 of the last 12 dating back to 1988. Jacksonville is the first team since the Chicago Cardinals in 1942 to start 2-0 while scoring only 20 points. The Jags, ranked dead last on offence, need their 12th-ranked defence to slow Titans running back Chris Brown, a dandy replacement for Eddie George. Brown has 252 yards rushing in two games. The Jags are superb at ruining the run. In fact, it's been 17 games since they have allowed a 100-yard rushing game.

Cody's call: Titans 21-17

Baltimore (1-1) at Cincinnati (1-1)

The line: Ravens by 3

The skinny: Sunday, 1 p.m. While Jamal Lewis has been held to just 119 yards in two games this season, the Ravens running machine is a recognized Bengals basher. Lewis has rushed for at least 100 yards in all six career games against Cinci. If his stats are a touch stunted compared to the 2,066 yards he galloped for last season, Chester Taylor has been a nice addition to the Ravens' offensive backfield. The Ravens are running for 130 yards a game, numbers they need to offset a passing attack that's yet to produce a TD. In Sunday's 16-13 win over Miami, the Bungles' only major came on a interception return.

Cody's call: Ravens 14-10

Chicago (1-1) vs. Minnesota (1-1)

The line: Vikings by 9

The skinny: Sunday, 1 p.m. The Bears' secondary is a shadow of its former self with free safety Mike Brown down for the season (ruptured Achilles tendon), cornerback Charles Tillman gone for at least seven weeks (knee) and corner Jerry Azumah out with a neck injury. That leaves lesser lights Todd McMillon, Nathan Vasher and R.W. McQuarters to corral Vikings wideout Randy Moss. While Moss has just 12 catches for 96 yards this season, he also has three TDs. Moss has 1,005 and eight TDs in 12 career games vs. the Bears. Vikes placekicker Morton Andersen has played in 340 NFL games and with an appearance Sunday will pass George Blanda for the most games in league history.

Cody's call: Vikings 30-20

San Diego (1-1) at Denver (1-1)

The line: Broncos by 10

The skinny: Sunday, 4:05 p.m. The Broncos are ranked fifth overall on defence but they're No. 19 vs. the run. That should concern them, considering their D-line is missing Trevor Bryce (back) and LaDainian Tomlinson leads the Chargers into Denver this week. In their last meeting, a 37-8 Denver domination last Nov. 16, Tomlinson was held to just 29 yards rushing. However, in 2002, he rambled for 220 yards and three TDs. The second-team all-Pro has run for 208 yards already this season despite being the focus of every opponents' D. Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan is 16-5 vs. the Chargers, 10-1 at home.

Cody's call: Broncos 21-13

Green Bay (1-1) at Indianapolis (1-1)

The line: Colts by 5 1/2

The skinny: Sunday, 4:15 p.m. This game hooks up two of football's greatest quarterbacks: Brett Favre of the Packers and Indy's Peyton Manning. Since 1999, each has won 52 regular-season games, the most by any QB in that span. Favre's 32 TD passes last season led the NFL; Manning was second with 29. Favre has started 191 consecutive games, the most in NFL history by a quarterback. Manning, 28, is already fourth with 98 starts in a row. Manning is second in the AFC with a 104.9 passer rating and shares second with four TD passes. Favre is 12-21 over his career in domed stadiums.

Cody's call: Colts 28-24

San Francisco (0-2) at Seattle (2-0)

The line: Seahawks by 11

The skinny: Sunday, 4:15 p.m. Niners inexperienced quarterback Ken Dorsey will need to keep an eye peeled for Seahawks strong safety Michael Boulware. In his first NFL start Sunday (a 30-27 loss to the Saints), Dorsey completed 18 of 32 passes for 205 yards, but tossed a pair of picks as well. Boulware, a second-round pick in April's draft, has an interception in each of Seattle's first two games. The Seahawks have allowed just 13 points in their two victories. San Fran running back Kevan Barlow has a sore knee, but expects to play. Barlow has 190 yards rushing and two TDs this season. The Niners have a minus-three turnover differential, while Seattle is a plus-three.

Cody's call: Seahawks 28-21

Tampa Bay (0-2) at Oakland (1-1)

The line: Bucs by 3 1/2

The skinny: Sunday, 8:30 p.m. (TSN). This is the first meeting between the teams since Jon Gruden's Bucs decimated the Raiders 48-21 in the Super Bowl two years ago. Then a Buc, now a Raider, Warren Sapp welcomes his ex-mates to Raider Nation. The Bucs have yet to score an offensive TD this season. Based on opening-day rosters, the Bucs are the oldest team in the NFC (27.81 years) while the Raiders are the geezers of the AFC (27.36). The Raiders, ranked fourth in overall D (No. 7 vs. the rush, No. 5 vs. the pass), have already shut down offensive lightweights Pittsburgh and Buffalo this season.

Cody's call: Raiders 13-10

Dallas (1-1) at Washington (1-1)

The line: Off

The skinny: Monday, 9 p.m. (ABC). The main matchup in this one is definitely Cowboys coach Bill Parcells vs. Redskins coach Joe Gibbs. Their brain-rather-than-brawn rivalry dates back two decades, when Parcells was at the Giants' helm (1983-90) and Gibbs was in his first stint with the Redskins. The two went to six Super Bowls between them in that span, winning five (Gibbs was 3-1; Parcells 2-0). Parcells prevailed 10-6 over Gibbs in head-to-head meetings. Ancient history aside, the Cowboys have won 12 of the last 13 meetings vs. the 'Skins. This season, Dallas QB Vinny Testaverde leads the NFL with 677 yards passing. He'll by tested by Washington's No. 1-ranked defence, albeit the Redskins are No. 9 vs. the pass.

Cody's call: Cowboys 23-20

Season record

Straight up Last week: 11-5. Overall: 20-12

Spread Last week: 7-8. Overall: 12-19


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