NFL Countdown

STEVE COAD -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 7:53 AM ET

Detroit (4-2) at Dallas (2-4)

The line: Cowboys by 3

The skinny: Sunday, 1 p.m. The Lions are 3-0 this season as visitors after setting an NFL record with 24 straight road losses. They're in good company. The only other undefeated teams on the road are the Eagles and Patriots. The Cowboys are 1-2 at Texas Stadium. A critical matchup features Lions wide receiver Roy Williams against Cowboys corners Terrance Newman and Jacques Reeves. Williams, taken seventh overall in this year's draft, leads all rookies with five touchdown snags and ranks No. 3 with 24 catches for 362 yards. At six-foot-two, Williams is three inches taller than both Newman and Reeves. Last week, Green Bay's six-foot-three wideout Javon Walker burned the 'Boys for 129 yards. Williams could do the same if his sore ankle (questionable) holds up.

Cody's call: Cowboys 21-17

Arizona (2-4) at Buffalo (1-5)

The line: Bills by 3

The skinny: Sunday, 1 p.m. Bills quarterback Drew Bledsoe hasn't produced a 300-yard passing game in his last 20 outings and in that span he has tossed more interceptions (18) and TDs (14). In fact, the Ravens ripped off Bledsoe for four interceptions in last Sunday's 20-6 win over Buffalo. The improved Cardinals have eight picks this season, fourth most in the league. If the Bills' buffaloed offensive line can't give Bledsoe time, the Cardinals will surely fattened their interception totals. The Bills are the NFL's only team without a rushing TD this season and rank dead-last with six offensive touchdowns. Buffalo's strength is its defence (ranked fifth overall: No. 3 against the rush, No. 6 vs. the run), but there's only so much it can do.

Cody's call: Bills 21-20

Cincinnati (2-4) vs. Tennessee (2-5)

The line: None offered

The skinny: Sunday, 1 p.m. The Bengals didn't bungle their date with Monday Night Football as many of us suspected they might. In fact, Cinci was stellar in bucking the Broncos 23-10. A matchup to watch is Bengals running back Rudi Johnson vs. Titans defensive end Kevin Carter. Johnson danced through Denver's D for 119 yards rushing, including a 36-yard TD dash. The Titans haven't been able to replace defensive end Jevon Kearse, lost to Philly through free agency. It has forced the talented Carter to shift to end from his comfortable home at tackle. The Titans are banged up, including running back Chris Brown (questionable, toe), who ranks third in the NFL with 633 yards rushing.

Cody's call: Titans 27-23

Green Bay (3-4) at Washington (2-5)

The line: Packers by 2 1/2

The skinny: Sunday, 1 p.m. The Pack's secondary may have to tangle with Redskins QB Mark Brunell with four starters who weren't in the starting lineup last season. Strong safety Darren Sharper and cornerback Al Harris both sprained knees in last week's 41-20 blasting of the Cowboys. Bhawoh Jue would start in Sharper's spot opposite newcomer free safety Mark Roman. If Harris can't go, leading choices to start opposite left corner Ahmad Carroll are fellow rookies Joey Thomas and Jason Horton. The good news for the Packers is that Brunell's passer rating is a dismal 69.8. The Redskins are No. 1 overall on D (No. 1 vs. the run, No. 3 vs. the pass), allowing just 234.2 yards. Green Bay's offence is No. 2 overall (12th on the run, No. 3 passing), averaging 343.7 yards a game.

Cody's call: Packers 28-21

Jacksonville (5-2) at Houston (3-3)

The line: Texans by 1

The skinny: Sunday, 1 p.m. After seven games last season, the Jags were 1-6. All five of their wins this season have come in the final minute. To improve their chances Sunday, Jags corners Juran Bolden and Rashean Mathis will have to corral Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson, who tops the AFC with 591 receiving yards. Among players with 25 or more catches, Johnson's 17.9-yard average leads the entire loop. Jacksonville is vulnerable to the pass, allowing more than 300 yards via the air in its last three games. Both teams' turnover differential equals zero.

Cody's call: Texans 20-17

Indianapolis (4-2) at Kansas City (2-4)

The line: Colts by 1 1/2

The skinny: Sunday, 1 p.m. Good luck, Rob Morris. Morris is the Colts middle linebacker and the chap in charge of stopping K.C. running backs Priest Holmes and Derrick Blaylock. Last week, the Chiefs set an NFL record with eight rushing TDs -- four each by Holmes (questionable, ankle) and Blaylock. And they did it against Atlanta, the league's No. 1 defence against the run. Morris is one of the Colts' few bright lights on D. While Indy ranks sixth vs. the run, it's largely because other teams pass so easily against them. The Colts have won the last seven, including playoffs, against the Chiefs.

Cody's call: Colts 33-31

Baltimore (4-2) at Philadelphia (6-0)

The line: Eagles by 7 1/2

The skinny: Sunday, 1 p.m. Look who'll be knocking noodles: Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis and Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens. Lest we forget, Owens was originally traded to Baltimore from the 49ers in the offseason. But he protested the shuffle and refused to show up for physicals, saying he'd only be happy playing in Philly. So a deal got done there and Owens is soaring as an Eagle. His eight receiving TDs are tied for first in the NFL and his 596 receiving yards are third-best. But Owens and Lewis are clearly not feeling the love. The two have had a number of testy exchanges.

Cody's call: Eagles 27-20

N.Y. Giants (4-2) at Minnesota (5-1)

The line: Vikings by 7

The skinny: Sunday, 1 p.m. Shake hands and come out fighting. I'm talking about Giants defensive end Michael Strahan and Vikings QB Daunte Culpepper. The much improved Culpepper leads the NFL in completion percentage (73.3), TD tosses (19) and passer rating (124.0). He is second in the league with 1,949 yards passing. All this despite the fact he has been sacked 18 times in just six games. Strahan leads the Giants with three sacks and has 117 in his career, most among active players. Culpepper's fave target, Randy Moss, isn't expected to play because of a hamstring injury. Giants running back Tiki Barber leads the league in yards from scrimmage with 989 (647 rushing, 342 receiving).

Cody's call: Vikings 30-27

Carolina (1-5) at Seattle (3-3)

The line: Seahawks by 8

The skinny: Sunday, 4:05 p.m. The Panthers, defending NFC champions, have been decimated by injuries. They're particularly battered at running back. DeShaun Foster is out for the season due to a broken collarbone. Unusual starter Stephen Davis missed his fourth game of the season last week (knee) and No. 3 man Rod Smart has knee woes as well. Enter Brad Hoover, usually a fullback, who ran for 99 yards on 24 carries Sunday in the Panthers' 17-6 loss to the Chargers. Panthers QB Jake Delhomme is a puzzle. After last year's breakthrough, Delhomme's passer rating 67.1, one of the poorest in the league, and he has thrown a league-high 10 interceptions.

Cody's call: Seahawks 24-17

Atlanta (5-2) at Denver (5-2)

The line: Broncos by 6 1/2

The skinny: Sunday, 4:05 p.m. Both sides are coming off humiliating losses, Atlanta 56-10 to KC and Denver 23-10 to Cinci on Monday Night Football. The Falcons entered last week's slate as the NFL's No. 1 run defence. All the Chiefs did was prance for 271 yards and a record eight TDs, dropping the Falcons to No. 9 vs. the run. This week, they're running up against Denver's offensive line, which is led by All-Pro centre Tom Nalen. The Broncos' O-line has brilliantly opened holes for Reuben Doughns, helping the back to run for 479 yards in his last three games. The toughest-to-move Falcon is defensive tackle Ed Jasper.

Cody's call: Broncos 24-21

New England (6-0) at Pittsburgh (5-1)

The line: Patriots by 3

The skinny: Sunday, 4:15 p.m. Not that you need a reminder. . . . The Patriots have won an NFL-record 21 straight games, including playoffs. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is the first NFL rookie to win his first four starts since Phil Simms in 1979. Pittsburgh running back Jerome Bettis has seven TDs this season but only 64 yards rushing. Patriots running back Corey Dillon has 637 yards rushing this season, just five yards shy of the Pats' top individual total last season. He has rushed for more than 100 yards in his last two games but in his last four games vs. the Steelers, he hasn't had more than 60. The Pats lead the AFC with 19 sacks, two more than the Steelers, who share second in the division.

Cody's call: Steelers 24-23

Oakland (2-5) at San Diego (4-3)

The line: Chargers by 5 1/2

The skinny: Sunday, 4:15 p.m. LaDainian Tomlinson has an injured groin but the Chargers are counting on him to get busy against the Raiders, a team he routinely punishes. In last year's 21-14 San Diego victory, Tomlinson piled up a career-best 243 yards and two TDs on 35 carries. In his last four games vs. the Raiders, Tomlinson's numbers add up to 640 yards on 116 carries, five TDs rushing, one receiving and even one passing. Raiders QB Kerry Collins, who stepped in for the injured Rich Gannon, has a 63.7 passer rating, third lowest in the NFL among QBs with at least 100 heaves.

Cody's call: Chargers 30-21

San Francisco (1-5) at Chicago (1-5)

The line: Bears by 2

The skinny: Sunday, 8:30 p.m. (TSN). In the opinion of Associated Press football writer Dave Goldberg, which I share, "Tim Rattay is an NFL quarterback. Craig Krenzel, Jonathan Quinn and Chad Hutchinson aren't." Since quarterbacks are vital, this gives the Niners a large leg up. In a matchup of two of the NFL's weakest links, field position just might determine the outcome. In a battle of punters, Brad Maynard of da Bears has it all over Andy Lee of the 49ers.

Cody's call: Bears 14-10

Miami (1-6) at N.Y. Jets (5-1)

The line: Jets by 7

The skinny: Monday, 9 p.m. (ABC). Jets running back Curtis Martin's running totals are enough to turn the Dolphins green with envy. Martin is second in the NFL with 683 yards rushing. Miami, on the other hand, is second to last in total yards rushing (534) and dead last in yards per game (76.3) and yards per carry (3.1). Martin has 12 career rushing touchdowns against the Dolphins, the most by any Miami opponent. The Jets are plus-9 in turnover differential, tops in the AFC. Miami's defence allows just 143.6 yards passing a game, fewest in the NFL.

Cody's call: Jets 20-10

Season record

Straight up

Last week: 8-6. Overall: 64-38

Spread

Last week: 3-9. Overall: 43-52


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