Cracking the Coad

STEVE COAD -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 7:31 AM ET

Atlanta (1-1) at Buffalo (1-1)

The line: None

The skinny: Sunday, 1 p.m. Falcons quarterback Mike Vick (hamstring) is among the walking wounded, joining Bills linebacker London Fletcher (hammy) and safety Lawyer Milloy (thumb) as questionable on the NFL's weekly injury report. Of course, this takes away from the game's key matchup: Vick vs. a Bills' defence that's ranked second overall (30th against the run, No. 1 against the pass). In bowing to the Bucs 19-3 Sunday, the Bills were unable to get any pressure on Tampa Bay quarterback Brian Griese -- and paid dearly. Also, Buffalo failed to force a turnover for the first time in 12 games.

Cody's call: Falcons 17-14

Tennessee (1-1) at St. Louis (1-1)

The line: Rams by 6 1/2

The skinny: Sunday, 1 p.m. The Titans are 45-36 on the road since 1995, tops in the NFL during that span. A lot will likely be determined by how well Tennessee's bumped and bruised defence handles Rams running back Steve Jackson. Jackson, Marshall Faulk's replacement as the main ball lugger in St. Louis, has 153 rushing yards (4.1 a carry) in two games this season. The Titans' D limited Baltimore to 182 yards, including just 14 on the run, in Sunday's 25-10 win. But they paid a price, losing safety Vincent Fuller on the opening kickoff and tackle Albert Haynesworth, linebacker Peter Simon and safety Justin Sandy later in the game.

Cody's call: Rams 27-17

Tampa Bay (2-0) at Green Bay (0-2)

The line: Bucs by 3

The skinny: Sunday, 1 p.m. Tampa Bay's defence, ranked No. 1 overall (No. 1 against the run, No, 4 vs. the pass) in the NFL, hasn't surrendered an offensive touchdown this season. Heck, they've only allowed three first downs via the run. This is not good news for the Packers, who have been moving the football (668 yards worth) but have just 27 points to show for it. Brett Favre, says Green Bay Press-Gazette sports writer Pete Dougherty, still has "a rocket arm and gambler's impulse" but he's missing the pocket-breaking physical talents of his youth. As well, the Pack's revamped offensive line is struggling to open holes. Bucs running back Cadillac Williams is the first rookie to begin his NFL career with consecutive 100-yard games since Edgerrin James in 1999.

Cody's call: Bucs 23-17

Oakland (0-2) at Philadelphia (1-1)

The line: Eagles by 8 1/2

The skinny: Sunday, 1 p.m. Of course, they won't be on the field at the same time, but who among us won't be watching -- and comparing -- the performances of star wide receivers, Terrell Owens of the Eagles and Randy Moss of the Raiders. They're both talented, controversial and off to good starts. Owens has 12 catches for 255 yards and two TDs in his two games this season, while Moss has 10 receptions for an NFL-topping 257 yards. The Raiders are trying to avoid their first 0-3 start since 1992.

Cody's call: Eagles 30-17

Cincinnati (2-0) at Chicago (1-1)

The line: Bengals by 3

The skinny: Sunday, 1 p.m. Cincinnati quarterback Carson Palmer (27-of-40 for 337 yards and three TDs) is coming off his second-best passing day in two seasons and his third 300-yard game in Sunday's 37-8 win over the Vikings. This week, he'll face a Bears secondary that intercepted Joey Harrington five times in a 38-6 win Sunday over the Lions. Chicago's defence has allowed just a field goal in five possessions in its red zone. The Bengals lead the NFL with a plus-seven giveaway/takeaway ratio. Da Bears top the NFC at plus-six.

Cody's call: Bengals 21-17

Jacksonville (1-1) at New York Jets (1-1)

The line: Off

The skinny: Sunday, 1 p.m. Jaguars quarterback Byron Leftwich (groin) and Jets running back Curtis Martin are both listed as questionable, which explains why the betting line is off. Leftwich was sacked six times in Sunday's 10-3 loss to the Colts. In soaring over the Dolphins 17-7 on Sunday, the New Yorkers held the Dolphins to just 66 rushing yards. If the Jags can't establish their running game, says Associated Press football writer Paul Montella, Leftwich could be in for another rough afternoon. Martin was injured in the first quarter against Miami but stayed in the game, finishing with 72 yards on 31 carries.

Cody's call: Jets 24-20

New Orleans (1-1) at Minnesota (0-2)

The line: Vikings by 4

The skinny: Sunday, 1 p.m. The Vikings' defence, ranked 30th overall (No. 32 vs. the rush, No. 28 vs. the pass), will have its hands full with Saints wideouts Joe Horn and Donte Stallworth. In Monday night's 27-10 loss to the Giants (actually the "home opener" for the Saints, although the game was played in the Meadowlands in New Jersey), Horn had nine catches for 143 yards while Stallworth had eight snags for 141 yards. New Orleans paid dearly for six turnovers and 13 penalties. The Saints are road warriors -- 25-17 away under Jim Haslett.

Cody's call: Saints 24-21

Carolina (1-1) at Miami (1-1)

The line: Panthers by 3

The skinny: Sunday, 1 p.m. The key matchup pits Miami's running game against Carolina's defensive line. The Dolphins managed just 66 yards rushing in Sunday's loss to the Jets. Miami's Ronnie Brown, the No. 2 overall draft pick, has 92 yards on 34 carries, just 2.7 yards a pop. Despite losing its run stopper, defensive tackle Kris Jenkins, the Panthers shut down Corey Dillon and limited New England to just 39 yards in a 27-17 win over the Patriots Sunday. Still, it's troubling that the Panthers are so banged up on both sides of the ball. But if they're going anywhere this season, they've got to beat the Miamis of the world.

Cody's call: Panthers 24-20

Cleveland (1-1) at Indianapolis (2-0)

The line: Colts by 13 1/2

The skinny: Sunday, 1 p.m. Former Patriots defensive co-ordinator Romeo Crennel got his first win as head coach of Browns on Sunday -- 26-24 over the offensively challenged Packers. Peyton Manning and the Colts will be a far bigger test for Browns, of course. But maybe, just maybe, Cleveland QB Trent Dilfer will give the Colts fits. Dilfer has thrown for 614 yards and four TDs in his two starts. Also, Dilfer is 27-9 in his last 36 starts, including playoffs. The Colts have allowed just 10 points this season.

Cody's call: Colts 27-17

New England (1-1) at Pittsburgh (2-0)

The line: Steelers by 3

The skinny: Sunday, 4:05 p.m. This is the third meeting between these powerhouses at Pittsburgh's Heinz Field in the last 12 months. The Steelers ended New England's record 18-game winning streak in the first matchup and, in the second -- the AFC final -- the Patriots ended the Steelers' season. This time? Well, the Patriots will need to corral Steelers running back Willie Parker, who has run for 272 yards this season and gives Pittsburgh's running game a new twist -- speed. The Patriots have a dozen players listed on this week's injury report.

Cody's call: Steelers 24-20

Arizona (0-2) at Seattle (1-1)

The line: Seahawks by 6 1/2

The skinny: Sunday, 4:05 p.m. Despite integrating seven new starters, Seattle was outstanding against the Falcons' attack in Sunday's 21-18 (upset) win Sunday. Atlanta managed just 223 total yards, 115 yards of it coming on the run. The Cardinals' running game has been a problem this season, although Marcel Shipp's 54 yards on 12 carries in a 17-12 loss to the Rams gives them reason to hope. The Cardinals have run for just 113 yards this season. However, Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald leads the NFL with 17 receptions.

Cody's call: Seahawks 31-21

Dallas (1-1) at San Francisco (1-1)

The line: Cowboys by 6 1/2

The skinny: Sunday, 4:05 p.m. Ouch. The Cowboys blew a 13-0 lead in the final 3:46 Monday night in bowing 14-13 to the Washington Redskins. Never before had a Bill Parcells-coached team lost when leading by 13 in the fourth quarter (as they have in 77 games over his 17-plus seasons as an NFL head coach). Unless the 32nd ranked 49ers D (20th vs. the run, 32nd vs. the pass) can stop a rejuvenated Drew Bledsoe, the Cowboys are likely to put a (grudging) smile back on the old coach's face. In his first two games as a Cowboy, Bledsoe has completed 39 of 60 tosses for 487 yards and no interceptions.

Cody's call: Cowboys 27-14

New York Giants (2-0) at San Diego (0-2)

The line: Chargers by 5

The skinny: Sunday, 8:30 p.m. (TSN). Remember NFL draft day 2004? Eli Manning was taken No. 1 overall by the Chargers, then after throwing a snit-fit, was promptly traded to the Giants for quarterback Phillip Rivers. No doubt that still doesn't sit well with a lot the Chargers. Meanwhile, this matchup pits San Diego running back LaDainian Tomlinson against the NFL's No. 2 run defence. Tomlinson, the league's highest-paid running back, has gained 124 yards on 38 carries -- 3.8 yards a pop -- and has no pass receptions. The Giants have allowed just 51.5 yards a game rushing, and no TDs.

Cody's call: Chargers 27-24

Kansas City (2-0) at Denver (1-1)

The line: Broncos by 2 1/2

The skinny: Monday, 9 p.m. (ABC). Denver's running game has always meant trouble for Kansas City. Things might be different on Sunday. The Chiefs have increased their speed at linebacker, adding rookie Derrick Johnson and Kendra Bell. Still, their most improved linebacker is middle man Kawika Mitchell, who had six tackles in last Sunday's 23-17 win over the Raiders. The Broncos' running game worked beautifully in Sunday's 20-17 win over the Chargers. When Mike Anderson went down with a rib injury, backup Ron Dayne stepped in and gained 44 yards on eight carries, including setting up the winning field goal. Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil is 0-4 in Denver.

Cody's call: Broncos 21-17

Season record

Straight up

Last week: 8-8; overall: 15-17

Spread

Last week: 8-7; overall: 15-16


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