Cracking the Coad

STEVE COAD -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 7:53 AM ET

Kansas City (3-2) at Miami (2-3)

The line: Chiefs by 1 1/2

The skinny: Tonight, 7 p.m. This game was moved up a couple of days due to the expected arrival of Hurricane Wilma on the weekend. In Trent Green's lone career game against the Dolphins (a 48-30 K.C. win on Sept. 29, 2002), he completed 24 of 34 passes for 324 yards and five touchdowns. Since then, Miami's D hasn't allowed a 300-yard passing effort in 35 straight games. The Dolphins, ranked sixth in overall defence, are No. 10 against the pass and No. 13 versus the rush. Green's tank is down a quart this season as he's thrown for just four TDs to go along with three interceptions.

Cody's call: Chiefs 30-28

Pittsburgh (3-2) at Cincinnati (5-1)

The line: Off

The skinny: Sunday, 1 p.m. Look no farther for this week's marquee matchup. The Bengals -- nothing like the Bungles we grew to love and completely discount in the 1990s and in the early years of the 21st century -- have a chance to grab the AFC North by the throat. Yes, a victory over the Steelers, the North's traditional powerhouse, would give the Bengals a 2 1/2 -game lead and a head-to head victory over Pittsburgh. And what a QB matchup: Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger versus Cinci's Carson Palmer, who are 1-2 in the NFL in passer rating. Palmer has had a 100-plus rating in his last nine games. Roethlisberger's health, a hyperextended knee, is a question, although he's expected to play. It will help that the Steelers run brilliantly and that the Bengals allow an average of 4.9 yards a rush.

Cody's call: Steelers 27-20

San Diego (3-3) at Philadelphia (3-2)

The line: Eagles by 4

The skinny: Sunday, 1 p.m. This stellar matchup pits San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson against Philly counterpart Brian Westbrook, two of the NFL's most versatile running backs. Tomlinson leads in TDs with 11 (10 on the run). If he crosses the line this week, he'll break Lenny Moore's league record of scoring a TD in 18 straight games. Westbrook is the lone NFLer with 10 first downs rushing (11) and receiving (14). He's also first among running backs with 292 receiving yards (25 snags) and three TDs. The Eagles are rested and at home.

Cody's call: Eagles 33-31

Detroit (2-3) at Cleveland (2-3)

The line: Browns by 3

The skinny: Sunday, 1 p.m. Inconsistent Joey Harrington is being booed even at home and Jeff Garcia is ready to step in at quarterback for Lions if called upon by head coach Steve Mariucci. It's not helping that the Lions are missing their most dangerous receivers, Roy Williams (quadricep injury) and Charles Rogers (suspension), and are badly banged up. The Brownies have their QB woes as well, as head coach Romeo Crennel is unhappy with Trent Dilfer, who lost a pair of fumbles and tossed an interception in Cleveland's 16-3 loss to the Ravens.

Cody's call: Browns 24-17

New Orleans (2-4) at St. Louis (2-4)

The line: Off

The skinny: Sunday, 1 p.m. As if the Saints haven't had enough distractions already this season, Associated Press football analyst Dave Goldberg is reporting Saints owner Tom Benson wants to move his team to San Antonio's Alamodome permanently. The Saints actually played quite well in Sunday's 34-31 "home" loss to Atlanta, a battle that turned in the Falcons' favour when a cheesy holding penalty gave them a second shot at the winning field goal. Don't count on Marc Bulger to play QB for Rams, although interim head coach Joe Vitt is being coy on the issue.

Cody's call: Saints 16-13

Green Bay (1-4) at Minnesota (1-4)

The line: Off

The skinny: Sunday, 1 p.m. The Packers' injury report lists linebacker Na'il Diggs as out (knee) and offensive stars such as centre Mike Flanagan (hernia), running back Ahman Green (knee, quadricep) and tight end Bubba Franks (knee) as questionable. The Vikings are reasonably healthy but may be mentally on the rocks due to the attention being paid to their boat-ride and alleged sex scandal. They were beyond dismal in Sunday's 28-3 loss to da Bears. The Packers are coming off a bye week, which followed their 52-3 win over the Saints two weeks ago.

Cody's call: Packers 28-21

Indianapolis (6-0) at Houston (0-5)

The line: Off

The skinny: Sunday, 1 p.m. This one pits the NFL's lone unbeaten team against its only winless bunch. Should be a no-brainer, right? And it probably is. Of course, we all know about Indy's playmaking ability on offence. Well, the Colts are making plays on defence, too. Because opponents often double defensive end Dwight Feeney, his bookend at DE, Robert Mathis, has at least one sack in every game and linebacker Cato June is coming off back-to-back, two-interception games. Bad sign: Houston saw it as a good thing that David Carr was sacked only three times in a 42-10 loss to Seattle on Sunday.

Cody's call: Colts 40-9

San Francisco (1-4) at Washington (3-2)

The line: Redskins by 11 1/2

The skinny: Sunday, 1 p.m. The 49ers have surrendered a league-high 160 points this season and their opponents have rolled to 2,259 yards -- 452 a game. As well, San Francisco has scored offensive TDs in just two of its five games, managing just 59 first downs -- winning teams need about twice that number -- and 1,094 total yards. OK, one final blast at the Niners: They've been outscored 62-0 in the fourth quarter. Now it's the Redskins' turn. Washington's bad points include a league-low five sacks and only two forced turnovers. I could go on but . . .

Cody's call: Redskins 27-23

Dallas (4-2) at Seattle (4-2)

The line: Seahawks by 3

The skinny: Sunday, 4:05 p.m. Count on the Cowboys offensive line and the Seahawks front seven to tangle ferociously. Dallas owes a lot of its early success to the line's protection of quarterback Drew Bledsoe. Unfortunately, the Cowboys have lost left guard Flozell Adams, who deftly guarded Bledsoe's blind side, for the season with a knee injury. Seahawks linebackers Lofa Tatupu and LeRoy Hill are the only rookie tandem in the NFL with two sacks. Rocky Bernard is No. 2 among defensive tackles with 4 1/2 sacks. On offence, the Seahawks are averaging 407.2 yards a game, 25.2 first downs and 6.2 yards per play, all NFL bests.

Cody's call: Seahawks 33-23

Baltimore (2-3) at Chicago (2-3)

The line: Bears by 1

The skinny: Sunday, 4:15 p.m. Think of the Ravens and Bears as two peas in a pod. Both are defensive giants with less-than-stellar offences. Both held opponents to just one field goal last week. Da Bears are the NFL's top defence inside the red zone, allowing just one touchdown and four field goals in 12 trips inside their 20. Baltimore running back Jamal Lewis is not going well, gaining just 292 yards rushing on 98 lugs -- three yards a pop. Chicago is the only team in the NFL not to have allowed a rushing TD.

Cody's call: Bears 17-14

Buffalo (3-3) at Oakland (1-4)

The line: Off

The skinny: Sunday, 4:15 p.m. The Raiders will almost certainly be without ace wide receiver Randy Moss, who sustained bruised ribs, a strained groin and bruised pelvic area attempting to make a leaping grab in Sunday's 27-14 loss to the Chargers. Huge loss, leaving Raiders QB Kerry Collins to face the NFL's No. 1 pass defence without his biggest weapon. In the Bills' three wins, they've combined for 13 turnovers and 12 sacks. Buffalo is 0-2 on the road and are entering a stretch in which they play four of their next six on the road.

Cody's call: Bills 24-14

Denver (5-1) at New York Giants (3-2)

The line: Giants by 2

The skinny: Sunday, 4:15 p.m. Expect Giants QB Eli Manning to target the Broncos' 26th-ranked pass defence, which allows 245 yards a game. In five games this campaign, Manning has thrown 10 TD passes and just three interceptions. His 92 passer rating is fourth best in the NFC and the Giants have relied this season of their passing attack, which has consistently delivered big plays. Broncos running back Tatum isn't a starter but he's putting up starter numbers. In Sunday's 28-20 win over New England, Bell ran for 114 yards, cracking the century mark for the second straight game. He has 395 yards this season.

Cody's call: Giants 24-21

Tennessee (2-4) at Arizona (1-4)

The line: Cardinals by 3

The skinny: Sunday, 4:15 p.m. Arizona head coach Dennis Green says he won't announce his starting quarterback, either Josh McCown or Kurt Warner, till just before kickoff. That's a pain, and a growing trend in the NFL. Warner started the first three games, then went down with a groin injury. Green is 7-14 with the Cardinals, all seven wins coming with McCown at pivot. Tennessee's sack attack, which has bagged a QB 18 times, is fourth in the NFL. Defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosh has 6 1/2 sacks, second most in the loop.

Cody's call: Cardinals 27-20

New York Jets (2-4) at Atlanta (4-2)

The line: Falcons by 7

The skinny: Monday, 9 p.m. (ABC). The Jets have lost five straight road games dating back to last season. While the lost 27-17 to the Bills Sunday, Curtis Martin has his biggest rushing day of the season -- 148 yards. The Falcons are surrendering 133.5 yards a game on the ground, up a lot from last season's average of 105.1 yards a game. And Atlanta's linebackers are so banged up, they can't be counted on for help. Mike Vick is 20-6 indoors in his career and leads all NFL quarterbacks this season with 287 yards. Falcons teammate Warrick Dunn is one of two NFL running backs with five-plus yards per carry among runners with more than 100 rushes. Dunn has 577 yards, 5.2 yards a lug.

Cody's call: Falcons 23-17

Season record

Straight up

Last week: 13-1; overall: 55-33

Spread

Last week: 9-3; overall: 42-41


Videos

Photos