Colts fall short in New England

Nov 1, 2005 5:01 AM

The midpoint of the 16-game NFL regular season schedule comes Monday night with the highly-anticipated matchup at New England between the Colts and Patriots.

The NFC East has all four teams with winning records, with the Giants holding the lead by a half game over Dallas. The NFC South is also strong, with three tied at 5-2. Chicago has assumed control of the NFC North with their two-game sweep of second place Detroit. Seattle is clearly the best in the NFC West and the only winning team (5-2) in the division.

The supposedly strong AFC East features just one winning team New England at 4-3. Cincinnati and Pittsburgh are the only teams above .500 in the AFC North. Indianapolis is the class of the AFC South with a chance to reach 8-0 this week. Denver sits atop the AFC West, but both Kansas City and San Diego figure to challenge.

Following this weekend just one more round of byes remain. The league then resumes a full 16 game regular schedule for the final seven weeks before the playoffs. Buffalo, Dallas, Denver and St. Louis get to nurse their wounds this weekend.

Last week: 4-9

Season: 62-46-7

Now to Sunday’s games

Lions -1 at Vikings (37½) Vikes QB Daunte Culpepper likely lost for the season. Backup Brad Johnson is a capable, experienced replacement. Detroit and QB Jeff Garcia stepping down in class against the Vikings defense. These aren’t the Bears. OVER.

Chargers -7 at Jets (41½): San Diego playing its third road game in four weeks and making third trip to the East Coast. The Jets are rested following the bye, allowing them to heal. They are well coached and playing their only home game in a six week stretch. JETS.

Titans +3 at Browns (39): Both teams are off losses that easily could have been wins. Cleveland has won the last two times these teams have met, but they’ve not played in three seasons. The Titans have the more explosive offense and better rush defense. TITANS.

Raiders +4½ at Chiefs (51½): In Week 2, the Chiefs won 23-17 for their fifth straight win over Oakland, none by more than a TD. In fact, 7 of the past 13 games between these rivals have been decided by a FG or less. Both excel at protecting the football. OVER.

Bears -3 vs Saints (35) Baton Rouge again the site. Chicago continues to improve on offense each week New Orleans is unraveling, which is no surprise considering having to live away from home. The Saints lead the league in turnovers (2.9 per game). BEARS.

Bengals -3½ at Ravens (36): Cincy has defeated the Ravens at home each of the past two seasons. While not quite the test they failed in falling to Pittsburgh two weeks ago, a win here will still be viewed as more validation that the Bengals are a legit playoff contender. BENGALS.

Panthers -1 at Bucs (36½): Carolina has swept the Bucs in each of the past two seasons. Carolina is above average on defense but Tampa Bay leads the NFL, allowing just 230 yards per game. The history of this series is for low scoring games. UNDER.

Texans +12 at Jaguarss (37) -Jacksonville should be motivated to avenge a pair of losses to Houston last season which cost the 9-7 Jags a playoff berth. Even if Houston is off a win, the Jags defense should create problems for QB David Carr. JAGS.

Falcons -2½ at Dolphins (40): Atlanta is rested following a bye. Under new coach Nick Saban the Dolphins will be a force within a year or two, but they are still in transition with concerns at QB. Atlanta has a solid defense and the best running game in the league. FALCONS.

Giants -9½ at 49ers (42): The Giants played a nearly perfect game in routing Washington last week in memory of late owner Wellington Mara. Niners catch the Giants in a poor scheduling situation and are playing with confidence after upset of Bucs. NINERS.

Seahawks -4½ at Cards (43½) Seattle finally playing up to its potential and should be primed for another solid effort following the bye. Arizona has had success moving the football has settled too often for field goals rather than touchdowns. Both offenses should move the ball. OVER.

Steelers -6½ at Packers (42): Green Bay generally played better than expected in losing at Cincinnati although QB Brett Favre was picked off five times. Even at 1-6 with many key injuries, Favre and the Packers are very capable as underdogs, especially in prime time. PACKERS.

Eagles +1½ at Redskins (41): Eagles defense torched last week at Denver. Philly is also concerned with being too one dimensional, passing more than 70 percent of the time. Washington played poorly against inspired Giants. Skins ball control game should control pace. UNDER.

Colts -3 at Patriots (45½): It makes sense for the Colts to be favored, but the Patriots have continually been able to frustrate Indy QB Peyton Manning. Until that changes, we side with a team that is 22-1 in the last 23 home games and 14-2 in the past 16 matchups with Indy. PATS.