Chiefs, Vikings first teams to 5-0

Oct 7, 2003 9:09 AM

Kansas City and Minnesota remained unbeaten in the NFL at 5-0 while Carolina improved to 4-0. Indianapolis had a chance to remain in the unbeaten ranks with a win at Tampa Bay in the Monday night game.

The ranks of the winless dwindled by two with Chicago upsetting Oakland and Jacksonville defeating San Diego in a match up of winless teams. Aside from the Chargers, the New York Jets are the only other team without a victory.

The Jets had their bye last week and hope to repeat their performance of last season when they went 8-3 following the break. Prospects are not as great this season.

Home Underdogs continue to struggle against the point spread. After Chicago covered and Atlanta did not, home underdogs are an inglorious 4-14 ATS. New England and the New York Giants closed as pick’ems.

Cincinnati, Detroit, Minnesota and San Diego have byes this week. Here’s a preview of the 14 games to be played.

Giants (+3) at Pats (40½): The teams are similar statistically and each has a key division game on deck. The Giants have been profitable as road dogs under Coach Jim Fassell. The Pats are just 6-20 as home favorites over the past four-plus seasons. GIANTS.

Bucs (NL) at Redskins: Both teams have played well defensively this season, holding foes to under 300 yards per game. Tampa played on Monday night. The Redskins have shown a better ability to run the ball and exercise control of the clock. UNDER.

Raiders (+3) at Browns (44): Oakland continues to show signs of age with an offense that is unable to finish drives and a defense that has had all sorts of problems stopping the run. The Browns were impressive in their road win at Pittsburgh and seem to be coming along nicely, especially on offense. BROWNS.

Panthers (NL) at Colts: Carolina RB Stephen Davis is having an outstanding season and the Panthers are averaging 168 rushing yards per game -- more than they gain passing the ball in their conservative offense. Both teams play solid defense. UNDER.

Chiefs (+2) at Packers (48): The Chiefs remained unbeaten with a game winning kick return for a TD by Dante Hall for the second straight week. Green Bay’s play has improved of late. Both teams have above average rushing games and rather ordinary defensive stats, which suggests a high scoring game. OVER.

Texans (+10) at Titans (40): This is an important game for the Titans who play their next two on the road before getting a bye. Houston is at 2-2 and had its bye last week. Tennessee QB Steve McNair is having another strong season despite minimal contributions from the ground game. UNDER.

Dolphins (-3) at Jaguars (38): Miami has won three straight after an opening day upset loss to Houston. Jacksonville got its first victory by defeating winless San Diego last week. Both teams excel at stopping the run but Miami has the much stronger rushing offense. Jag QB Byron Leftwich is showing signs of becoming a solid player, but is suffering the usual growing pains of rookies. Miami’s veteran defense will provide a stiff test with many confusing looks. DOLPHINS.

Bears (+5½) at Saints (42): Chicago got its initial win of the season by rallying to defeat Oakland while the Saints were a bit more competitive in losing at Carolina, outgaining the Panthers in their 19-13 loss. New Orleans has the better QB and big play potential, plus the defensive stats are better against the run. The running game is the one bright spot for Chicago. SAINTS.

Eagles (-1) at Dallas (37½): Think coaching makes a difference? Under new coach Bill Parcells the Cowboys have the NFL’s top ranked offense and a top five defense. Philly held on against Washington to even its record so this becomes a battle for first place in the NFC East. Dallas is clearly improved but the Eagles have won six straight against Dallas since becoming a playoff caliber team. EAGLES.

Bills (-2½) at Jets (38): The Jets are winless mainly due to an offense that has struggled to find the end zone under the play calling of the oft-criticized offensive coordinator Paul Hackett. Defensively the Jets are allowing under 20 per game. Both teams have played well against the pass. Buffalo’s offense has struggled since a strong first two weeks. UNDER.

Steelers (+7) at Broncos (46): Although both the Steelers and Broncos have defended the run well, Denver is rushing for nearly twice the number of yards as Pittsburgh. The Steelers also showed vulnerability to the pass in last week’s loss to Cleveland. Denver played well in its loss at Kansas City and three of the four wins this season have been by at least 20. BRONCOS.

Ravens (- 5½) at Cards (37½): Baltimore is off a bye week, figuring to tweak the offense to add more passing to an already potent rushing attack. The Ravens are averaging an amazing 196 yards per game on the ground and just 104 in the air. Arizona has been unable to establish the run and is being outscored by more than 18 per game. RAVENS.

49ers (+3) at Seahawks (45½): Seattle’s fast start that relied mainly on success in creating turnovers and avoiding errors was exposed last week when they were totally outplayed in Green Bay. Their ordinary statistics show that when the Seahawks don’t benefit from turnovers they are at best an average team. San Francisco has played better than its 2-3 record. The Niners have a solid edge in the stats, outgaining their foes by 86 yards per game. Seattle has allowed more yards than they have gained. 49ERS.

Falcons (+11) at Rams (45½): Both have been disappointments. St Louis worked on adjusting to the continued absence of RB Marshall Faulk (broken hand) during the bye week. Atlanta, without QB Mike Vick, has lost four in a row including three straight by double digits. Neither team has much success running and both defenses have been vulnerable to the pass. OVER.

Last week: 5-7-1

Season: 31-37-3