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CHICAGO (10- 3) at Washington (6-7)Time: 1...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

CHICAGO (10- 3) at Washington (6-7)

Time: 1 p.m. today, Ch. 5.

Line: Pick 'em.

Outlook: Tony Banks and Jim Miller aren't exactly the second coming of Sammy Baugh and Sid Luckman, but this is the type of old-school matchup purists will enjoy. The Bears are 7-0 in games decided by seven points or fewer. Chicago rookie Anthony Thomas is coming off a 173-yard rushing performance against Tampa Bay, and Washington has given up six 100-yard games.

The pick: Chicago. The Bears' stifling defense will end Washington's six-game win streak over Chicago.

Buffalo (2-11)

at Atlanta (6-7)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Falcons by 3 1/2 .

Outlook: One could argue that the Michael Vick era should begin now, since the Falcons have dropped three in a row and fallen out of serious playoff contention. Buffalo QB Alex Van Pelt and WRs Eric Moulds and Peerless Price could put up big numbers against the Falcons' league-worst pass defense.

The pick: Atlanta. The Falcons have allowed 26 points a game at home; the Bills have given up 27 a game on the road.

Seattle (7-6)

at N.Y. Giants (6-7)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Giants by 3.

Outlook: The Seahawks are looking to keep their slim playoff hopes alive while pulling the plug on the Giants' chances. The Giants' defense will see a lot of RB Shaun Alexander, who returns to a starting role after Ricky Watters broke his ankle. Tiki Barber's 492 yards rushing over the past five games has planted Ron Dayne firmly on the bench.

The pick: Seattle. Look for the defenses to dominate in a boring, turnover-filled, run-oriented game.

St. Louis (11-2)

at Carolina (1-12)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Rams by 12.

Outlook: Marshall Faulk and Trung Canidate rolled up 337 yards rushing in the last meeting, a 48-14 blowout by the Rams. After experiencing some trouble with his accuracy in midseason, Rams QB Kurt Warner is back on track with 10 TD passes and only one interception in the past three games. Warner needs 26 yards passing for his second 4,000-yard season.

The pick: St. Louis. The grass field may slow the Rams, but not enough to prevent a blowout.

Detroit (1-12)

at Pittsburgh (11-2)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Steelers by 10.

Outlook: The Steelers no longer have a one-dimensional attack. RB Jerome Bettis' absence has led to an improved passing attack featuring QB Kordell Stewart and WR Plaxico Burress. Kicker Kris Brown is the Steelers' glaring weakness, having missed 12 of 39 field-goal attempts. The Lions could struggle against a Pittsburgh defense allowing only 3.3 yards a carry.

The pick: Pittsburgh. This game has all the signs of a blowout.

San Diego (5-9)

at Kansas City (4-9)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Chiefs by 3.

Outlook: Chargers QB Doug Flutie is having trouble using the middle of the field, his lack of height preventing him from finding open passing lanes. The Chargers' offense has turned the ball over 10 times in the past three games. Chiefs RB Priest Holmes has not rushed for fewer than 120 yards this year when getting at least 20 carries.

The pick: Kansas City. The Chargers' patchwork offensive line has made their running game and Flutie ineffective.

NEW ORLEANS (7-6) at Tampa Bay (7-6)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Bucs by 2 1/2 .

Outlook: The loser probably can kiss the postseason goodbye. Saints QB Aaron Brooks has completed only 47 percent of his passes for a lowly 70.8 rating on grass. However, RB Ricky Williams averages a half-yard more a carry on grass, so look for the Saints to give him the ball 25 times. Bucs QB Brad Johnson needs to beat the blitz with short, accurate passes; the Saints have notched 25 sacks in their past four games.

The pick: New Orleans. Tampa Bay's unimaginative passing game and lack of a consistent running game spell doom.

Jacksonville (5-8)

at Minnesota (5-8)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Vikings by 2 1/2 .

Outlook: This is a potential shootout, with weak secondaries matched against torrid passing attacks and abundant talent at wide receiver. The deciding factor may be the running backs, as Minnesota's Michael Bennett and Jacksonville's Stacey Mack both have the ability to keep opposing defenses distracted. After a slow start, Vikings WR Randy Moss has 737 receiving yards and eight TD catches in his past six games.

The pick: Minnesota. The Vikings should prevail based on home-field advantage alone.

Dallas (4-9)

at Arizona (5-8)

Time: 4:05 p.m. today, Ch. 45.

Line: Cardinals by 3 1/2 .

Outlook: In years past, Cowboys fans would vastly outnumber Cardinals fans at Sun Devil Stadium for this game. The Cowboys are 19-3 in their past 22 games against Arizona. Stopping David Boston will be a priority for Dallas. The Cardinals' wide receiver has 100 or more yards receiving in seven of his past nine games. Dallas should get Emmitt Smith and Troy Hambrick at least 35 combined carries.

The pick: Arizona. The Cardinals have won their past two home games against the Cowboys.

Cleveland (6-7)

at Green Bay (9-4)

Time: 4:15 p.m. today, chs. 13, 9.

Line: Packers by 7 .

Outlook: As the Titans demonstrated Sunday, stopping RB Ahman Green is the key to stopping the Packers. Green is close to becoming the first player to lead his team in rushing and receiving since the 49ers' Roger Craig in 1987-88. The Browns have fewer than 100 yards rushing in 11 straight games.

The pick: Green Bay. The Packers should exploit Cleveland's one-dimensional attack and banged-up defensive line.

N.Y. Jets (8-5)

at Indianapolis (5-8)

Time: 8:30 p.m. today, ESPN.

Line: Colts by 1.

Outlook: The sickly Colts defense might be the ideal tonic for a reeling Jets offense that hasn't scored more than 16 points in the past three games. New York's defense has been carrying the team, allowing an average of 249 yards and 11 points in the past seven games. Colts QB Peyton Manning will be throwing into a Jets secondary that has allowed only 24 pass plays of 20 yards or more, fewest in NFL.

The pick: New York. RB Curtis Martin will be the key to keeping the Colts' high-powered offense on the bench.

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