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Dr. Z's Forecast
Paul Zimmerman
September 29, 2003
Are the chiefs the best Team in football? Maybe, but before we get starry-eyed about their 3-0 start, let's see if they can beat a good Team on The road. They get their chance on Sunday.
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September 29, 2003

Dr. Z's Forecast

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Are the chiefs the best Team in football? Maybe, but before we get starry-eyed about their 3-0 start, let's see if they can beat a good Team on The road. They get their chance on Sunday.

Kansas City will be In Baltimore to face The Ravens, who play Tough defense, especially at home. They also run the ball better than any other Team and Take great pains To protect Their rookie quarterback, Kyle Boiler. Baltimore is one of the few Teams of The modern era that runs the ball more than it passes and gains most of its yards on the ground. In fact, the Ravens have more Than Twice as many rushing yards (583) as passing yards (290).

Boiler runs a very conservative show, averaging only eight yards per completion. His primary function is not to screw up Things for The defense and Jamal Lewis, The league's leading rusher. Lewis also likes to talk a little smack, directing it mostly at enemy runners. The Chargers' LaDainian Tomlinson was his target last weekend, and This Time The opposition is no less than the formidable Priest Holmes. Call this the plot within the plot.

The Kansas City offense is multidimensional, but that's canceled out by Baltimore's decided edge on defense. The Chiefs are improving on that side of the ball, but can they control the Ravens' ground attack? I think so—to a point. I'll give Baltimore about 140 rushing yards on Sunday. Can the Ravens cope with K.C.'s fine offensive line and explosive attack? Yes, if the Baltimore offense doesn't turn the ball over and give the Chiefs a short field to work with. But the Ravens have already turned the ball over six times this season, and I see more of the same happening. The Chiefs are the pick.

?The second big game features a pair of former AFC Central rivals—Pittsburgh and Tennessee. After spending time in the garage for repairs, Jerome (the Bus) Bettis showed up against the Bengals on Sunday. But the Titans' own bruiser, Eddie George, had a 100-yard game in a win over the Saints. Sunday's game is in Pittsburgh, which is the main reason why I award a slim victory to the Steelers.

?Even when they were on their way to the NFC's best record last season, the Eagles had trouble with AFC teams, losing three out of the four matchups. Now Philly is 0-2, and the injuries are almost overwhelming, so I'll give the win to the Bills, who got embarrassed by a swarming Dolphins defense on Sunday night. In another bounce-back game, the Redskins get the call at home over the Patriots. I think quarterback Tom Brady's elbow injury is worse than people are letting on. He certainly wasn't throwing right against the Jets last weekend.

?Until Falcons quarterback Doug Johnson shows he can stand up to a really good defense, I'll have to go with the other guys, in this case the Panthers. I'll take the 49ers to knock the Vikings out of the unbeaten ranks, and Bill Parcells's second homecoming at the Meadowlands this season will not be as joyful as the first. The Jets get their first victory, over Parcells's Cowboys.

? Indianapolis- New Orleans is an interesting matchup, mainly because the Saints have a five-game winning streak in the series. Even though the game's in the Superdome, I say New Orleans doesn't make it six straight. The Colts are the pick. Finally there's the Monday-nighter, Green Bay at Chicago. This looked like a no-brainer until the Packers showed on Sunday they can lose to anybody, falling to the Cardinals. I can't see it happening two weeks in a row, though. Green Bay gets my weak vote.

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