Arizona (+10) at Atlanta, 1
Michael Vick has always done well in domed stadiums. It began when he had 322 yards of total offense on the fast track at the Superdome during the 2000 Sugar Bowl against Florida State. It has continued in Atlanta: Vick is 10-2 as a starter at the Georgia Dome. Today, the fast AstroTurf and sanitized indoor weather combine with another natural anomaly -- the Cardinals' mind-roastingly inept defense. Arizona is ranked No. 24 in passing defense, No. 30 in rushing defense and No. 32 overall.
Houston (+71/2) at Kansas City, 1
Chiefs RB Priest Holmes (1,420 yards rushing last year) might not play after he sprained his right ankle last week (he did not practice on Tuesday or Wednesday, but did on a limited basis on Friday). If he can't go, his place will be taken by Derrick Blaylock, a former track standout at Stephen F. Austin. All this has third-string RB Larry Johnson, a former first-round pick from Penn State, with his nose a little out of joint. It didn't help that Coach Dick Vermeil said Johnson had to "take the diapers off" and get a better attitude this week. "I don't need another grown man telling me I need to take the diapers off," Johnson said through his pacifier.
Pittsburgh (+1) at Miami, 1
Expect a loud ovation from the home fans if and when the Dolphins get a first down rushing today. Miami went without one in a 16-13 loss to Cincinnati last week; it was the first time that had happened in 34 years. The Dolphins have averaged 62.8 rushing yards in six games, including preseason, without Ricky Williams. In other news, Williams apparently is having an excellent year in his parallel universe.
Cleveland (+3) at New York Giants, 1
Everyone is making nice to Giants Coach Tom Coughlin. DE Michael Strahan, who reportedly filed a grievance after the coach fined him for not being early enough to a team meeting, gave Coughlin the game ball following a 20-14 win over the Redskins last week. TE Jeremy Shockey said the new offense was "tomfoolery" and "wasn't for him" on Wednesday. On Thursday, he said his quotes were taken out of context -- the problem was with him and not Coughlin. Isn't it incredible what barely beating a team that turned the ball over on 7 of 16 possessions can do for you?
New Orleans (+7) at St. Louis, 1
Managers wear a team uniform in baseball. Never mind that it makes those geezers look like they should be in the dugout with slippers and a glass of warm milk -- it might be a good idea for Saints Coach Jim Haslett to put on some shoulder pads and a helmet today. You see, Rams TE Cam Cleeland spent two years in New Orleans. And it seems he didn't like it very much.
"I want to kick the living tar out of those guys," Cleeland told reporters. "Coach Haslett, if there's a chance for me to be on the sideline on a flat route, let's just say he'll be looking for me probably."
San Diego (+10) at Denver, 4
Chargers Coach Marty Schottenheimer is 10-19 against Denver, but that doesn't even begin to tell the story. He is 0-2 in Denver since becoming the Chargers coach three seasons ago. This is after he went 2-8 in Denver as coach of the Chiefs in the 1990s. And after he went 0-2 there when coaching the Cleveland Browns in the mid-1980s. And after he lost playoff games in 1986 and 1987 to Denver. Oh, and Broncos Coach Mike Shanahan is 16-5 in his career against San Diego.
Green Bay (+6) at Indianapolis, 4:15,
Those who think the NFL is boring, who believe the teams who win simply are those that get injured the least, may want to keep an eye on this one, because it could be a classic. Green Bay QB Brett Favre and Colts QB Peyton Manning last faced each other in 2001: Favre threw for 301 yards and two touchdowns; Manning threw for 294 yards and three scores (Green Bay won). It also likely will be their last regular season meeting (the teams aren't scheduled again until 2008).
Though for every Michael Vick indoors stat, there is an equal and opposite stat: Favre is 12-21 in domed stadiums in his career.
San Francisco (+101/2) at Seattle, 4:15
Seattle and Indianapolis are the last two teams to play home games. The Seahawks have reason to look forward to it -- they went 8-0 at Qwest Field last year, and today's game is expected to be a sellout. San Francisco has 21 players who are either rookies or have one year of NFL experience. It showed in a 30-27 loss to New Orleans last week: The 49ers lost a fumble, dropped an easy interception and had a reception to the one-yard line called back for a penalty on a wide receiver, all in the final three minutes. Though it lacks the hysteria of Jon Gruden's return to Oakland, 49ers Coach Dennis Erickson coached Seattle from 1995 through '98. He went a less-than-hysterical 31-33 there.