Pittsburgh (+1) at Cincinnati,

1 [WJZ-13]

QB Ben Roethlisberger, who missed last week's loss to Jacksonville because of an injured left knee, is expected to play and forestall what the Bengals hope is an AFC North changing of the guard. Roethlisberger is 8-0 as a starter in road games.

Detroit (+3) at Cleveland, 1

Joey Harrington or Jeff Garcia? At least Lions Coach Steve Mariucci isn't expecting a savior. "Whoever is playing quarterback for us is going to be still playing with the same supporting cast that is available to us this week," Mariucci told the Detroit Free Press. "There's not going to be any miracle solution to this."

Green Bay (-2) at Minnesota, 1

The Packers and Vikings haven't both had such a poor start to the season since 1991, when Green Bay started 1-6 and Minnesota started 2-4, and both teams missed the playoffs. In other news, Vikings owner Zygi Wilf told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that when he bought the team, "This operation was a mess." Sure is a relief that he's gotten the whole thing straightened out.

Indianapolis (-151/2) at Houston,


The Colts have never started a season 7-0, but hello, Houston! The Texans are, of course, the NFL's lone winless team and rank last in the league in yards and points per game. Their ghastly offensive line (30 sacks allowed) lost G Zach Wiegert to injury last week, giving them three first-year starters to match up against the Colts' defensive line, which is responsible for 20 of the team's league-high 21 sacks.

New Orleans (+3) at St. Louis, 1

It just gets weirder for the Saints, who say they're ignoring the increasingly loud rumors that owner Tom Benson is trying to move the team to San Antonio for good. They can't, however, ignore the house on their field: The team is unable to practice on the Alamodome field for the next three weeks because of a homebuilders' convention, preparations for which include the removal of the artificial turf and the building of a large house in one of the end zones.

San Diego (+31/2) at Philadelphia,


RB Brian Westbrook is the latest crying Eagle, venting his frustration over his team's apparent refusal to run the ball. Philadelphia has passed an overwhelming 71 percent of the time, and ranks last in the NFL in rushing attempts per game (17.6) and rushing yards per game (64.2). But Westbrook's complaints might not pay off just yet: The Chargers have the league's No. 3 run defense and No. 27 pass defense.

Dallas (+4) at Seattle, 4:05

Improved pass protection is one reason why Cowboys QB Drew Bledose has enjoyed such a surprising renaissance this season. But Pro Bowl LT Flozell Adams was lost for the season last week, meaning Bledsoe's blind side will now be protected by Torrin Tucker, who hadn't played in this regular season until Adams went down. The Seahawks average 407.2 yards per game, 25.2 first downs and 6.2 yards per play, all tops in the NFL.

Baltimore (+1) at Chicago,

4:15 [WUSA-9, WJZ-13]

The Ravens have lost five straight road games by a combined score of 124-47, including convincing losses this year to the greenhorn Titans and woebegone Lions. Today's game should be closer, if for no other reason than both offenses have an equally hard time scoring. Plus, the Ravens' defense ranks second in fewest yards allowed while the Bears' unit ranks third.

Buffalo (+3) at Oakland, 4:15

Things are looking up in Buffalo, where the Bills have 45 first downs in two games with Kelly Holcomb as their starting quarterback, compared with 59 in their first four. It's the opposite for the Raiders, who likely will be without WR Randy Moss and who are tied with the 49ers for the NFL's worst record since the start of the 2003 season (10-27).

Denver (+21/2) at N.Y. Giants, 4:15

Did anyone imagine that the Broncos would be 5-1 after they got stomped by the Dolphins in Week 1? Four home games in five weeks has something to do with the team's longest winning streak since 1998, when Denver opened 13-0 and eventually won the Super Bowl. That winning streak, incidentally, was ended by the Giants in East Rutherford, N.J.

Tennessee (+4) at Arizona, 4:15

Cardinals QB Kurt Warner (groin strain) could be back under center this week. But Josh McCown threw for 385 and 398 yards in Warner's absence, and all seven of Dennis Green's victories as Arizona's coach have come with McCown at quarterback. For the Titans, meanwhile, QB Billy Volek will start in place of Steve McNair, who has ankle and back injuries and didn't make the trip.

N.Y. Jets (+7) at Atlanta, tomorrow,

9 [WJLA-7, WMAR-2]

This is the sort of matchup that gives off that Christmas feeling -- because that's roughly when the Monday night games normally start to stink. The Jets, who have allowed 21 sacks, are caught without the anchor of their offensive line, C Kevin Mawae, have an immobile quarterback and face one of the league's best pass-rushing defensive lineman (Rod Coleman). Plus, the Falcons are 9-2 at home under Coach Jim Mora.