Touchdown passes on the menu for Colts, Manning in Detroit

Posted: Thursday, November 25, 2004

With 35 TD passes in nine games, Peyton Manning is well on his way to shattering Dan Marino's record of 48 in a season. Indianapolis' game in climate-controlled Detroit on Thursday figures to be another big step on the way.

Manning is a great quarterback having a great season. But he's been helped by climate control. His home games are in a dome, and this one is indoors, too. And only one of the Colts' remaining road games is likely to be affected by weather, the finale Jan. 2 in Denver, when he probably will already own the mark.

Indianapolis is favored by 9 points against the Lions, who have lost their last four games. It doesn't help them that the Colts' defense has gotten better since allowing 45 points and 590 yards in Kansas City on Oct. 31 it has surrendered just 273 yards a game in the last three victories.

But while three of the Lions' four wins have been on the road this season, they tend to play pretty well in their Thanksgiving fixture. They were competitive last week in Minnesota, leading most of the way before losing 22-19.

Nor does the Colts' defense rank with the best yet.

The Lions make it close.

COLTS, 31-24

Chicago (plus 3 1/2) at Dallas (Thursday)

The Colts brought the Bears back to reality last week. The Cowboys aren't the Colts, but ...

COWBOYS, 17-16

Baltimore (plus 7) at New England

The Patriots are coming off a Monday night road game and Kyle Boller is starting to improve.

PATRIOTS, 20-16

St. Louis (plus 6) at Green Bay (Monday night)

The Rams lost at Miami and at Buffalo. Why should they win in Green Bay?

PACKERS, 27-20

Philadelphia (minus 7) at New York Giants

Eli Manning gave the Giants a lift last week. But the Eagles are by far the NFC's best team.

EAGLES, 23-17

Miami (off) at San Francisco

Good thing it's off. Neither of these teams deserves to be a favorite.

DOLPHINS, 25-22

New Orleans (plus 9 1/2) at Atlanta

The Saints are last in NFL in total defense, rushing defense, passing defense, yards allowed per play, and first downs allowed per game.

FALCONS, 41-26

Jacksonville (plus 5 1/2) at Minnesota

Two wounded warriors, Byron Leftwich and Randy Moss, could return.

JAGUARS, 20-19

San Diego (plus 3) at Kansas City

The Chargers have lost their last seven visits to Arrowhead. It has to stop sometime.

CHARGERS, 37-35

Buffalo (plus 5) at Seattle

The Seahawks may lead the NFC West, but they're a huge disappointment.

BILLS, 24-23

New York Jets (minus 3) at Arizona

The Cardinals have won three straight at home and Quincy Carter is still the Jets' QB.

CARDINALS, 10-7

Cleveland (plus 6) at Cincinnati

Does the spread represent what the public thinks of the improved Bengals or the declining Browns?

BENGALS, 20-17

Oakland (plus 11) at Denver

Mike Shanahan loves to crush the Raiders.

BRONCOS, 38-9

Washington (plus 11) at Pittsburgh

Misery, misery, misery for Joe Gibbs.

STEELERS, 19-3

Tampa Bay (minus 2 1/2) at Carolina

Nick Goings has had his one big game.

BUCS, 17-6

Tennessee (minus 1 1/2) at Houston

Give Steve McNair a slight edge over the conservative Texans.

TITANS, 16-14

LAST WEEK: 9-6-1 (spread), 13-3 (straight up)

SEASON: 80-77-3 (spread), 105-55 (straight up)



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