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NFL Trends for October 12, 2003
Dallas is 1-6-0 ATS in their last 7 home games against Philadelphia
The Colts hope to have running back Edgerrin James back for this contest. James sat out last week, with a sore knee. If James can't go, then Dungy will go by committee, with Rickey Williams, Dominic Rhodes and James Mungro. Quarterback Peyton Manning is off to his finest start, completing 67-percent of his passes, with nine touchdowns and just three interceptions. Marvin Harrison is as good as any receiver in the NFL. He has 22 catches for 292 yards and four touchdowns. Harrison is getting help from Reggie Wayne. Manning likes to look for rookie tight end Dallas Clark and veteran Marcus Pollard inside the 20. The offensive line has given Manning superb protection.
It looks like Dungy has finally put together the defense everyone was waiting for. The Colts are allowing just under 12 points per game and 286.3 total yards per contest. The frontline is led by second year defensive end Dwight Freeney and veteran Chad Bratzke. They have combined for three of the Colts nine sacks. Rob Morris is an underrated linebacker and is teamed up with Marcus Washington and David Thorton. The secondary has played very well. Corners Walt Harris and David Macklin have improved, while rookie safety Mike Doss has made an immediate impact.
The Bucs offense has done just enough to win. Brad Johnson isn't flashy, but he has put up decent numbers again this season. He is completing 64-percent of his passes and has tossed five touchdowns. Running back Michael Pittman had his best game as a Buccaneer last time out, piling up 164 total yards from scrimmage. Fullback Mike Alstott is still the man around the end zone and has the only two Bucs rushing touchdowns. Keyshawn Johnson is the top wide out with 17 receptions.
The Bucs defense has begun, where they left off in their Championship season. They are allowing a mere 6.1 points per game, while yielding only 213.0 total yards per outing. The front four are nasty, with Warren Sapp and Simeon Rice leading the way. Rice already has four sacks through three games. Starting linebackers Derrick Brooks, Shelton Quarles and Dwayne Rudd form the fastest unit in the NFL. Ronde Barber, Brian Kelly, Dwight Smith and John Lynch makeup one of the top secondaries in football. The priority will be on stopping the run. The only weakness the defense has shown is against a power type running game.
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