For more than a decade, the Denver Broncos always seemed to be able to find a running back who could give them 100 yards or more per game and 1,200 or so in a full season. Not this year.
As the Broncos go to Cleveland on Thursday night to face the Browns and newly installed quarterback Brady Quinn, they are coming off a loss to Miami in which they gained just 14 yards rushing.
Michael Pittman and Andre Hall are out for the season, Selvin Young is still hurt and rookie Ryan Torain is the only healthy back available to face the Browns, with rookie fullback Peyton Hillis the backup.
The Browns, meanwhile, are finally giving the ball to Quinn, their ``quarterback of the future,'' after blowing a 27-14 lead and losing to Baltimore 37-27 last week. Derek Anderson threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown in the final minutes, prompting cries of ``Brady! Brady!'' from the fans.
Quinn has thrown just eight passes in two seasons and wasn't all that sparkling in preseason.
e, maybe that will spur him on to greater things.
So it comes down to this: The Browns have trouble stopping the run, 28th in the NFL in rushing defense. but the Broncos have no runners. The Broncos are 26th against the pass and are without the injured Champ Bailey, one of the league's premier cornerbacks, But they are going against a green QB.
Who knows ...
BROWNS, 20-16

New York Giants (plus 3) at Philadelphia
The Giants beat Pittsburgh as an underdog and relish the role. This is the home-field advantage spread plus probably a little extra because it's a night game.
EAGLES, 23-22

Tennessee (minus 3) at Chicago
Rex Grossman against the Titans' defense is a mismatch. Or mishmash. Whatever.
TITANS, 19-5

Indianapolis (off) at Pittsburgh
Byron Leftwich or Ben Roethlisberger at QB might not matter much. The Colts won't run and the Steelers will.
STEELERS, 24-17

Buffalo (plus 4 1/2) at New England
``Free Fallin!' `` rock 'n roller Bill Belichick said when he heard Tom Petty was playing last season's Super Bowl. That's what the Bills are doing.
PATRIOTS, 20-13

New Orleans (plus 1) at Atlanta
The Falcons held the Raiders to 77 yards last week. Drew Brees might throw for that on the Saints' first possession.
SAINTS, 27-26

Green Bay (plus 2 1/2) at Minnesota
e's something not quite right about the Vikings.
PACKERS, 27-20

San Francisco (plus 9 1/2) at Arizona (Monday night)
Mike Singletary presumably toned down his act during the bye week. Won't matter.
CARDINALS, 31-17

Baltimore (plus 2) at Houston
Houston is 3-1 at home, but turnover-prone Sage Rosenfels is the Texans' QB.
RAVENS, 17-16

Jacksonville (minus 6 1/2) at Detroit
Daunte Culpepper might start at QB for Detroit with just a day or two of practice. More important, Jacksonville is in position to hand a team its first win for the second straight week.
LIONS, 8-5

St. Louis (plus 8) at the New York Jets
The Jets are coming home off a high in Buffalo. This is the kind of game they can lose. Almost.
JETS, 19-18.

Carolina (minus 8 1/2) at Oakland
``During the week, we look like we're a Super Bowl team, and we come out there and we're damn near the laughingstock of the league, and it's ridiculous,'' former Giant Gibril Wilson said after the Raiders' 24-nil loss to Atlanta.
PANTHERS, 37-4

Seattle (plus 9) at Miami
The Dolphins might win the AFC East.
DOLPHINS, 27-6

Kansas City (plus 14) at San Diego
The Chiefs try harder than most of the really bad teams.
CHARGERS, 31-20

LAST WEEK: 8-6 (spread); 9-5 (straight up)
SEASON: 66-61-3 (spread); 77-53 (straight up)

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