Rarely can a game in the fifth week be described as "big."
Consider that a fitting description for Sunday's game in Kansas City between the Chiefs and Broncos, clearly the class of the AFC West and perhaps of the entire AFC.
Is it an omen that the only other times the Broncos have started 4-0, they've made it to the Super Bowl?
The Chiefs are favored by 31/2 points.
But neither Clinton Portis nor Priest Holmes nor Jake Plummer nor Trent Green is the key to this game.
Dante Hall is.
Hall has returned kickoffs or punts for touchdowns in a record three straight games, including a 97-yarder that gave the Chiefs a 17-10 win in Baltimore last week. He has six returns for TDs in his last nine games and may be Kansas City's MVP so far.
"Just get down there and be in his face when he catches the ball," says Chris Cole, a former teammate of Hall's at Texas A&M; and a special teamer for the Broncos. "You can't give him time to find holes because he'll hurt you."
Score one for Hall. Also score one for Arrowhead Stadium.
Indianapolis (plus 4 1/2) at Tampa Bay (Monday night)
The biggest of the many reunion games this weekend -- Tony Dungy's first against the team he coached to respectability. Peyton Manning won't throw six touchdown passes this week, although Edgerrin James should be back.
Tampa already has lost one at home. It won't be two.
Seattle (plus 2 1/2) at Green Bay
Mike Holmgren returns to Wisconsin for the second time since he left. On the theory that the Seahawks aren't a 4-0 team ...
Tennessee (minus 1 1/2) at New England
Has anyone checked the Patriots' injury report?
Miami (pick 'em) at New York Giants
The line is right, and this game is very hard to figure. Two of the Giants' three games have gone to overtime.
GIANTS, 20-17 (OT)
Arizona (plus 7) at Dallas
Emmitt returns and probably will play well. Too bad he's not playing for Parcells.
Detroit (plus 7) at San Francisco
Mooch returns. The bickering 49ers probably wish he was still there.
Minnesota (minus 4) at Atlanta
The Vikings can win without Culpepper. The Falcons can't without Vick.
Washington (plus 5) at Philadelphia
The Redskins have beaten two backup QBs and a team missing nine starters. Now they get Philadelphia. Still ...
New Orleans (plus 7) at Carolina
The Saints are battered, but the spread is a measure of respect for the Panthers.
Cleveland (plus 7) at Pittsburgh
Rivalry game. Closer than it probably should be.
Oakland (minus 4) at Chicago
The Raiders are struggling. But the Bears are just plain bad.
Cincinnati (plus 7 1/2) at Buffalo
In their last two games, the Bills have played like the Bengals.
San Diego (plus 3) at Jacksonville
Two winless teams. Maybe they'll tie 0-0. No ...
Last week: 8-6 (spread); 8-6 (straight up)
Overall: 33-26-1 (spread); 40-20 (straight up)