Originally created 09/22/96

NFL/Week 4 Capsule Preview




Arizona Cardinals (0-3) at New Orleans Saints (0-3)1 p.m.
The Cardinals unveil their 13th starting quarterback in their ninth season in Phoenix. He's Kent Graham, who played Notre Dame and Ohio State. Will he be able to do anything that Boomer Esiason couldn't do? Rookie Simeon Rice leads the Cardinals with two sacks. The Saints may give Ray Zellars a shot at the starting RB job.
The Saints haven't won a game this season, but they boast the NFL's 10th-ranked defense. Wayne Martin is second in the NFC with four sacks.

Denver Broncos (3-0) at Kansas City Chiefs (3-0)1 p.m.
The Chiefs get help from the crowd at Arrowhead Sta dium against an improving Broncos' team. Kansas City must run the ball with Marcus Allen and Greg Hill to keep QB Steve Bono out of third-and-long situations. Blocking Chiefs LB Derrick Thomas, already with five sacks, will be a key to Broncos' upset hopes. Denver RB Terrell Davis, a former Georgia tailback, has two straight 100-yard games and is the AFC's No. 1 rusher (third in the NFL) with 320 yards. TV-NBC-Channel 26.

Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2) at N. England Patriots (1-2)1 p.m.
The second-year Jaguars began the season with playoff hopes, and need this one to avoid the 1-3 start that usually means playoff oblivion. They need to get running back James Stewart the ball often. Jacksonville leads the AFC, and is fourth in the NFL, in passing offense. QB Mark Brunell leads the AFC with 731 passing yards.Drew Bledsoe, still trying to bounce back from a poor 1995, tossed three touchdown passes.

Green Bay Packers (3-0) at Minnesota Vikings (3-0) 1 p.m.
Why are these teams both 3-0? Packers are plus-eight in turnover differential; Vikings are plus-seven. The Packers are the NFL's best, but the Vikings take encouragement from the fact that they have won six of the last eight from Green Bay, including the last four in the Metrodome. That won't mean much today, especially if Edgar Bennett can keep averaging 5.1 yards per carry. Against the NFL's No. 22 rushing defense, he should. Green Bay QB Brett Favre's interception differential of 10-2 is ridiculously good. The Vikings counter with 39-year-old Warren Moon, although backup Brad Johnson may give them a better chance later in the season. Packers have outscored opponents 115-26.

New York Giants (0-3) at New York Jets (0-3) 1 p.m.
Who cares? The loser becomes one of the leaders in the race for the first pick in the draft. These are the two worst defenses in the league; the Jets 29th, Giants 30th. Worth watching: Not much, unless you're a masochistic New York football fan. But if you must watch, Jets QB Neil O'Donnell has thrown back-to-back 300-yard games and could feast on the Giants.

Washington Redskins (2-1) at St. Louis Rams (1-1) 1 p.m.
The Redskins are emerging as one of the NFL's surprise contenders. Built around a running game, they have a chance for a 3-1 start. The Rams are sticking with Steve Walsh, even though he has completed only 15 of 41 passes. Washington's Terry Allen leads the NFL with 340 yards rushing and is averaging a robust 5.1 yards per carry. St. Louis wide receiver Isaac Bruce has caught a pass in 29 straight games.

Seattle Seahawks (0-3) at Tampa Bay Bucs (0-3) 4 p.m.
Seahawks and Bucs are commemorating - not exactly celebrating - the 20th anniversary of their berths. And they're doing it by playing like expansion teams. The Bucs' ability to run the ball should decide this thriller. While Errict Rhett continues to hold out on Tampa Bay, Reggie Brooks averages six yards per carry. The Seahawks have dangerous special teams, led by Joey Galloway, whose 24.3-yard average leads the league in punt returns. Seahawks have won all three meetings between the team.

Dallas Cowboys (1-2) at Buffalo Bills (2-1) 4 p.m.
The Cowboys will be a desperate bunch if they lose this one and fall to 1-3. Thanks to their defense, they won't. And now doctors are telling DE Charles Haley not to play for three weeks because of his sore back. The Bills expect to go without QB Jim Kelly, who injured a hamstring in practice on Thursday. Todd Collins would get the start. While the Dallas offense struggles, the Cowboys are getting production from DL Tony Tolbert (four sacks) and cornerback Kevin Smith (two interceptions). Buffalo's strength is also on defense, where Bruce Smith has five sacks.
TV: FOX 54

Chicago Bears (1-2) at Detroit Lions (1-2) 4 p.m.
The loser of this meeting will be a longshot to make the playoffs, so a sense of desperation is in the dome. Both teams expected more, but the presence of Barry Sanders, the NFL's No. 2 rusher with 337 yards, means the Lions can control this affair even if the Bears' banged up offense gets its act together. Rashaan Salaam, fighting a sore knee, may play for the first time this season. Lions' Herman Moore leads the NFL with 26 catches. The Bears have been struggling on offense, but strong safety Marty Carter has been plugging holes on defense with a team-high 41 tackles.

San Diego Chargers (2-1) at Oakland Raiders (1-2) 4 p.m.
A year ago, it looked like coach Mike White might have turned the Raiders around. Now, at 1-2, White may be fighting for his job. The Raiders responded to the return of Jeff Hostetler last week, and he should hook up with receiver Tim Brown, who has 17 catches, including three TDs, just enough. The other outstanding receiver in this game is the Chargers' Tony Martin, No. 2 in the NFL and leads the AFC with 19 receptions, three for touchdowns.

Monday

Miami Dolphins (3-0) at Indianapolis Colts (3-0) 9 p.m.
The last of the weekend's 3-0 vs. 3-0 match-ups should be the most entertaining. Jimmy Johnson returns to the national stage with the surprising Dolphins. As they were last week in Dallas, the Colts again expect to be without DE Tony Bennett (knee) and RB Marshall Faulk (foot). But if a banged-up Indianapolis team can win in Dallas, can it beat Miami at home? Why not? The Colts have won the last three meetings between the teams. The game features the AFC's top two passers - No. 1 Jim Harbaugh and No. 2 Dan Marino. It also features the league's newest running threat, Dolphin rookie Karim Abdul-Jabbar, averaging 4.3 yards per carry. TV: ABC-Channel 6

Open date: Baltimore, Cincinnati, Houston, Pittsburgh.