Originally created 10/15/00

Football preview



Week 7

Atlanta Falcons (2-4) at St. Louis Rams (5-0) 1 p.m.

Rams' offense should have its way with NFL's No. 29 defense. Falcons are in disarray and they won't put themselves back together today. Worth watching: Danny Kanell expected to replace injured Chris Chandler as Falcons' quarterback. Rams' Kurt Warner leads NFL passers (122.0 rating, 14 TDs vs. 7 interceptions). Last meeting: Rams won, 41-20, at Atlanta on Sept. 24. Key stats: Rams have scored at least 30 points in 11 straight games, an NFL record. TV: Fox 54.

Carolina Panthers (2-3) at New Orleans Saints (2-3) 1 p.m.

Panthers QB Steve Beuerlein capable of some big plays against an aggressive defense. Home dome helps Saints. Worth watching: Saints' Ricky Williams going for his fourth straight 100-yard rushing game. Beuerlein having another solid year (7 TD passes vs. 4 interceptions). Last meeting: Panthers won, 45-13, at Carolina on Jan. 2, 2000. Key stats: Saints have No. 1 defense.

Baltimore Ravens (5-1) at Washington Redskins (4-2) 1 p.m.

These neighborhood rivals likely to put on a good show, if you like defense and kicking. Ravens have won two straight without a touchdown thanks to Matt Stover's nine field goals. Redskins, going for their fourth straight win, actually can play both offense and defense. Worth watching: Baltimore's Stover has made 18 of 20 field goal attempts. Redskins' Stephen Davis has rushed for five touchdowns (averaging 4.1 yards per carry). Last meeting: Ravens won, 20-17, at Washington on Oct. 26, 1997. Key stats: Ravens are fourth and Redskins fifth in defense. TV: CBS-Ch. 12.

Cincinnati Bengals (0-5) at Pittsburgh Steelers (2-3) 1 p.m.

Bill Cowher stubbornly sticking with Kent Graham as quarterback even though Kordell Stewart has guided two upset victories. It shouldn't matter vs. Bengals, who have been shut out in first two road games (Jaguars, Ravens). Worth watching: Pittsburgh's Jerome Bettis has rushed for 414 yards and five touchdowns in past four games. Bengals' Corey Dillon averaging 3.7 yards per rush. Last meeting: Bengals won, 27-20, at Pittsburgh on Nov. 28. Key stats: Steelers have won two in a row on the road by combined score of 44-16 (Jaguars, Jets).

Dallas Cowboys (2-3) at New York Giants (4-2) 1 p.m.

If Giants can't run the ball, rested Cowboys easily could pull off a road upset. Emmitt Smith averaging 4.1 yards per carry for Dallas. Giants' defense is key. Worth watching: After time off to get healthy, can Troy Aikman return to making big plays? Giants Kerry Collins has thrown more interceptions (7) than TD passes (6). Last meeting: Cowboys won, 26-18, at Dallas on Jan. 2, 2000. Key stats: It's Giants' No. 6 rushing offense vs. Cowboys' No. 31 rushing defense.

Oakland Raiders (4-1) at Kansas City Chiefs (3-2) 1 p.m.

This old AFL rivalry has regained its luster, at least for now. Three of Raiders' wins have been by seven points or fewer. Chiefs still have good home-field advantage. Worth watching: Raiders' Rich Gannon (5 TDs vs. 3 interceptions) and Chiefs' Elvis Grbac (12 TDs vs. 4 interceptions) having good seasons. Last meeting: Raiders won, 41-38, at Kansas City on Jan. 2, 2000. Key stats: Chiefs have won three straight; Raiders two straight.

San Diego Chargers (0-6) at Buffalo Bills (2-3) 1 p.m.

Desperate Chargers plan to rotate Jim Harbaugh and Moses Moreno at quarterback. It won't matter to Bills' second-ranked defense. Worth watching: Rob Johnson has thrown seven TD passes vs. two interceptions, and leads Bills with 194 yards rushing. San Diego tight end Freddie Jones has 24 receptions in the last four games. Last meeting: Chargers won, 16-14, at San Diego at Sept. 6, 1998. Key stats: It's Buffalo's No. 2 defense vs. San Diego's No. 26 offense.

Cleveland Browns (2-4) at Denver Broncos (3-3) 4:05 p.m.

With Terrell Davis and Brian Griese at less than full strength, the Broncos are looking for ways to get by. Cleveland's defense is soft against the run, so rookie Michael Anderson and the NFL's best offensive line should control this one. Worth watching: Anderson, second in AFC with 481 yards rushing, is averaging 4.6 yards per carry. Cleveland's Travis Prentice leads rookies with four rushing touchdowns. Last meeting: First meeting of these franchises. Key stats: Broncos have lost four of past six, including two of three this year, at home.

Indianapolis Colts (3-2) at Seattle Seahawks (2-4) 4:05 p.m.

After a win at Buffalo and a loss at New England, Colts complete three-game road trip. If jet lag doesn't get to them, Colts' offense should move the ball at will against NFL's No. 28 defense. Worth watching: Seattle's Ricky Watters is second in AFC with 450 yards and is averaging 4.9 yards per carry. Colts' Edgerrin James has 439 yards and is averaging 4.0 per carry. Last meeting: Seahawks won, 27-23, at Seattle on Dec. 20, 1998. Key stats: Colts have won eight of past 10 road games.

New York Jets (4-1) at New England Patriots (2-4) 4:05 p.m.

After an 0-4 start, Patriots have beaten Broncos and Colts. Jets may be without Vinny Testaverde (pinched nerve in neck), in which case Ray Lucas would start. Lucas was 6-3 as a starter last year. Worth watching: Ex-Patriot Curtis Martin leads Jets with 390 yards rushing, averaging 3.8 yards per carry. Patriots' Terry Glenn (34 catches, 11.7 avg.) has caught a TD pass in each of past two games. Last meeting: Jets won, 20-19, at the Meadowlands on Sept. 11. Key stats: Jets have won five of past six from Patriots.

Philadelphia Eagles (3-3) at Arizona Cardinals (2-3) 4:15 p.m.

Philadelphia's offense has struggled recently, and the loss of Duce Staley for the season will put pressure on quarterback Donovan McNabb and the passing game. Eagles haven't won in Arizona since 1995. Worth watching: Eagles' Darnell Autry may get playing time in place of Staley as starting running back. Michael Pittman averaging 5.1 yards per carry for Cardinals. Last meeting: Cardinals won, 21-17, in Arizona on Dec. 5, 1999. Key stats: Cardinals have beaten Eagles five straight.

San Francisco 49ers (2-4) at Green Bay Packers (2-4) 4:15 p.m.

Jeff Garcia, the second-ranked passer in the NFL, could have a good time against the Packers, who have allowed 58 points in consecutive losses to Lions and Bears. Packers may also have trouble containing NFL's leading rusher, Charlie Garner (609 yards, 5.0 yards per carry). Worth watching: San Francisco's Terrell Owens leads NFC with 35 catches, six for touchdowns. Antonio Freeman leads Packers with 23 catches, four for touchdowns. Last meeting: Packers won, 20-3, at San Francisco on Nov. 29, 1999. Key stats: It's Packers' No. 15 offense vs. 49ers' No. 31 defense. TV: Fox 54.

Minnesota Vikings (5-0) at Chicago Bears (1-5) 8:20 p.m.

Minnesota's offense can be overpowering. Robert Smith averaging 4.9 yards per carry. Randy Moss averaging 20.1 yards per catch. Bears' 26th in total defense. Bears need a big night from offense to pull off the upset. Worth watching: Minnesota's Daunte Culpepper is the NFC's No. 3-ranked passer with rating of 94.1 (8 TDs vs. 6 interceptions). Bears' Cade McNown is at 70.1 (6 TDs vs. 8 interceptions). Last meeting: Vikings won, 30-27, at Minneapolis on Sept. 3. Key stats: Vikings have won six of past seven vs. Bears. TV: ESPN.

Monday night

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-4) at Tennessee Titans (4-1) 9 p.m.

This was supposed to be a key AFC Central game, but now just looks like another game the Titans should win. Jaguars have lost three straight. Figure it will be four. Worth watching: Titans' Eddie George has taken over AFC rushing lead with 497 yards rushing (3.7 avg.). Jaguars' Mark Brunell having an off year, with seven touchdown passes vs. eight interceptions. Last meeting: Titans won, 41-14, at Tennessee on Dec. 26, 1999. Key stats: Titans have beaten Jaguars three straight. TV: ABC-Ch. 6.

Open: Miami, Detroit, Tampa Bay