NFL WEEK 6

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Kansas City (4-1) at Miami (2-2)

Time: 1 p.m., Ch. 4

Line: Dolphins by 3

Vs. spread: Chiefs 3-2; Dolphins 1-2.

Last week: Chiefs beat Seahawks in OT, 20-17. Dolphins had a bye.

Worth watching: The Chiefs are showing the good that can be done in the free-agent market. QB Elvis Grbac has become a team leader, and WR Andre Rison leads the club with 25 catches, two for touchdowns.

Outlook: The Chiefs have won four straight, including two on the road (Oakland, Carolina). In Miami, meanwhile, Jimmy Johnson's rebuilding plan has hit a familiar snag: The Dolphins have no rushing game, ranking last in the NFL.

Notable: RB Marcus Allen has gained 3,321 yards rushing for Kansas City, fourth on the Chiefs' all-time list.

Injuries:

CHIEFS: Questionable: CB Darren Anderson (groin); DE Vaughn Booker (knee); WR Lake Dawson (knee); WR Brett Perriman (knee); LB Derrick Thomas (arm). Probable: CB James Hasty (thigh).

DOLPHINS: Out: LB Stanley Pritchett (knee); G Keith Sims (elbow); LB Ronnie Ward (leg-injured reserve). Questionable: P John Kidd (hamstring). Probable: DE Trace Armstrong (wrist); RB Dewayne Dotson (knee); CB Tim Jacobs (ankle); T Brent Smith (knee).

N.Y. Jets (3-2) at Indianapolis (0-4)

Time: 4 p.m.

Line: Jets by 3

Vs. spread: Jets 3-2; Colts 1-2.

Last week: Jets beat Bengals, 31-14. Colts had a bye.

Worth watching: Jets RB Adrian Murrell is emerging as one of the NFL's new stars, with 492 rushing yards and a 4.4-yard average. How will the Colts regroup after blowing a 26-0 lead to Buffalo in their last game and losing, 37-35?

Outlook: Although the Colts have handled the Jets in the past, Bill Parcells has changed things quickly and instilled a winning atmosphere in New York. Plus, the Colts' offense is in desperate search of a big-play performer, and banged-up QB Jim Harbaugh has a passer rating of only 71.6 with one TD pass.

Notable: The Jets have converted nine of 11 fourth-down plays.

Injuries:

JETS: Doubtful: WR Alex Van Dyke (hamstring). Questionable: T David Williams (foot).

COLTS: Doubtful: TE Ken Dilger (hamstring). Questionable: LB Stephen Grant (neck); T Tony Mandarich (ankle). Probable: WR Sean Dawkins (stomach); S Derwin Gray (knee); RB Roosevelt )) Potts (knee); LB Scott Van Der Ahe (neck); G Derek West (groin), G Doug Widell (virus).

Cincinnati (1-3) at Jacksonville (3-1)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Jaguars by 7

Vs. spread: Bengals 0-4; Jaguars 2-2.

Last week: Bengals lost to Jets, 31-14. Jaguars lost to Redskins, 24-12

Worth watching: How well can Bengals RB Ki-Jana Carter play? This is his first game since tearing a rotator cuff two weeks ago. The Jaguars, meanwhile, are still trying to find a running game, ranking 25th in the NFL.

Outlook: After a strong finish last season, the Bengals are in danger of slipping out of contention, so they may play with a sense of desperation. But Jaguars QB Mark Brunell should be able to operate against the Bengals' soft defense, ranked next-to-last in the NFL.

Notable: Jaguars WR Jimmy Smith has six 100-yard receiving days in nine games since becoming a starter last November.

Injuries:

BENGALS: Doubtful: S Tremain Mack (foot). Questionable: RB Ki-Jana Carter (shoulder); LB Tom Tumulty (thigh).

JAGUARS: Doubtful: LB James Hamilton (quadriceps). Probable: QB Rob Johnson (ankle); LB Bryan Schwartz (shoulder).

Detroit (3-2) at Buffalo (2-2)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Bills by 4

Vs. spread: Lions 3-2; Bills 1-3.

Last week: Lions beat Packers, 26-15. Bills had a bye.

Worth watching: After a 139-yard day in the Lions' upset of

Green Bay, RB Barry Sanders is going for his third straight 100-yard game. Buffalo rookie Antowain Smith is averaging 5.9 yards a carry.

Outlook: Maybe the Lions' inconsistency wasn't Wayne Fontes' fault. How else to explain the Lions losing one week in New Orleans, then beating Green Bay the next? The Bills are 2-2 despite a minus-10 turnover differential. As long as they take care of the ball, they should beat another up-and-down Detroit team.

Notable: Bills RB Thurman Thomas needs 46 all-purpose yards to pass James Brooks (14,910) for ninth place on the all-time list.

Injuries:

LIONS: Out: TE Pete Chryplewicz (shoulder); G Chris Harrison (knee). Doubtful: S Ron Rice (ankle).

BILLS: Questionable: DE Jim Jeffcoat (knee). Probable: CB Jeff Burris (hamstring); DE Phil Hansen (ribs); G Corbin Lacina (knee); LB Sam Rogers (hamstring); WR Steve Tasker (hamstring); C Dusty Zeigler (knee).

Tennessee (1-3) at Seattle (2-3)

Time: 4 p.m.

Line: Seahawks by 5 1/2

Vs. spread: Oilers 2-2; Seahawks 2-3.

Last week: Oilers lost to Steelers, 37-24. Seahawks lost to Chiefs in OT, 20-17.

Worth watching: The Oilers need QB Steve McNair to pick up his game. In his first year as a starter, he has only four TD passes in four games. Former Oiler Warren Moon has revived the Seahawks' offense, which now ranks 10th in passing.

Outlook: The Oilers have failed to step up to the level of contender, and a loss here would make a run at a playoff spot unlikely. The Seahawks are banking on their improving defense to hold RB Eddie George (69 yards, no rushing TDs in past two games) in check.

Notable: Moon is 127 yards shy of becoming just the fourth quarterback in league history to pass for 45,000 yards.

Injuries:

OILERS: Questionable: RB Eddie George (abdominal); G-C Bruce Matthews (knee).

SEAHAWKS: Out: DE Phillip Daniels (knee); QB John Friesz (thumb); DE Martin Harrison (knee). Doubtful: WR Joey Galloway (ankle); RB Chris Warren (hamstring). Questionable: WR Ronnie Harris (hamstring); T Walter Jones (ankle); DT Cortez Kennedy (knee).

San Diego (2-3) at Oakland (2-3)

Time: 4 p.m., Ch. 4

Line: Raiders by 6 1/2

Vs. spread: Chargers 3-2; Raiders 3-2.

Last week: Chargers beat Ravens, 21-17. Raiders beat Rams, 35-17.

Worth watching: Two of the hottest receivers in football are featured. The Chargers' Tony Martin emerged from a season-long slump to catch three TD passes against the Ravens. He could keep it up against the league's worst defense. The Raiders' Tim Brown has 37 catches, four for TDs.

Outlook: QB Jeff George and RB Napoleon Kaufman should provide plenty of Raiders scoring. But their defense may do the same for the Chargers. This could be a close one, and the Raiders have shown a penchant for losing tight games.

Notable: The visiting team has won seven of the past nine games in the series.

Injuries:

CHARGERS: Out: K John Carney (knee). Questionable: CB Mark Montreuil (hamstring); WR Latario Rachal (arm). Probable: G Troy Sienkiewicz (hamstring).

RAIDERS: Questionable: CB Albert Lewis (hamstring). Probable: RB Joe Aska (shoulder); CB Terry McDaniel (knee); S James Trapp (ribs).

Dallas (3-1) at N.Y. Giants (2-3)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Cowboys by 7 1/2

Vs. spread: Cowboys 2-2; Giants 1-3.

Last week: Cowboys beat Bears, 27-3. Giants beat Saints, 14-9.

Worth watching: Many eyes will be focused on Dallas RB Emmitt Smith, who is in search of his first big game and has only 355 yards rushing. With Rodney Hampton out and Tiki Barber doubtful, the Giants signed Erric Pegram to bolster their rushing attack.

Outlook: All of Dallas is fretting over the Cowboys' 22nd-ranked offense and their struggles with blitzes. But the Giants' offense remains punchless, QB Dave Brown is still clueless and Dallas has won eight of the past 10 from New York.

Notable: Giants have been outscored 62-0 in first meetings with the Cowboys the past two years.

Injuries:

COWBOYS: Questionable: DE Broderick Thomas (elbow). Probable: G Larry Allen (hamstring); DT Chad Hennings (groin); CB Kevin Smith (knee); LB Fred Strickland (knee).

GIANTS: Out: C Derek Engler (ankle); RB Rodney Hampton (knee); C Brian Williams (eye). Doubtful: RB Tiki Barber (knee); LB Marcus Buckley (hip); WR Thomas Lewis (toe). Probable: DT Christian Peter (ankle); QB Dave Brown (pectoral).

Tampa Bay (5-0) at Green Bay (3-2)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Packers by 8

Vs. spread: Bucs 4-1; Packers 0-5.

Last week: Bucs beat Cardinals, 19-18. Packers lost to Lions, 26-15.

Worth watching: Packers QB Brett Favre must bounce back from a poor game and start playing like an MVP again. Bucs QB Trent Dilfer must continue to prove that his turnaround is no fluke.

Outlook: Conventional wisdom holds that the Packers, back home after loss at Detroit, are a lock. But the Bucs are 5-0, stiff-arming conventional wisdom at every turn. The Packers are being beaten down by injuries, and their 18-game winning streak at Lambeau Field appears to be in serious jeopardy.

Notable: Packers haven't lost an NFC Central game at home since October 1992.

Injuries:

BUCS: Probable: G Jorge Diaz (back); LB Hardy Nickerson (neck); CB Anthony Parker (hamstring); LB Rufus Porter (shoulder); DE Regan Upshaw (ankle).

PACKERS: Doubtful: WR Don Beebe (head). Questionable: DT Gilbert Brown (knee-toe); T Earl Dotson (back); WR Derrick Mayes (ankle); T John Michaels (knee); C Frank Winters (foot).

Minnesota (3-2) at Arizona (1-3)

Time: 4 p.m., Ch. 45

Line: Cardinals by 1 1/2

Vs. spread: Vikings 4-1; Cardinals 4-0.

Last week: Vikings beat Eagles, 28-19. Cardinals lost to Bucs, 19-18.

Worth watching: This game will feature a great matchup between Cardinals Pro Bowl CB Aeneas Williams and Vikings Pro Bowl WR Jake Reed.

Outlook: The Cardinals are due for a breakout game. Their three losses have come by a total of 10 points, and only a missed field-goal attempt by Kevin Butler kept them from upsetting the Bucs last week. Arizona's defense, though, is ranked sixth in the league.

Notable: Williams has 34 career interceptions, five of which he has returned for a TD.

Injuries:

VIKINGS: Questionable: WR Robert Tate (ankle). Probable: P Mitch Berger (hip); G David Dixon (knee); RB Leroy Hoard (hamstring); DE Fernando Smith (toe).

CARDINALS: Out: LB Eric Hill (ankle). Doubtful: T James Dexter (knee); T Matt Joyce (knee). Questionable: RB Larry Centers (knee); RB Derrick Moore (knee). Probable: RB Kevin Bouie (hamstring); LB Lyron Cobbins (hamstring); S Matt Darby (hamstring); WR Rob Moore (knee); WR Frank Sanders (back); G Rob Selby (back).

New Orleans (1-4) at Chicago (0-5)

Time: 8 p.m., TNT

Line: Bears by 3 1/2

Vs. spread: Saints 1-3; Bears 1-4.

Last week: Saints lost to Giants, 14-9. Bears lost to Cowboys, 27-3.

Worth watching: How long can the Bears stick with Rick Mirer, who has failed to direct a TD drive in two games as the starter? How long can Mike Ditka stick with Heath Shuler, who has one TD pass vs. nine interceptions?

Outlook: The pre-game hype will center on Ditka's return to Chicago. Otherwise, this game looks like a clunker, and both clubs will battle for the league's worst record and a shot at Peyton Manning, the likely top pick in the draft.

Notable: Ditka is winless in his past eight road games as an NFL coach.

Injuries:

SAINTS: Out: TE Irv Smith (knee). Questionable: DT Joe Johnson (foot); G Chris Naeole (ankle); DE Brady Smith (ankle).

BEARS: Out: CB James Burton (leg); C-G Chris Villarrial (leg). Doubtful: WR Curtis Conway (collarbone). Questionable: TE John Allred (knee-ankle); LB Michael Lowery (ankle); LB Barry Minter (ankle); G Todd Perry (hamstring); LB Anthony Peterson (ankle); DE Alonzo Spellman (shoulder). Probable: T James Williams (ankle).

Pub Date: 10/05/97

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