Time: 1 p.m.
Line: Jaguars by 17 1/2.
Vs. spread: Browns 2-2; Jaguars 3-2.
Series: Jaguars lead 2-0.
Last meeting: Jaguars won, 24-21, on Dec. 24, 1995, at Jacksonville.
Outlook: The Browns lost their first two games by an average of 30 points and then lost their last three by a an average of only 6.7 points. Improvement, yes, but hollow compared with the bottom line of winning games. Of course, the Browns are excused, as they gain experience as an expansion franchise while competing against teams that view them as a sure victory. The Jaguars will use the game as achance to tune an offense that has struggled while its defense has roared.
Notable: Jaguars have won 22 of their past 26 games at home.
BROWNS: Out: DE Hurvin McCormack (knee); WR Leslie Shepherd (hamstring); G Steve Zahursky (knee). Questionable: TE Irv Smith (knee). Probable: S Corey Fuller (foot); RB George Jones (knee); CB Antonio Langham (thumb); C Dave Wohlabaugh (ankle).
JAGUARS: Out: DE Eric Curry (knee-injured reserve); TE Damon Jones (knee). Doubtful: DE Renaldo Wynn (ankle). Questionable: RB Fred Taylor (hamstring). Probable: S Carnell Lake (neck); RB James Stewart (hamstring); C John Wade (toe).
Time: 1 p.m., ch. 45.
Line: Vikings by 3 1/2.
Vs. spread: Vikings 0-4; Lions 2-2.
Last week: Vikings lost to Bears, 24-22. Lions lost to Chargers, 20-10.
Series: Vikings lead 46-27-2.
Last meeting: Vikings won, 34-13, on Oct. 25, 1998, at Detroit.
Outlook: What do you get when you match the underachieving Vikings against the overachieving Lions? Most likely, a much closer game than you'd typically expect. Minnesota's offense did flash some signs last week that it's ready to come out of hibernation. Robert Smith rushed for more than 100 yards for the first time this year, and Randy Moss had his second consecutive 100-yard receiving game. After winning their first two games, the Lions have lost two straight.
Notable: Vikings' minus-5 turnover differential is third worst in NFC.
VIKINGS: Doubtful: TE Jim Kleinsasser (shoulder). Questionable: DE John Burrough (foot); WR Matthew Hatchette (ankle). Probable: DT Jerry Ball (ribs); RB Robert Smith (abdomen).
LIONS: Out: LB Steve Boyd (foot); DE Jared DeVries (foot); CB Kywin Supernaw (ankle). Doubtful: T Juan Roque (knee); DE Robert Porcher (ankle); G Tony Semple (elbow). Questionable: CB Lamar Campbell (knee); S Ryan Stewart (groin); CB Bryant Westbrook (hamstring). Probable: DT Luther Elliss (groin); RB Sedrick Irvin (hamstring); WR Herman Moore (knee); T Tony Ramirez (quadriceps).
Time: 1 p.m.
Line: Steelers by 5.
Vs. spread: Steelers 2-2; Bengals 1-4.
Last week: Steelers lost to Bills, 24-21. Bengals beat Browns, 18-17.
Series: Steelers lead 32-25.
Last meeting: Bengals won, 25-24, on Dec. 20, 1998, at Pittsburgh.
Outlook: Akili Smith passed for 221 yards, two touchdowns and led the late, game-winning drive in his first NFL start in the Bengals' victory over Cleveland. He is supported by Corey Dillon, the league's leading rusher. Dillon is a slasher, but the Steelers' Jerome Bettis is a bruiser. The Bengals usually have a rough time stopping Bettis; he has gained 615 rushing yards in his past six games against them.
Notable: Bengals wide receiver Carl Pickens has 67 catches for 917 yards in his past nine games against the Steelers.
STEELERS: Out: DE Nolan Harrison (pectoral). Doubtful: LB Mike Vrabel (arm). Questionable: G Alan Faneca (ankle); DE Orpheus Roye (quadriceps). Probable: WR Will Blackwell (hamstring); S Travis Davis (knee); WR Hines Ward (groin).
BENGALS: Out: TE Steve Bush (knee). Doubtful: CB Rico Clark (ankle); DE John Copeland (elbow); G Mike Goff (knee); S Lawrence Wright (foot-ankle). Probable: RB Clif Groce (shoulder).
Time: 4: 05 p.m.
Line: Seahawks by 1 1/2.
Vs. spread: Seahawks 1-3; Chargers 3-1.
Last week: Seahawks had a bye. Chargers beat Lions, 20-10.
Series: Tied 20-20.
Last meeting: Seahawks won, 38-17, on Dec. 13, 1998, at Seattle.
Outlook: This game was not originally considered a matchup that would determine the early AFC West leader, but the Seahawks and Chargers are picking up this division's pieces left by the Broncos' early swoon. The Seahawks have defeated the Chargers five straight times. The Chargers have won despite injuries at quarterback, where Jim Harbaugh recovers from banged ribs and watches Erik Kramer excel. Kramer is especially good late in games, having completed nine of 11 fourth-quarter passes for 77 yards.
Notable: Chargers' defense allows NFL-best 2.7 yards a carry.
SEAHAWKS: Out: T Todd Weiner (ankle). Questionable: WR Fabien Bownes (hamstring); G Brian Habib (knee); WR Charles Jordan (hamstring).
CHARGERS: Out: LB Eric Hill (knee-foot); WR Charlie Jones (hip); QB Ryan Leaf (shoulder). Doubtful: CB Charles Dimry (knee). Questionable: WR Jeff Graham (ankle). Probable: RB Terrell Fletcher (wrist); QB Jim Harbaugh (ribs-elbow); T John Jackson (back); RB Natrone Means (ankle); T Vaughn Parker (shoulder); CB Terrance Shaw (ankle).
Time: 1 p.m.
Line: Colts by 3.
Vs. spread: Colts 3-1; Jets 1-4.
Last week: Colts lost to Dolphins, 34-31. Jets lost to Jaguars, 16-6.
Series: Colts lead 34-23.
Last meeting: Colts won, 24-23, on Nov. 15, 1998, at Indianapolis.
Outlook: If the Jets couldn't beat the Colts with a healthy Vinny Testaverde last season, how can they beat them with a struggling Rick Mirer at quarterback? They probably can't. Mirer played so poorly Monday night against Jacksonville that Jets coach Bill Parcells may have no choice but to replace him with Tom Tupa or Ray Lucas. Parcells had better do something. The Colts are averaging 29.3 points a game to the Jets' 15.6. Colts QB Peyton Manning has thrown at least one touchdown pass in his past 17 consecutive starts, best in the league.
Notable: Seven of the past nine meetings have been decided by eight points or fewer.
COLTS: Doubtful: WR Lake Dawson (ankle); CB Tito Wooten (hamstring). Questionable: CB Chad Cota (ankle); WR E. G. Green (knee); RB Darick Holmes (ankle). Probable: CB Tyrone Poole (head).
JETS: Out: S Kevin Williams (throat). Questionable: S Steve Atwater (hamstring); TE Fred Baxter (hip); WR Wayne Chrebet (foot); CB Corey Sawyer (hamstring). Probable: CB Aaron Glenn (leg).
Time: 1 p.m.
Line: Bills by 3 1/2.
Vs. spread: Raiders 3-2; Bills 3-2.
Last week: Raiders lost to Broncos, 16-13. Bills beat Steelers, 24-21.
Series: Tied 15-15.
Last meeting: Bills won, 44-21, on Dec. 13, 1998, at Buffalo.
Outlook: The Bills have won nine of their past 10 home games, and QB Doug Flutie owns a 14-1 career record in home starts. Flutie has not thrown an interception in 74 attempts and leads QBs with 191 yards rushing. That's all bad news for a Raiders team coming off back-to-back heart-breaking losses to the Seahawks and Broncos. Buffalo, shooting for its fifth 5-1 start of the '90s, boasts the NFL's top run defense. So that puts the pressure directly on Raiders QB Rich Gannon.
Notable: Raiders' three losses have been by a total of eight points.
RAIDERS: Questionable: T Mo Collins (knee). Probable: TE Rickey Dudley (toe); RB Napoleon Kaufman (hand); DT Darrell Russell (ankle); RB Tyrone Wheatley (shoulder).
BILLS: Out: G Joe Panos (neck); RB Thurman Thomas (liver contusion). Questionable: G Ruben Brown (hamstring); QB Rob Johnson (head); DT Ted Washington (chest).
Time: 1 p.m., ch. 5.
Line: Rams by 4.
Vs. spread: Rams 4-0; Falcons 2-3.
Series: Rams lead 40-23-2.
Last meeting: Rams won, 35-7, on Sept. 26, at St. Louis.
Outlook: There's little reason to expect anything but another blowout. The Rams, the NFL's lone undefeated team, have scored 142 points, second best in the NFL, and have allowed a league-low 47. How's that for balance? Rams Kurt Warner has 14 touchdown passes and is the first QB since Don Meredith in 1966 to throw that many in his first four games. The Falcons managed to get their first win of the season last week, but their rushing offense is still second worst in the NFC (78 yards a game).
Notable: Falcons held Warner to 275 yards passing in Week 3, his lowest output of season.
RAMS: Questionable: RB Marshall Faulk (hip); G Tom Nutton (back). Probable: RB Robert Holcome (back).
FALCONS: Out: LB Keith Brooking (knee); S Johndale Carty (hamstring). Doubtful: LB Jessie Tuggle (quadriceps). Questionable: WR Jammi German (finger); DT Ed Jasper (knee). Probable: WR Chris Calloway (knee); QB Chris Chandler (hamstring).
Time: 4: 15 p.m.
Line: 49ers by 4 1/2.
Vs. spread: Panthers 3-1; 49ers 1-3.
Last week: Panthers had a bye. 49ers lost to Rams, 42-20.
Series: 49ers lead 5-3.
Last meeting: 49ers won, 31-28 in overtime, on Dec. 6, 1998, at Carolina.
Outlook: First-year Panthers coach George Seifert gets his first shot to beat the team that pushed him out the door after the 1996 season. Seifert was 108-35 in eight seasons with the 49ers. He's 1-3 with the Panthers, but his team has shown some signs of life, nearly upsetting Jacksonville and Washington. The 49ers have won 19 consecutive regular-season home games. But they're coming off an emotionally devastating one-sided loss to the Rams, and they'll be without injured QB Steve Young again.
Notable: Jerry Rice has 45 catches for 611 yards in six career games against the Panthers.
PANTHERS: Out: LB Hannibal Navies (knee). Probable: WR Donald Hayes (hamstring). 49ERS: Out: RB Travis Jervey (ankle); DE Marvin Washington (quadriceps-injured reserve); QB Steve Young (concussion); WR Terrell Owens (ankle). Doubtful: LB Anthony Peterson (groin). Questionable: C Chris Dalman (knee). Probable: T Derrick Deese (knee); CB Craig Newsome (concussion).
Time: 1 p.m., chs. 13, 9
Line: Patriots by 2 1/2.
Vs. spread: Dolphins 2-2; Patriots 2-2.
Last week: Dolphins beat Colts, 34-31. Patriots lost to Chiefs, 16-14.
Series: Dolphins lead 38-26.
Last meeting: Patriots won, 26-23, on Nov. 23, 1998, at New England.
Outlook: If this game follows recent form, it will be close and New England will win. The Patriots have won four of the past five regular-season games against the Dolphins, and each of the past four games has been decided by fewer than four points. The Patriots, who own the AFC's No. 1 passing attack, haven't lost to the Dolphins at Foxboro Stadium since 1995.
Notable: Dolphins' Dan Marino needs 7 yards to become first QB in NFL history to pass for 60,000 yards.
DOLPHINS: Out: DE Kenny Mixon (multiple abrasions and contusions). Doubtful: WR Yatil Green (hamstring); LB Anthony Harris (groin). Questionable: CB Terrell Buckley (ankle); G Mark Dixon (groin); T Richmond Webb (knee). Probable: RB Cecil Collins (hip); WR Oronde Gadsden (ankle); QB Dan Marino (trapezius); S Shawn Wooden (thumb).
PATRIOTS: Out: LB Ted Johnson (biceps). Doubtful: RB Chris Floyd (knee); LB Bernard Russ (knee); RB Harold Shaw (quadriceps). Questionable: WR Troy Brown (ankle); LB Tedy Bruschi (knee); CB Tebucky Jones (hamstring).
Time: 1 p.m., ch. 43.
Line: Bears by 6 1/2.
Vs. spread: Eagles 3-2; Bears 5-0.
Last week: Eagles beat Cowboys, 13-10. Bears beat Vikings, 24-22.
Series: Bears lead 24-4-1.
Last meeting: Bears won, 20-14, on Dec. 24, 1995, at Chicago.
Outlook: Bears rookie QB Cade McNown will make his first NFL start in place of an injured Shane Matthews, and he couldn't have picked a better opponent or setting. The Eagles never have defeated the Bears in Chicago, where they are 0-14 in a series that began in 1933. Here's more good news for McNown: The Eagles haven't won a road game since Dec. 14, 1996, when they beat the Jets, 21-0. What's more, the Bears have won seven of their past eight regular-season meetings against Philadelphia.
Notable: Bears' red-zone defense leads the NFL (four touchdowns allowed in 14 possessions).
EAGLES: Doubtful: LB Mike Caldwell (hamstring); DT Bill Johnson (ankle); RB Kevin Turner (neck). Questionable: T Jermane Mayberry (hamstring); T Lonnie Palelei (shoulder). Probable: QB Koy Detmer (back); DE Hugh Douglas (knee); DT Brandon Whiting (knee).
BEARS: Out: RB James Allen (knee); K Jeff Jaeger (hip-injured reserve); QB Shane Matthews (hamstring). Questionable: WR Curtis Conway (ankle). Probable: LB Sean Harris (ankle); CB Rico McDonald (quadricep); S Frankie Smith (back).
Time: 1 p.m.
Line: Titans by 3.
Vs. spread: Titans 2-3; Saints 2-2.
Last week: Titans beat Ravens, 14-11. Saints lost to Falcons, 20-17.
Series: Tied 4-4-1.
Last meeting: Titans won, 31-14, on Nov. 10, 1996, at New Orleans.
Outlook: The Saints are nothing if not consistent. They have lost three games in a row, blowing fourth-quarter leads of at least seven points each time. To make matters worse, QB Billy Joe Hobert is hurting. He was knocked out in the second half of each of the past two games with a bruised nerve in his throwing shoulder. The Titans have won four of five, but their victory over the Ravens was as ugly as they come. Tennessee was penalized 15 times for an NFL-record 212 yards.
Notable: Saints have not scored in the fourth quarter this season.
TITANS: Out: DT Mike Jones (knee); QB Steve McNair (back); G Scott Sanderson (back-injured reserve). Questionable: S Blaine Bishop (quadricep-concussion); DE Henry Ford (shoulder); TE Jackie Harris (hamstring); DE Kenny Holmes (ankle); S Steve Jackson (hamstring); S Perry Phenix (concussion); S Marcus Robertson (hamstring); WR Yancey Thigpen (hamstring-knee).
SAINTS: Out: CB Tyronne Drakeford (groin). Doubtful: RB Josh Wilcox (shoulder). Questionable: TE Cam Cleeland (knee); QB Billy Joe Hobert (neck); LB Vinson Smith (hamstring); RB Ricky Williams (elbow-ankle).
Time: 4: 15 p.m., chs. 45, 5, 43
Line: Packers by 3 1/2.
Vs. spread: Packers 1-3; Broncos 1-3.
Last week: Packers beat Buccaneers, 26-23. Broncos beat Raiders, 16-13.
Series: Broncos lead 4-3-1.
Last meeting: Broncos won, 31-24, on Jan. 25, 1998, in Super Bowl XXXII.
Outlook: Denver won its first game of the season last week, but today they'll face the NFL's No. 1-ranked offense. Brett Favre has led the Packers to three fourth-quarter comebacks at Lambeau Field. Brian Griese gets another start at QB for the Broncos in place of an injured Bubby Brister.
Notable: Packers' defense has allowed 34 first downs passing, second fewest in the NFC.
PACKERS: Out: Jahine Arnold (knee). Questionable: T Earl Dotson (back); DT Santana Dotson (neck); DE Cletidus Hunt (ankle). Probable: DT Gilbert Brown (knee); QB Brett Favre (thumb); WR Bill Schroeder (ankle); LB Brian Williams (knee).
BRONCOS: Out: TE Shannon Sharpe (clavicle). Questionable: QB Bubby Brister (hip); S George Coghill (knee); C K.C. Jones (knee); RB Derek Loville (hamstring). Probable: DT Cyron Brown (shoulder); LB Glenn Cadrez (shoulder); CB Ray Crockett (knee); RB Olandis Gary (toe); QB Brian Griese (finger); RB Howard Griffith (toe); T Tony Jones (wrist); RB Anthony Lynn (toe); WR Ed McCaffrey (thigh); QB Chris Miller (elbow); G Dan Neil (elbow-wrist); DT Trevor Pryce (toe); G Mark Schlereth (back); WR Rod Smith (groin); CB Chris Watson (ankle); LB Nate Wayne (knee-hand); DE Alfred Williams (back).