Arizona (2-5) at N.Y. Jets (1-6)
Time: 1 p.m.
Line: Jets by 7 1/2.
Vs. spread: Cardinals 2-5; Jets 2-4.
Last week: Cardinals lost to Patriots, 27-3. Jets had a bye.
Series: Tied 2-2.
Last meeting: Jets won, 31-21, on Oct. 27, 1996, at Arizona.
Outlook: Rick Mirer vs. Dave Brown. Bad vs. Worse. Wake us when this sleep-fest is over. Ray Lucas' ankle is still sore, so the Jets are stuck with Mirer at QB for another week. As bad as he has been, Mirer should be good enough to beat Brown, subbing for an injured Jake Plummer, and a reeling Arizona team that has scored 85 points -- that's fewer than every other team except Cleveland -- and more than 16 in a game once, in the opener vs. Philadelphia.
Notable: Four of the Jets' losses have been by a TD or less, and they have led in the fourth quarter in four of those six defeats.
CARDINALS: Out: QB Jake Plummer (finger); DT Mark Smith (knee); DE Andre Wadsworth (knee). Questionable: T James Dexter (triceps); G Chris Dishman (shoulder); DT Corey Sears (rib). Probable: WR David Boston (back); WR Mac Cody (groin); G Matt Joyce (back); S Kwamie Lassiter (foot-ankle); RB Michael Pittman (shoulder); DE Simeon Rice (teeth); WR Frank Sanders (knee); DT Eric Swann (upper respiratory); S Tommy Bennett (ankle).
JETS: Questionable: S Steve Atwater (hamstring); TE Blake Spence (hand); TE Eric Green (knee).
Kansas City (5-2) at Indianapolis (5-2)
Time: 1 p.m.
Line: Colts by 4.
Vs. spread: Chiefs 4-3; Colts 5-1.
Last week: Chiefs beat Chargers, 34-0. Colts beat Cowboys, 34-24.
Series: Chiefs lead 6-5.
Last meeting: Colts won, 24-19, on Dec. 15, 1996, at Kansas City.
Outlook: The smash-mouth Chiefs face the instant-offense Colts in an intriguing matchup of surprising 5-2 teams. Indianapolis, fresh off a big victory over Dallas, is looking for its first 6-2 start since 1977. The Colts have won three in a row and have scored at least 27 points in all but one game this year. Kansas City's opportunistic defense could be in for a long day against QB Peyton Manning, WR Marvin Harrison and RB Edgerrin James. Kansas City has intercepted 13 passes, matching its 1998 total. To win this game, though, the Chiefs will need more than tough defense. They'll also need a big game from QB Elvis Grbac.
Notable: Colts lead the AFC with a 28.3-point scoring average.
CHIEFS: Questionable: LB Greg Manusky (shoulder); RB Rashaan Shehee (hip); WR Tamarick Vanover (calf). Probable: RB Bam Morris (shoulder); DE Dan Williams (knee-elbow).
COLTS: Out: WR E.G. Green (knee); DE Mark Thomas (head). Doubtful: DE Bernard Whittington (ankle); Questionable: RB Keith Elias (head); DT Tony McCoy (ankle). Probable: TE Ken Dilger (shoulder).
Denver (2-6) at San Diego(4-3)
Time: 4: 15 p.m.
Line: Broncos by 1.
Vs. spread: Broncos 3-3; Chargers 4-3.
Last week: Broncos lost to Vikings, 23-20. Chargers lost to Chiefs, 34-0.
Series: Broncos lead 42-35-1.
Last meeting: Broncos won, 31-16, on Nov. 29, 1998, at San Diego.
Outlook: The Chargers have lost their past two games by a combined score of 65-3. RB Natrone Means is out for at least two more weeks after undergoing knee surgery, and QBs Erik Kramer and Jim Harbaugh have taken turns making mistakes. For the Broncos, QB Chris Miller will make his first NFL start in four years.
Notable: Denver's 2-6 record is its worst after eight games since 1972.
BRONCOS: Out: TE Shannon Sharpe (clavicle); LB Artie Ulmer (knee); DE Alfred Williams (Achilles-IR). Questionable: QB Bubby Brister (ribs); TE Desmond Clark (knee); RB Derek Loville (hamstring); WR Ed McCaffrey (knee); DE Montae Reagor (knee). Probable: TE Byron Chamberlain (elbow); S George Coghill (knee); CB Ray Crockett (hip); RB Olandis Gary (toe); QB Brian Griese (shoulder); RB Howard Griffith (thigh); C K.C. Jones (knee); DT Mike Lodish (calf); QB Chris Miller (elbow); C Tom Nalen (knee); G Mark Schlereth (ankle); WR Rod Smith (thigh); DT Keith Traylor (shoulder); CB Chris Watson (ankle); LB Al Wilson (knee).
CHARGERS: Out: S Rodney Harrison (shoulder); RB Natrone Means (knee). Questionable: LB Eric Hill (knee-foot). Probable: RB Kenny Bynum (hip); CB Charles Dimry (knee); WR Charlie Jones (hip); CB Darryll Lewis (hamstring); T Vaughn Parker (hamstring); LB Tracy Simien (hamstring); DT Jamal Williams (knee).
Chicago (3-5) at Green Bay (4-3)
Time: 1 p.m.
Line: Packers by 9.
Vs. spread: Bears 6-2; Packers 2-5.
Series: Bears lead 81-69-6.
Last meeting: Packers won, 16-13, on Dec. 27, 1998, at Chicago.
Outlook: Green Bay suffered one of the most humiliating losses imaginable Monday night, falling to Seattle and ex-coach Mike Holmgren at Lambeau Field. No Packer was more humiliated than QB Brett Favre. With his ex-coach watching from the opponent's sideline, he completed 14 of 35 passes for 180 yards with four interceptions and two lost fumbles. His quarterback rating for the game was 38.9. That's the bad news for Green Bay. The good news is that Chicago is coming to Lambeau Field. The Bears have lost three in a row, and they've lost their past 10 games against Green Bay.
Notable: Favre has 30 TD passes in 14 career games vs. the Bears, tied for his most against any club.
BEARS: Doubtful: WR Curtis Conway (ankle); QB Shane Matthews (hamstring). Questionable: TE John Allred (shoulder); S Ray Austin (hamstring); LB Barry Minter (elbow); S Frankie Smith (hamstring).
PACKERS: Out: LB Brian Williams (knee). Questionable: DE Cletidus Hunt (ankle). Probable: DT Gilbert Brown (shoulder); QB Brett Favre (hand); DE Keith McKenzie (ankle).
Philadelphia (2-6) at Carolina (2-5)
Time: 1 p.m.
Line: Panthers by 4 1/2.
Vs. spread: Eagles 5-3; Panthers 4-3.
Series: Eagles lead 1-0.
Last meeting: Eagles won, 20-9, on Oct. 27, 1996, at Philadelphia.
Outlook: Both teams are reeling after back-to-back losses and both need a victory today to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. Philadelphia could have trouble recovering from last week's overtime loss to the Giants. They lost when DE Michael Strahan, of all people, returned an interception 44 yards for a TD. The Eagles, though, have proved to be resilient. After an 0-4 start, they've gone 2-2, and those two losses were by a combined nine points. Carolina's sputtering offense has scored one TD in the past nine quarters.
Notable: Eagles RB Duce Staley, who didn't lose a fumble last season, has lost four this year.
EAGLES: Probable: T Lonnie Palelei (shoulder); CB Troy Vincent (quadriceps).
PANTHERS: Out: G Matt Campbell (knee); WR Rae Caruth (ankle); DE Jason Peter (neck). Doubtful: RB Tshimanga Biakabutuka (ankle). Questionable: WR Patrick Jeffers (groin); G Nate Newton (shoulder). Probable: T Clarence Jones (knee); LB Hannibal Navies (knee); DE Mike Rucker (knee).
Tampa Bay (3-4) at New Orleans (1-6)
Time: 4: 05 p.m., chs. 45, 5.
Line: Bucs by 3 1/2.
Vs. spread: Bucs 2-3; Saints 2-4.
Series: Saints lead 13-5.
Last meeting: Saints won, 9-3, on Dec. 12, 1998, at New Orleans.
Outlook: If Saints coach Mike Ditka was wondering what else could go wrong for his star-crossed team, he found out last week when it lost to Cleveland on a last-second, Hail Mary pass. The news, however, wasn't all bad, as rookie RB Ricky Williams carried 40 times for 179 yards. It might take only one TD to beat Tampa Bay. The Bucs switched QBs last week -- Eric Zeier replaced Trent Dilfer -- and could only manage a field goal. At 3-4, the Bucs are dangerously close to a free fall.
Notable: Since starting last season 3-0, the Saints have lost 16 of their past 20 games.
BUCS: Out: WR Bert Emanuel (hamstring); T Jason Odom (back); WR Karl Williams (foot). Doubtful: QB Eric Zeier (rib). Probable: DE Marcus Jones (elbow); C Tony Mayberry (back); S Eric Vance (foot); DE Steve White (ankle).
SAINTS: Out: LB Mark Fields (back); G Wally Williams (neck). Doubtful: QB Billy Joe Hobert (neck). Questionable: CB Ashley Ambrose (ankle); G Chris Naeole (knee); TE Cam Cleeland (hamstring); G Chris Naeole (knee); TE Scott Slutzker (knee). Probable: WR Andre Hastings (hamstring); RB Dino Philyaw (hamstring).
Pittsburgh (4-3) at San Francisco (3-4)
Time: 4: 15 p.m., Ch. 13.
Line: 49ers by 2 1/2.
Vs. spread: Steelers 3-3; 49ers 2-5.
Last week: Both teams had a bye.
Series: 49ers lead 9-7.
Last meeting: 49ers won, 25-15, on Dec. 16, 1996, at Pittsburgh.
Outlook: In their past three games, all losses, the 49ers allowed a combined 113 points, but help is on the way, at least for one day, wearing Steelers black and gold. Pittsburgh's offense, particularly its passing attack, has been a disaster, and in their past five games, the Steelers have averaged 12.8 points. QB Kordell Stewart has more interceptions (five) than TD passes (four). And if Stewart and Co. can't help the 49ers' struggling secondary, no one can. The game also features the league's only perfect kickers -- Steelers rookie Kris Brown and the 49ers' Wade Richey are both 11-for-11.
Notable: 49ers have given up 40 points in a game three times in a season for the first time since 1963.
STEELERS: Doubtful: DE Nolan Harrison (pectoral). Questionable: C Dermontti Dawson (hamstring). Probable: G Alan Faneca (ankle); DE Orpheus Roye (ankle). 49ERS: Out: TE Greg Clark (ribs-lungs); QB Steve Young (concussion). Questionable: S Lance Schulters (ankle). Probable: WR Terrell Owens (ankle); LB Anthony Peterson (groin).
Jacksonville (6-1) at Atlanta (2-6)
Time: 1 p.m.
Line: Jaguars by 6.
Vs. spread: Jaguars 4-3; Falcons 4-4.
Last week: Jaguars beat Bengals, 41-10. Falcons beat Panthers, 27-20.
Series: Jaguars lead 1-0.
Last meeting: Jaguars won, 19-17, on Dec. 22, 1996, at Jacksonville.
Outlook: On paper, this looks like a huge mismatch. Jacksonville has allowed fewer yards and points than any other team. The Jaguars own the NFL's top rushing attack and are tied with Miami with a league-best 4-0 road record. Jags in a rout? Not so fast. Despite their rough start, the Falcons have continued to fight, showing the pride of a team that reached the Super Bowl last season. The Falcons' defense still is strong, and as long as QB Chris Chandler remains healthy enough to play, they're dangerous.
Notable: Four of the Jaguars' wins have been by 14 points or more.
JAGUARS: Out: RB Chris Howard (knee); LB Erik Storz (knee-IR); G Rich Tylski (foot). Questionable: T Tony Boselli (ankle). Probable: CB Aaron Beasley (shoulder); LB Brant Boyer (shoulder); QB Mark Brunell (rib); RB Fred Taylor (hamstring); DE Renaldo Wynn (ankle).
FALCONS: Out: G Gene Williams (ankle). Questionable: G Greg Bishop (knee); LB Keith Brooking (knee); S Marty Carter (knee); CB Elijah Williams (knee). Probable: S Omar Brown (ankle); TE Brian Kozlowski (calf); LB Jessie Tuggle (quadriceps).
St. Louis (6-1) at Detroit (5-2)
Time: 1 p.m.
Line: Rams by 3 1/2.
Vs. spread: Rams 6-1; Lions 5-2.
Last week: Rams lost to Titans, 24-21. Lions beat Bucs, 20-3.
Series: Rams lead 39-35-1.
Last meeting: Lions won, 16-13, on Oct. 24, 1993, at Los Angeles.
Outlook: The Rams and Lions have turned out to be two of the league's most surprising success stories, leading their respective NFC divisions. The Rams finally lost a game last week, but they also proved they won't fold at the first sign of trouble. St. Louis fell behind 21-0 in the first quarter but would have forced overtime if Jeff Wilkins hadn't missed a 38-yard field-goal attempt in the final seconds. The Lions stand atop the NFC Central and have outscored their past two opponents 44-12. Last week it was RB Greg Hill's turn to play hero, rushing for 123 yards against Tampa Bay.
Notable: Rams have scored an NFL-best 31 TDs and have allowed an NFC-low 87 points.
RAMS: Questionable: RB Robert Holcombe (knee); K Jeff Wilkins (knee). Probable: WR Az-Zahir Hakim (ankle); LB Mike Morton (knee).
LIONS: Out: DE Jared DeVries (foot); WR Herman Moore (knee); RB Ron Rivers (ankle). Questionable: DE Mike Pringley (shoulder); WR Iheanyi Uwaezuoke (ankle); CB Bryant Westbrook (hamstring). Probable: RB Sedrick Irvin (ankle-hamstring).
Cincinnati (1-7) at Seattle (5-2)
Time: 4: 15 p.m.
Line: Seahawks by 13 1/2.
Vs. spread: Bengals 1-7; Seahawks 3-4.
Last week: Bengals lost to Jaguars, 41-10. Seahawks beat Packers, 27-7.
Series: Tied 7-7.
Last meeting: Seahawks won, 24-21, on Sept. 17, 1995, at Seattle.
Outlook: Talk about two teams going in opposite directions. The Seahawks are coming off a huge Monday night victory over Green Bay in ex-Packers coach Mike Holmgren's return to Lambeau Field. The Bengals are coming off a blowout loss to Jacksonville and have scored just one TD in their past three games. It's gotten so bad in Cincinnati that beleaguered coach Bruce Coslet ended his postgame news conference last week after 20 seconds without taking questions.
Notable: Seattle's defense leads the NFL with 22 take-aways and 17 interceptions.
BENGALS: Out: CB Roosevelt Blackmon (ankle); G Brian DeMarco (elbow); CB Artrell Hawkins (shoulder-ankle); DE Jevon Langford (knee); QB Akili Smith (toe). Questionable: T Willie Anderson (foot-knee); S Greg Myers (hamstring). Probable: TE Steve Bush (knee); LB Billy Granville (ankle).
SEAHAWKS: Out: DeShone Myles (knee). Questionable: RB Reggie Brown (toe); S Darryl Williams (hamstring). Probable: ; WR Charles Jordan (hamstring); G Pete Kendall (stinger); RB Mack Strong (hamstring).
Tennessee (6-1) at Miami (6-1)
Time: 8: 20 p.m., ESPN.
Line: Dolphins by 3.
Vs. spread: Titans 3-3; Dolphins 4-3.
Last week: Titans beat Rams, 24-21. Dolphins beat Raiders, 16-9.
Series: Dolphins lead 13-11.
Last meeting: Dolphins won, 16-13, in OT on Sept. 6, 1997, at Miami.
Outlook: This prime-time showdown could turn out to be an AFC title game preview. The Titans passed their toughest test of the year last week, handing St. Louis its first loss. After undergoing back surgery and missing five starts, QB Steve McNair returned to the lineup and made up for lost time. He threw for two TDs and ran for another. This time, McNair will face one of the NFL's stingiest defenses. But the Titans might not have to score many points to beat a Miami team still missing injured QB Dan Marino.
Notable: Dolphins' third-ranked defense has not allowed a TD in more than 10 quarters.
TITANS: Questionable: DT Josh Evans (back); RB Spencer George (groin); DE Kenny Holmes (ankle); CB Steve Jackson (hamstring); TE Mike Roan (neck); CB Denard Walker (hamstring); TE Frank Wycheck (knee).
DOLPHINS: Out: C John Bock (knee-IR); QB Dan Marino (cervical nerve root). Questionable: LB Anthony Harris (groin); DE Kenny Mixon (multiple abrasions-contusions). Probable: G Mark Dixon (groin); TE Troy Drayton (toe); RB J.J. Johnson (hamstring); CB Sam Madison (hamstring); CB Jerry Wilson (leg).