NFL WEEK 11: TODAY'S GAMES

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Atlanta (2-7) at Tampa Bay (5-4)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Buccaneers by 7.

Vs. spread: Falcons 4-5; Buccaneers 4-3.

Last week: Falcons had bye. Buccaneer beat Chiefs, 17-10.

Series: Falcons lead 8-7.

Last meeting: Buccaneers won, 31-10, on Nov. 9, 1997, at Atlanta.

Outlook: The Bucs are on a two-game roll thanks in large part to QB Trent Dilfer. In his past two games, Dilfer has completed 32 of 47 passes (68 percent) for 497 yards and five TDs with only one interception. Mike Alstott fumbled three times last week, but the Bucs overcame the turnovers to pull within one game of the first-place Lions in the NFC Central. The Bucs have allowed only 128 points -- 14.2 a game. That's bad news for a Falcons team that is averaging 13 points a game.

Notable: Falcons have scored more than 14 points in only two games this season, both victories.

Injuries:

FALCONS: Probable: G Greg Bishop (knee); RB Bob Christian (hamstring); TE Brian Kozlowski (calf); LB Craig Sauer (toe); DE Chuck Smith (knee); G Gene Williams (ankle).

BUCCANEERS: Out: T Jason Odom (back). Doubtful: QB Eric Zeier (rib). Questionable: C Todd Washington (ankle). Probable: RB Mike Alstott (toe); WR Bert Emanuel (hamstring); S John Lynch (back); G Frank Middleton (shoulder).

Detroit (6-3) at Green Bay (4-5)

Time: 1 p.m., chs. 45, 43.

Line: Packers by 4.

Vs. spread: Lions 6-3; Packers 2-7.

Last week: Lions lost to Cardinals, 23-19. Packers lost to Cowboys, 27-13.

Series: Packers lead 70-61-7.

Last meeting: Lions won, 23-15, on Sept. 19, at Detroit.

Outlook: Green Bay has defeated Detroit eight straight times at Lambeau Field, but that's ancient history. The Packers have lost three in a row for the first time since 1994. Last week they lost to the Cowboys, who were missing Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin. Now they'll face a team that beat them earlier in the year and is leading the NFC Central. The Lions hit a speed bump during their dream season last week.

Notable: Lions WR Germane Crowell has 13 catches for 305 yards and two TDs in past two games.

Injuries:

LIONS: Out: DE Jared DeVries (foot); LB Richard Jordan (knee); RB Ron Rivers (ankle). Doubtful: CB Kevin Abrams (toe); CB Lamar Campbell (shoulder); DE Tracy Scroggins (shoulder). Questionable: QB Charlie Batch (thumb); LB Chris Claiborne (ankle); WR Herman Moore (knee).

PACKERS: Out: G Joe Andruzzi (knee). Questionable: DE Vaughn Booker (ribs). Probable: T Earl Dotson (back); QB Brett Favre (hand); WR Desmond Howard (finger); RB Basil Mitchell (ankle); CB Tyrone Williams (neck).

Pittsburgh (5-4) at Tennessee (7-2)

Time: 1 p.m., ch. 9.

Line: Titans by 5.

Vs. spread: Steelers 4-4; Titans 4-4.

Last week: Steelers lost to Browns, 16-15. Titans beat Bengals, 24-14.

Series: Steelers lead 35-22.

Last meeting: Titans won, 23-14, on Nov. 15, 1998, at Tennessee.

Outlook: The Titans have won 11 consecutive divisional games, an AFC Central record, and have beaten the Steelers three straight times. Pittsburgh, coming off a humiliating loss to Cleveland, won't lack for motivation. Coach Bill Cowher took some pointed and public shots at QB Kordell Stewart for his poor play against Cleveland. Stewart has four straight games under 150 yards passing. Tennessee is 4-0 at home, and RB Eddie George is starting to get untracked after a slow start.

Notable: Steelers' red-zone offense is tops is AFC (16 TDs in 28 attempts) and defense is second (seven TDs allowed in 21 trips).

Injuries:

STEELERS: Out: CB Chad Scott (knee). Doubtful: C Dermontti Dawson (hamstring); DE Nolan Harrison (pectoral). Probable: CB Deshea Townsend (shoulder); RB Jon Witman (shoulder).

TITANS: Questionable: DE Henry Ford (calf); RB Spencer George (groin); CB Steve Jackson (hamstring); G Zach Piller (shoulder); TE Mike Roan (neck); T Jon Runyan (shoulder); WR Yancey Thigpen (ankle).

Dallas (5-4) at Arizona (3-6)

Time: 4: 15 p.m.

Line: Cowboys by 2.

Vs. spread: Cowboys 5-4; Cardinals 4-5.

Last week: Cowboys beat Packers, 27-13. Cardinals beat Lions, 23-19.

Series: Cowboys lead 50-23-1.

Last meeting: Cowboys won, 35-7, on Oct. 3, at Dallas.

Outlook: Cowboys have won 17 of the past 18 games in this series, including four in a row. There's a chance RB Emmitt Smith (broken hand) could return this week, but OT Larry Allen is out with a knee injury. Just when you thought the Cardinals were dead, they bounced back to beat the Lions last week. DT Eric Swann had two sacks and DE Simeon Rice had one, giving him a league-high 10.

Notable: Cowboys QB Jason Garrett is 6-2 career as a starter.

Injuries:

COWBOYS: Out: G Larry Allen (knee); WR Michael Irvin (neck); S Izell Reese (neck); CB Kenny Wheaton (knee). Doubtful: QB Troy Aikman (head); CB Kevin Mathis (hamstring); WR Wane McGarity (shoulder). Questionable: CB Deion Sanders (hamstring-groin); RB Emmitt Smith (hand). Probable: RB Robert Chancey (ankle); WR Alvin Harper (quadriceps); C Dale Hellestrae (finger); S George Teague (shoulder).

CARDINALS: Out: QB Jake Plummer (finger); DE Andre Wadsworth (knee). Doubtful: RB Michael Pittman (toe). Questionable: T James Dexter (triceps). Probable: G Chris Dishman (shoulder); DT Jerry Drake (ankle); RB Joel Makovicka (leg); RB Dennis McKinley (knee); TE Johnny McWilliams (back); T Eric Swann (knee).

Buffalo (7-3) at N.Y. Jets (3-6)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Bills by 2 1/2.

Vs. spread: Bills 5-5; Jets 3-5.

Last week: Bills beat Dolphins, 23-3. Jets beat Patriots, 24-17.

Series: Bills lead 44-33.

Last meeting: Bills won, 17-3, on Sept. 19, at Buffalo.

Outlook: The Bills crushed the Dolphins last week, sweeping that series. Now they'll try to sweep the Jets and extend their winning streak to four. This game features the AFC's top two rushing attacks, No. 1 New York (136.2 yards a game) vs. No. 2 Buffalo (134.5). The Jets, coming off a Monday night victory over New England, are always hard to predict. Will they still be savoring the upset? New York boasts the league's top runner in Curtis Martin (895 yards) and now appears to have a solid QB in Ray Lucas.

Notable: Bills QB Doug Flutie's winning percentage (23-11, .676) is tops among active QBs with at least 25 starts.

Injuries:

BILLS: Out: TE Sheldon Jackson (ankle); G Joe Panos (neck); RB Thurman Thomas (liver contusion). Doubtful: DT Shawn Price (lower back). Questionable: RB Jonathan Linton (knee); RB Antowain Smith (toe).

JETS: Out: T Jason Fabini (knee-injured reserve); TE Eric Green (knee). Probable: T Jumbo Elliott (back); WR Keyshawn Johnson (leg).

Indianapolis (7-2) at Philadelphia (3-7)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Colts by 7.

Vs. spread: Colts 7-1; Eagles 6-4.

Last week: Colts beat Giants, 27-19. Eagles beat Redskins, 35-28.

Series: Colts lead 7-6.

Last meeting: Colts won, 37-19, on Dec. 5, 1996, at Indianapolis.

Outlook: The Colts have won five in a row and have shown no signs of slowing down. Last week they climbed into a first-place tie with the Dolphins in the AFC East and are vying for their first six-game winning streak since 1977. Not bad for a team that finished 3-13 last year, last in its division. Eagles rookie QB Donovan McNabb will make his second start. Last week he threw for 60 yards, but the Eagles won thanks to six Redskins turnovers and Duce Staley's 122 yards rushing. Eagles have been competitive at home, but the Colts have a lot to play for.

Notable: Colts have won their past three road games.

Injuries:

COLTS: Doubtful: WR E. G. Green (knee). Questionable: TE Ken Dilger (head); WR Jerome Pathon (shoulder); CB Tyrone Poole (neck). Probable: CB Billy Austin (thigh); CB Jason Belser (knee); CB Jeff Burris (neck); WR Isaac Jones (finger); CB Tito Wooten (hamstring-calf).

EAGLES: Questionable: K Norm Johnson (back); T Lonnie Palelei (knee); LB William Thomas (hip).

Seattle (7-2) at Kansa City (5-4)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Chiefs by 3.

Vs. spread: Seahawks 4-5; Chiefs 4-5.

Last week: Seahawks beat Broncos, 20-17. Chiefs lost to Buccaneers, 17-10.

Series: Chiefs lead 27-14.

Last meeting: Seahawks won, 24-12, on Nov. 8, 1998, at Seattle.

Outlook: First-year Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren has a chance to go 8-2 for the third time in his career. The last two times that happened, Holmgren led the Packers to the Super Bowl. The Seahawks lead the Chiefs and Raiders by two games in the AFC West and have won four in a row. The Chiefs have lost two straight, but they're 4-0 at Arrowhead Stadium. Turnovers could turn out to be the deciding factor in this game. Kansas City has forced a league-high 29 turnovers. Seattle is tied for second, having forced 25.

Notable: Chiefs have won seven of past eight against Seahawks.

Injuries:

SEAHAWKS: Out: LB DeShone Myles (knee); S Brian Walker (hamstring). Questionable: DT Sam Adams (knee); DE Michael Sinclair (groin); LB Darrin Smith (groin).

CHIEFS: Probable: CB Juran Bolden (ankle); C Tim Grunhard (knee); CB James Hasty (ankle); WR Joe Horn (ankle); RB Bam Morris (shoulder); CB Eric Warfield (ribs); DE Dan Williams (elbow).

St. Louis (7-2) at San Francisco (3-6)

Time: 4: 15 p.m.

Line: Rams by 7 1/2.

Vs. spread: Rams 5-2; 49ers 2-7.

Last week: Rams beat Panthers, 35-10. 49ers lost to Saints, 24-6.

Series: Rams lead 49-48-2.

Last meeting: Rams won, 42-20, on Oct. 10, at St. Louis.

Outlook: Last month, the Rams beat the 49ers for the first time after 17 straight defeats to them. St. Louis QB Kurt Warner threw for five TDs in that game and his 26 TDs lead the NFL. Today, the Rams will have a chance to sweep San Francisco for the first time since 1980. Times, indeed, have changed in the NFC West. The Rams lead the division and have scored a league-high 300 points. The 49ers have allowed an NFC-worst 258 points. San Francisco's five-game losing streak, its longest since 1980, started with the loss to St. Louis.

Notable: 49ers have won eight in a row at home against the Rams.

Injuries:

RAMS: Out: DT Gaylon Hyder (back); S Keith Lyle (shoulder). Questionable: CB Taje Allen (neck); TE Ernie Conwell (knee). Probable: DE Kevin Carter (knee); RB Amp Lee (knee).

49ERS: Out: LB Joe Wesley (knee); QB Steve Young (concussion). Questionable: TE Tony Cline (back); S Lance Schulters (ankle). Probable: DT Junior Bryant (foot); LB Lee Woodall (back).

Carolina (3-6) at Cleveland (2-8)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Panthers by 5 1/2.

Vs. spread: Panthers 5-4; Browns 5-4.

Last week: Panthers lost to Rams, 35-10. Browns beat Steelers, 16-15.

Series: First meeting.

Outlook: Break up the Browns. They've won two of their past three games, including last week's stunner over the Steelers at Three Rivers Stadium. Both victories came on the game's final play. Browns rookie QB Tim Couch has thrown for 1,417 yards, leaving him 162 shy of breaking Bernie Kosar's club rookie record set in 1985. Panthers' offense has emerged as one of the league's best and could run up the score if Tshimanga Biakabutuka's sprained ankle doesn't keep him out.

Notable: Browns' Karim Abdul-Jabbar had 25 carries for 127 yards in only game vs. Panthers.

Injuries:

PANTHERS: Out: WR Rae Carruth (personal). Doubtful: G Nate Newton (elbow). Questionable: RB Tshimanga Biakabutka (ankle); G Matt Campbell (knee); DE Antonio Edwards (knee); DE Jason Peter (neck). Probable: WR Muhsin Muhammad (chest); S Mike Scurlock (back); P Ken Walter (concussion); TE Wesley Walls (knee).

BROWNS: Out: T Lomas Brown (knee); DE Arnold Miller (hand); TE Randy Palmer (knee-injured reserve); WR Leslie Shepherd (calf). Questionable: DT Darius Holland (knee); LB John Thierry (calf). Probable: DE Roy Barker (back).

New England (6-3) at Miami (7-2)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Dolphins by 3 1/2.

Vs. spread: Patriots 3-5; Dolphins 5-4.

Last week: Patriots lost to Jets, 24-17. Dolphins lost to Bills, 23-3.

Series: Dolphins lead 39-26.

Last meeting: Dolphins won, 31-30, on Oct. 17, at New England.

Outlook: The last time these two teams met, Dolphins QB Damon Huard came off the bench in place of an injured Dan Marino and threw for 240 yards and two touchdowns in a one-point victory. Since then, Huard has gone 3-1 as a starter, but his lone loss came last week. Huard will start again today, but rookie RB Cecil Collins won't be there to help carry the load. Collins broke his left leg last week. Patriots are still reeling from loss to Jets on Monday night, and a trip to Miami is not a good thing. The Dolphins are allowing only 13 points a game at home.

Notable: Patriots QB Drew Bledsoe has three 400-yard passing games in his career against Miami.

Injuries:

PATRIOTS: Out: LB Ted Johnson (biceps). Questionable: LB Vernon Crawford (knee); RB Harold Shaw (quadriceps). Probable: DE Willie McGinest (thigh).

DOLPHINS: Out: RB Cecil Collins (leg). Doubtful: QB Dan Marino (cervical nerve root). Questionable: T James Brown (foot); TE Hunter Goodwin (calf injury). Probable: S Calvin Jackson (hamstring).

Chicago (4-6) at San Diego (4-5)

Time: 4: 15 p.m.

Line: Pick.

Vs. spread: Bears 8-2; Chargers 4-5.

Last week: Bears lost to Vikings, 27-24 in OT. Chargers lost to Raiders, 28-9.

Series: Chargers lead 4-3.

Last meeting: Bears won, 27-14, on Dec. 14, 1996, at Chicago.

Outlook: The Chargers have fallen, and they can't get up. They've lost four in a row by a combined score of 126-29. This team appears headed for a complete collapse. The Bears, on the other hand, appear to be a team on the rise. They beat Green Bay two weeks ago and pushed Minnesota to overtime last week before falling in overtime.

Notable: Bears' Marcus Robinson and Bobby Engram have combined for 95 catches, ranking second in NFC only to Vikings' duo of Cris Carter and Randy Moss (117).

Injuries:

BEARS: Questionable: LB Keith Burns (ankle); WR Curtis Conway (ankle). Probable: QB Shane Matthews (hamstring).

CHARGERS: Out: S Greg Jackson (knee). Doubtful: S Rodney Harrison (shoulder); RB Natrone Means (knee). Questionable: RB Terrell Fletcher (shoulder); LB Eric Hill (foot). Probable: C David Binn (concussion); LB Lew Bush (shoulder); LB Gerald Dixon (shoulder); DE Al Fontenot (ankle); G Kendyl Jacox (knee); CB Darryll Lewis (thigh); TE Al Pupunu (shoulder); CB Terrance Shaw (thumb); RB Tremayne Stephens (thumb).

New Orleans (2-7) at Jacksonville (8-1)

Time: 8: 20 p.m., ESPN.

Line: Jaguars by 12 1/2.

Vs. spread: Saints 3-5; Jaguars 5-4.

Last week: Saints beat 49ers, 24-6. Jaguars beat Ravens, 6-3.

Series: Saints lead 1-0.

Last meeting: Saints won, 17-13, on Oct. 6, 1996, at New Orleans.

Outlook: Saints QB Billy Joe Tolliver completed 12 of 15 passes (80 percent) for 242 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions in last week's victory over the 49ers. He ran for two touchdowns and had a passer rating of 141. Now it's back to reality for Tolliver and the Saints. They'll face a Jaguars defense tied for first in the league. Jacksonville owns the league's best record, but RB Fred Taylor re-injured a hamstring last week and is out.

Notable: Jaguars have held seven opponents to 10 points or fewer this season.

Injuries:

SAINTS: Out: LB Ink Aleaga (knee); G Wally Williams (neck). Doubtful: LB Chris Bordano (ankle); CB Tyronne Drakeford (shoulder); DE Jared Tomich (ankle). Questionable: WR Brett Bech (stomach); TE Cam Cleeland (hamstring); LB Mark Fields (back); CB Alex Molden (calf); G Chris Naeole (knee). Probable: DE Troy Wilson (shoulder).

JAGUARS: Out: G Rich Tylski (foot). Questionable: S Donovin Darius (knee); RB Chris Howard (knee); DE Joel Smeenge (groin); RB Fred Taylor (hamstring); WR Alvis Whitted (knee). Probable: DE Tony Brackens (knee); DT Larry Smith (ankle).

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