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NFL Week 4: Today's Games

THE BALTIMORE SUN

St. Louis (3-0) at Atlanta (2-1)

Time: 1 p.m., Ch. 5.

Line: Rams by 6 1/2 .

Vs. spread: Rams 0-2; Falcons 2-1.

Series: Rams lead 41-23-2.

Last meeting: Rams won, 41-13, on Oct. 17, 1999, at Atlanta.

Outlook: The Super Bowl champion Rams are flying on offense but have been scorched on defense, allowing nearly 400 yards a game and no fewer than 24 points in each of their three games. Atlanta was outscored 76-20 in two games against St. Louis last year. That is an average score of 38-10. It should be a little closer this time, but expect similar results.

Notable: Rams QB Kurt Warner is on pace to pass for more than 6,500 yards, or 1,700 more than Dan Marino's single-season NFL record.

Injuries:

RAMS: Out-DT D'Marco Farr (knee). Doubtful-RB Trung Canidate (foot). Questionable-LB Leonard Little (ankle); S Devin Bush (toe); WR Ricky Proehl (hamstring). Probable-RB Marshall Faulk (knee); RB Robert Holcombe (groin); DT Jeff Zgonina (ankle).

FALCONS: Out-WR Tim Dwight (appendicitis). Questionable-LB Chris Draft (hamstring); WR Jammi German (ankle); QB Danny Kanell (finger); LB Jeff Kelly (knee). Probable-S Ronnie Bradford (leg); DT Ed Jasper (ankle); LB Reggie Kelly (shoulder); LB Jessie Tuggle (neck).

Detroit (2-1) at Chicago (0-3)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Bears by 2.

Vs. spread: Lions 2-1; Bears 1-2.

Series: Bears lead 78-57-5.

Last meeting: Bears won, 28-10, on Dec. 18, 1999, at Chicago.

Outlook: Chicago began the season with high hopes. Now there are rustlings about replacing QB Cade McNown with Jim Miller or Shane Matthews. The problem may be the hopes were too high - the Bears were outgained 407-222 by the Giants last week. Despite their record, the Lions have just one offensive TD this year. But QB Charlie Batch, who had no training camp, should be getting better every week.

Notable: Lions are 6-2 when Batch completes more than 60 percent of his passes.

Injuries:

LIONS: Doubtful-G Stockar McDougle (knee); G Tony Semple (ankle). Questionable-G Kerlin Blaise (knee); LB Stephen Boyd (back); CB Terry Fair (knee).

BEARS: Out-LB Ty Hallock (abdominal); C Olin Kreutz (knee); S Frankie Smith (hamstring); S Shawn Wooden (hamstring). Questionable-LB Rosevelt Colvin (knee); DE Clyde Simmons (finger). Probable-CB Jerry Azumah (ankle); DE Phillip Daniels (quad); G Rex Tucker (back).

San Francisco (0-3) at Dallas (1-2)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Cowboys by 6 1/2 .

Vs. spread: 49ers 0-2; Cowboys 2-1.

Series: 49ers lead 12-7-1.

Last meeting: 49ers won, 17-10, on Nov. 2, 1999, at San Francisco.

Outlook: These teams have met in six NFC championship games, but both are nowhere near that caliber anymore. Is this Dallas team, not as talented as others, better off with the more mobile and athletic Randall Cunningham at quarterback than Troy Aikman? The 49ers have been scoring, but the 115 points they've allowed are 21 more than any other NFL team.

Notable: Cowboys have won seven of their past nine home games.

Injuries:

49ERS: Out-DT Junior Bryant (neck). DE Chike Okeafor (hamstring). Questionable-RB Travis Jervey (back). Probable-TE Greg Clark (knee); RB Terry Jackson (knee); LB Ken Norton Jr. (back); LB Pierson Prioleau (knee); LB Jeff Ulbrich (shoulder).

COWBOYS: Out-CB Charlie Williams (knee). Doubtful-WR Wane McGarity (ankle); Dat Nguyen (knee). Questionable-QB Troy Aikman (concussion); WR Raghib Ismail (hamstring). Probable-T Flozell Adams (ankle); CB Dwayne Goodrich (hamstring); G Solomon Page (hamstring).

New England (0-3) at Miami (2-1)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Dolphins by 4.

Vs. spread: Patriots 1-2; Dolphins 2-1.

Series: Dolphins lead 40-26.

Last meeting: Patriots won, 27-17, on Nov. 21, 1999, at Miami.

Outlook: The Miami defense is clicking. It has three players with at least two interceptions, is allowing 6.3 points a game and has allowed only one TD. It is fast, quick and decisive. Credit coach Dave Wannstedt and his staff for massaging this defense into a force. The struggling Patriots knew their offense was in trouble, just not how much. The last time the Patriots opened the season 0-3, they finished 5-11, so things are looking bleak for New England.

Notable: Dolphins have not lost a September home game in seven years (12-0).

Injuries:

PATRIOTS: Out-S Larry Whigham (knee). Doubtful-LB Matt Chatham (shoulder). Questionable-G Max Lane (hand); LB Willie McGinest (leg).

DOLPHINS: Out-DT Daryl Gardener (back); CB Ray Hill (ankle). Questionable-WR Tony Martin (foot); T Richmond Webb (knee-ankle). Probable-WR Oronde Gadsden (hamstring); S Greg Jeffries (hamstring); CB Ben Kelly (knee); RB Rob Konrad (concussion); LB Twan Russell (concussion); CB Jerry Wilson (thumb).

Philadelphia (1-2) at New Orleans (1-2)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Saints by 1 1/2 .

Vs. spread: Eagles 2-1; Saints 1-2.

Series: Eagles lead 12-8.

Last meeting: Eagles won, 15-10, on Oct. 1, 1995, at New Orleans.

Outlook: Since scoring 41 points in their opener, the Eagles have managed just 21. And RB Duce Staley, who had 201 yards rushing in the opener, now has 272. The Saints' Joe Horn has caught 24 passes, and 12 more would break his career high. That says plenty about the Saints' choice to pluck Horn away from Kansas City. The Saints also play stiff defense, and that should earn them a victory.

Notable: Saints have converted 22 third-down attempts, tied for most in the NFC.

Injuries:

EAGLES: Out-S Brian Dawkins (appendectomy). Questionable-WR Torrance Small (hamstring); T Tra Thomas (knee); G John Welbourn (ankle). Probable-WR Na Brown (hand); LB Carlos Emmons (quadriceps); DT Paul Grasmanis (stinger); TE Chad Lewis (chest); QB Donovan McNabb (hip); T Jon Runyan (knee-ankle).

SAINTS: Out-S Rob Kelly (fibula); RB Jerald Moore (neck). Questionable-LB Charlie Clemons (calf); LB Donta Jones (groin); CB Fred Thomas (knee). Probable-RB Chad Morton (elbow).

N.Y. Jets (3-0) at Tampa Bay (3-0)

Time: 4:15 p.m., chs. 13, 9.

Line: Bucs by 7.

Vs. spread: Jets 2-1; Bucs 3-0.

Series: Jets lead 6-1.

Last meeting: Jets won, 31-0, on Dec. 14, 1997, at New York.

Outlook: When the Jets and Tampa Bay connected on the Keyshawn Johnson trade in April, it insured that this game would be a focal point of the 2000 season. Johnson has done his part to keep things spicy. The Jets, in return, have offered a tweak or two at Johnson, but in much milder tones. Johnson made the Jets a better team, and he has done the same for Tampa Bay. He will make plenty of plays in this game. But it is the Tampa Bay defense that figures to rule. Also, look for the Bucs to pick on Jets DB Marcus Coleman.

Notable: Jets are seeking the first 4-0 start in club history.

Injuries:

JETS: None reported.

BUCS: Questionable-S David Gibson (foot); WR Andre Hastings (finger). Probable-DT James Cannida (back); K Martin Gramatica (rib); CB Dexter Jackson (ankle); WR Keyshawn Johnson (knee); DE John McLaughlin (knee).

Tennessee (1-1) at Pittsburgh (0-2)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Titans by 7.

Vs. spread: Titans 0-2; Steelers 0-2.

Series: Steelers lead 35-24.

Last meeting: Titans won, 47-36, on Jan. 2, 2000, at Pittsburgh.

Outlook: OK, the Steelers were hurt by a mistake by officials in the final seconds in Cleveland last week. But they still have dire problems at quarterback - Kent Graham's confusion on the final play is one reason he's been unable to hold a starting job in Arizona and with the New York Giants. QB Steve McNair's chest injury may keep him out for the Titans, but Neil O'Donnell's not a bad replacement, something Pittsburgh fans are sure to notice.

Notable: Titans have won 15 of their past 16 AFC Central games.

Injuries:

TITANS: Out-WR Kevin Dyson (knee); DE Byron Frisch (ankle). Questionable-LB Frank Chamberlin (shoulder); LB Greg Favors (ankle); QB Steve McNair (chest); WR Yancey Thigpen (hamstring).

STEELERS: Out-DT Kendrick Clancy (ankle); RB Richard Huntley (hamstring). Questionable-WR Troy Edwards (hamstring); DE Chris Sullivan (back). Probable-C Dermontti Dawson (hamstring); S Lee Flowers (groin); DE Kevin Henry (virus); DL Kimo Von Oelhoffen (calf).

Green Bay (1-2) at Arizona (1-1)

Time: 4:05 p.m., Ch. 45.

Line: Cardinals by 1.

Vs. spread: Packers 0-3; Cardinals 1-1.

Series: Packers lead 40-21-4.

Last meeting: Packers won, 49-24, on Jan 2, 2000, at Green Bay.

Outlook: Packers QB Brett Favre has never played at Arizona. After this long day in the desert, he might not want to return. Green Bay escaped an 0-3 start by slipping past Philadelphia, 6-3, in Green Bay. The Packers are not ready for this road test, especially since the Cardinals enjoyed a bye last week and will enter refreshed.

Notable: Favre has 238 career TD passes and needs two to pass 12th-ranked Len Dawson on the all-time NFL list

Injuries:

PACKERS: Out-WR Corey Bradford (leg); T Earl Dotson (back); CB Mike McKenzie (knee); LB Brian Williams (knee). Doubtful-CB-S Antuan Edwards (knee). Questionable-DE Billy Lyon (knee); C Frank Winters (ankle). Probable-QB Brett Favre (elbow); RB Dorsey Levens (ankle); DE John Thierry (knee).

CARDINALS: Out-DE Andre Wadsworth (knee). Questionable-SS Tommy Bennett (hamstring); G Lester Holmes (knee); T L.J. Shelton (knee). Probable-DE Thomas Burke (knee); G-C Chris Dishman (elbow); C Mike Gruttadauria (knee); LB Zack Walz (knee).

Kansas City (1-2) at Denver (2-1)

Time: 4:15 p.m.

Line: Broncos by 6 1/2 .

Vs. spread: Chiefs 2-1; Broncos 3-0

Series: Chiefs lead 45-34.

Last meeting: Chiefs won, 16-10, on Dec. 5, 1999, at Denver.

Outlook: Chiefs QB Elvis Grbac leads the league in TD tosses but Denver has been an opportunistic team and leads the league in turnover differential. If the Chiefs lead at halftime, watch out - they have won 26 straight games when leading at the half. But the Chiefs are 1-3 in their past four at Mile High and will find it rough going stopping Denver's offense.

Notable: Broncos RB Terrell has eight TD runs against the Chiefs, his most against any foe.

Injuries:

CHIEFS: Out-DE Ty Parten (knee); G Dave Szott (arm). Doubtful-DE Duane Clemons (hip). Questionable RB Donnell Bennett (foot). Probable-RB Dante Hall (back); CB James Hasty (toe); WR Larry Parker (back); CB Eric Warfield (back).

BRONCOS: Out-K Jason Elam (back); S Kenoy Kennedy (knee). Doubtful-WR Robert Brooks (hamstring). Questionable-TE Dwayne Carswell (shoulder); RB Terrell Davis (ankle); QB Brian Griese (shoulder); DT Trevor Pryce (knee); DT Montae Reagor (ankle). Probable-DE Harald Hasselbach (ankle); RB Detron Smith (foot).

Seattle (1-2) at San Diego (0-3)

Time: 4:15 p.m.

Line: Seahawks by 2 1/2 .

Vs. spread: Seahawks 2-1; Chargers 1-2

Series: Chargers lead 22-20.

Last meeting: Chargers won, 19-16, on Dec. 12, 1999, at Seattle.

Outlook: Chargers coach Mike Riley has suffered plenty of bumps in only his second season, but he has been able to master Seattle and coach Mike Holmgren. Ryan Leaf returns at quarterback for San Diego, and is this another bump for Riley? Probably not. Leaf should make good on his second chance as San Diego's starter. Check out the Seattle run defense, which allows only 2.8 yards a carry, tied for third in the NFL.

Notable: Seahawks are 8-1 when RB Ricky Watters rushes for 100 yards or more.

Injuries:

SEAHAWKS: Questionable-WR Derrick Mayes (ankle).

CHARGERS: Out-TE Reggie Davis (knee); S Jason Perry (knee). Doubtful-QB Moses Moreno (shoulder). Questionable-CB Fakhir Brown (shoulder); WR Jeff Graham (hamstring-back); CB DeRon Jenkins (hamstring). Probable-RB Robert Chancey (neck); CB Darryll Lewis (ribs); LB John Reeves (hip).

Cleveland (2-1) at Oakland (2-1)

Time: 4:15 p.m.

Line: Raiders by 10 1/2 .

Vs. spread: Browns 2-1; Raiders 1-2.

Series: Raiders lead 8-4.

Last meeting: Browns won, 19-16, on Sept. 20, 1993, at Los Angeles.

Outlook: Yes, the Browns are 2-1 but no one takes them seriously yet - their victims are like them, after all, at the bottom of the power rankings, and they had help from the refs to beat the Steelers. The Raiders, on the other hand, need a win, preferably a big one, to re-establish the perception of power that came from their comeback win in Indianapolis.

Notable: Browns' Tim Couch is second in the NFL with a 107.7 QB rating.

Injuries:

BROWNS: Out-WR JaJuan Dawson (clavicle-injured reserve). Doubtful-LB Lenoy Jones (abdominal). Probable-T Roger Chanoine (neck); P Chris Gardocki (back); TE Aaron Shea (wrist); Dave Wohlabaugh (thumb).

RAIDERS: Questionable-LB Eric Barton (hamstring); TE Jeremy Brigham (shoulder). Probable-DT Austin Robbins (ankle).

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