Nfl Week 15

December 08, 1996

Atlanta (2-11) at New Orleans (2-11)

Time 1 p.m.

Line: Saints by 2

Vs. spread: Falcons 4-9; Saints 5-8.

Last week: Falcons lost to 49ers, 34-10; Saints lost to Rams, 26-10.

Outlook: NFC West cellar isn't big enough for both sad-sack teams. Saints are near bottom of league in most offensive categories, and Falcons are near bottom in most defensive stats. Does bad defense beat decent offense, or vice versa? Maybe Doug Nussmeier -- who? -- will give New Orleans a spark, subbing at QB for Jim Everett.

By the numbers: Falcons allowed 464 total yards vs. 49ers. Saints have lost six straight and are 0-5 under interim coach Rick Venturi.

Injuries:

FALCONS: Out: LB Cornelius Bennett (quadriceps), CB Juran Bolden (elbow), CB Tim McKyer (arm). Questionable: DE Lester Archambeau (hip), DT Moe Gardner (ankle), WR Terance Mathis (thigh), CB Elbert Shelley (hamstring). T Bob Whitfield (back). Probable: DT Travis Hall (neck), DE Chuck Smith (knee).

SAINTS: Out: TE Irv Smith (knee). Doubtful: WR Michael Haynes (foot), RB Ray Zellars (neck), WR Mercury Hayes (hamstring). Questionable: QB Jim Everett (concussion). Probable: DT Willie Broughton (eye), LB Ernest Dixon (thigh), S Anthony Newman (neck), WR Torrance Small (neck), RB Ricky Whittle (shoulder).

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Statistical comparison:

Off. Def.

NFL RANKINGS Tot. Rush Pass Tot. Rush Pass

Atlanta 19 28 10 28 25 25

New Orleans 28 30 22 18 29 5

Yds. Yds.

PER GAME Pts. rush pass TO Sacks

Atlanta Off. 18.0 86.9 226.9 2.4 2.8

Def. 30.2 126.2 235.2 1.3 2.4

New Orleans Off. 14.2 75.2 190.5 2.4 1.5

Def. 22.4 139.5 189.8 0.8 2.1

N.Y. Giants (5-8) at Miami (6-7)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Dolphins by 7

Vs. spread: Giants 6-7; Dolphins 5-8.

Last week: Giants lost to Eagles, 24-0; Dolphins lost to Raiders, ,, 17-7.

Outlook: QB Dan Marino and Dolphins seemed primed for playoff run after beating Colts and Oilers in consecutive weeks, but losses to Steelers and Raiders have pretty much doomed chances for team that started season a promising 3-0. Giants, after stunning Cowboys, pulled up lame against Eagles and can't run ball anymore, gaining just 3.3 yards per attempt, third-worst average in NFL.

By the numbers: Giants have 10 interceptions and eight fumble recoveries in last six games. Dolphins are 14-for-25 (.560) on field-goal attempts, worst percentage in NFL.

Injuries:

GIANTS: Doubtful: RB Keith Elias (knee), TE Aaron Pierce (knee-flu), C Brian Williams (back-flu), S Tito Wooten (ankle). Questionable: LB Corey Miller (ankle). Probable: T Scott Gragg (ankle).

DOLPHINS: Out: RB Jerris McPhail (arm). Questionable: DT Daryl Gardner (back). Probable: T James Brown (chest), CB Tim Jacobs (ankle), S Louis Oliver (ribs), G Keith Sims (knee), LB Zach Thomas (hamstring).

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Statistical comparison:

Off. Def.

NFL RANKINGS Tot. Rush Pass Tot. Rush Pass

Giants 30 20 30 15 19 16

Miami 20 25 13 21 10 26

Yds. Yds.

PER GAME Pts. rush pass TO Sacks

N.Y. Giants Off. 15.4 98.8 149.5 2.1 3.3

Def. 19.2 112.6 209.2 2.1 1.9

Miami Off. 21.9 93.6 218.8 1.6 2.2

Def. 20.5 97.8 237.5 2.4 2.2

Carolina (9-4) at San Francisco (10-3)

Time: 4 p.m., Ch. 45

Line: 49ers by 10

Vs. spread: Panthers 10-3; 49ers 7-6.

Last week: Panthers beat Bucs, 24-0. 49ers beat Falcons, 34-10.

Outlook: 49ers can clinch NFC West with victory, but Panthers are 2-1 vs. San Francisco. Carolina has defense that causes headaches with confusing blitz packages and will have to keep 49ers' Steve Young in the pocket, because he's just as dangerous running as throwing. Real problem for Panthers is their offense, which ranks 25th overall and 27th in passing, and faces fourth-ranked 49ers unit that is tough and experienced.

By the numbers: Panthers have allowed one TD and 19 points over last 15 quarters. 49ers are second in NFC with 122.1 rushing yards per game.

Injuries:

PANTHERS: Questionable: T Blake Brockermeyer (thumb), WR Muhsin Muhammad (hamstring). Probable: WR Michael Bates (knee), G Brandon Hayes (shoulder), S Brett Maxie (concussion).

49ERS: Out: LB Anthony Peterson (knee). Questionable: LB Daved Benefield (knee), DE Israel Ifeanyi (neck), RB Derek Loville (toe). Probable: DT Michael Brandon (knee), DT Dennis Brown (knee), RB William Floyd (leg), RB Terry Kirby (ankle), CB Frankie Smith (knee), DT Dana Stubblefield (ribs).

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Statistical comparison:

Off. Def.

NFL RANKINGS Tot. Rush Pass Tot. Rush Pass

Carolina 25 11 27 7 6 8

San Francisco 5 8 11 4 3 7

Yds. Yds.

PER GAME Pts. rush pass TO Sacks

Carolina Off. 22.5 116.2 180.2 1.5 2.6

Def. 12.6 92.5 195.3 2.0 3.6

San Francisco Off. 25.0 122.1 223.1 1.6 2.8

Def. 15.2 86.9 192.6 2.4 3.1

Denver(12-1) at Green Bay (10-3)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Packers by 10

Vs. spread: Broncos 9-3; Packers 7-6.

Last week: Broncos beat Seahawks, 34-7; Packers beat Bears, 28-17.

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