Nfl Week 5

September 28, 1997

Tennesse (1-2 at Pittsburgh (1-2)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Steelers by 6 1/2

Vs. spread: Oilers 2-1; Steelers 0-3.

Last week: Oilers lost to Ravens, 36-10. Steelers lost to Jaguars, 30-21.

Worth watching: This could shape up as a battle of tough running backs: the Oilers' Eddie George, averaging 5.3 yards per carry, vs. the Steelers' Jerome Bettis (4.9). George, however, was held to a career-low 40 yards last week.

Outlook: These teams look alike: middle-of-the pack quarterbacks in Steve McNair and Kordell Stewart, solid running games and run-stopping defenses. Give the edge to the Steelers, though, since they are playing at home and have won five of the past six meetings.

Notable: Pittsburgh has allowed 90 rushing yards or fewer in six straight regular-season games.

Injuries:

OILERS: Questionable: S Blaine Bishop (arm); KR Mel Gray (concussion).

STEELERS: Out: G Brenden Stai (ankle). Questionable: LB Steve Conley (ankle); K Chris Jacke (hip); CB Chad Scott (ankle). Probable: S Myron Bell (foot); LB Carlos Emmons (shoulder); LB Jason Gildon (shoulder).

St. Louis (2-2 at Oakland (1-3)

Time: 4 p.m.

Line: Raiders by 7 1/2

Vs. spread: Rams 2-2; Raiders 2-2.

Last week: Rams beat Giants, 13-3. Raiders lost to Jets, 23-22.

Worth watching: Raiders QB Jeff George continues to put on a good show, ranking second in the league in passing with nine TD passes and only two interceptions. Rams S Keith Lyle leads the league with four interceptions.

Outlook: The Rams are off to a surprising start, but their victories have come against the Saints and Giants, and they were blown out by the Broncos in their only road game. The Raiders' three losses have come by a combined five points, and their No. 1-ranked offense should make the difference.

Notable: Both teams deserted Los Angeles after the 1994 season. Since then, the Rams are 15-21, the Raiders 16-20.

Injuries:

RAMS: Out: WR Isaac Bruce (hamstring). Doubtful: C Bern Brostek (back). Questionable: LB Britt Hager (neck); RB Jerald Moore (elbow). Probable: TE Ernie Conwell (knee); C Mike Gruttadauria (ankle).

RAIDERS: Questionable: CB Terry McDaniel (knee). Probable: T Lincoln Kennedy (ankle); WR Olanda Truitt (hamstring); DE Darrell Russell (shoulder).

Arizona (1-2 at Tampa Bay (4-0)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Bucs by 7

Vs. spread: Cardinals 3-0; Bucs 4-0.

Last week: Cardinals had a bye; Bucs beat Dolphins, 31-21.

Worth watching: For the Cardinals to have a chance, DE Simeon Rice needs to put on the pressure -- he and linemate Eric Swann each have three sacks. Tampa Bay rookie RB Warrick Dunn is averaging 4.8 yards a carry.

Outlook: The Bucs are going for their first 5-0 start since 1979 and their first six-game winning streak ever. Trent Dilfer's improving work (he leads the NFL with a quarterback rating of 105.8) and Dunn's rushing and receiving should make the difference.

Notable: Tampa Bay is only the fourth team in NFL history to start 0-4 one season and follow it by a 4-0 start.

Injuries:

CARDINALS: Out: LB Eric Hill (ankle). Questionable: T James Dexter (knee); T Matt Joyce (knee); RB Derrick Moore (knee); G Rob Selby (back). Probable: RB Kevin Bouie (hamstring).

BUCS: Doubtful: LB Rufus Porter (shoulder). Questionable: FB Mike Alstott (knee); CB Anthony Parker (hamstring). Probable: DT Warren Sapp (ankle); DE Eric Curry (knee); G Frank Middleton (knee).

Green Bay (3-1) at Detroit (2-2)

Time: 1 p.m., Ch. 45

Line: Packers by 7 1/2

Vs. spread: Packers 0-4; Lions 2-2.

Last week: Packers beat Vikings, 38-32. Lions lost to Saints, 35-17.

Worth watching: Nearly invisible in weeks 1 and 2, Detroit RB Barry Sanders has rushed for more than 100 yards each of the past two games. Green Bay QB Brett Favre is warming up, coming off a five-TD performance vs. the Vikings.

Outlook: The Packers are sometimes vulnerable in games on artificial turf. But the Lions, under Bobby Ross, seem to have the same schizophrenic character they displayed under Wayne Fontes, as last week's loss to the Saints displayed.

Notable: Favre has 14 TD passes in his past five games against the Lions.

Injuries:

PACKERS: Questionable: LB Seth Joyner (knee); C Frank Winters (foot). Probable: DT Gilbert Brown (knee); TE Mark Chmura (knee); CB Doug Evans (hamstring).

LIONS: Out: LB Ben Hanks (knee); G Chris Harrison (knee). Doubtful: RB Terry Battle (knee); TE Pete Chryplewicz (shoulder); S Ron Rice (ankle). Questionable: LB Stephen Boyd (quadriceps); CB Greg Jeffries (quadriceps); TE David Sloan (ankle).

Chicago (0-4) at Dallas (2-1)

Time: 4 p.m., chs. 45, 5

Line: Cowboys by 14

Vs. spread: Bears 1-3; Cowboys 1-2.

Last week: Bears lost to Patriots, 31-3. Cowboys had a bye.

Worth watching: Dallas WR Michael Irvin (15 catches, two TDs) should be able to operate against Chicago's struggling secondary. Bears QB Rick Mirer must at least try to throw the ball deep.

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