Nfl Week 7

October 12, 1997

Atlanta (0-5) at New Orleans (2-4)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Saints by 2

Vs. spread: Falcons 1-3; Saints 2-3.

Last week: Falcons had a bye; Saints beat Bears, 20-17.

Worth watching: Believe it or not, the Saints' defense is one of the strongest in the league. DE Wayne Martin leads the league with 7 1/2 sacks and New Orleans has posted a league-high 24.

Outlook: Can Mike Ditka's team make it two in a row? If the euphoria of beating the Bears has worn off, the Saints' aggressive defense should be able to contain the Falcons' woeful offense. As long as QB Heath Shuler doesn't make too many mistakes, the Saints should win.

Notable: Falcons are 6-2 after bye weeks. Saints were 0-for-12 on third-down conversions vs. the Bears.

Injuries:

FALCONS: Doubtful: C Roman Fortin (ankle). Questionable: QB Chris Chandler (sternum); WR Michael Haynes (rib); DE Anthony Pleasant (knee). Probable: DE Lester Archambeau (groin).

SAINTS: Out: G Chris Naeole (ankle); TE Irv Smith (knee). Questionable: WR Brett Bech (shoulder); CB Alex Molden (ankle). Probable: WR Eric Guliford (rib).

Philadelphia (2-3) at Jacksonville (4-1)

Time: 1 p.m., chs. 45, 5

Line: Jaguars by 3

Vs. spread: Eagles 3-2; Jaguars 3-2.

Last week: Eagles beat Redskins, 24-10. Jaguars beat Bengals, 21-13.

Worth watching: Eagles RB Ricky Watters (4.1 yards a carry) could be ready for a big game. The Jaguars need more production from QB Mark Brunell, who has been ordinary since returning from a preseason knee injury.

Outlook: The Eagles' second-ranked offense is capable of dominating Jacksonville's mediocre defense. If Watters runs free, the Eagles could pull off the upset and get back into the NFC East race.

Notable: Jaguars' Jimmy Smith is third in the AFC with 11 third- down receptions.

Injuries:

EAGLES: Probable: G Ian Beckles (foot); S Brian Dawkins (shoulder); C Steve Everitt (hamstring); LB Jeff Herrod (hamstring); WR Chris T. Jones (knee); DT Jimmie Jones (ankle); Darrin Smith (ankle); DT Hollis Thomas (abdominal); CB Troy Vincent (shoulder).

JAGUARS: Out: CB Aaron Beasley (hip). Questionable: LB James Hamilton (quadriceps). Probable: S Dana Hall (back).

N.Y.Giants (3-3) at Arizona (1-4)

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

Line: Cardinals by 5 1/2

Vs. spread: Giants 2-3; Cardinals 4-1.

Last week: Giants beat Cowboys, 20-17. Cardinals lost to Vikings, 20-19.

Worth watching: Giants QB Danny Kanell gets his first NFL start, replacing the ineffective and injured Dave Brown. Cardinals DE Eric Swann, who has five sacks, has the challenge of getting through a tough offensive line.

Outlook: New York is riding high after its improbable upset of the Cowboys, but the Cardinals' Kevin Butler is due to make a game-winning field goal one of these weeks.

Notable: Giants gained only 166 yards last week, the 10th time this decade they finished a game with fewer than 170.

Injuries:

GIANTS: Out: QB Dave Brown (pectoral); C Derek Engler (ankle); C Brian Williams (eye). Doubtful: RB Rodney Hampton (knee); DE Cedric Jones (knee); WR Thomas Lewis (toe). Questionable: RB Tiki Barber (knee); LB Marcus Buckley (hip).

CARDINALS: Questionable: S Tommy Bennett (chest); RB Larry Centers (knee); T James Dexter (knee); LB Eric Hill (ankle); T Matt Joyce (knee); RB Derrick Moore (knee). Probable: LB Jamir Miller (neck).

Buffalo (3-2) at New England (4-1)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Patriots by 8 1/2

Vs. spread: Bills 2-3; Patriots 3-2.

Last week: Bills beat Lions, 22-13. Patriots lost to Broncos, 34-13.

Worth watching: Bills WR Andre Reed has a history of playing well against the Patriots, with 100 receiving yards in three of the past four meetings. Patriots RB Curtis Martin has a touchdown in 17 of his past 18 home games.

Outlook: The Patriots can't afford to be sluggish after their blowout loss in Denver, because a defeat would make the division race interesting. Terrell Davis raced through the New England defense for 172 yards, so the Bills are bound to turn Thurman Thomas and Antowain Smith loose.

Notable: Patriots K Adam Vinatieri has converted 16 consecutive field-goal attempts, the longest current streak in the NFL.

Injuries:

BILLS: Out: DE Jim Jeffcoat (knee). Questionable: LB John Holecek (ankle); T Marcus Spriggs (back); WR Steve Tasker (groin); RB Tim Tindale (knee). Probable: NT Ted Washington (ankle).

PATRIOTS: Questionable: CB Steve Israel (knee); DE Willie McGinest (knee). Probable: TE Mike Bartrum (concussion).

Detroit (3-3) at Tampa Bay (5-1)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Bucs by 6

Vs. spread: Lions 3-3; Bucs 5-1.

Last week: Lions lost to Bills, 22-13. Bucs lost to Packers. 21-16.

Worth watching: The game features two of the NFL's top running backs, one veteran and one rookie. Detroit's Barry Sanders is going for his career-best fifth straight 100-yard game; Bucs phenom Warrick Dunn is averaging 5.1 yards a carry.

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