Nfl Week 16

December 14, 1997

Dallas (6-8) at Cincinnati (5-9)

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

Line: Bengals by 6.

Vs. spread: Cowboys 3-9; Bengals 6-8.

Last week: Cowboys lost to Panthers, 23-13. Bengals beat Oilers, 41-14.

Worth watching: Bengals RB Corey Dillon set a rookie record with 246 yards rushing against Tennessee. Can Cowboys RB Emmitt Smith go with a sore shoulder?

Outlook: Three straight losses have all but knocked the Cowboys out of the playoffs, so they're basically playing for pride. The Bengals are making what has become an annual garbage-time run, this time behind Dillon and rejuvenated QB Boomer Esiason.

Notable: Dallas has lost six in a row on the road, and Cincinnati has won nine of its past 11 home games.


COWBOYS: Out: TE Eric Bjornson (leg); RB Daryl Johnston (neck); CB Deion Sanders (rib); T Mark Tuinei (knee). Questionable: G Nate Newton (knee); RB Emmitt Smith (shoulder); S Darren Woodson (shoulder). Probable: TE David LaFleur (hip); CB Kevin Mathis (rib); T Erik Williams (rib).

BENGALS: Out: WR Carl Pickens (groin). Questionable: S Tremain Mack (foot). Probable: WR Mike Jenkins (knee); RB Brian Milne (thigh); C Greg Truitt (ankle); DE Dan Wilkinson (neck).

Tampa Bay (9-5) at N.Y. Jets (8-6)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Bucs by 2.

Vs. spread: Bucs 8-6; Jets 7-7.

Last week: Bucs lost to Packers, 17-6. Jets lost to Colts, 22-14.

Worth watching: Bucs QB Trent Dilfer has a sprained ankle and might not play. Jets WR Wayne Chrebet will try to start a new reception streak. He had made a catch in every game of his three-year career until last week.

Outlook: The Jets' offense has stumbled badly behind beleaguered QB Neil O'Donnell, managing a combined 24 points in consecutive losses to Buffalo and Indianapolis. The Bucs could easily stumble here, especially if Steve Walsh has to play in place of Dilfer. But a win will put them into the playoffs for the first time since 1982.

Notable: Jets have lost 15 consecutive December games.


BUCS: Out: TE Jackie Harris (hernia). Questionable: QB Trent Dilfer (ankle); T Paul Gruber (ankle); TE Dave Moore (neck); T Jason Odom (back). Probable: RB Mike Alstott (quadriceps); LB Rufus Porter (neck); DE Regan Upshaw (neck); WR Karl Williams (back).

JETS: Questionable: QB Glenn Foley (knee); CB Aaron Glenn (ankle); T David Williams (back).

Kansas City (11-3) at San Diego (4-10)

Time: 4 p.m.

Line: Chiefs by 9 1/2 .

Vs. spread: Chiefs 9-3; Chargers 6-8.

Last week: Chiefs beat Raiders, 30-0. Chargers lost to Falcons, 14-3.

Worth watching: Chiefs WR Andre Rison has 70 catches for a 14.9-yard average and seven TDs. The Chargers are looking for improvement from Craig Whelihan, whose QB rating is an anemic 54.4.

Outlook: QB Rich Gannon, who has gone 4-1 in place of Elvis Grbac, will start another week for the Chiefs, who are playing as well as any team in the league and have the inside track on home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. The Chargers are playing as poorly as any team in the league, and their once-respectable running game has disappeared.

Notable: Chargers have been held to 47 yards rushing in each of their past two games.


CHIEFS: Doubtful: QB Elvis Grbac (shoulder). Questionable: CB Darren Anderson (groin); DE Vaughn Booker (knee). Probable: WR Lake Dawson (knee); CB James Hasty (thigh).

CHARGERS: Out: RB Terrell Fletcher (knee); CB Dwayne Harper (thigh); TE Freddie Jones (leg). Probable: RB Gary Brown (leg).

Detroit (7-7) at Minnesota (8-6)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Vikings by 2.

Vs. spread: Lions 7-5; Vikings 8-6.

Last week: Lions lost to Dolphins, 33-30. Vikings lost to 49ers, 28-17.

Worth watching: Lions RB Barry Sanders is trying to extend his NFL-record 100-yard game streak to 13. Vikings RB Robert Smith needs 197 yards in the last two weeks to break Terry Allen's team record of 1,201 yards.

Outlook: Detroit has averaged 38.8 points and gone 3-1 in its past four games to jump into the playoff race, though the Lions need to win twice and get a lot of help. The Vikings, losers of four straight, can clinch a playoff spot with a victory.

Notable: Vikings WR Herman Moore needs six receptions to join Jerry Rice as the only NFL players with three straight 100-catch seasons.


LIONS: Questionable: CB Corey Raymond (foot); G Mike Compton (hand); LB George Jamison (shoulder); WR Herman Moore (foot); DE Tracy Scroggins (rib). Probable: LB Scott Kowalkowski (quadriceps).

VIKINGS: Out: C Scott Dill (back). Questionable: DE Derrick Alexander (hip); LB Jeff Brady (neck). Probable: DE Fernando Smith (groin); WR Cris Carter (finger); S Orlando Thomas (hamstring); WR Chris Walsh (thigh); CB Leonard Wheeler (ankle).

Miami (9-5) at Indianapolis (2-12)

Time: 1 p.m., Ch. 4.

Line: Dolphins by 4.

Vs. spread: Dolphins 7-4; Colts 6-7.

Last week: Dolphins beat Lions, 33-30. Colts beat Jets, 22-14.

Worth watching: Colts RB Marshall Faulk (885 yards, 4.0 per carry) is on track for his third 1,000-yard rushing season. Dolphins RB Karim Abdul-Jabbar leads the NFL with 15 rushing TDs.

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