Nfl Week 5: Today's Games

October 04, 1998

New England (2-1)at new Orleans (3-0)

Time: 1: 01 p.m.

Line: Patriots by 7.

Vs. spread: Patriots 3-0; Saints 3-0.

Outlook: The combined record of the Saints' opponents is 1-10, so this game will show if their record is a product of inferior competition or true promise. Still, Danny Wuerffel, who produced no points in two starts last season, is maturing. He hit a fourth-and-17 pass last week that led to the tying touchdown in an overtime win in Indianapolis. After an initial stumble in Denver, all is going smoothly for the Patriots, who have cruised to a pair of wins with a flawless offense and a steady defense. Drew Bledsoe has been a machine, putting up a 99.9 quarterback rating and leading the only offense in the league without a turnover.

Notable: Bledsoe has thrown 106 straight passes without an interception. This is Saints coach Mike Ditka's 200th game. He's 121-78.

Injuries:

PATRIOTS: Questionable: DE Ferric Collons (ankle).

SAINTS: Doubtful: LB Kevin Mitchell (shoulder); QB Heath Shuler (toe). Questionable: S Sammy Knight (shoulder). Probable: T Clarence Jones (ankle); RB Lamar Smith (ankle); RB Ray Zellars (ankle).

N.Y. Giants(2-2) at Tampa Bay (1-3)

Time: 4: 15 p.m.

Line: Bucs by 3 1/2 .

Vs. spread: Giants 2-2; Bucs 1-3.

Outlook: The Giants can't run, which means they can't hide their other offensive problems -- notably, Danny Kanell's mediocrity. Kanell has shown a tendency to get rattled and make poor decisions against the blitz, and without a running game to keep the heat off (2.8 yards per attempt, better than only Green Bay's 2.6), the Giants' attack doesn't scare anyone. The Bucs' offense has all but disappeared, too, especially the running game. Warrick Dunn and Mike Alstott have combined for just 329 yards in four games.

Notable: Giants have 15 sacks, tied with Green Bay and St. Louis for tops in the NFC.

Injuries:

GIANTS: Doubtful: LB Scott Galyon (Achilles'-calf); DT Robert Harris (pectoral). Questionable: CB Shaun Williams (hamstring). Probable: S Tito Wooten (hamstring). LB Jessie Armstead (ankle); LB Marcus Buckley (hip); S Sam Garnes (foot); G Jerry Reynolds (shoulder); G Ron Stone (buttocks).

BUCS: Out: WR Brice Hunter (concussion); WR Bert Emanuel (ankle). Doubtful: DE Chidi Ahanotu (shoulder). Questionable: CB Rhonde Barber (hamstring); S Tony Bouie (knee); TE Pat Hape (hamstring). Probable: WR Jacquez Green (thumb); T Paul Gruber (shoulder); TE Dave Moore (neck); DT Warren Sapp (shoulder).

Carolina (0-3) at Atlanta (2-1)Time: 1: 01 p.m.

Line: Falcons by 3.

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

Outlook: The Falcons are not quite in the 49ers' class yet, but they can play with anyone else in the division. The way for the Panthers to win will be to get to quarterback Chris Chandler. He has taken an inordinate amount of punishment behind a suspect offensive line. If the Panthers can use their zone blitz to knock out Chandler (Kevin Greene has been hot, and it is about time for Sean Gilbert to start earning his money), they will be in good shape. Then again, the Falcons probably will not have to throw much with Jamal Anderson running so well.

Notable: Falcons have not allowed a 100-yard rusher in 11 games.

Injuries:

PANTHERS: Out: G Matthew Campbell (knee); WR Rae Carruth (foot); TE Kris Mangum (eye); S Mike Minter (knee). Questionable: WR Michael Bates (knee); LB Tarek Saleh (ankle); CB Michael Swift (leg). Probable: LB Micheal Barrow (knee); LB Greg Lloyd (knee).

FALCONS: Out: LB Henri Crockett (wrist). Doubtful: LB Keith Brooking (quadriceps). Questionable: CB Michael Booker (quadriceps); C Calvin Collins (ankle); T Jose Portilla (hamstring); DT Esera Tuaolo (biceps). Probable: QB Chris Chandler (wrist); DE Antonio Edwards (knee); DT Travis Hall (calf).

Miami (3-0) at N.Y. Jets (1-2)

Time: 1: 01 p.m., Ch. 13.

Line: Jets by 2 1/2 .

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

Outlook: Finally, the Dolphins get tested by a competent offense. It will be interesting to see if the Jets' offense is as explosive as it was when it last played. For the second game in a row, Vinny Testaverde gets the starting call at quarterback ahead of Glenn Foley. And Testaverde has a couple of terrific targets in Wayne Chrebet and Keyshawn Johnson, who have combined for six touchdowns. This might be the game in which the Dolphins are forced to go away from their precious running game -- which, despite all the hype, is averaging just 3.8 yards per carry -- and allow Dan Marino to turn gunslinger. Are the Dolphins' receivers up to the task?

Notable: Dolphins have won the past four meetings, the teams combining for an average of 53.5 points in each game.

Injuries:

DOLPHINS: Questionable: WR O. J. McDuffie (ankle). Probable: QB Craig Erickson (elbow); WR Nate Jacquet (hamstring); T Richmond Webb (ankle); LB Zach Thomas (elbow).

JETS: Questionable: WR Wayne Chrebet (ankle); LB James Farrior (knee); QB Glenn Foley (ribs).

San Francisco (3-0) at Buffalo (0-3)

Time: 1: 01 p.m.

Line: 49ers by 10.

Vs. spread: 49ers 1-2; Bills 1-1.

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