NFL Week 9: Today's games

November 01, 1998

Arizona (3-4) at Detroit (2-5)

Time: 1: 01 p.m.

Line: Lions by 6.

Vs. spread: Cardinals 3-4; Lions 2-5.

Outlook: Take a team nearly devoid of offense and take away its best defensive player and you've got a mess. You also have the Cardinals, who are still waiting for QB Jake Plummer to become a star and are without Pro Bowl DT Eric Swann, out indefinitely after knee surgery. Plummer, who has been sacked 25 times and has thrown 11 interceptions, isn't going to outscore anyone working behind his tissue-paper line. The Lions are 2-5 in large part because they've been penalized 60 times for 542 yards. This could be a waste of another spectacular season for RB Barry Sanders, who last week posted the 72nd 100-yard game of his career.

Notable: Cardinals lead the NFL with 19 take-aways, including 11 on fumble recoveries.


CARDINALS: Out: T Anthony Clement (back); DT Eric Swann (knee). Doubtful: G Chris Dishman (neck); CB Tom Knight (hamstring). Probable: TE-RB Jarius Hayes (rib); LB Ronald McKinnon (shoulder); RB Adrian Murrell (calf); LB Zack Walz (shoulder).

LIONS: Out: G Jeff Hartings (knee). Doubtful: S Greg Jeffries (hamstring). Questionable: T Ray Roberts (rib).

Minnesota (7-0) at Tampa Bay (3-4)

Time 1:01 p.m.

Line: Vikings by 6 1/2 .

Vs. spread: Vikings 5-2; Bucs 2-5.

Outlook: Last Sunday, QB Randall Cunningham threw his first two interceptions and RB Robert Smith fumbled for the first time in more than two years, and the Vikings still drilled Detroit. Minnesota has given the ball away just nine times, fewest in the NFC, and its plus-seven turnover margin is the conference's best. On the other hand, the Bucs' minus-seven turnover margin is among the worst in the NFC, ahead of only Washington's hideous minus-13. Topping the list of Tampa Bay problems is QB Trent Dilfer, who might as well not even be on the field for all the good he does -- the Bucs average a mere 155.3 passing yards per game, last in the NFC. The league's No. 3 defense can only take this team so far.

Notable: Vikings held Bucs to 68 yards rushing in Week 1 victory.


VIKINGS: Out: CB Tony Darden (foot). Questionable: QB Brad Johnson (ankle); T Todd Steussie (knee); DT Tony Williams (groin).

BUCS: Out: CB Donnie Abraham (knee); DT Jason Maniecki (back); CB Anthony Parker (hamstring).

San Francisco (6-1) at Green Bay (5-2)

Time: 4: 15 p.m., Ch. 45.

Line: Packers by 3.

Vs. spread: 49ers 3-4; Packers 3-2.

Outlook: San Francisco has faced Green Bay in the playoffs the past three seasons, and each time the 49ers' season ended right then. Think there might be a little motivation in their locker room? This time, QB Steve Young and Co. face a less-formidable Packers team in a bit of a slump. QB Brett Favre accounted for three TDs last week against the Ravens, but he also threw two interceptions, giving him 11 in the past four games. One thing that has hurt the three-time MVP is the Packers' lack of a running game, which puts the entire offensive load on Favre and his marvelous receivers, led by Antonio Freeman (Poly).

Notable: Packers have one turnover compared to 49ers' 11 in teams' past three meetings.


49ERS: Out: T Dave Fiore (knee). Questionable: LB James Williams (hamstring). Probable: DE Roy Barker (knee); S Merton Hanks (Achilles'); CB Darnell Walker (groin-toe).

PACKERS: Out: RB Dorsey Levens (ankle); WR Derrick Mayes (knee); QB Doug Pederson (jaw). Questionable: LB George Koonce (hamstring). Probable: S LeRoy Butler (ankle).

Denver (7-0) at Cincinnati (2-5)

Time: 1: 01 p.m.

Line: Broncos by 11.

Vs. spread: Broncos 5-2; Bengals 2-4.

Outlook: As if they weren't unstoppable enough, the Broncos last week unveiled another weapon: Howitzer-range field goals from K Jason Elam. So who needs those Elway and Davis guys, anyway? OK, so they're pretty good, too, what with Terrell Davis joining Jim Brown and O. J. Simpson as the only backs to break 1,000 yards in seven games and QB John Elway cruising along with a sweet 99.6 passer rating. The Bengals, on the other hand, haven't had a winning season since 1990 and are 38-81 in that span. They've allowed a league-worst 401.9 yards a game, and their next three opponents -- Denver, Jacksonville and Minnesota -- are a combined 19-2.

Notable: Broncos have won 12 straight, including playoff games.


BRONCOS: Questionable: LB Keith Burns (hamstring); RB Howard Griffith (hamstring). Probable: CB Darrien Gordon (hip); WR Rod Smith (hip).

BENGALS: Out: G Mike Goff (knee). Questionable: S Myron Bell (ankle); LB Steve Foley (back); WR Darnay Scott (Achilles'); DT Mike Thompson (back). Probable: LB James Francis (groin); LB Takeo Spikes (hip).

New England (4-3) at Indianapolis (1-6)

Time: 1: 01 p.m.

Line: Patriots by 6.

Vs. spread: Patriots 4-3; Colts 2-5.

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