Nfl Week 12: Today's Games

November 22, 1998

CHICAGO (3-7) AT ATLANTA (8-2)

Time: 1: 01 p.m.

Line: Falcons by 11.

Vs. spread: Bears 6-4; Falcons 8-2.

Outlook: With Erik Kramer at quarterback, the Bears are a legitimate team. OK, so Kramer isn't about to lead them to the Super Bowl, or even the playoffs. But if he can play -- he's questionable with shoulder trouble -- Chicago can challenge good teams. With Steve Stenstrom in his place, the Bears might as well be a bye. And if they have to use rookie Moses Moreno, well. If the Falcons look lost, it's because they've never been here before, 8-2 and looking back at the 49ers in the NFC West. Alone in first and coming off a huge victory, the Falcons can focus on bigger things, like home-field advantage in the playoffs, which makes this a dangerous week for Atlanta.

Notable: Falcons are on pace for a club-record 454 points scored.

Injuries:

BEARS: Questionable: T Andy Heck (back); QB Erik Kramer (shoulder); TE Ryan Wetnight (calf). Probable: QB Steve Stenstrom (shoulder).

FALCONS: Out: WR Tim Dwight (knee). Questionable: RB Jamal Anderson (ankle); S Chris Bayne (hamstring); CB Ronnie Bradford (knee); LB Craig Sauer (back). Probable: CB Ray Buchanan (leg); DT Shane Dronett (foot); DT Travis Hall (knee); WR Todd Kinchen (ankle).

INDIANAPOLIS (2-8) AT BUFFALO (6-4)

Time: 1: 01 p.m.

Line: Bills by 7.

Vs. spread: Colts 4-6; Bills 6-2.

Outlook: Colts rookie QB Peyton Manning showed poise in clutch situations last week and the arm we all knew he had in leading his first fourth-quarter comeback in a victory against the Jets. Expecting an encore might be a bit much. Beating the Jets in Indianapolis was one thing, beating the Bills in Buffalo is another. It's cold, windy and uncomfortable these days in Buffalo, which is the way the Bills love it. The Bills tend to play a lot of low-scoring games late in the season, and Doug Flutie or no Doug Flutie, they are built on the power running of bruising RB Antowain Smith. So you can expect Buffalo to ram the ball down the Colts' throats.

Notable: Six of the Colts' last seven games have been decided by seven points or fewer.

Injuries:

COLTS: Out: LB Michael Barber (hamstring); RB Scott Greene (hamstring); G Tony Mandarich (back); DT Tony McCoy (eye). Probable: S Robert Blackmon (shoulder); LB Jeff Herrod (knee); DT Ellis Johnson (thigh); T Adam Meadows (knee); LB Ratcliff Thomas (ankle).

BILLS: Out: LB John Holecek (knee). Probable: T John Fina (abdomen).

SEATTLE (5-5) AT DALLAS (7-3)

Time: 1: 01 p.m.

Line: Dallas by 5.

Vs. spread: Seahawks 5-3; Cowboys 6-3.

Outlook: The Seahawks have enough talent to pound the Philadelphias and Washingtons of the league. Against a good team on the road, the playoff dreams -- and coach Dennis Erickson's job security -- get smashed. The Cowboys have all but wrapped up the NFC East title -- they're two games ahead of Arizona and they have the head-to-head tiebreaker. But there is still work to do, a fact made clear by their weak defensive performance in CB Deion Sanders' absence last week.

Notable: Cowboys have played in front of 138 consecutive sellout crowds, home and away.

Injuries:

SEAHAWKS: Out: S Mark Collins (shoulder). Doubtful: RB Reggie Brown (concussion); C Kevin Glover (back); LB DeShone Myles (knee). Questionable: TE Carlester Crumpler (pelvis); C Chris Gray (foot); TE Deems May (back); DT Dan Saleaumua (knee); LB Darrin Smith (hamstring); S Eric Stokes (hamstring); CB Willie Williams (hamstring). Probable: WR Brian Blades (hip); RB Steve Broussard (quadriceps).

COWBOYS: Out: CB Kevin Mathis (arm). Questionable: G Everett McIver (knee); CB Deion Sanders (toe); C Clay Shiver (toe); T Erik Williams (knee). Probable: TE David LaFleur (chest); DE Kavika Pittman (ankle); CB Kevin Smith (shoulder); CB Charlie Williams (neck).

N.Y. JETS (6-4) AT TENNESSEE (6-4)

Time: 4: 15 p.m.

Line: Oilers by 2 1/2 .

Vs. spread: Jets 7-3; Oilers 6-4.

Outlook: Quarterback Vinny Testaverde keeps on firing, running back Curtis Martin keeps on pounding, and, last week's stumble aside, the Jets keep on winning, four in a row before the loss to Indianapolis. And keep your eye on this juicy stat: The Jets are 6-0 when they hold their opponent under 20 points and 0-4 when they allow more than 20. The Oilers, now armed with a tie-breaker over Pittsburgh, are ready to make a serious run at the playoffs. They may have problems containing Testaverde and the Jets' passing game, however, especially with outstanding safety Blaine Bishop sidelined. The other thing standing in the Oilers' way is the schedule, which includes dates with Jacksonville, Green Bay and Minnesota. Maybe next year, guys.

Notable: Oilers lead AFC in time of possession at 31: 47.

Injuries:

JETS: Questionable: RB Leon Johnson (knee-flu).

OILERS: Out: S Blaine Bishop (knee). Questionable: DE Josh Evans (knee); T Brad Hopkins (groin); LB Dennis Stallings (leg); WR Yancy Thigpen (knee); RB Rodney Thomas (hamstring).

DETROIT (3-7) AT TAMPA BAY (4-6)

Time: 1: 01 p.m.

Line: Bucs by 6.

Vs. spread: Lions 3-7; Bucs 4-6.

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