Nfl Week 16 : Today's Games

December 20, 1998

CINCINNATI (2-12) AT PITTSBURGH (7-7)

Time: 1: 01 p.m.

Line: Steelers by 10 1/2 .

Vs. spread: Bengals 3-10; Steelers 5-8.

Outlook: The Bengals have won only two games, and one was against Pittsburgh, back on Oct. 11 in Cincinnati, a 25-20 victory. Carl Pickens collected 204 receiving yards in that game and scored the game-winning touchdown on a tricky Bengals call with 20 seconds left. No such magic this time. Pittsburgh is struggling mightily on offense but finds a cure in the Bengals. This is the game in which Steelers QB Kordell Stewart rolls again, RB Jerome Bettis busts through the defense, LB Jason Gildon adds to his team-high sack total and Pittsburgh, for a game at least, feels good about itself again.

Notable: Steelers offense has not scored a TD since the third quarter vs. Detroit in Week 13.

Injuries:

BENGALS: Doubtful: T Rod Jones (triceps-quadriceps). Questionable: TE Steve Bush (neck); RB Corey Dillon (back-hip); WR James Hundon (ankle); LB Jimmy Sprotte (hamstring). Probable: LB Steve Foley (ankle).

STEELERS: Doubtful: RB Fred McAfee (knee). Questionable: WR Courtney Hawkins (knee); DE Kevin Henry (ankle). Probable: LB Carlos Emmons (ankle); RB Richard Huntley (hand).

SAN FRANCISCO (11-3) AT NEW ENGLAND (8-6)

Time: 1: 01 p.m., chs. 45, 5.

Line: 49ers by 7.

Vs. spread: 49ers 5-9; Patriots 6-6.

Outlook: This is a huge game for New England. If the Patriots lose, their playoff chances will be hurt immeasurably. And now they must play without Drew Bledsoe, who'll be replaced by former Maryland QB Scott Zolak. Who knows how the Patriots will respond? How Zolak will respond? The 49ers will blitz Zolak from every angle. He is big but not extra mobile. New England is fuming after losing at St. Louis last week. This is a game it must win with defense, so look for CB Ty Law and the Patriots' defense to answer.

Notable: 49ers QB Steve Young needs 385 yards passing for his second career 4,000-yard season.

Injuries:

49ERS: Out: S Zack Bronson (hamstring); CB Marquez Pope (ankle). Questionable: CB Darnell Walker (thigh). Probable: DE Roy Barker (knee); C Chris Dalman (elbow); DE Chris Doleman (pectoral); S Merton Hanks (Achilles); CB R.W. McQuarters (ankle); S Lance Schulters (knee).

PATRIOTS: Out: QB Drew Bledsoe (finger); WR Terry Glenn (ankle). Questionable: RB Tony Carter (ankle); G Heath Irwin (ankle); DE Willie McGinest (groin); DT Mark Wheeler (knee). Probable: RB Chris Floyd (ankle).

ATLANTA (12-2) AT (5-9) DETROIT

Time: 4: 15 p.m.

Line: Falcons by 6 1/2 .

Vs. spread: Falcons 10-4; Lions 5-9.

Outlook: Falcons coach Dan Reeves is recuperating from heart surgery, so Rich Brooks, his offensive coordinator, will call the shots. But Reeves' players will be there and that is plenty. The Falcons need 46 points for 426, which would match their club season record set in 1981. RB Jamal Anderson has 10 100-yard rushing games and will earn his 11th against a shoddy Lions defense. The Lions lost, 35-13, at San Francisco on Monday night. The nation saw what they were: a team with many holes, especially along the defensive line and at linebacker, and a club that continues to waste the talents of RB Barry Sanders.

Notable: Falcons have allowed just one 100-yard rusher in their past 22 games.

Injuries:

FALCONS: Questionable: DE Lester Archambeau (thumb); LB Cornelius Bennett (knee); CB Randy Fuller (shoulder). Probable: WR Tim Dwight (knee); DT Travis Hall (foot); C Robbie Tobeck (calf).

LIONS: Doubtful: LB Stephen Boyd (shoulder); WR Germane Crowell (shoulder); DT Henry Thomas (groin). Questionable: QB Charlie Batch (back); DT Darius Holland (ankle); C Jim Pyne (neck). Probable: S Mark Carrier (foot); DT Marc Spindler (shoulder).

KANSAS CITY (6-8) AT N.Y. GIANTS (6-8)

Time: 1: 01 p.m., Ch. 9.

Line: Giants by 1 1/2 .

Vs. spread: Chiefs 6-8; Giants 6-8.

Outlook: The Chiefs beat Dallas and the Giants beat Denver last week, so both enter on high notes in seasons that have been busts. Both teams won their divisions last year but now see tougher times. Maybe the worst is over for both. They could settle in and play a hard-nosed game full of big hits and physical runs. The Chiefs have the edge in yards gained, in fewer yards allowed and in turnover differential (plus-6 to minus-3). But the momentum should swing the Giants' way, playing at home.

Notable: This is the Giants' 1,000th regular-season game. They are 529-437-33.

Injuries:

CHIEFS: Out: DE Pellom McDaniels (ankle); TE Ted Popson (head); G-T Pete Swanson (abdomen). Doubtful: CB Dale Carter (arm). Questionable: WR Kevin Lockett (ankle); G-T Glenn Parker (knee); LB Jerott Willard (hamstring). Probable: DT Tom Barndt (shoulder); QB Rich Gannon (knee); LB Derrick Thomas (groin).

GIANTS: Out: WR David Patten (knee-IR). Doubtful: DT Robert Harris (calf); WR Joe Jurevicius (knee); G Ron Stone (calf); RB Tyrone Wheatley (hip). Probable: WR Chris Calloway (knee); C ++ Derek Engler (ankle); DE Michael Strahan (shoulder).

TENNESSEE (8-6) AT GREEN BAY (9-5)

Time: 1: 01 p.m.

Line: Packers by 6 1/2 .

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