Today's playoff games

January 08, 2000

Buffalo (11-5) at Tennessee (13-3)

Time: 12: 30 p.m., chs. 2, 7.

Line: Titans by 5.

Vs. spread: Bills 8-7; Titans 10-5.

Last week: Bills beat Colts, 31-6. Titans beat Steelers, 47-36.

Series: Oilers/Titans lead 22-15.

Last meeting: Titans (then Oilers) won, 31-14, on Nov. 23, 1997, at Tennessee.

Outlook: The AFC was loaded this season, so the wild-card round actually produces an intriguing matchup. Certainly, there have been Super Bowls with two worse teams than these. Buffalo coach Wade Phillips' bold gamble to bench QB Doug Flutie for Rob Johnson will make him look like a genius or a fool. But Flutie was the 23rd-ranked passer, and Johnson can make more big plays. Titans QB Steve McNair has played better later in the season and can always turn to RB Eddie George (1,340 yards, 4.1 average).

Notable: Johnson is 4-1 with a 123.8 QB rating with nine touchdowns and one interception in his past five starts.


BILLS: Out: G Joe Panos (neck). Questionable: T John Fina (knee); T Robert Hicks (ankle); DT Sean Moran (hamstring); C Jerry Ostroski (knee). Probable: LB Dan Brandenburg (leg); RB Sam Gash (ribs); DE Phil Hansen (ribs).

TITANS: Questionable: DE Kenny Holmes (ankle); T Jason Mathews (back); TE Mike Roan (neck); S Marcus Robertson (facial laceration); WR Yancey Thigpen (ankle).

Detroit (8-8) at Washington (10-6)

Time: 4: 05 p.m., chs. 2, 7.

Line: Redskins by 6 1/2.

Vs. spread: Lions 7-8; Redskins 8-8.

Last week: Lions lost to Vikings, 24-17. Redskins beat Dolphins, 21-10.

Series: Redskins lead 26-9.

Last meeting: Lions won, 33-17, on Dec. 5, at Detroit.

Outlook: QB Gus Frerotte leads Detroit against the team that gave him his NFL start. Frerotte has been steady for the Lions, but Barry Sanders' retirement left them without much of a running game. Thanks to Brad Johnson (24 touchdown passes) and RB Stephen Davis, the Redskins have a diverse offense. Their defense is generous, but can the Lions take advantage? They lost four straight to end the season, and are 0-17 against the Redskins in Washington.

Notable: WRs Albert Connell (1,132) and Michael Westbrook (1,191) are second Redskins duo with 1,000 yards receiving each in same season.


LIONS: Out: QB Charlie Batch (thumb). Doubtful: C Eric Beverly (foot); WR Desmond Howard (neck). Questionable: LB Allen Aldridge (hip). Probable: CB J.B. Brown (groin); DT Luther Elliss (ankle); WR Herman Moore (calf); DE Robert Porcher (back).

REDSKINS: Probable: G Brad Badger (ankle); CB Champ Bailey (thumb); WR Albert Connell (shoulder); RB Stephen Davis (ankle); G Tre' Johnson (thigh); LB Greg Jones (back); S Darryl Pounds (back); S Matt Stevens (shoulder).

Super Bowl odds

Current and opening odds for the 12 teams in the NFL playoffs:

Team Current Open

St. Louis 8-5 150-1

Indianapolis 2-1 125-1

Jacksonville 5-2 8-1

Tampa Bay 8-1 25-1

Minnesota 10-1 4-1

Tennessee 10-1 30-1

Washington 18-1 25-1

Buffalo 24-1 22-1

Seattle 40-1 28-1

Dallas 50-1 25-1

Miami 60-1 25-1

Detroit 80-1 50-1

(Source: Keith Glantz and Russell Culver)

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