Nfl Week 4

September 29, 2002|By Chicago Tribune

Dallas (1-2) at St. Louis (0-3)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

TV: Chs. 45, 5.

Line: Rams by 12.

Key stat: Famed Rams offense ranks just 13th overall in NFL (27th rushing, seventh passing).

Worth watching: The struggling quarterbacks. Cowboys' Quincy Carter (71.9) is ahead of Rams' Kurt Warner (69.5) in passer rankings.

Outlook: Can the Rams keep losing? If Warner keeps throwing seven interceptions for every TD pass, certainly.

Chicago (2-1) at Buffalo (1-2)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Bills by 3.

Key stat: It's Buffalo's No. 2 passing offense vs. Bears' No. 17 pass defense.

Worth watching: Bears need big plays from LB Rosevelt Colvin, who has four sacks and plans to play with a sore ankle. Bills' Peerless Price is second in NFL with 25 catches (14.1 avg.).

Outlook: Drew Bledsoe leads NFL with 1,017 passing yards and has thrown six TD passes. Can Bears score enough to pull off an upset?

New Orleans (3-0) at Detroit (0-3)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Saints by 7 1/2 .

Key stat: Lions rank 31st in NFL in offense and defense.

Worth watching: Saints rookie Donte Stallworth has 12 receptions, including one TD in every game. Lions' James Stewart averaging 5.4 yards per carry.

Outlook: Lions owner William Clay Ford Sr. gave coach Marty Mornhinweg the dreaded vote of confidence last week. Unless Joey Harrington has a big day in his second start, Saints will control this game.

Miami (3-0) at Kansas City (1-2)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Dolphins by 3.

Last meeting: Dolphins won, 17-14, at Miami on Oct. 5, 1997.

Key stat: Dolphins lead NFL with plus-8 turnover differential.

Worth watching: NFL's top two rushers, Miami's Ricky Williams (394 yards) and Kansas City's Priest Holmes (386 yards).

Outlook: If Dolphins can keep their minds off next week's showdown with Patriots, they should handle the Chiefs. Jay Fiedler, who has surprisingly emerged as the NFL's No. 3 passer, could pad his stats against the NFL's worst defense.

Carolina (3-0) at Green Bay (2-1)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Packers by 7.

Key stat: It's Packers' No. 2-ranked offense vs. Panthers' No. 2 defense.

Worth watching: Ahman Green, averaging 5.4 yards per carry, is due back in Green Bay lineup after missing last week. Panthers end Mike Rucker had three sacks last week and leads NFL with five.

Outlook: The teams the Panthers have beaten (Ravens, Vikings, Lions) have combined for zero wins, making their record almost meaningless. Their only hope is to get a big game from running back Lamar Smith.

Cleveland (2-1) at Pittsburgh (0-2)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

TV: Ch. 13.

Line: Steelers by 6.

Key stat: Browns have won eight of their past 10 games when they score 20 points.

Worth watching: Steelers linebacker Joey Porter has three sacks and two interceptions in two games. In four games against Pittsburgh, Browns' Tim Couch has thrown five TD passes vs. three interceptions.

Outlook: Steelers were off last week, giving them time to contemplate their disastrous start. That should provide some motivation.

N.Y. Jets (1-2) at Jacksonville (1-1)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Jaguars by 3 1/2 .

Key stat: It's Jaguars' No. 4 offense vs. Jets' No. 29 defense.

Worth watching: Jaguars' Fred Taylor, averaging 4.5 yards per carry, is staying healthy for a change. Jets' Vinny Testaverde hasn't been making big plays and has thrown only three TD passes.

Outlook: Jets' running game has been nonexistent, and Curtis Martin may not even play. Thanks to their offense, Jaguars have a chance to be one of the NFL's surprises this season.

Houston (1-2) at Philadelphia (2-1)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

TV: Ch. 9.

Line: Eagles by 19 1/2 .

Key stat: Eagles have won two straight by 30 points for the first time since 1980.

Worth watching: QB Donovan McNabb has thrown eight TD passes vs. two interceptions and leads Eagles with 118 yards rushing. James Allen leads Texans with 134 yards rushing (3.1 average).

Outlook: Two trends tell the story of this matchup: Eagles have allowed no TDs in past two games; Texans have scored no TDs in past two games.

N.Y. Giants (2-1) at Arizona (1-2)

Time: 4:05 p.m. today.

Line: Giants by 3.

Key stat: Giants' offense has scored only two TDs.

Worth watching: Tiki Barber leads Giants in rushing (159 yards) and receiving (18 catches). Cardinals' Thomas Jones is averaging 5.2 yards per carry.

Outlook: Cards' Jake Plummer has completed less than half of his passes (40 of 94), which has led to boos and Plummer complaints about the boos. It's shaping up as another long season for the Cardinals. Giants might not need much of an offense to beat Arizona for the fifth straight time.

Tampa Bay (2-1) at Cincinnati (0-3)

Time: 4:05 p.m. today.

Line: Buccaneers by 7.

Key stat: Bengals are 0-3 for third time in four years.

Worth watching: Akili Smith gets another chance as Bengals quarterback. Bucs' Brad Johnson has not thrown an interception this season in 115 passes.

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