Today's Games

Nfl Week 14

December 07, 2003|By CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Indianapolis (9-3) at Tennessee (9-3)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Titans by 3 1/2 .

Key stat: Titans have won 10 in a row at home.

Players to watch: Titans QB Steve McNair leads the NFL in passing (103.5 rating). Colts QB Peyton Manning leads the NFL in passing yards (3,383) and TD passes (23).

The buzz: This is the battle for the AFC South title and a shot at a first-round bye. McNair has an inviting target in WRs Derrick Mason (70 catches) and Justin McCareins (36).

Chicago (5-7) at Green Bay (6-6)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Packers by 7.

Key stat: Packers have won six of seven vs. Bears under coach Mike Sherman.

Players to watch: Packers RB Ahman Green is third in the NFL with 1,383 rushing yards. Bears RB Anthony Thomas averages 4.3 yards a carry.

The buzz: QB Kordell Stewart is coming off his best game as a Bear after throwing for 284 yards in a win over Arizona. He has shown he can make some big plays with this offense, but the defense must shut down Green for the Bears to win.

San Diego (2-10) at Detroit (4-8)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Lions by 3.

Key stat: Lions have lost only two fumbles, best in the NFL.

Players to watch: QB Doug Flutie stays as the Chargers' starting quarterback. CB Dre' Bly leads the Lions' defense with six interceptions.

The buzz: The Lions, well-rested since their Thanksgiving victory over Green Bay, are starting to feel good about themselves as Steve Mariucci's first season as coach winds down.

Houston (5-7) at Jacksonville (3-9)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Off the board.

Key stat: Jaguars' defense has allowed only 33 points in the past three games.

Players to watch: Rookie WR Andre Johnson leads the Texans with 51 catches. Texans rookie RB Domanick Davis is averaging 4.4 yards a carry.

The buzz: The Jaguars have been increasingly competitive in the past month as rookie QB Byron Leftwich gains experience. They also remember losing to the Texans on the last play in September.

Seattle (8-4) at Minnesota (7-5)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Vikings by 1 1/2 .

Key stat: Seahawks are 1-4 on the road.

Players to watch: Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck has thrown 20 TD passes vs. 10 interceptions on the road the past two seasons. Vikings QB Daunte Culpepper is fourth in the NFL with a passer rating of 94.6.

The buzz: Two of the league's hottest quarterbacks meet two of the shakiest defenses. The Vikings are reeling with five losses in six games.

Tampa Bay (5-7) at New Orleans (6-6)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Saints by 2.

Key stat: Saints have won three straight vs. the Bucs.

Players to watch: RB Deuce McAllister, averaging 5.1 yards a carry, goes for his 10th straight 100-yard rushing game. WR Keenan McCardell leads the Bucs with 66 receptions, including seven for TDs.

The buzz: The Saints have a microscopic shot at the playoffs, more than can be said about the Bucs. The Saints always play well against Tampa Bay, and McAllister is playing well against everybody.

Washington (4-8) at N.Y. Giants (4-8)

Time: 1 p.m.

TV: Ch. 5.

Line: Giants by 3.

Key stat: Giants have won five of the past six meetings.

Players to watch: WR Lavernaues Coles leads the Redskins with 65 catches. Giants DE Michael Strahan leads the NFL with 12 sacks.

The buzz: It's a battle to stay out of last place in the NFC East. It also might be the last chance for both teams to get a fifth win.

Dallas (8-4) at Philadelphia (9-3)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Eagles by 5 1/2 .

Key stat: Eagles are NFL-best 25-5 in November and December since 2000.

Players to watch: Eagles RB Brian Westbrook is averaging 5.2 yards a carry. Cowboys RB Troy Hambrick is averaging 3.2.

The buzz: The Eagles are surging with seven straight wins. The Cowboys, who have lost two of their past three overall, have been shut out in their past two road games. This probably will decide the NFC East title.

Oakland (3-9) at Pittsburgh (4-8)

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Steelers by 5.

Key stat: Raiders are 0-6 on the road, losing by an average of eight points.

Players to watch: Steelers WR Hines Ward leads the AFC with 78 catches, including nine for TDs. WR Jerry Rice paces the Raiders with 46 catches, but has just one TD reception.

The buzz: This hasn't been a great season for these old AFC rivals, with both already thinking about next season. Raiders coach Bill Callahan's tirade against his team didn't help things.

Arizona (3-9) at San Francisco (5-7)

Time: 4:05 p.m.

TV: Ch. 45.

Line: 49ers by 10.

Key stat: 49ers have won five of the past six meetings.

Players to watch: Cardinals TE Freddie Jones has 46 catches, fourth among NFL tight ends. RB Kevan Barlow, averaging 4.9 yards a carry, replaces injured Garrison Hearst for the 49ers.

The buzz: These NFC West teams have fallen out of the playoff picture. The Cardinals have lost 11 straight on the road.

N.Y. Jets (5-7) at Buffalo (5-7)

Time: 4:15 p.m.

Line: Bills by 3.

Key stat: Jets have won eight of the past 11 meetings.

Players to watch: Bills RB Travis Henry has averaged 99.5 yards rushing in his past four games vs. the Jets. New York QB Chad Pennington has thrown 12 TD passes vs. six interceptions.

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