Sunday Football

Sunday Football

Game Preview for Seahawks vs Eagles

(Sports Network) - There will be no talk of a potential quarterback controversy in Philadelphia for at least one more week, as A.J. Feeley will likely make a second straight start in place of an injured Donovan McNabb when the Eagles host the Seattle Seahawks this Sunday in a key NFC encounter from Lincoln Financial Field.

With McNabb unable to play in last weekend's showdown with the undefeated New England Patriots due to a sprained ankle and a jammed right thumb, Feeley came off the bench and nearly engineered one of the most memorable upsets in recent years. The journeyman quarterback threw for a career-best 345 yards and three touchdowns in the visiting Eagles' 31-28 loss to the heavily-favored Patriots.

Feeley's unexpected impressive performance helped give McNabb's numerous detractors some extra ammunition, but in reality all it did was prove to a national audience that Philadelphia is in capable hands in the event their franchise quarterback is forced to miss time. Eagles head coach Andy Reid strongly reiterated after Sunday's defeat that McNabb will be the team's No. 1 signal-caller when he returns to full strength.

The odds of McNabb being 100 percent in time for this weekend's tilt appear to be slim, however, making Feeley the favorite to be at the controls of the offense against the Seahawks.

Reid will be hoping for similar production out of the career backup on Sunday, as the stakes will be high for the Eagles from here on out. The defending NFC East champs are part of a logjam of 5-6 teams fighting for a playoff spot in the conference heading into the regular season's final month.

Philadelphia, which enters this week's play one game behind struggling Detroit in the race for the NFC's final wild card, begins a stretch of three consecutive games against conference contenders. After facing the NFC West- leading Seahawks, the Eagles host the 7-4 New York Giants before visiting a one-loss Dallas squad on December 16.

Seattle comes in with a 7-4 mark and a two-game advantage on second-place Arizona in the division standings, as well as a three-game win streak. The Seahawks had to survive a late scare to keep that string intact, however, as the club held on for a 24-19 road decision over St. Louis last Sunday.

The Seahawks scored 17 unanswered points in the second half to overcome a 19-7 deficit at intermission, then preserved the win with a goal-line stand in the game's final minute. On a fourth-down play from the Seattle one, Rams quarterback Gus Frerotte mishandled the snap from center and was immediately brought down for a loss with under 30 seconds left.

Seattle has not won road games in back-to-back weeks since posting victories in its first two tests of the 2004 season, but the team has had previous success at Lincoln Financial Field. In their only previous visit to the facility, the Seahawks handed the Eagles a lopsided 42-0 loss during Week 13 of the 2005 campaign.

SERIES HISTORY

Philadelphia owns a 6-4 advantage in its all-time series with Seattle, but was a 42-0 home loser in a Monday night rout, played in the snow, late in the 2005 season. The Seahawks have now won by a composite score of 80-0 in their last two trips to Philadelphia. The Eagles' most recent win in the series came in 2002, when they were 27-20 winners in Seattle, and they last won a home game over the Hawks in 1989 at Veterans Stadium.

Reid is 2-1 in his career against the Seahawks, with both wins coming on the road. Seattle's Mike Holmgren is 4-5 in his career against the Eagles, including 1-2 since coming to the Seahawks. Holmgren is 1-2 head-to-head against Reid, who served on Holmgren's Green Bay Packers staff from 1992 through 1998.

WHEN THE SEAHAWKS HAVE THE BALL

Seattle's current winning run has come without the services of former league MVP Shaun Alexander (492 rushing yards, 2 TD), who's sat out the team's last three games with a sprained left knee and a fractured wrist and is questionable to return this week. In the absence of their top running back, the Seahawks have relied more on the strong right arm of quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (2887 passing yards, 18 TD, 9 INT). The two-time Pro Bowler has averaged nearly 300 yards through the air over his last four games and directs an offense that ranks eighth in the NFL in passing yards (250.8 ypg). Veteran Bobby Engram (67 receptions, 3 TD) is enjoying a career year and heads up a strong group of receivers that includes former Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch (31 receptions, 2 TD) and big-play threat Nate Burleson (30 tackles, 4 TD). Fellow wideout D.J. Hackett (28 receptions, 3 TD) will not play Sunday after aggravating an ankle sprain that cost him six games earlier this season.

Alexander did resume practicing this week and has a good chance of playing on Sunday, although he'll probably share ball-carrying duties with the serviceable Maurice Morris (382 rushing yards, 11 receptions, 3 total TD). Neither back has produced big numbers this year, partly due to the so-so play of an offensive line that has struggled at times to open up holes for the league's 21st-rated rushing offense (95.4 ypg).

Seattle's troubles in the ground game could continue against a Philadelphia defense that has been stingy versus the run this year. The Eagles are yielding just 93.3 rushing yards per game (7th overall) and limited New England to just 48 yards on the ground last Sunday. Linebackers Omar Gaither (70 tackles, 1 INT) and Takeo Spikes (70 tackles) lead the team in tackles, with Gaither recording a season-high 12 stops against the Patriots, while tackle Mike Patterson (51 tackles, 2.5 sacks) has been an active stopper up front. He could be without linemate Brodrick Bunkley (25 tackles, 2 sacks) this week, however, as the second-year tackle is dealing with an MCL sprain in his left knee.

The Eagles did surrender 380 passing yards to the amazing Tom Brady last week, but became the first team to prevent the star quarterback from throwing three touchdowns in a game this season. Injuries have plagued the Philadelphia secondary throughout the year, a factor in the team's No. 22 overall ranking in pass defense (224.5 ypg) and league-low total of six interceptions. The backfield will be without strong safety Quintin Mikell (54 tackles, 1 sack) for a second straight game due to a knee sprain, although special teamer J.R. Reed (16 tackles) did a solid job against the Pats in his absence. A strong pass rush has been provided by ends Trent Cole (52 tackles, 9 sacks) and Juqua Thomas (23 tackles, 5 sacks).

WHEN THE EAGLES HAVE THE BALL

Philadelphia's offense didn't miss a beat last week with Feeley (461 passing yards, 4 TD, 4 INT) subbing for a banged-up McNabb (2329 passing yards, 13 TD, 6 INT), as the Eagles gathered 336 net passing yards against the mighty Patriots and converted 8-of-13 third-down conversions. Feeley did throw three interceptions, however, including one that was returned for a New England touchdown. The seldom-used Greg Lewis (8 receptions, 2 TD) benefited most from the quarterback change, as he caught two of Feeley's three scoring strikes and compiled a career-best 88 yards on four receptions. Still, the top weapons in Philly's 12th-ranked pass attack (237.9 ypg) remain versatile running back Brian Westbrook (62 receptions, 4 TD) and receivers Kevin Curtis (50 receptions, 4 TD) and Reggie Brown (37 receptions, 2 TD).

Westbrook (901 rushing yards, 6 TD) has stamped himself as the Eagles' most important cog in the offense with a sensational 2007 campaign. The shifty back leads the NFL with an average of 145.9 yards per scrimmage per game and had two consecutive 100-yard rushing outings before being held to 52 by New England's tough defense last Sunday. Westbrook runs behind a well-regarded line that's allowed an uncharacteristically high total of 32 sacks thus far, although Feeley was taken down just twice in his start.

Pressuring the quarterback has been the strength of a Seattle defense that has surrendered the fourth-fewest points in the league this season, and no player has been more of a disrupter lately than end Patrick Kerney (40 tackles, 10.5 sacks). The former Atlanta Falcon has had two straight games with three sacks and added an interception and forced fumble to aid last week's comeback. Outside linebacker Julian Peterson (55 tackles, 8 sacks, 1 INT) is also a dangerous rusher off the edge, while second-year end Darryl Tapp (33 tackles, 6.5 sacks) has also been a steady contributor to a Seahawks' stop unit that ranks second in the NFL with 35 sacks. The secondary is headlined by cornerback Marcus Trufant (58 tackles, 4 INT, 11 PD), who also had a pick in the St. Louis game.

Seattle has been mostly solid defending the run this season, having given up an average of 100.5 yards per week on the ground (14th overall). The Seahawks did issue a 53-yard touchdown to the Rams' Steven Jackson a week ago, but the All-Pro back was limited to 90 yards on 23 carries despite that long gainer. Standout middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu (79 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT) heads up a strong linebacking corps that also includes Peterson and Leroy Hill (64 tackles, 3 sacks) on the outside.

FANTASY FOCUS

Westbrook is the unquestioned fantasy star of this game and a must-start every week due to his ability to pile up yards as both a runner and receiver. Seattle's running back situation isn't as clear-cut, and with Alexander likely to play but split time in the backfield, neither he nor Morris are great options this week. With the Seahawks focusing on throwing the ball in recent weeks, Hasselbeck's been a good play as a No. 1 quarterback and should remain so until the running game sorts itself out. Stay away from using an Eagles quarterback, though. There's still a chance McNabb could play, but he'd surely be limited by his ailments, while Feeley doesn't have the greatest track record despite his strong game against New England. Hackett's injury boosts the value of both Branch and Engram, Seattle's top two receivers, while Curtis is a solid No. 2 wideout on the Philadelphia side.

OVERALL ANALYSIS

Philadelphia is in the exact same situation as a year ago, when the team entered December with a 5-6 record and a backup quarterback taking over for an injured McNabb. The Eagles went on to win their final five regular-season games to earn a spot in the playoffs with Jeff Garcia steering the offense. Don't expect history to repeat itself. Feeley certainly showed excellent poise and decision-making against a fierce New England defense last week, but he's a lot more turnover-prone than the remarkably-steady Garcia and will be feeling the heat from a Seattle squad that excels at pressuring the passer. The Seahawks are a strong plus-six in turnover margin this season, while Philadelphia is minus-seven in that category. That telling statistic may be the difference in what should be an exciting and evenly-matched game.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Seahawks 24, Eagles 20

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Re: Sunday Football

Game Preview for Lions vs Vikings

(Sports Network) - For fans of the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings, who will meet at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on Sunday, it's all a matter of perspective.

On paper, Lions fans should be thrilled that their long-struggling team currently occupies the second of two Wild Card slots in the NFC, though a sense of dread has crept in for those that support the Honolulu Blue and Silver.

That's because Rod Marinelli's team has lost three in a row following a 6-2 start, extending their skid with a 37-26 home loss to Green Bay on Thanksgiving afternoon. What's more, Detroit's schedule isn't about to do the team any favors down the stretch.

After playing at Minnesota, where the Lions have lost nine straight times, the team will face three current division leaders - Dallas (12/9), San Diego (12/16), and Green Bay (12/30) - in their final four games.

Inasmuch, a win over the Vikings has to be considered crucial to the team's postseason chances.

Then you have Minnesota, a team left for dead just a couple short weeks ago before bursting into the postseason picture over the last month.

Brad Childress' club has won three of its last four following a 2-5 start, including shocking blowouts of the Chargers (35-17) and Giants (41-17) over that stretch.

The Vikes enter Week 13 just a game back in the Wild Card hunt, and will get current NFL rushing leader Adrian Peterson back in the fold this week following a two-game absence. Minnesota went 2-0 with Peterson sidelined by a knee injury.

Are these teams little more than a couple of ships passing in the night, one headed straight toward the postseason motherlode and the other chalking up yet another disappointing year?

That's the perception, though in the NFL, perception tends to give way to new realities on a weekly basis.

SERIES HISTORY

The Vikings hold a 60-30-2 lead in the all-time series with the Lions, but had a 10-game winning streak in the series snapped with a 20-17 loss at Ford Field in Week 2. Minnesota swept home-and-homes over Detroit in five straight seasons, from 2002 through 2006. The Lions are 0-9 at the Metrodome since last winning there in 1997, which also marks the last time they swept the Vikings in a home-and-home. Detroit was a 26-17 loser when it visited the Twin Cities last season.

Childress is 2-1 against the Lions as a head coach, while Detroit's Marinelli is 1-2 against both the Vikings and Childress.

WHEN THE LIONS HAVE THE BALL

Lions quarterback Jon Kitna (2897 passing yards, 14 TD, 12 INT) comes off a tough outing, one in which he completed just 19-of-40 passes for 224 yards with a touchdown and an interception on a day when he was victimized by dropped passes. The game marked the first time since 2001 that Kitna failed to complete 50 percent or more of his throws in a game. Rookie wideout Calvin Johnson (31 receptions, 5 TD) had a strong statistical day with seven catches for 83 yards and a score, but Kitna's other main receivers - Roy Williams (58 receptions, 5 TD), Shaun McDonald (53 receptions, 4 TD), and Mike Furrey (39 receptions, 1 TD) - combined for just five catches and 50 yards. As usual, Kitna also faced constant pressure behind a weak Detroit o-line, absorbing four sacks to up the team's total to an NFL-worst 47 on the year. A running game that has been hit-or-miss for most of 2007 made a positive contribution against the Packers, as Kevin Jones (457 rushing yards, 6 TD, 27 receptions) carried 20 times for 93 yards and a touchdown. The Lions are 31st in the league in rushing offense (82.1 yards per game), though their 4.0 average per carry is further up the league chart.

If Kitna is smart, he will watch the tape of Giants QB's Eli Manning performance against the Vikings last week, and do the exact opposite of every move Manning made. Minnesota picked the former No. 1 pick off four times, with safety Darren Sharper (41 tackles, 3 INT), linebacker Chad Greenway (70 tackles, 2 INT), and safety Dwight Smith (35 tackles, 4 INT) all returning their picks for touchdowns and a second Smith pick putting the Vikings in position to score at the New York eight-yard line. Despite the secondary's fine day, Minnesota continues to rank dead last in the NFL against the pass (283.1 yards per game). Part of the reason for that stat is opponents' unwillingness to run the football against a Vikings team that leads the NFL in rushing defense (74.8 yards per game). Tackles Pat Williams (47 tackles, 1 sack) and Kevin Williams (26 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT) continue to occupy a great deal of space on the interior, and linebackers Greenway and E.J. Henderson (90 tackles, 2.5 sacks) have made a ton of plays behind them. The Vikings have recorded 27 sacks on the year as a team, led by rookie end Brian Robison's 4.5.

WHEN THE VIKINGS HAVE THE BALL

The anticipated return of Peterson (1081 rushing yards, 15 receptions, 9 TD) should be a boon for an offense that already leads the NFL in rushing offense and yards per carry. The rookie out of Oklahoma did not relinquish his league rushing lead during his convalescence, and on Sunday will be attempting to record his sixth 100-yard outing of the year. Chester Taylor (545 rushing yards, 5 TD, 15 receptions) played extremely well in Peterson's place, and should garner a healthy amount of touches as well on Sunday. The Minnesota passing game ranks 31st in the NFL (158.8 yards per game) and can hardly be called a strength, though second-year signal-caller Tarvaris Jackson (900 passing yards, 3 TD, 6 INT) has made strides in recent weeks. Jackson who is 5-2 as a starter this season, has completed a combined 27-of-34 passes (79.4 percent) for 300 yards with a touchdown and an interception in his last two games, both Minnesota wins. Jackson led off the scoring against the Giants with a 60-yard touchdown pass to the blossoming Sidney Rice (23 receptions, 3 TD) in the first quarter. Bobby Wade (33 receptions) continues to lead the team in catches. Minnesota has allowed 31 sacks on the year, including four last week.

Jackson, Peterson, and company will have to protect the football against a Detroit defense that counts forcing turnovers as its primary strength. The Lions lead the NFL in takeaways (31) and forced fumbles lost (16) as Week 13 begins, statistics that have helped mask the deficiencies of the league's second-worst pass defense (269.1 yards per game). Detroit has been better against the run, ranking tied for ninth in the league in that category (95.8 yards per game), but surrendered 101 yards on just 15 carries to Green Bay's Ryan Grant last Thursday. The stars of the Detroit defense are the run- stopping combination of linebackers Ernie Sims (94 tackles, 1 INT, 1 sack) and Paris Lenon (84 tackles, 2 sacks) along with tackle Shaun Rogers (24 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 1 INT). End Dewayne White (32 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 1 INT), who returned last week after missing three games with a triceps injury, also falls into that category when healthy. The team's Achilles' heel is its ability to contain receivers, with cornerbacks Fernando Bryant (61 tackles, 2 INT) and Travis Fisher (48 tackles, 1 INT) needing a strong outing against Minnesota's nondescript group of targets on Sunday.

FANTASY FOCUS

Don't hesitate in starting Kitna or any Lions receiver you might own this week. Detroit will have to put the ball in the air 40+ times against the Minnesota defense, giving all of the passing principles multiple opportunities. Conversely, think seriously about resting Kevin Jones, who has been coming out of the game on third down and won't get consistent touches. On the Minnesota side, Peterson is the only offensive player worth starting, and he figures to make his comeback a productive one against a shaky Detroit defense. From a fantasy standpoint, both of these defenses are great because of their ability to force turnovers. Both kickers, Detroit's Jason Hanson and Minnesota's Ryan Longwell, are worthy of starting status as well.

OVERALL ANALYSIS

The Lions appear to be a team in free-fall, with three straight losses diminishing team morale and a trip to the Metrodome, which has been a house of horrors for Detroit, not seeming likely to boost spirits. But the Lions were a better team than the Vikings in Week 2, and they're a better team than the Vikings now. Marinelli's defense needs to stop one guy - the undeniably talented but probably rusty Peterson - and needs to take advantage of Jackson's inevitable (and somewhat overdue) mistakes. On the other side, it will be about Detroit protecting Kitna so he can play pitch-and-catch against Minnesota's weak pass coverage group. If the Lions can avoid mistakes on offense, they'll be in prime position to win this one, and to get back to the business of making a playoff run.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Lions 24, Vikings 22

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Re: Sunday Football

Game Preview for 49rs vs Panthers

(Sports Network) - The San Francisco 49ers were able to break out of a lengthy winless drought last week. The Carolina Panthers will be hoping to do the same when these two teams going through disappointing campaigns get together this Sunday at Bank of America Stadium.

The 49ers finally put a painful eight-game slide to rest by edging the playoff-hopeful Arizona Cardinals in an 37-31 overtime thriller last Sunday. That victory now leaves the Panthers, who suffered their fifth consecutive loss with their Week 12 setback to New Orleans, as the owners of the longest current losing streak among NFC members.

Carolina's 31-6 shellacking by the Saints was also the club's seventh consecutive defeat at Bank of America Stadium, a skid that dates back over a full year. The Panthers haven't won on their home turf since a 15-0 decision over St. Louis on November 19, 2006.

The Panthers mustered a paltry 195 yards of total offense with the struggling David Carr filling in for an injured Vinny Testaverde at quarterback last week. The 44-year-old Testaverde was unable to go after his back stiffened up on him over the weekend, but the grizzled veteran is expected to get the starting nod on Sunday assuming he gets through the week without any problems.

Neither signal-caller has been able to effectively jump-start the Carolina offense since No. 1 quarterback Jake Delhomme suffered a season-ending elbow injury in Week 3. In the eight games Delhomme's missed, the 4-7 Panthers have averaged just 12.3 points and have lost six of those tests.

Offensive woes have also plagued the 49ers throughout the season, as the team enters this matchup ranked last in the NFL in scoring (13.6 ppg), total yards (235.0 ypg) and passing yards (145.9 ypg). However, San Francisco is coming off one of its most productive outings of the year in the Arizona game.

Quarterback Trent Dilfer threw for a season-high 256 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Cardinals, while running back Frank Gore recorded his best game of 2007 with a 116-yard, two-touchdown performance on the ground. Last year's NFC rushing champion gave the Niners a brief 31-28 lead with a 35- yard scoring scamper late in the fourth quarter.

Dilfer will make his third straight start this week as regular triggerman Alex Smith continues to recover from a separated right shoulder.

San Francisco improved to 3-8 with last Sunday's victory and moved one game in front of St. Louis for third place in the NFC West.

SERIES HISTORY

Carolina holds an 8-7 edge in its all-time series with San Francisco, breaking a deadlock in the series with a 37-27 road win when the teams last met, in 2003. The Niners' last wins in the series occurred in 2001, when they swept a home-and-home with their then-NFC West rival. Carolina swept two-fers in both the 1999 and 2000 campaigns.

Carolina's John Fox is 1-0 against the 49ers all-time, while San Francisco's Mike Nolan will be meeting both Fox and the Panthers for the first time as a head coach. Fox succeeded Nolan as defensive coordinator of the New York Giants in 1997.

WHEN THE 49ERS HAVE THE BALL

Nolan has to be encouraged about the season-high 374 total yards the 49ers piled up in last Sunday's win, especially since the team was able to run on an Arizona defense that had been smothering in that area in recent weeks. Gore (655 rushing yards, 5 TD, 33 receptions) registered a long-overdue first 100- yard outing of the season and also served as Dilfer's primary target in the passing game, as the 2006 Pro Bowler amassed career highs of 11 catches and 98 receiving yards in the victory. Despite Gore's outstanding day against the Cardinals, San Francisco ranks just 26th in the league in rushing offense (89.1 ypg).

The Niners' ability to run the ball also gave a boost to their sagging aerial attack, as Dilfer (950 passing yards, 5 TD, 7 INT) compiled the highest passing total by a San Francisco quarterback this year last week. The 14th- year pro is developing a good rapport with young tight end Vernon Davis (36 receptions, 2 TD), who caught six passes for 45 yards and a touchdown versus Arizona. Disappointing wideout Darrell Jackson (28 receptions, 1 TD) came through with a season-high five grabs for 43 yards last week, while Dilfer also connected with leading receiver Arnaz Battle (39 receptions, 3 TD) for a key 57-yard score in the third quarter.

San Francisco will try to keep up its new-found passing success against a Carolina secondary that was carved up for 260 yards and three touchdowns by New Orleans' Drew Brees a week ago. The Panthers did play without the services of cornerback Chris Gamble (39 tackles), but are hopeful the former first- round pick can return from recent surgery on a broken right thumb. Carolina did not record a sack of Brees last Sunday and is tied for last in the NFL with 10 quarterback takedowns this season. End Julius Peppers (33 tackles, 3 forced fumbles) leads the club with 2 1/2 sacks, but that number is far below the three-time Pro Bowl honoree's usual standards.

The Panthers have been pretty solid defending the run, having held opponents to a respectable 3.6 yards per rush for the year. Rookie Jon Beason (91 tackles) has filled in quite capably for the injured Dan Morgan at middle linebacker, while strong safety Chris Harris (66 tackles, 1 INT, 5 forced fumbles) has shown himself to be an effective playmaker as well. Tackles Kris Jenkins (27 tackles, 1 sack) and Maake Kemoeatu (32 tackles) give Carolina a stout presence up front.

WHEN THE PANTHERS HAVE THE BALL

Carolina's subpar rankings in nearly every major offensive category can primarily be attributed to the mediocre quarterback play since Delhomme went down, but the Panthers haven't run the ball well lately either. The team mustered just 43 rushing yards in the loss to New Orleans, with running back DeShaun Foster (670 rushing yards, 19 receptions, 3 total TD) held to minus- five yards on nine attempts. Foster also fumbled twice in the game and has been hampered by a nagging turf toe injury, which could lead to a greater role for promising backup DeAngelo Williams (386 rushing yards, 17 receptions, 2 total TD).

The Panthers come in listed a woeful 28th overall in passing yards (177.7 ypg) and 25th in total yards (290.9 ypg), with Testaverde (699 passing yards, 3 TD, 3 INT) having provided only a mild threat through the air and Carr (635 passing yards, 3 TD, 5 INT) giving the offense virtually no spark. At least fourth-year wideout Drew Carter (26 receptions, 4 TD) has shown recent signs of being an effective complement alongside the dangerous Steve Smith (51 receptions, 6 TD), who hasn't had a 100-yard receiving day since the Panthers' most recent victory, a 25-10 triumph at Arizona in Week 6. If Testaverde's health concerns linger, rookie Matt Moore (145 passing yards, 0 TD, 3 INT) could be Fox's second option under center.

Carolina may be able to find a little more success facing a San Francisco squad that ranks just 24th in the league in pass defense (228.1 ypg) and was riddled for 456 net yards via the air by Arizona last weekend. The defense did come up with a number of big plays, however. Cornerback Walt Harris (40 tackles, 3 INT, 10 PD) had two interceptions of Cards quarterback Kurt Warner, while linebacker Tully Banta-Cain (22 tackles, 1.5 sacks) scored the winning touchdown with a recovery of tackle Ronald Fields' (13 tackles, 1 sack) sack and forced fumble of Warner in the end zone. The Niners have also recorded 10 sacks over the last two weeks, with veteran end Bryant Young (27 tackles, 6.5 sacks) spearheading the improved pass rush.

San Francisco struggled to control opposing running games early in the season, but the club has improved in that area since young linebacker Patrick Willis (110 tackles, 1 sack) has emerged as a leader on the defense. The rookie standout racked up 18 tackles and half a sack against Arizona last Sunday, while sturdy strong safety Michael Lewis (75 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 INT) was in on 12 stops. Nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin (19 tackles) is slated to miss a third straight game with a calf strain, but Isaac Sopoaga (15 tackles, 0.5 sacks) has been a solid fill-in.

FANTASY FOCUS

With both the Panthers and 49ers having had all sorts of trouble putting up points this season, the most attractive plays in this rather stale matchup could be the defenses of both teams. Certainly those who own Willis in leagues that use individual defenders have to use the rookie, who enters the week as the NFL's leader in tackles.

Gore finally delivered the breakout game his owners have been waiting for last week, but it's hard to expect a repeat performance against a Carolina defense geared to stopping him. The young back's receiving skills and prime role in the offense still make him a worthwhile start. The Panthers' shaky quarterback situation has relegated Steve Smith to No. 2 receiver status, but the dynamic wideout is still Carolina's most attractive fantasy option. Stay away from either quarterback and use the declining Foster only as a last resort at running back this week. The rapidly improving Davis isn't a bad play at tight end.

OVERALL ANALYSIS

The 49ers have been the standard-bearers for offensive futility this season, but Carolina may have wrested away that dubious title with their anemic performances in recent weeks. Testaverde is the only quarterback who gives the team a chance to win, but there's no guarantee that the brittle graybeard can even make it through an entire game. That's not good news for the Panthers, who can't rely on a rushing attack keyed by a fumble-prone Foster or a defense that has too often failed to come up with the big play this year. San Francisco's offense doesn't inspire much confidence either, but Dilfer is capable of moving the chains if he gets adequate protection and Gore's outburst last week was a very positive sign. The Niners' defense has also been playing pretty well of late, and that trend has a good chance of continuing considering Carolina's problems on the offensive end.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: 49ers 17, Panthers 13

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Re: Sunday Football

Game Preview for Falcons vs Rams

(Sports Network) - The St. Louis Rams will try for their first home win of the season, though it will have to come without their starting quarterback, when they welcome the Atlanta Falcons to the Edward Jones Dome on Sunday.

The Rams are winless in five home games this season, losing the first four as part of their season-opening eight-game losing streak. St. Louis then snapped its skid with a pair of road wins over New Orleans and San Francisco before returning home to battle the Seattle Seahawks. However, the Rams dropped a 24-19 decision.

St. Louis had a chance to take the lead with under 30 seconds left in the game on a fourth-down play at the goal line, but backup quarterback Gus Frerotte fumbled the ensuing snap to dash the thought of victory.

The Rams will have to go with Frerotte again this weekend, as starting quarterback Marc Bulger left the Seattle game in the first quarter because of a concussion. Bulger wasn't cleared to play for this game, though a CAT scan after Sunday's loss was negative.

However, he missed practice on Wednesday, did not pass the baseline test that is required if a concussion is suffered and is out for this weekend. Serving as the 36-year-old Frerotte's backup will be Brock Berlin, who was promoted from the Rams' practice squad this week.

At 2-9, the Rams are in last place in the NFC West and appear to be playing for a high draft pick this offseason.

Atlanta, meanwhile, has lost two in a row and is just 1-4 on the road this season. The 3-8 Falcons lost their first four games as the visitor before winning in Carolina on November 11.

The club has since lost two home games, including a 31-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Thanksgiving Day which kept Atlanta at the bottom of the NFC South.

The Falcons are going through quarterback injuries of their own. The team has shuffled between signal-callers Joey Harrington and Byron Leftwich this season, with Harrington starting the holiday game as Leftwich nursed a bruised tailbone.

SERIES HISTORY

The Rams hold a 46-24-2 edge in their all-time regular season series with Atlanta, and had won seven in a row in the series prior to a 34-17 home win for the Falcons in Week 2 of the 2004 regular season. St. Louis last defeated Atlanta in 2003 by a 36-0 count at the Edward Jones Dome. The Falcons are 0-4 in St. Louis since last winning there in 1998.

The most recent meeting between the franchises took place in the 2004 postseason, with Atlanta earning a 47-17 home rout in an NFC Divisional Playoff.

The Rams' Scott Linehan and Falcons' Bobby Petrino will be meeting each other, as well as their counterpart's respective franchise, for the first time as head coaches.

WHEN THE FALCONS HAVE THE BALL

With Leftwich (279 passing yards, 1 TD, 2 INT in three games) considered questionable again this weekend and having limited participation in practice, it appears as though Harrington will remain under center. However, neither quarterback has been anything special this year, as the Falcons are ranked 24th in the league through the air. The club is also scoring just 14.1 points per game, 31st in the league. Harrington (2,031 passing yards, 7 TD, 7 INT) completed just 14-of-30 pass attempts for 155 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions against the Colts. The Falcons' lone highlight of the game came from running back Warrick Dunn, who ran for 70 yards on 17 carries to eclipse the 10,000-yard mark. He became just the 22nd running back in NFL history to hit the mark. However, Dunn (583 rushing yards, 3 TD) and backup Jerious Norwood (348 rushing yards, 1 TD) have guided Atlanta to just the 22nd-ranked rush attack in the league. Wide receiver Roddy White (52 receptions, 3 TD) was Harrington's only successful target on Thanksgiving, making six catches for 104 yards with a score. No other player had more than 14 yards receiving against the Colts, with tight end Alge Crumpler's three catches for 14 yards coming in second. Second-leading receiver Michael Jenkins (37 receptions, 2 TD) had just one catch for nine yards. Crumpler (27 receptions) is tied for second on the team with two receiving touchdowns.

While the Rams are in the middle of the pack as far as yards allowed (320.7 per game, 15th overall), they are breaking in addition to bending. The club is allowing 25.5 points per game, 29th in the league. That was the case against the Seahawks, as the defense gave up 302 net yards but also allowed 17 points, with Seattle also returning a kickoff for a score. The unit will take an additional hit this weekend, as linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa (40 tackles, 2 INT) is out due to a knee injury, as is reserve corner Eric Bassey. The Rams will have linebacker Will Witherspoon (6 sacks), who leads the team with 82 tackles, to help stop the Falcons' run attack. He finished with five tackles and a pair of sacks against the Seahawks and has five quarterback takedowns in his last four games. Cornerback Ron Bartell (43 tackles, 1 INT) led the team with seven tackles and safety Oshiomogho Atogwe (51 tackles, 4 sacks) nabbed an interception for the third straight game. Linebacker Brandon Chillar (44 tackles, 2 sacks) also got to the Seahawks' Matt Hasselbeck twice, while defensive tackle La'Roi Glover (25 tackles, 3 sacks) posted a sack as well.

WHEN THE RAMS HAVE THE BALL

With Bulger (1,789 passing yards, 6 TD, 9 INT) unable to go, it will mark the third game this season he has missed. Bulger also sat out the Rams' Week 5 and 6 losses due to rib and knee injuries. He was starting to hit his stride, having had thrown three touchdown passes without an interception over St. Louis' previous two games before facing Seattle. He was 3-for-5 passing with a pick before leaving the game. Frerotte (672 passing yards, 4 TD, 9 INT) threw for 161 yards and a touchdown with one interception in relief, and of course, had the big fumble at the end. St. Louis is just 25th in the league with 90.5 rushing yards per game, but running back Steven Jackson is starting to show he is healthy. Jackson (532 rushing yards, 3 TD) was slowed earlier in the year and missed time with a partial groin tear and back injury, but ran for 90 yards on 23 carries against Seattle with a 53-yard scoring run. Wide receiver Isaac Bruce (38 receptions, 2 TD) led the team with six catches for 63 yards and a touchdown last week and is climbing up the record charts. He needs just two receiving touchdowns to match four players for 13th place on the all- time list in that category with 84. Bruce is also just 20 yards short of passing Cris Carter (13,899) for fifth place on the all-time receiving yards list and 65 shy of the Colts' Marvin Harrison for fourth place. Torry Holt (66 receptions, 5 TD) has been consistent all season and hauled in five passes for 54 yards last Sunday. He has 7 TD catches in eight meetings with the Falcons.

The Falcons enter this game with the eighth-ranked pass defense in the league and were sparked by linebacker Michael Boley (89 tackles, 2 INT) last week. Boley entered the Indianapolis game with three sacks in his previous 42 career games before totaling a career-high three against the Colts. All three came in the first half, setting a franchise record for most sacks in a half. Boley capped his performance by leading the team with nine tackles to go along with a forced fumble. Linebacker Keith Brooking (71 tackles, 2 sacks) also had a sack to key the pass defense, while corner DeAngelo Hall (44 tackles) intercepted his fourth pass of the season. Atlanta, though, did allow the Colts to run for 118 yards in the game and is ranked 26th in the league against opposing ground attacks. Brooking and Hall each finished with five tackles last week. Defensive end John Abraham (21 tackles) failed to get to the quarterback and ended with two tackles, but he does have seven sacks in his past 10 games. Boley, Brooking and safety Lawyer Malloy (57 tackles) will be put to the test by Jackson this weekend.

FANTASY FOCUS

Fantasy owners of Bulger should look for another option this Sunday, as even if he does play he will be less than 100 percent. There should be better options out there than Frerotte, who will struggle against Atlanta's pass defense. However, owners of Jackson should see the Pro Bowl back put up another solid game, just in time for teams who need one last push for their fantasy playoff hopes. Holt is a must-start due to his consistency but faces a tough matchup this weekend in Hall. For the Falcons, few of their offensive players are worth looks. The quarterback situation is a mess and should be avoided, while Dunn has been hot and cold and does split carries with Norwood, who continues to get fewer carries despite his big-play ability. White appears to be the Falcons' favorite receiving target and could fill in at a flex spot, while Crumpler has been disappointing all season.

OVERALL ANALYSIS

Deep down inside, either team wouldn't mind taking a loss in this one as the bottom clubs in the league begin battling (or giving up) for draft positioning. But make no mistake, both clubs came to play and don't want to lose to the weaker team. The Rams have proved they can stop a big-time runner when they shut down San Francisco's Frank Gore two weeks ago, but have to face two backs this weekend. Atlanta, meanwhile, has struggled against the run and draws a healthy Jackson. Both teams will try to eat up clock on the ground -- especially with Bulger out -- meaning whoever scores first will be in the driver's seat. Look for Jackson to be the x-factor and carry St. Louis to a win.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Rams 17, Falcons 10

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Re: Sunday Football

Game Preview for Jets vs Dolphins

(Sports Network) - Somehow, "flex scheduling" doesn't quite do it justice.

Rather, if it were possible, perhaps the NFL would consider simply ignoring the fact that one of its games is actually supposed to take place this weekend in south Florida.

Or instead of onto its flagship self-named cable network, maybe the league could jettison the clash from CBS toward some other unsuspecting entity - like the CW or Comedy Central.

Either way, it's difficult to underestimate the debacle that could unfold.

When the two-win New York Jets visit the no-win Miami Dolphins, it'll be a stark reminder for both franchises just how far they've each tumbled since meeting for the AFC Championship back in 1983.

Of course, both have had their share of high and low points since - but rarely have both taken as precipitous a tumble toward laughingstock status as in 2007.

The Jets come in fresh off a role as Thanksgiving patsy in Dallas, where they managed a meager three points in the mid-afternoon spotlight while surrendering - literally - 34.

Conversely, the Dolphins allowed just three points on Monday...problem was, the game was played in a Pittsburgh quagmire that hamstrung their own already impotent offense en route to a shutout loss.

Most prominently featured in the matchup figure to be a pair of quarterbacks, both recently drafted and thrust this year into starting positions for which neither has yet proven qualified.

New York's Kellen Clemens - the Jets' second-round pick in 2006 - took the reins from Chad Pennington prior to a Week 9 loss to Washington, in which he completed 23-of-42 passes.

The Jets stunned Pittsburgh in Clemens' second week as full-time starter before the misery in Dallas, a bipolar five-day stretch that saw the University of Oregon product connect on 26-of-58 attempts.

"It's absolutely frustrating," said Clemens. "I certainly didn't play good enough to put our team in position to win the game."

Ironically, Pennington's best performance of the season came against Miami in Week 3.

Meanwhile, John Beck is the third player to start a game at QB for the woeful Dolphins, who saw offseason acquisition Trent Green lost with a concussion and subsequently suffered through four weeks of the failed signal-calling experiment known as Cleo Lemon.

Even the novelty of Ricky Williams' return was a short-lived diversion, with the mercurial running back going down for the season with a torn chest muscle after just six carries.

A second-round pick in April, Beck made his debut with a Week 11 start against Philadelphia, then returned for the loss in Pittsburgh eight days later. In the two starts, he's completed 23-of-45 passes for 241 yards, but has yet to find the end zone.

Miami averaged 20.75 points per game in eight weeks prior to its Week 9 bye, but has scored just 17 points in three games since.

"I did feel like there was progress (against Pittsburgh)," Beck said. "That's what I'm trying to do each week is just help myself become better. That way I can help the team get better. Just a few plays here and there. I thought the defense played their tails off and it was just one of those things where we got close, just not close enough."

SERIES HISTORY

The Jets hold a 44-38-1 lead in their all-time series with Miami, and have won six of the last seven in the series. New York was a 31-28 home winner when the teams met in Week 3, and also swept a home-and-home with their long-time AFC East rival last season. New York scored a 20-17 home victory when the teams met in Week 6, and outlasted the Fins by a 13-10 count in south Florida in Week 16. The Dolphins' most recent win came at home (24-20) during the 2005 season.

In addition to their regular season history, the Jets and Dolphins met in the 1982 AFC Championship, which went to Miami by a 14-0 score.

Jets head coach Eric Mangini is 3-0 against the Dolphins as a head coach, while Miami's Cam Cameron is 0-1 against both Mangini and the Jets as a head coach.

WHEN THE JETS HAVE THE BALL

The fortunes of the young Clemens may have something to do with the game-day health of wide receiver Laveranues Coles, who missed the meeting with the Cowboys due to an ankle injury, but is listed as probable to face the Dolphins. Coles and fellow wideout Jerricho Cotchery are averaging 86 and 81.2 yards per game on the road, respectively. Cotchery leads the team with 730 yards and 54 catches. Tight end Chris Baker has at least one catch in 21 straight games and has at least one first-down reception in every game this season. Elsewhere, running back Thomas Jones, who has 763 yards on 207 carries overall, went for 110 yards against Miami in Week 3. Jones' teams are 23-11 when he carries the ball at least 20 times.

Miami has allowed just 33 points in its last three games and has held opponents to 17 or fewer five times this season, a level the Jets have failed to reach in six of their 11 games. In terms of yardage, the Dolphins have been touched for 325.1 yards per game and enter the week with a minus-5 turnover ratio. Among the individuals, linebacker Joey Porter recorded his first interception of the season last week, while end Jason Taylor has five sacks in his last four games against New York. Miami has at least one sack in 31 of its last 33 games and notched a season-high five against the Steelers.

WHEN THE DOLPHINS HAVE THE BALL

Williams was placed on season-ending injured reserve on Wednesday, while previous incumbent No. 1 Jesse Chatman -- who took over when Ronnie Brown went down for the year -- is probable with a dinged-up ankle. Chatman has averaged 73 yards per game in his four starts. Team-wise, the Dolphins have rushed for 100-plus yards in seven of their last nine games and are averaging 119.3 yards per week during that stretch. In the air, wideout Marty Booker is seven receptions shy of 500 for his career, while rookie Ted Ginn Jr. is averaging a team-best 16 yards per catch on 15 receptions (240 yards). Tight end David Martin has one or more first-down catches in five of his past six games.

Rookies David Harris and Darrelle Revis have been among the few bright spots on a consistently bending and frequently breaking unit. Harris leads the team with 74 tackles and has shone since regular starter Jonathan Vilma went down with a knee injury. Revis is third on the team with 71 tackles. Defensive end Shaun Ellis is a half-sack from surpassing Mo Lewis and reaching fifth on the all-time franchise list, while Dewayne Robertson has 3.5 sacks in the last two games. Ellis and Robertson share the team lead with four sacks apiece, while safety Kerry Rhodes -- who has an interception in two straight games -- leads the team with three and is one off his career best.

FANTASY FOCUS

Hard-core fantasy players will probably look elsewhere, but those who've taken a flier on young quarterbacks of the future may be watching Clemens and Beck. Chatman, if healthy, may be able to put up numbers against a Jets defense that's allowed 366.3 total yards per week, while Jones is a solid bet to reach 100 again. Ginn and Leon Washington are among the league's best at returning kicks and might be good for a big play or two.

OVERALL ANALYSIS

Hard as it may be to believe, the Dolphins have been getting progressively closer to a win in the last few weeks. And the Jets, who looked awful on the holiday, may be just the ticket. The rookie QBs will cancel each other out, as will the mediocre offenses and defenses. That leaves special teams to decide things, and Miami is nothing if not due for a lucky bounce or two. Pop the champagne corks, Buccaneers...you're still No. 1 among the losers.

Sports Network predicted outcome: Dolphins 23, Jets 21

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Re: Sunday Football

Game Preview for Chargers vs Chiefs

(Sports Network) - The road has not been especially kind to the San Diego Chargers in 2007, but if Norv Turner's team would like its season to have some meaning when all is said and done, it had better learn to win away from Qualcomm Stadium.

The Chargers, who travel to Arrowhead Stadium to face the fading Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, are just 1-4 away from San Diego this year, and their road struggles have been a major component of the team's disappointing 6-5 record. The Bolts lead the AFC West by one game over Denver (5-6) as Week 13 begins, but have yet to emerge as the Super Bowl contender that many expected them to be in 2007.

San Diego was a 32-14 home winner over the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday, seizing sole control of the division lead thanks to Denver's loss in Chicago, and also upping its mark at Qualcomm to 5-1 this year.

The Chargers' lone home loss this season came at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 4, but that shocking 30-16 result seems like it occurred years ago, as opposed to weeks.

Once residing atop the AFC West, the Chiefs have dropped four straight games, including three in a row at home, to fall two games behind San Diego in the division.

Sunday could realistically serve as Kansas City's final chance to get back into the division hunt, and should also afford second-year starting quarterback Brodie Croyle a third chance at his first NFL win.

Croyle has presided over losses to Indianapolis (13-10) and Oakland (20-17) since taking over for the ineffective Damon Huard prior to Week 11. The Alabama product, who is nursing a sore back, will hope this week to tap into the late-season magic that the Chiefs have traditionally been able to locate at Arrowhead.

Since 1997, Kansas City is 20-2 in regular season games played at home in December and January, and had won 16 consecutive such games before falling to Baltimore last Dec. 10th. Prior to that defeat, the Chiefs hadn't lost a home game in the month of December since Dec. 15th, 1996, when they dropped a 24-19 decision to the Indianapolis Colts.

SERIES HISTORY

Kansas City holds a 50-43-1 lead in a regular season series with San Diego that dates back to 1960, when the Chiefs franchise was known as the Dallas Texans and the Chargers resided in Los Angeles. As mentioned, Kansas City was a 30-16 road winner when the teams met in Week 4. The rivals split a home-and- home last season, with Kansas City coming up a 30-27 winner at Arrowhead Stadium in Week 7, and San Diego returning the favor with a 20-9 home victory in Week 15. The Chargers are 0-2 in Kansas City since last winning there in 2004.

In addition to their regular season history, the teams have met once in the postseason, with the Chargers scoring a 17-0 home victory over the Chiefs in a 1992 AFC First-Round Playoff.

Kansas City head coach Herm Edwards is 5-2 in his career against the Chargers, including 3-1 while with the Jets (2001-05). One of Edwards' wins was a 20-17 overtime triumph in a 2004 AFC First-Round Playoff from Qualcomm Stadium. San Diego's Turner is 0-6 against the Chiefs as a head coach, including 0-4 while he was with the Oakland Raiders in 2004 and 2005, and is 0-2 head-to-head against Edwards.

WHEN THE CHARGERS HAVE THE BALL

Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (2301 passing yards, 14 TD, 12 INT), who has struggled at times in his second full season as the team's starter, comes off perhaps his finest game of the campaign to date. Rivers shredded a well- regarded Baltimore defense for 249 yards and three touchdowns on 25-of-35 passing, also failing to throw an interception following a three-game stretch in which he threw five picks versus only one TD pass. Rivers hooked up often with tight end and top target Antonio Gates (60 receptions, 8 TD), who recovered from a quiet stretch to catch six passes for 105 yards and two touchdowns. Wideouts Vincent Jackson (29 receptions, 2 TD) and Chris Chambers (18 receptions, 2 TD) added five receptions each, and Chambers scored his second touchdown in five games with San Diego. On the ground, LaDainian Tomlinson (872 rushing yards, 47 receptions, 10 TD) has not put up MVP-type of numbers this year, but is tied for the NFL lead in rushing touchdowns with nine. Tomlinson, who has just two 100-yard games on the year, is 128 yards shy of his seventh consecutive 1,000-yard season. The Bolts are a middle-of-the- road 21st in NFL total offense (306.4 yards per game).

The main directive for the Kansas City defense on Sunday will be to stop Tomlinson, who will be looking to tread the same course that Oakland rusher Justin Fargas tore up against the Chiefs last week. Fargas carried 22 times for 139 yards and a touchdown in the game, despite seven-tackle days from the Chiefs linebacking trio of ex-Charger Donnie Edwards (79 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT) in the middle and Derrick Johnson (69 tackles, 3 sacks, 2 INT) and Napoleon Harris (69 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 INT) on the flanks. An underachieving interior line has been the culprit for a group that ranks a mediocre 18th in NFL rushing defense (109 yards per game). The team is a healthier ninth against the pass (202.6 yards per game) thanks in large part to the pass rushing prowess of end Jared Allen (43 tackles, 9.5 sacks). Allen did not manage a sack against Oakland but provided six solo tackles in the loss. A secondary led by cornerback Ty Law (35 tackles, 1 INT) will attempt to keep Gates, Chambers, and company in check.

WHEN THE CHIEFS HAVE THE BALL

Croyle (614 passing yards, 2 TD, 2 INT) has not made anyone forget Len Dawson or even Elvis Grbac over his two starts, throwing for a total of 314 yards with a touchdown and an interception while leading the team to just 27 points. The second-year pro, who carries a passer rating of 76.6, is nursing a sore back coming into this week and will be replaced by veteran Damon Huard (1766 passing yards, 8 TD, 11 INT) if he can't go. Whoever plays quarterback will look most often to future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez (62 receptions, 4 TD) and rookie wideout Dwayne Bowe (49 receptions, 4 TD), who have been the team's only reliable targets this season. An injury-depleted backfield received a major boost last Sunday from rookie Kolby Smith, who carried 31 times for 150 yards and two touchdowns in his first career start. The fifth- round draft choice out of Louisville was subbing for the injured Larry Johnson, who may not play again this season due to a foot injury. A poor Kansas City offensive line has allowed 34 sacks on the year, and has been the major problem for a team that ranks 29th in the league in total offense (281.8 yards per game).

Smith could make it back-to-back big games against a San Diego run defense that has ranked as a major disappointment this year. The Chargers are just 21st in NFL rushing defense (113.9 yards per game) after ranking seventh in that category last year, though they did limit Baltimore's Willis McGahee to 59 yards on 17 carries last week. Nose tackle Jamal Williams (33 tackles), who has battled knee injuries this season, sets the tone at the point of attack, while inside linebackers Stephen Cooper (73 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT) and Matt Wilhelm (61 tackles, 1 INT) make the tackles behind him. Williams had six stops against Baltimore. The playmaking abilities of the Charger secondary have covered up the warts of a unit that ranks just 23rd in the league (226.7 yards per game) in passing defense, with cornerback Antonio Cromartie (20 tackles, 6 INT) leading a group that has posted an NFL-best 17 interceptions on the year. The pass rush came up with four sacks of the Ravens' Kyle Boller last Sunday, including one by team sack leader and outside linebacker Shawne Merriman (52 tackles, 6.5 sacks).

FANTASY FOCUS

Tomlinson hasn't carried fantasy teams as he did last season, but he's still a must-start due to his ability to find the end zone. His counterpart, the rookie Smith, remains a worthwhile start though he won't have as easy a time as he did against Oakland's pathetic run defense. In the passing game, the tight ends Gates and Gonzalez are both must-starts, and wide receivers Chambers, Jackson, and Bowe are worth considering as No. 2 or flex options. Neither quarterback has been reliable as a fantasy play this year. Both defenses are worth considering, since Kansas City brings good pressure with Allen and San Diego is capable of forcing turnovers. Chargers kicker Nate Kaeding will likely get some chances to score, but the Chiefs' John Carney, playing his first game with the team, probably won't be a big point-producer.

OVERALL ANALYSIS

The Chargers have failed to answer the bell on the road more often than not this season, but only one of their four losses away from San Diego (to Minnesota in Week 9) was completely inexcusable. The Bolts also lost at Green Bay, New England, and Jacksonville, three clubs that are headed to the playoffs. San Diego is headed there too, both because there is no one of quality to challenge the Chargers in the AFC West and because it looks like the team is beginning to come together under Turner. With his confidence renewed, look for Rivers to turn in another solid game, to make some big plays, and for Croyle to fail to match him on the other side.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Chargers 21, Chiefs 10

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Re: Sunday Football

Game Preview for Jaguars vs Colts

(Sports Network) - The Jacksonville Jaguars have been flying under the radar this season and will try for some well-deserved recognition in Sunday's AFC South matchup against the Indianapolis Colts at the RCA Dome.

Led by a flawless quarterback and two talented running backs, the 8-3 Jaguars are just one game behind the defending Super Bowl-champion Colts in the division standings. David Garrard is the only starting quarterback to not throw an interception this season, but he will be put to the test against the Colts.

Garrard missed three games with an ankle injury suffered in a loss against the Colts on October 22nd. He will no doubt be ready for this matchup, since the Jaguars can move into a first-place tie with the Colts atop the division with a victory. The Jags have won three of four games since that 29-7 Monday night loss to Indianapolis in Jacksonville.

The Colts, however, hold a tiebreaker advantage because of a better division record. The Colts are 3-0 in the AFC South this season, while the Jaguars are 2-2 against division foes.

Jacksonville's success can be attributed to its strong ground game, Garrard protecting the football and a stingy defense. The Jaguars, who have won three in a row, will be able to measure how good they really are following Sunday's outcome with Indy.

Colts quarterback Peyton Manning is back on track after three straight subpar outings. He had a passer rating higher than 100 for the first time since Week 5 with a strong performance on Thanksgiving against the overmatched Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome. The Colts rallied from a 10-0 deficit to post a 31-13 triumph and their second straight win for a 9-2 mark this season.

Indianapolis is well rested for this big matchup and can grab a stranglehold on the AFC South with a victory. A win would give the Colts a two-game edge in the standings with four games remaining on the regular-season schedule.

SERIES HISTORY

The Colts hold a 10-3 edge in the regular season series with Jacksonville, including a 29-7 road rout when the teams met in a Monday night game in Week 7. The teams split last year's series, with Indy earning a 21-14 home win in Week 3 and dropping a 44-17 road decision in the return matchup in Week 14. The Jaguars are 1-5 in Indianapolis all-time, with their only win there coming during the 2004 season.

Colts head coach Tony Dungy is 8-4 against Jacksonville in his career, including 8-3 since coming to the Colts. Jacksonville's Jack Del Rio is 3-6 against both Dungy and Indianapolis as a head coach.

WHEN THE JAGUARS HAVE THE BALL

Garrard (1,626 passing yards, 9 TD, 0 INT) will have big target on him this Sunday, because the Colts will try to knock him off his game. Garrard has yet to make any major mistakes for Del Rio and his left ankle injury suffered versus the Colts is just fine. He has transformed into a poised leader and has teammates singing praises. Garrard has been finding ways to hit several different receivers this season and has been near the top of the leagues passer rankings the entire year. He is also 6-2 against the AFC in 2007. Jacksonville doesn't have the go-to wideout most teams in the league possess, but look at what it has done so far with an 8-3 record. Veteran Dennis Northcutt (32 receptions, 2 TD) leads the Jags in receptions and receiving yards and had five catches for 65 yards in last weekend's win over Buffalo. Reggie Williams (22 receptions, 6 TD) has a knack for finding the end zone often when hauling in passes from Garrard, as he has scored in back-to-back games and has three touchdowns over the past four weeks. Williams had one catch for a 59-yard score versus the Bills last Sunday. The team is 5-1 in 2007 when he scores. Even though the Jaguars are just 23rd in passing offense this season, Garrard seems to get the job done in the face of adversity no matter who he throws to.

The Colts usually don't allow opponents to pass on them regularly and that is why they are ninth overall in pass defense. They held the Falcons to 138 yards through the air on Thanksgiving and clamped down after a 10-0 deficit. Indianapolis has two physical cornerbacks in Marlin Jackson (66 tackles, 1 INT) and Kelvin Hayden (63 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT). Hayden had one of two Indianapolis interceptions against the Falcons, while Pro Bowl safety Bob Sanders (62 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 1 INT) chipped in six stops and a fumble recovery. The secondary seems to have regained its dominant form after recent close wins over Kansas City and Atlanta, but must keep the pressure on Garrard in this week's matchup. In the first meeting with Jacksonville, the Colts picked off backup quarterback Quinn Gray twice to help secure the win. If the Jaguars fail to establish the run game on Sunday, Garrard will be counted on to do a lot more than originally anticipated.

Jacksonville has been riding the strong legs of running backs Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew this season. Taylor (708 rushing yards, 2 TD) ran for 104 yards and a touchdown against Buffalo, while Jones-Drew (579 rushing yards, 7 TD) put forth another mediocre effort with 10 yards and a score on 10 carries. Jones-Drew has just 43 yards over the last two games with a pair of touchdowns. He hasn't hit the 100-yard rushing mark since a Week 10 win at Tennessee, but has reached the end zone in three straight games. Jacksonville needs Jones-Drew to be a major factor if it has any intentions on sharing the top spot in the AFC South with the Colts. Taylor is a change-of-pace back who ran for 55 yards in the first meeting with Indianapolis this season. Jones-Drew carried the ball 13 times for 52 yards in the loss to the Colts. In 12 career games against Indianapolis, Taylor is averaging 85.5 yards on the ground with five TD runs and four 100-yard rushing games. The running backs will be without some blocking help, as tight ends George Wrighster and Greg Estandia both suffered season-ending injuries against the Bills. Wrighster (17 receptions, 1 TD) suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee and Estandia (9 receptions) injured his shoulder. The Jags are now left with Marcedes Lewis (27 receptions, 1 TD) as the only experienced tight end.

Indianapolis hasn't allowed a 100-yard rusher since a Week 4 win over the Denver Broncos, when Travis Henry racked up 131 yards on the ground. Leading tackler and middle linebacker Gary Brackett (87 tackles, 0.5 sacks, 2 INT) will be busy again this weekend after he had 13 tackles against the Falcons. Indy's front line is anchored by tackles Raheem Brock (31 tackles, 2.5 sacks) and Ed Johnson (31 tackles, 1 sack) and end Robert Mathis (27 tackles, 6 sacks) and . Brock had one of two sacks last week, as did defensive end Simeon Rice, who was released by the team earlier this week.

WHEN THE COLTS HAVE THE BALL

The Colts will try to duplicate their success from their earlier matchup this season against the Jaguars. Manning (2,281 passing yards, 19 TD, 12 INT) threw for one touchdown and ran for another score during that encounter, while completing 23-of-37 passes for 259 yards and getting picked off once. Manning got back on track against Atlanta last week, eclipsing the 100 mark in passer rating for the first time since a Week 5 win over Tampa Bay. He is one of the most dangerous and toughest quarterbacks to play against with his ability to read defenses and put his offense in the best situation. Manning is also very successful against the Jaguars at the RCA Dome, having thrown for 1,511 yards with 11 TD passes and a pair of interceptions against Jacksonville. He is also 5-1 at home against the division-rival Jaguars.

The Colts are an astonishing 28-3 when Manning has a quarterback rating of 100 or higher. That record would be even better if All-Pro wideout Marvin Harrison (20 receptions, 1 TD) was able to shake a nagging knee injury. Harrison has missed the last five games and looks likely to miss this week's showdown as well. Reggie Wayne (68 receptions, 1011 yards, 7 TD) has picked up the slack and has three touchdown catches over the last five weeks. Wayne, who had 66 yards and a touchdown against Atlanta, had nine receptions for 131 yards in the first matchup with Jacksonville and is averaging 120.5 yards per game in his two contests against the Jags. Rookie slot receiver Anthony Gonzalez (21 receptions) is another target for Manning while Harrison eases his way back into the lineup. He had his best game as a pro last week with 105 yards on six receptions. Tight end Dallas Clark (42 receptions, 7 TD) had 49 yards and a touchdown against the Falcons. The Colts are 16-3 when the former Iowa standout has reached the end zone.

Indianapolis is ninth in passing this season and should garner some success versus the Jags' 28th-ranked pass defense. Jacksonville is coming off a solid defensive effort against Buffalo, though, and shut down its top receiver in Lee Evans. Del Rio hopes he can get Pro Bowl cornerback Rashean Mathis (49 tackles, 1 INT) back in the lineup after he missed the Buffalo game because of an injured groin. According to the head coach, he is likely to play this week. Veteran Aaron Glenn, who had played in only three of the first 10 games, filled in at the position last weekend. Linebacker Justin Durant (16 tackles, INT) has filled in nicely while starting middle linebacker and leading tackler Mike Peterson (70 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT) recovers from a broken hand. Peterson will not play on Sunday, so the pressure again will be on Durant as well as linebacker Daryl Smith (53 tackles).

Colts running back Joseph Addai (876 rushing yards, 9 TD) has been a duel threat with his running ability and great hands out of the backfield. He won't have an easy time against the Jaguars' 12th-ranked run defense, but Addai was able to run for 85 yards on 16 carries in the first meeting between the teams. The second-year back out of LSU has scored in back-to-back games and is in search of his fifth 100-yard rushing performance of the season. Addai also has 269 yards and a pair of touchdown receptions on 31 catches this season. Backup running back Kenton Keith (440 rushing yards, 3 TD) will see some action on certain plays and when Addai needs a breather.

Jaguars defensive tackle John Henderson (23 tackles, 1 sack) will play one more games without sidekick Marcus Stroud (22 tackles, 3 sacks), who is serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. Defensive end Paul Spicer (27 tackles, 6 sacks) will try to put Manning on his back and recorded his team-leading sixth sack of the season last weekend versus the Bills.

FANTASY FOCUS


Manning, Wayne and Addai are all starters in the fantasy football world unless, of course, they are injured. Even when Manning has a bad day he seems to record double digits in points. He enjoyed a productive Thanksgiving to shake off three below-average showings, while Wayne is a solid wide receiver even if teammate Harrison is healthy. Harrison is doubtful to return this week, so inserting him into the lineup is not a wide decision right now. Gonzalez and Clark are better and more reliable options for the Colts. Addai emerged on the scene last year and has shown no signs of slowing down. He scores touchdowns on a regular basis, whether its on the ground or catching passes out of the backfield. Even though Jacksonville is renown for having a tough defense, the Indy trio of fantasy starters will be fine.

As for the Jaguars, Garrard has been consistent the entire season and has yet to throw an interception. He doesn't have a No. 1 wide receiver to throw to like most stud QB's in the league, but he gets the job done with what he has. There's no need to stop now with an 8-3 record, either. Running backs Taylor and Jones-Drew register most of the fantasy points on the team. Taylor doesn't score much but always racks up the yards. Jones-Drew, however, does both but hasn't been able to reach the century mark in rushing over the past few weeks. Jones-Drew has a touchdown run in three straight games.

OVERALL ANALYSIS

Both teams possess the capability to light up the scoreboard, but the Colts have the advantage of playing at home. This is definitely a matchup where the home team will come out on top because of the stakes involved. Garrard's no- mistake approach will not be enough to slow down Manning and the hard-charging Indianapolis offense. Another edge the Colts have is their wide receiver corps. While they can beat teams with Wayne, Clark and the rookie Gonzalez, Jacksonville has no threat catching passes from Garrard. Yes, Taylor and Jones-Drew have good hands, but there are only a few times the Jaguars can use that option. Unless Garrard plays another error-free game and the defense can attack Manning and force turnovers, Jacksonville doesn't have a chance. Indianapolis is well rested and will be ready for the challenge with another AFC South title on the line. The Colts have won the division four straight years and show no signs of falling short on their fifth.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Colts 33, Jaguars 21

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Re: Sunday Football

Game Preview for TEXANS vs Titans

(Sports Network) - It's official...the bloom is off the Vince Young rose.

The former national champion and No. 3 overall draft choice was the cat's meow of the NFL last year, helping resurrect a moribund Tennessee franchise to a respectable 8-8 record and helping it enter this season among consensus contenders for a Wild Card playoff berth.

The momentum continued through eight games this fall as the Titans ran up a 6-2 record in the competitive AFC South, but things have changed dramatically of late -- in the form of three straight losses that have dropped the team to back-of-the-bus status among postseason hopefuls.

And now, rather than lauding the former Longhorn's dynamic running ability and intangible knack for winning games, the losing streak has re-focused attention on shoddy technique, poor decision-making and inability to read professional- level defensive schemes.

For the season, Young has completed 162-of-264 pass attempts for 1,663 yards, but has just five touchdowns to 13 interceptions and a sub par 66.5 passer rating.

"We have to rebound. We have let three get away from us now," head coach Jeff Fisher said. "We are going to lock the doors, and find a way to win. That's first and foremost for us right now, to win a ball game."

The ebbs and flows are apparent in Houston as well.

The Texans won their first two games for the first time in their history and were 3-2 in early October, before their own three-game losing streak relegated them to last in the division -- trailing Indianapolis, Jacksonville and Tennessee.

Consecutive defeats of Oakland and New Orleans got the team back to .500 and seemed to right the ship, before another step backward last week at Cleveland -- a 27-17 loss -- during which quarterback Matt Schaub threw for 256 yards and two TDs, but was also picked off twice.

"I think he's still progressing," said head coach Gary Kubiak. "I look at (Sunday) and Matt played very well early in the football game. I made a poor decision on the first interception, we missed a few plays down the road. But I think Matt's getting better every week. Could Matt have played better (Sunday) for our team to win? You bet, and he knows that."

SERIES HISTORY

Tennessee leads the all-time series with Houston, 9-2, and has won five straight against its AFC South rival. The Titans won a wild 38-36 affair at Reliant Stadium in Week 7, a game that Tennessee kicker Rob Bironas won on his NFL-record eighth field goal of the day. The Titans also swept 2005 and 2006 home-and-homes with the Texans. Houston was a 28-22 loser when it visited LP Field last year. Houston's only wins in the series came in 2004, when it swept the home-and-home with Tennessee.

Fisher is 9-2 against the Texans, while Houston's Kubiak is 0-3 against both Fisher and Tennessee as a head coach.

WHEN THE TEXANS HAVE THE BALL

Schaub has been predictably up and down in his first stint as a full-time starter, completing 189-of-284 passes for 2,207 yards and an 87.3 passer rating. Wideout Andre Johnson will play for the third time since an extended stay on the shelf with a knee injury. He caught three passes for 37 yards. Tight end Owen Daniels caught seven passes against Cleveland, while Kevin Walter had six catches for 65 yards and a TD. Veteran running back Ahman Green is questionable with a knee injury that has kept him out of five games. Former Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne filled in and gained 78 yards on 16 rushes last week and has a team-best 515 yards on the season.

The hamstring injury that's kept tackle Albert Haynesworth out of three games is a major reason for the recent problems that have dogged the Titans' rush defense. None of Tennessee's first eight opponents reached 100 yards on the ground, while the three foes since Haynesworth's absence have averaged 106 per week, including 148 in last week's loss to Cincinnati. Overall, the Titans are fifth overall in the NFL with a weekly average of 292.1 total yards allowed. Linebacker Keith Bulluck has five career sacks against the Texans, while also recording four interceptions this season overall -- tied for fourth in the AFC. Defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch's six sacks against Houston are his career-best against any foe.

WHEN THE TITANS HAVE THE BALL

The ground game could the ticket to success for the Titans, who are fourth in the league with 132 yards per game and face a Houston defense that surrendered 100-plus to Cleveland's Jamal Lewis. Young has gone for 130 yards on 11 carries in two games against the Texans, while big back LenDale White went for 104 against them in their last meeting. White has 694 yards on 199 carries this season. Also, running back Chris Brown has averaged 4.5 yards per carry in his career against Houston. Elsewhere, wideout Justin Gage has averaged 84.6 yards in his last three games and leads the team with 477 yards. He shares the lead in receptions at 36 with tight end Bo Scaife.

Rushing the passer and creating turnovers has been more the forte of the Texans, who've gotten five sacks from rookie Amobi Okoye, which leads all first-year players. Last year's first overall pick, Mario Williams, aims for his third consecutive game with at least one sack. He leads the team with six on the season. Cornerback Fred Bennett leads the team with two interceptions. Second-year linebacker DeMeco Ryans led all Texans players with 11 tackles against the Browns

FANTASY FOCUS

Young and White are good bets to post strong rushing numbers against the porous Houston defense, though the Texans figure to get points from Okoye and Williams for sacks and Ryans for tackles. On offense for Houston, Johnson could be poised to post a big number now that he's nearing full recovery from the balky knee.

OVERALL ANALYSIS

Not a lot is separating these teams, who find themselves in the middle of the muddled AFC pack - below the elite level set by New England, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and Jacksonville, but above the dregs of Miami and the New York Jets as well. A win here is imperative for either's playoff hopes, as fleeting as they may already be. Tennessee's at home and figures to get more mileage out of its running game this week, so expect a clock-controlling performance that will KO Houston for 2007.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Titans 20, Texans 14

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Re: Sunday Football

Game Preview for Bills vs Redskins

(Sports Network) - Hearts will be heavy this Sunday at FedExField in the wake of the tragic death of Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor. The Redskins will have more than football on their minds when they host the Buffalo Bills with hopes of putting the recent bad events behind them for now.

Taylor succumbed to a gunshot wound suffered in his Miami home early Monday morning during an apparent burglary attempt. He underwent surgery and was in intensive care at Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital, but passed away Tuesday morning. The 24-year-old Taylor, who was already sidelined because of injury, lost a lot of blood after a bullet damaged an artery in his groin area.

The Redskins and the entire NFL will honor the loss of Taylor at every game this week. According to team owner Daniel Snyder, Redskins players will wear a patch in memory of the Pro Bowl safety as well as No. 21 stickers on the their helmets. Washington running back Clinton Portis, who dons the No. 26, will switch jersey numbers for his fallen teammate. Portis and Taylor also played together at the University of Miami.

Fans have been paying their respects to Taylor by setting up memorials at Redskins Park. Many left flowers, cards and signs memorializing Taylor, whose number was painted in the grass in the parking area and in front of the Redskins Hall of Fame Store at FedExField.

The tragic news couldn't have come at a worse time for Washington, which has lost three in a row and four of its last five games. The Redskins are 5-6 and fighting for a playoff spot in the NFC, but will have to put Taylor's news aside for 60 minutes on Sunday against the visiting Bills.

Buffalo went through a tough time earlier this season when reserve tight end Kevin Everett was lost for the season with a spinal cord injury. Everett eventually regained movement in all of his extremities and is currently rehabilitating. Everett was also a former college teammate of Taylor's at Miami.

The Bills are 5-6 this season and in the hunt for a postseason berth in the competitive AFC. They have lost two straight after a four-game winning streak and will make another switch at quarterback, as rookie Trent Edwards will take over for ineffective starter J.P. Losman against the Redskins. Losman lost his job earlier this year because of a knee injury, but won it back when Edwards went down with a wrist problem weeks later.

Now it's up to Edwards to right the ship against a heavily-determined yet downtrodden Redskins club.

SERIES HISTORY

The Bills have a 6-4 edge in their all-time regular season series with the Redskins, including four straight wins over Washington. The Bills were 24-7 home winners when the clubs last met, in 2003, and took a 34-17 decision when they last visited D.C. in 1999. The Redskins' most recent regular season win in the series took place at R.F.K. Stadium in 1990.

The most famous meeting between the franchises is also the only postseason matchup between the teams all-time, a 37-24 win for Washington in Super Bowl XXVI from Minneapolis following the 1991 season.

Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs is 4-1 in his career against the Bills, including the Super Bowl triumph. Buffalo's Dick Jauron is 2-1 in his career against Washington and will be meeting Gibbs for the first time as head coach.

WHEN THE BILLS HAVE THE BALL

Losman (1,204 passing yards, 4 TD, 6 INT) can attribute consecutive mediocre performances for losing his job to the rookie Edwards. Jauron noted that the team's lack of point production and time of possession need to improve, and only Edwards (790 passing yards, 1 TD, 5 INT) can prevent further quarterback changes down the line. Edwards last played on October 28 in a win over the New York Jets, passing for 130 yards with an interception. He hasn't thrown a touchdown pass since a Week 4 victory in the Buffalo's first meeting with New York. If Edwards can stay consistent and give the Bills more opportunities to score, he will have more job security. Wide receiver Lee Evans (41 receptions, 2 TD) may not feel secure about the switch, since he is a big Losman supporter. Evans, who is averaging 87.5 receiving yards over the past six games, said this week that a quarterback switch can be detrimental to a player's ego and adds unnecessary pressure. He will have to get used to Edwards and has a chance for his first touchdown reception since a win over Cincinnati on November 4. Evans ended with two catches for 19 yards in last week's loss to Jacksonville. Edwards also has receivers Josh Reed (38 receptions) and Roscoe Parrish (28 receptions, 1 TD) at his disposal for the Bills' 30th-ranked passing offense. Reed led the receiving corps on Sunday with 50 yards on six receptions. Parrish chipped in a 24-yard touchdown run on an end around.

Washington's secondary will be the big question for Sunday's game. The sudden death of Taylor (42 tackles, 5 INT) leaves a big void in the defensive backfield for the future. Reed Doughty (19 tackles) will continue to play free safety in Taylor's absence, while Pierson Prioleau (39 tackles) has also seen action at the position for Washington's 13th-rated pass defense, which played very well in a loss at Tampa Bay over the weekend. The Redskins held the Bucs to just 93 yards passing and held talented Tampa Bay wideout Joey Galloway to 21 yards on two receptions. Cornerbacks Shawn Springs (47 tackles) and Leigh Torrence (21 tackles) will be busy on Sunday trying to shut down all of Edwards' options on offense. Rookie safety LaRon Landry (70 tackles, 1.5 sacks) is a big hitter and third on the Redskins in tackles. He had six in last weekend's loss.

Buffalo rookie running back Marshawn Lynch (751 rushing yards, 6 TD) has missed the last two weeks because of an ankle injury and is unlikely to return for Sunday, although the former Cal standout has been doing some running and cutting at a slow pace. Lynch leads all AFC rookie running backs with 751 yards rushing for the 18th-best ground attack in the NFL. Veteran running back Anthony Thomas (89 rushing yards) had 46 yards on 15 carries in the loss to the Jaguars. He also set a career-high with eight catches, including one for a touchdown. However, Thomas suffered a torn calf in Sunday's game and will not play this week. That means Fred Jackson (34 rushing yards) and rookie Dwayne Wright (77 rushing yards) will share the load. Jackson had 18 yards on five carries last weekend.

Washington is 13th against the run and held the Buccaneers to 99 yards on the ground on Sunday. Redskins leading tackler and starting middle linebacker London Fletcher (96 tackles, 3 INT) had four stops last week and will face his former team on Sunday. Fletcher spent five seasons with the Bills before signing a lucrative deal with Washington in the offseason. The front line of Washington's defense is spearheaded by end Andre Carter (37 tackles, 8 sacks) and tackle Cornelius Griffin (35 tackles, 2.5 sacks). Carter had one of his team-leading eight sacks against the Bucs, while Griffin registered four stops. Carter also owns 12 sacks over his last 16 games. The Redskins need Carter to apply heat on Buffalo's rookie quarterback to keep the pressure off of the secondary. Washington couldn't make up for a number of miscues on offense against Tampa, but held the Buccaneers to just 192 total yards, nine first downs and one third-down conversion.

WHEN THE REDSKINS HAVE THE BALL

Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell (2,384 passing yards, 12 TD, 10 INT) is coming off his first two-interception game since a Week 1 win over Miami. Both of Campbell's picks came during the fourth quarter of Sunday's loss to Tampa Bay and he finished 30-of-49 for 301 yards and a touchdown. He aims for his third straight game with more than 300 yards passing and has thrown for 649 yards over the past two. Campbell hooked up with tight end Chris Cooley (46 receptions, 7 TD) six times for 96 yards and a touchdown against Tampa Bay. Cooley has 185 yards and two touchdowns on 14 catches over the past two games and leads all NFC tight ends with 26 TD catches since 2004. Also looking to burn Buffalo's 29th-ranked pass defense will be Santana Moss (38 receptions, 1 TD), who was held to 37 yards on five catches last Sunday. A week before against Dallas, Moss posted season highs by hauling in nine passes for 121 yards and a touchdown. He needs to break out of his slump versus the Bills. Washington's offense really needs to improve on last weekend's debacle, as it fumbled four times in the first half to set up four Tampa Bay scores (one touchdown, three field goals).

The Bills' secondary has been torched the last two weeks against New England and Jacksonville. After a 56-10 blowout by the Patriots, the Bills couldn't rebound against the Jaguars last weekend, as Buffalo gave up almost 300 yards passing (296) in a 36-14 rout. Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell tried a myriad of different looks on Sunday, including bringing safety Jim Leonhard (33 tackles, 2 INT) back on the field in nickel packages. Fewell also used three safeties in running situations, but it didn't help too much as Jaguars tailback Fred Taylor had 104 yards and a score on 14 carries. Safety Donte Whitner (66 tackles) and cornerback Terrence McGee (54 tackles, 2 INT) combined for 14 tackles last weekend and will be busy again this Sunday. Safeties Brian Scott (7 tackles) and George Wilson (34 tackles, 2 INT) are also at Fewell's disposal for different packages this Sunday.

Portis (870 rushing yards, 6 TD) has fallen back to earth after two sensational games. He had 196 yards and a touchdown in a win over the New York Jets on November 4, then posted 137 yards on 30 carries the following week in a loss to Philadelphia. But in a loss at Dallas in Week 11, Portis recorded just 36 yards on 12 carries and had 68 yards on 20 touches against the Buccaneers. He has an excellent chance to crack the century mark again with Buffalo's weak run defense on the schedule. The Bills gave up more than 100 yards rushing to the aging Fred Taylor, so expect Portis to do the same if not better. For the year Washington ranks sixth overall in rushing offense.

Buffalo will no doubt have sentimental feelings for what Portis and company are going through, but it is also in a playoff chase. Sunday's game is very important for the Bills, who have recorded just two sacks over the last four tilts. Leading tackler Angelo Crowell (97 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT) and fellow linebacker John DiGiorgio (77 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT) better bring an extra pair of shoes because they will be busy running all afternoon. They are the main weapons for Fewell's defense now that defensive end Chris Kelsay is hampered with an ankle injury. Kelsay (32 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT) went down late last weekend after getting caught up with fellow defensive lineman Kyle Williams (24 tackles, sack) while in pursuit of Fred Taylor. Kelsay is doubtful for the Washington game. Defensive end Aaron Schobel (36 tackles, 2.5 sacks) leads the Bills in sacks, but hasn't had one over the previous four weeks. Campbell is not a mobile quarterback and will be taken down a few times behind the line of scrimmage this week.

FANTASY FOCUS

Portis has been disappointing for fantasy owners the last two weeks after having ripped off back-to-back 100-yard rushing games. He is expected to break out of the slump against the Bills, so starting him is a must. The same can be said for Cooley, who has reached the end zone the last two games. Campbell has six touchdown passes to three interceptions over the past three games. He has reached the 100 mark in passer rating just twice this season and is due for another one at home versus Buffalo's secondary. With Lynch and Thomas likely out for Sunday, the Bills' run game will fall on unproven players in Jackson and Wright. Those two are not worthy for a fantasy spot. As for the quarterback situation in Buffalo, find someone else other than Edwards. The rookie will make the most of his opportunity, but inserting him as a starter in fantasy leagues is laughable. Evans could have a breakout performance against a Washington secondary stricken by the death of Sean Taylor. But don't count on it, since Evans had just two catches last week at Jacksonville and Edwards is throwing him the football.

OVERALL ANALYSIS

The Redskins will no doubt dedicate Sunday's game versus Buffalo to fallen safety Sean Taylor. The emotions will be running wild at FedEx Field, but Gibbs has the strength and patience to guide his players in the right direction. The team most likely did not enjoy a productive week of practice and will be a little sluggish at first. But with emotional leaders such as Portis, Washington will come out with a double-digit victory. Even though both teams are still alive for a playoff spot, Buffalo won't be able to match Washington's intensity and determination.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Redskins 31, Bills 17

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Re: Sunday Football

Game Preview for Broncos vs Raiders

(Sports Network) - The Oakland Raiders have the opportunity to record a rare winning streak as well as damage the playoff hopes of their hated rivals, the Denver Broncos, when the two AFC West inhabitants clash this Sunday at McAfee Coliseum.

The Raiders were able to finally put another and more dishonorable streak behind them last weekend, when Oakland ended a string of 17 straight losses to division opponents with its 20-17 victory at Kansas City in Week 12. Running back Justin Fargas led the way with 139 yards rushing, 14 of which came on a go-ahead touchdown scamper in the fourth quarter.

Sunday's triumph was also a milestone win for the Raiders in another respect. The team improved to 3-8 under first-year head coach Lane Kiffin, which bettered its entire victory total during last season's forgettable 2-14 campaign.

Now Oakland would love to end a five-game slide against the Broncos and longtime head coach Mike Shanahan, the one-time employee of eccentric Raiders owner Al Davis who still has no love lost for his former boss or team.

Denver's got more important issues at hand than pure revenge, however. The Broncos need to rebound from a discouraging overtime loss at Chicago last Sunday in which the club blew a 14-point fourth-quarter lead.

The Bears scored two late touchdowns to send the contest into extra minutes, then capped the 37-34 win on Robbie Gould's 39-yard field goal on the opening possession of overtime.

The setback snapped a two-game win streak for the 5-6 Broncos and pushed them one game behind San Diego for first place in the AFC West.

Denver could receive a needed boost this week in the form of a possible return for Travis Henry. The troubled running back is back healthy after missing the team's last three games due to a knee injury, but the NFL could pull the plug on his comeback by shooting down Henry's appeal of a one-year suspension for violating the league's drug policy. Commissioner Roger Goodell was expected to come to a decision sometime prior to Sunday's tilt.

Henry rushed for 128 yards in the earlier meeting between these division members back in Week 2, which the host Broncos won in overtime by a 23-20 count.

SERIES HISTORY

The Raiders lead the all-time regular season series with Denver, which dates back to 1960, by a 53-39-2 count. However, Denver is 20-5 against Oakland since the 1995 season, and has won five straight including a 23-20 overtime victory in the Mile High City in Week 2. The Broncos are 4-0 in Oakland since last losing there in 2002, and were 17-13 winners when they visited McAfee Coliseum last season. The Raiders are 1-8 against Denver since 2002, and their only win in the series over that stretch came in the form of a 25-24 shocker in Denver in 2004.

In addition to the regular season series, the teams have split a pair of postseason matchups, with Denver winning the 1977 AFC Championship, 20-17, and the then-Los Angeles Raiders prevailing in a 1993 AFC First-Round Playoff, 42-24.

Shanahan is 20-5 against the team he coached in 1988 and part of the 1989 season before being fired. Kiffin is 0-1 against both Shanahan and the Broncos as a head coach.

WHEN THE BRONCOS HAVE THE BALL

The absence of Henry (580 rushing yards, 1 TD) hasn't slowed down Denver's powerful run game, as youngsters Selvin Young (385 rushing yards, 1 TD, 23 receptions) and Andre Hall (206 rushing yards, 2 TD) have both found success in the Broncos' patented zone-block scheme. Hall was the feature back with both Henry and Young sidelined with knee injuries last week, and responded with a career-high 98 yards and a touchdown, while also contributing a 65- reception that set up a field goal. The former practice squad member suffered a high ankle sprain late in the game, however, which will force him to miss Sunday's matchup. Henry will likely be the primary ball-carrier provided he's eligible to play. If not, Young, the best receiver of the trio, will see the lion's share of the work for the league's eighth-ranked rush offense (124.0 ypg).

Denver has no pre-game mysteries regarding the quarterback position, where second-year man Jay Cutler (2384 passing yards, 13 TD, 10 INT) continues to make good progress. The strong-armed Vanderbilt product threw for 302 yards and two scores against the Bears and has been intercepted twice over the last five games. Cutler should further benefit from the return of top receiver Javon Walker (19 receptions), who returned to action last week after missing two months due to knee surgery. Walker, who had 101 yards on eight catches versus Oakland in September, played sparingly in the Chicago game but is slated for an increased role on Sunday. The Broncos have other injury concerns in the receiving corps, though, as veteran Brandon Stokley (36 receptions, 4 TD) tweaked his knee last week and is considered questionable. Wideout Brandon Marshall (59 receptions, 4 TD) and tight end Tony Scheffler (28 receptions, 3 TD), who combined for 179 yards last Sunday, are healthy and will be targeted by Cutler often.

No matter who runs the ball for the Broncos this week, that back shouldn't face much resistance from an Oakland defense that is yielding a league-worst 153.6 rushing yards per game and allowed the little-known Kolby Smith to pile up 150 yards and two touchdowns last week. Although the Raiders' front line has been routinely pushed around, linebackers Kirk Morrison (89 tackles, 3 INT, 1 sack) and Thomas Howard (68 tackles, 4 INT, 1 sack) have delivered solid seasons behind it. Morrison paced the team with 11 stops (10 solo) against Kansas City.

Morrison and Howard's biggest contributions have actually come in pass defense, an area of strength for the Raiders. Oakland has given up the fourth- fewest yards through the air (184.3 ypg) and only eight passing touchdowns, while amassing 13 interceptions thus far. Howard returned a pick of Cutler 44 yards for a score to help send the teams' Week 2 meeting into overtime, while proven pass rusher Derrick Burgess (21 tackles, 5 sacks) has gotten untracked after being slowed by a calf injury early in the year. The two-time Pro Bowler has four sacks over his last three games, including two in the loss to the Chiefs. Situational end Chris Clemons (17 tackles) leads the Raiders with six sacks.

WHEN THE RAIDERS HAVE THE BALL

Oakland also boasts a strong running attack, with first-year offensive coordinator Greg Knapp having installed a zone-block system similar to Shanahan's. The philosophy has paid dividends, as the Raiders rank fifth in the NFL in rushing offense (131.4 ypg) and racked up 200 yards on the ground against the Broncos back in September. Fargas (717 rushing yards, 2 TD, 20 receptions) has performed well since supplanting the disgruntled LaMont Jordan (525 rushing yards, 3 TD, 24 receptions) as the starter, as the fifth-year pro has averaged 96 rushing yards in four 2007 starts.

The Raiders haven't been nearly as effective throwing the ball, as their No. 29 overall rating in passing offense (171.2 ypg) and 10 touchdowns through the air will attest. Daunte Culpepper (1331 passing yards, 5 TD, 5 INT) has been passable as a stopgap until Kiffin deems 2007 No. 1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell ready to take over, but that won't happen for at least another week. Ronald Curry (44 receptions, 3 TD) has been the best of a nondescript group of receivers, with veteran Jerry Porter (29 receptions, 3 TD) the best big-play threat and rookie tight end Zach Miller (28 receptions, 1 TD) the most promising member of the contingent. After surrendering a league-worst 72 sacks last year, Oakland has trimmed that number to 33 through 11 games.

Oakland mustered a paltry 53 net passing yards, albeit with Josh McCown at quarterback, in Week 2 against a Denver defense headlined by premier cornerback Champ Bailey (56 tackles, 2 INT). The Broncos intercepted McCown three times in that game, with Bailey and counterpart Dre' Bly (36 tackles, 4 INT, 11 PD) each getting a pick. Denver's only reliable pass rusher is Elvis Dumervil (26 tackles, 8 sacks, 1 INT), a second-year end who had two sacks in the team's earlier showdown with the Raiders. For the year, the Broncos rank 10th in passing yards allowed (203.4 ypg).

One reason for Oakland's low total through the air in that matchup was the Raiders' ability to run the ball at will, something opponents have commonly done to the Broncos throughout this season. Denver comes in 29th against the run (146.7 ypg) but has improved in that area in recent weeks with the insertion of tackle Alvin McKinley (10 tackles, 2 sacks) and strong safety Hamza Abdullah (32 tackles) into starting roles. The most consistent performer among the front seven has been middle linebacker D.J. Williams (93 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT), who recorded a game-high 11 stops against the Bears last Sunday.

FANTASY FOCUS

With both teams fielding porous rush defenses, the running backs should have a field day in this one. Figuring out who'll be getting the carries for the Broncos on Sunday is a tougher task. Owners of Henry and Young will have to monitor the former's status up until the weekend, with Young making a good choice only if Henry's not cleared to participate. Fargas is clearly the No. 1 guy for the Raiders and is a must-start, but probably the only one on the Oakland side other than possibly kicker Sebastian Janikowski, who's booted nine field goals over the last three weeks. Culpepper's barely worth a roster spot at this point and no Raider receiver stands out either.

Cutler faces a tough draw in a quality Oakland pass defense, but he's been a pretty consistent point-producer as of late and wouldn't make a bad play. Marshall and Scheffler also warrant consideration for Denver, but pass on Walker and Stokley this week.

OVERALL ANALYSIS

While the Raiders will have the motivation of a home division showdown and the chance to avenge a narrow loss to a bitter rival, this is a game Denver sorely needs in order to advance its questionable playoff credentials. Both teams run the ball very well and have a lot of trouble stopping it, but at least the Broncos are beginning to make strides in that critical area. They've also got a clear advantage at quarterback with the ever-improving Cutler, and a hungry Henry should be primed for a big day in the event he's allowed to play. Denver's defense has actually been more vulnerable to the pass in recent weeks, but the Raiders can't throw the ball or protect the quarterback well. Expect another close encounter between these foes with a very familiar final result.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Broncos 27, Raiders 23

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Re: Sunday Football

Game Preview for Browns vs Cardinals

(Sports Network) - It can hardly be billed as a Super Bowl preview, but Sunday's matchup between the Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium will hold more intrigue than one might have assumed when this game first appeared on the Week 13 schedule before the season.

The Browns (7-4) have been one of the NFL's great surprises in 2007, with a team pegged for last place in the AFC North by most league pundits instead on a seeming collision course with their first playoff berth since 2002. Cleveland's 27-17 win over the Texans last week was its fifth victory in six games, and a helpful loss by Tennessee helped Romeo Crennel's squad move into the second of two Wild Card slots in the conference.

Adding to the enthusiasm of long-suffering Browns fans is a manageable concluding schedule consisting of games with the Jets (currently 2-9), Bills (5-6), Bengals (4-7), and 49ers (3-8).

Heading into Sunday, Cleveland is just a game back of first-place Pittsburgh (8-3) in the division, though two head-to-head losses to the Steelers mean that the Browns are essentially two behind their rival.

The Cardinals, meanwhile, are a team still in firm possession of their postseason hopes in the NFC. Arizona is currently part of a six-pack of NFC clubs sitting at 5-6 as Week 13 begins, just one game back of Detroit (a team the Cardinals have already defeated) for the second of two Wild Card slots.

Ken Whisenhunt and company are also clinging to hope in the West division race, where they are two back of Seattle (7-4) but have a chance to make up ground in the next two weeks. The Cardinals, who already defeated the Seahawks back in Week 2, will face their closest division competitor at Qwest Field next Sunday.

Arizona comes off a 37-31 home upset loss in overtime at the hands of San Francisco last week.

SERIES HISTORY

The Browns hold a 33-11-3 lead in their all-time series with the Cardinals, which dates back to the 1950 season, when the latter franchise was located in Chicago. Cleveland won the most recent head-to-head meeting, taking a 44-6 home decision during the 2003 campaign. Arizona took the previous matchup, claiming a 29-21 home triumph in 2000. The Browns are 0-1 in the desert since last winning there in 1988.

Crennel and Whisenhunt will be meeting each other, as well as their counterpart's respective team, for the first time as head coaches.

WHEN THE BROWNS HAVE THE BALL

An exciting young offense led by quarterback Derek Anderson (2758 passing yards, 22 TD, 11 INT) has been the impetus for Cleveland's 2007 rejuvenation. The 24-year-old Anderson, along with top targets Braylon Edwards (55 receptions, 11 TD), Joe Jurevicius (38 receptions, 3 TD), and tight end Kellen Winslow (62 receptions, 5 TD), are at the forefront of the NFL's ninth-ranked attack (351.2 yards per game). Anderson is 242 yards shy of becoming Cleveland's first 3,000-yard passer since Tim Couch in 2001, while Edwards (896 yards) and Winslow (874 yards) are both nearing 1,000 yards for the year. Winslow had 10 catches for 107 yards and a touchdown in last week's win over the Texans. Also impressive has been Browns running back Jamal Lewis (741 rushing yards, 8 TD, 17 receptions), who has given the ground game a spark by averaging 113 rushing yards over his past two games.

A Cardinal defense that had largely been a team strength this year has experienced a rough month or so. Pro Bowl strong safety Adrian Wilson (heel, Achilles) and starting cornerback Eric Green (groin) were both placed on season-ending injured reserve earlier this week, and just 14 days after pass rusher Bertrand Berry (triceps) suffered the same fate. Amid the injuries, Arizona allowed 49ers journeyman Trent Dilfer to throw for 256 yards and two touchdowns last Sunday. Cornerback Antrel Rolle (37 tackles, 3 INT) and safety Terrence Holt (42 tackles) are among the best remaining playmakers in the secondary, and outside linebacker Calvin Pace (65 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 1 INT) has been the club's most productive pass rusher off the edge. The Cardinals are a middle-of-the-road 15th in the league against the run this year (102.9 yards per game), with Karlos Dansby (63 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 3 INT), fellow linebacker Gerald Hayes (73 tackles, 3 sacks), and tackle Darnell Dockett (44 tackles, 8 sacks) ranking as the team's most productive run-stoppers. Arizona allowed Niners rusher Frank Gore to post his first 100-yard day of the season last week.

WHEN THE CARDINALS HAVE THE BALL

Arizona will look to throw, throw, and throw some more this week against a Cleveland defense that has proven susceptible to opposing pass attacks. Cardinal quarterback Kurt Warner (2009 passing yards, 13 TD, 8 INT) might have to ice down his right arm following last week's 484-yard performance, which included 76 or more receiving yards for four different targets. Larry Fitzgerald (75 receptions, 6 TD) led the way with nine catches for 156 yards and two touchdowns in the win, while Anquan Boldin (46 receptions, 6 TD) chipped in with six grabs for 78 yards. Running back Edgerrin James (808 rushing yards, 6 TD, 13 receptions) heads up a running game that ranks a distant 27th in the league (87.6 yards per game), and James enters the day seeking his first 100-yard rushing day since Week 2. As a team, the Cardinals are 14th in total offense (233.8 yards per game).

The Browns have somehow found a way to get to 7-4 despite ranking last in the league in total defense (397.9 yards per game), scoring defense (28.3 points per game), touchdowns allowed (34), and passing touchdowns allowed (25). Cleveland did show some improvement in that area last week, with the 17 points the team allowed to Houston ranking as the second-fewest it had surrendered all season. Rookie cornerback Brandon McDonald (10 tackles, 1 INT) had a particularly noteworthy performance, notching his first career interception and logging four pass deflections while subbing for the injured Eric Wright (knee). Wright (68 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT) is expected to miss his second consecutive game this week. Cornerback Leigh Bodden (64 tackles, 4 INT) continues to lead the team in picks. Up front, inside linebacker D'Qwell Jackson (66 tackles, 1 INT) posted a game-high 12 tackles against Houston, and Shaun Smith (32 tackles, 2 sacks) paced the club's linemen with three stops.

FANTASY FOCUS

The weakness of both defenses will make this a key game to watch for fantasy owners from coast to coast. Warner should throw for a ton of yards against the Browns secondary, with Fitzgerald and Boldin both in the market for 100-yard days. On the other side, Anderson, Edwards, and Winslow should have life fairly easy against the battered Cardinals defense. Running backs Lewis and James will offer something in the way of production as well. Cleveland's Phil Dawson is the better of the two kickers, but the embattled Neil Rackers of Arizona is due for a bounce-back effort as well. Don't start either of these defenses if you know what's good for you.

OVERALL ANALYSIS

Three pretty decent teams - the Seahawks, Steelers, and Lions - have come to University of Phoenix Stadium and wilted in the heat this year, giving rise to a theory that Arizona is building a terrific homefield advantage. Then again, the Cardinals have home losses to the woeful Panthers and 49ers in 2007, so it's not as if the Browns should come into the desert as an intimidated group. Cleveland is, however, a young team, one that might be due for a bit of a reality check after squeaking out a few games in recent weeks. Crennel and company are bound to get burned at some point for their lack of defense, and Arizona's prolific attack is a prime candidate to do the toasting. Look for a whoever-has-the-ball-last-type of scenario here, with Warner making a big play that sinks the Browns in the endgame.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cardinals 35, Browns 31

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Re: Sunday Football

Game Preview for Giants vs Bears

(Sports Network) - The wild card-hopeful New York Giants will try to rebound from their worst game of the season, and a very poor performance by their starting quarterback, when they head to Chicago's Solider Field this Sunday to take on the Bears.

The Giants were routed 41-17 by the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday in what was their worst defeat since a 31-7 loss at Washington on December 5, 2004. It was also the club's worst setback at home since getting drubbed by a 50-21 score against the Redskins on September 19, 1999.

New York quarterback Eli Manning was intercepted a career-high tying four times, with three of those getting returned to the end zone. The other was taken to the New York eight-yard line, with Minnesota scoring on the very next play.

It was the first time in Giants history an opponent brought back three interceptions for scores in the same game.

The loss was New York's second in three games and dropped them to 7-4 on the season. With Dallas beating the New York Jets on Thanksgiving Day, the Giants now trail the front-running Cowboys (10-1) by three games in the NFC East standings, meaning the club might now have to settle for a wild card spot instead of a division title.

Chicago is one of those teams chasing at the Giants and the 6-5 Detroit Lions, the two current holders of the NFC's wild card spots. The Bears are one of five teams in the NFC with a 5-6 record and have failed to win back-to-back games yet this year. The teams needs to rack up the victories if it hopes to reach the postseason just a year removed from making the Super Bowl.

The Bears took a step in the right direction last week, as Robbie Gould's 39- yard field goal in overtime lifted Chicago over the Denver Broncos, 37-34, at Solider Field.

Returner Devin Hester had a huge game for Chicago, taking both a punt and a kickoff to the end zone to single-handedly keep the Bears in the game. Hester's first return broke Gale Sayers' team record of eight combined kick and punt returns for touchdowns. His second gave him 10 for his career, which is fourth all-time in NFL history behind Brian Mitchell (13), Eric Metcalf (12) and current Ram Dante Hall (11).

A win for the Bears would move them back to .500 for the first time this year since their record stood at 1-1. It would also give Chicago some momentum heading into a pair of road games against the Redskins and Vikings, two other teams that currently sport a 5-6 mark.

In four seasons under head coach Lovie Smith, Chicago is 10-5 in back-to-back regular-season home games.

SERIES HISTORY

Chicago holds a 27-17-2 lead in its all-time regular season series with the Giants, which dates back to 1925. The road team has won the last six meetings, with New York scoring Soldier Field victories in 1992, 1993, and 2000, and the Bears leaving the Meadowlands with triumphs in 1995, 2004, and 2007. Chicago was a 38-20 winner when the teams met in North Jersey in Week 10 of last season. The Giants are 3-0 in Chicago since last losing there in 1991.

In addition to the regular-season series, the teams have faced off eight times in the postseason, with Chicago holding a 5-3 advantage. The franchises met six times for the NFL Championship between 1933 and 1963, with the Bears winning four of six. Since the dawn of the Super Bowl era, the Bears recorded a 21-0 victory in a 1985 NFC Divisional Playoff and the Giants returned the favor with a 31-3 win in 1990 NFC Divisional Playoff.

The Giants' Tom Coughlin is 1-4 against the Bears as a head coach, including 0-2 since coming to New York. The Bears' Smith is 2-0 against both the Giants and Coughlin as a head coach.

WHEN THE GIANTS HAVE THE BALL

New York will need Manning to rebound in a big way if it wants to hold onto a playoff spot. Manning (2,376 passing yards, 16 TD) threw for 273 yards, but each of his four picks led to a Minnesota score. Despite his recent struggles, Manning still has a good chance of joining Phil Simms as the only other Giant QB with over 3,000 yards passing and 20 touchdown passes in three straight seasons. However, he needs to hold onto the ball a little better, as his 15 interceptions are just three shy of the career-high 18 he threw last season. Despite a nagging ankle injury, wideout Plaxico Burress (52 receptions, 728 yards, 9 TD) was again in the lineup last week and made a team-high seven catches for 93 yards with a score. Burress has a touchdown catch in 18 of his last 27 games. Tight end Jeremy Shockey (52 receptions, 3 TD) and wideout Amani Toomer (41 receptions, 2 TD) each made four catches against the Vikings, with Toomer posting 83 receiving yards.

Despite injuries in the backfield all season, New York has the 10th best running game in the league. The Giants played without Brandon Jacobs (hamstring) and Derrick Ward (groin) against Minnesota, with Reuben Droughns (222 rushing yards, 5 TD) shouldering the load with 15 carries for 46 yards with a score. Rookie Ahmad Bradshaw added 29 yards on the first four carries of his career. New York may be healthier in the backfield this weekend, as Ward (448 rushing yards, 24 receptions, 3 total TD) was able to practice fully this week. He figures to be the lead back with Jacobs (599 rushing yards, 11 receptions, 3 total TD) probably unavailable for a second straight game.

Chicago's defense was suspect against the big play last week, as Chicago allowed a 68-yard touchdown pass by Denver quarterback Jay Cutler to Brandon Marshall just moments after Hester's 88-yard kickoff return for a score. The Bears also allowed third-string running back Andre Hall to run for 98 yards, including a 16-yard scoring carry. Hall also caught a 65-yard pass. Needless to say, Chicago will be trying to contain Burress, Shockey and Toomer from ripping off big plays. That has been a problem all year, as the Bears are allowing 355.9 yards per game (26th overall) and 22.8 points per game (20th overall). Linebacker and leading tackler Brian Urlacher (82 tackles, 3 sacks) made eight tackles on Sunday, while linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer (56 tackles) led the team with 10 stops. Defensive end Adewale Ogunleye (41 tackles, 9 sacks) posted both of Chicago's sacks against the Broncos and also forced and recovered a fumble. He has six sacks in his last four games. Corner Charles Tillman (51 tackles) also had a big game, as he blocked a punt and nabbed his first interception of the season. Tillman has been without his counterpart Nathan Vasher for some time now. The cornerback hasn't played since Week 3 due to a groin injury and is again considered questionable for this weekend.

WHEN THE BEARS HAVE THE BALL

Chicago will have a different look in the backfield this Sunday. Starter Cedric Benson (674 rushing yards, 4 TD) ran for 47 yards on eight carries against Denver, but left the game after a 21-yard run due to an ankle injury that will require surgery. Benson was placed on injured reserve on Tuesday, ending his season. That will elevate "the other" Adrian Peterson to the starting role this weekend. Peterson (189 rushing yards, 2 TD) ran for 45 yards on 17 carries in relief of Benson and scored a touchdown on the ground for a second straight week. Rookie Garrett Wolfe will serve as Peterson's backup. Chicago will hope Peterson can improve its 30th-ranked run attack (85.3 ypg), and he also gives quarterback Rex Grossman (1,101 passing yards, 3 TD, 7 INT) a better option to throw to out of the backfield.

Grossman, meanwhile, had yet another unspectacular game versus Denver. He was benched earlier in the year due to ineffectiveness, but returned to the field when replacement Brian Griese (1,508 passing yards, 9 TD, 10 INT) suffered an injury. Grossman had a good game against Seattle two weeks ago, but threw for just 193 yards and a score with one interception versus Denver. Wideout Bernard Berrian (54 receptions, 733 yards, 3 TD) made an amazing three-yard touchdown catch to help the comeback win over Denver, and ended with three catches for 24 yards. Peterson led the Bears with five catches for 41 yards. Tight end Desmond Clark (33 receptions, 2 TD) added a pair of catches for 61 yards against the Broncos

The performance by the Giants' defense on Sunday is a tough one to analyze. In the unit's defense, 21 of Minnesota's 41 points came directly on the interceptions, while another seven came after the pick that gave Minnesota the ball at the New York eight. However, New York still allowed 127 yards on the ground and allowed the Vikings to score just 41 seconds into the game when Minnesota quarterback Tarvaris Jackson threw a 60-yard touchdown pass to rookie Sidney Rice. It was the fastest TD allowed by the Giants since Oakland scored on an 80-yard run just 17 seconds into a September 13, 1998 battle. It was an obvious down game for New York, which is still eighth in the league in total yards allowed and eighth against the run. New York totaled four sacks against Minnesota, getting two from defensive end Osi Umenyiora, but failed to force a turnover. Umenyiora is third in the NFL with 10 sacks on the season and has 36 tackles. Defensive tackle Fred Robbins (27 tackles, 4 sacks) led the team against Minnesota with eight tackles to go along with 1 1/2 sacks, while safety Gibril Wilson (76 tackles, 4 interceptions) added seven stops. Grossman will have his hands full with Wilson and rookie corner Aaron Ross (27 tackles, 3 INT), as well as corner Sam Madison (50 tackles, 3 INT).

FANTASY FOCUS

Fantasy owners have taken their licks with Manning this year, but the prospect of him and Burress hooking up for some big plays against this Bears defense is too good to pass up. Chicago has been giving up long plays this year, a fact that makes Manning, Burress, Shockey, and Toomer (in deep leagues) good starts. Ward is the current running back to have for the Giants, though he should lose some carries to Droughns this weekend, and maybe more if Jacobs can return. Still, those three are going up against a Chicago defense that isn't what it once was against the run.

Grossman was once a high-risk, high-reward fantasy option, but now is just a risk. He turns the ball over too much and has struggled all year. However Berrian remains a consistent player and should get a look, while Peterson is nice pickup for this weekend.

OVERALL ANALYSIS

Both teams come into this contest needing wins. Chicago has momentum on its side after a big overtime victory over Denver, while New York was deflated against Minnesota. Still, the Giants have been the better team for most of the season and should be able to rebound against the Bears. The Chicago defense smells blood, though, and if it can rattle the fragile Manning early, that could make things easier for "Da Bears". But the Giants won't let that happen and will use the big play to put the Bears into hibernation. Manning rebounds, Burress rolls and Chicago is left on the outside of the playoff picture for now.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Giants 24, Bears 17

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Re: Sunday Football

Game Preview for Buccaneers vs Saints

(Sports Network) - The NFC South title will be presented to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on a silver platter this Sunday when they travel to meet the New Orleans Saints, but will Jon Gruden's team have the ability to take it?

The ailing, and sadly silent, back of quarterback Jeff Garcia might have the only answer to that question.

Garcia was injured on the first offensive play of Tampa Bay's eventual 19-13 win over the Washington Redskins last Sunday, and was replaced for most of the game by second-stringer Bruce Gradkowski. Garcia would return to action late, but neither he nor Gradkowski could generate much offense for a team that did not manage a first down in the entire second half.

This week, Garcia is regarded as questionable, meaning either Gradkowski or fellow reserve Luke McCown could be pressed into service against the team's closest competitor in the NFC South, the Saints.

New Orleans has gone 5-2 following an 0-4 start, but a loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday would put a significant crimp in the team's postseason plans. A Saints defeat, which would be the team's second to the Bucs this year, would effectively place Sean Payton's squad four games back in the division with four to play. New Orleans would then have to resign itself to navigating a crowded NFC Wild Card race, with contests against three other Wild Card hopefuls - Arizona (Dec. 16), Philadelphia (Dec. 23) and Chicago (Dec. 30) - still to play.

The Saints, who are just 2-3 at the Superdome this season, are fresh off a 31-6 win in Carolina last week. That victory snapped a two-game losing streak for Payton and company.

SERIES HISTORY

New Orleans has a 19-12 lead in its all-time series with Tampa Bay, but was a 31-14 loser when it visited Raymond James Stadium in Week 2. The Saints swept a home-and-home last year, defeating the Bucs by a 24-21 count at the Louisiana Superdome in Week 5 and claiming a 31-14 victory in Tampa in Week 9. The Buccaneers swept 2005's series, including a 10-3 win in Baton Rouge. Tampa Bay last won at the Superdome in 2004.

Gruden has a 6-6 career record against the Saints, including 5-6 since taking over in Tampa prior to the 2002 season. New Orleans' Payton is 2-1 against both Gruden and the Bucs as a head coach.

WHEN THE BUCCANEERS HAVE THE BALL

With the efficient veteran Garcia (2135 passing yards, 11 TD, 3 INT) a potential scratch for Sunday, Tampa Bay could be in major trouble. His absence would force the team to turn to either Gradkowski, who was 9-of-19 for 106 yards last week and went 3-8 as a starter last season, or McCown, who played poorly after relieving Garcia in Week 1 and hasn't started an NFL game since 2004, when he went 0-4 with Cleveland. Whoever takes the snaps will seek to locate wideouts Joey Galloway (42 receptions, 6 TD) and Ike Hilliard (51 receptions, 1 TD), both of whom have been productive all year. The Bucs will also require continued strong play from running back Earnest Graham (631 rushing yards, 6 TD, 29 receptions), who has averaged 91 rushing yards in his past five games and has scored a touchdown in three consecutive contests. As a team, Gruden's unit is 19th in NFL passing offense (197.4 yards per game) with a league-low four interceptions thrown, and is 13th in NFL rushing offense (115 yards per game).

If the Saints want to have a chance in this game, they must do a much better job on Galloway than they managed back in Week 2. The veteran wideout, who has scored at least one touchdown in six consecutive games against New Orleans, exploded for 135 receiving yards and two long touchdowns that helped stake the Bucs to a 21-0 halftime lead. The secondary, particularly cornerback Jason David (35 tackles, 2 INT), have come under much scrutiny this season for a team that ranks 27th in the league against the pass (245.5 yards per game). That said, New Orleans had three interceptions against Carolina quarterbacks last Sunday, with safeties Roman Harper (66 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT), Josh Bullocks (61 tackles, 2 INT, 1 sack), and cornerback Jason Craft (34 tackles, 2 INT) all managing a pick. The team has been better against the run, ranking in a tie for ninth in that category (95.8 yards per game), and will get a boost this week if tackle Brian Young (17 tackles, 3 sacks) can return from a month-long absence due to a knee injury. Linebacker Scott Fujita (70 tackles, 1 sack) and tackle Hollis Thomas (37 tackles, 2 sacks) have been among the club's top tacklers. The Saints have just 19 sacks on the year, led by end Will Smith's (40 tackles) four.

WHEN THE SAINTS HAVE THE BALL

The connection between New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees (2997 passing yards, 18 TD, 15 INT) and wideout Marques Colston (68 receptions, 6 TD) has begun to heat up in recent weeks, with the duo connecting on an average of 8.4 completions, 116.8 yards, and hooking up for four touchdowns over a five-game span. Brees has thrown for 200 or more yards in his last 10 games, and 17 of his 18 TD tosses have come in his past seven outings. Reggie Bush (517 rushing yards, 70 receptions, 6 TD) continues to lead all NFL running backs in catches, but is still seeking his first 100-yard rushing game of the year and has been nursing a bad shin. Bush played last week, but backup Aaron Stecker (184 rushing yards, 1 TD, 20 receptions) led the team in ground yards with 42 on 13 totes. As a team, New Orleans is a distant 28th in NFL rushing offense (86.2 yards per game), as opposed to fourth in the league through the air (266.6 yards per game). The Saints' eight sacks surrendered on the season are the fewest in the NFL.

The Tampa Bay defense was the primary reason for the team's Week 12 win over the Redskins, as it pounced on six turnovers, including four in the first half that resulted in 16 of Tampa Bay's 19 points. All four members of the starting secondary - cornerbacks Ronde Barber (43 tackles, 1 INT) and Phillip Buchanon (50 tackles, 2 INT) along with safeties Tanard Jackson (45 tackles, 2 INT) and Jermaine Phillips (63 tackles, 3 INT, 1 sack) - had a hand in at least one of Washington's six turnovers. Rookie defensive end Greg White (18 tackles, 5.5 sacks) also had a major role in the defensive effort, notching one of two Tampa Bay sacks, forcing two fumbles, and recovering a miscue. The Buccaneers' +11 turnover margin is tied for second in the NFL, behind only the Patriots (+16). Coordinator Monte Kiffin's unit is 17th in the league against the run (108 yards per game), with linebackers Barrett Ruud (93 tackles, 2 INT), Derrick Brooks (85 tackles), and tackle Chris Hovan (38 tackles, 1.5 sacks) ranking among the team's most productive stoppers.

FANTASY FOCUS

The Saints trio of Brees, Colston, and Bush is worth starting every week. Bush has not been great out of the backfield, but typically contributes a solid amount of receiving yards to supplement his total and is capable of finding the end zone. On the Tampa side, Galloway is a must-start due to the matchup, and Graham has rewarded owners that have stuck with him over the past month or so. The Saints defense might be worth taking a flier on if Garcia is sure to be out, and the "D" of the Buccaneers is a worthy start due to its playmaking ability.

OVERALL ANALYSIS

New Orleans should come into this game as a focused team, one well-aware that its playoff hopes will take a major hit unless it finds a way to win. Payton has already appealed to his home crowd to make a lot of noise, which will give the Saints an even greater lift if the inexperienced Gradkowski or McCown is in the game for Tampa Bay. Brees and company won't have it easy against a Buccaneers defense that has been the primary component in its success, but should be able to make enough plays to get the Saints on the board while avoiding the mistakes that have plagued the team in its six losses.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Saints 22, Buccaneers 17

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Re: Sunday Football

Atlanta (3-8, 6-5 ATS) at St. Louis (2-9 SU and ATS)

Two of the NFC’s worst teams get together when the Falcons travel to the Edward Jones Dome to meet the Rams.

Atlanta got crushed at home for the second consecutive game, losing to Indianapolis 31-13 as an 11½-point underdog on Thanksgiving. After two games without a turnover, QB Joey Harrington reverted to his old form, throwing two picks while going 14-for-30 for 155 yards and one TD.

St. Louis had its two-game SU and ATS surge end in a 24-19 loss to Seattle as a 3½-point home pup. QB Marc Bulger left the game with a concussion after throwing just five passes, with one INT. RB Steven Jackson (23 carries, 90 yards, 1 TD) had another solid effort, and the Rams held the ball for more than 35 minutes, but they gave up a kick-return TD, failed to score in the second half after leading 19-7 and lost a fumble at the Seattle 1-yard line in the waning seconds.

Despite their last two efforts, the Falcons are on a 7-1 ATS run on the road, covering in each of their last four on the highway. On the downside, they’re are 0-6 ATS in their last six on turf.

The Rams are on ATS slides of 2-8 at home, 5-13 as a home chalk and 4-9 in non-division games.

The under is 7-4 for Atlanta this season and 7-3 in the Rams’ last 10. The under is also 15-5 in Atlanta’s last 20 overall and 7-2 in St. Louis’ last nine against the NFC.

ATS ADVANTAGE: UNDER


Buffalo (5-6, 7-4 ATS) at Washington (5-6, 3-6-2 ATS)

The Bills, coming off a second straight blowout loss, head to FedEx Field to face a Redskins team mourning the shooting death of Pro Bowl cornerback Sean Taylor earlier this week.

Buffalo has followed up winning streaks of 4-0 SU and 7-2 ATS with two ugly performances, a 56-10 home loss to the Patriots as a 16-point underdog two weeks ago and last week’s 36-14 loss at Jacksonville as a nine-point pup. QB J.P. Losman lost his starting job again after last week’s 27-of-40 effort that netted just 211 yards and one TD. He threw two INTs and lost a fumble.

Washington also had turnover issues last week, giving it away six times in a 19-13 loss to Tampa Bay as a three-point road ‘dog to fall to 1-5 ATS in its last six starts. QB Jason Campbell (301 yards passing, 1 TD) had two INTs and a lost fumble, and RB Clinton Portis lost two fumbles.

The Bills are 0-4 ATS against the NFC; however, they are 14-5 ATS in their last 19 overall, 10-4 ATS in their last 14 as an underdog and 21-8-1 ATS against teams with a losing record.

The Redskins are 1-5-1 ATS hosting an AFC team and 2-6-1 ATS as a home favorite. They are also on ATS slides of 1-5-2 at FedEx Field, 1-4-2 ATS against non-division opponents this season and 1-8-1 ATS against teams with a losing record.

ATS ADVANTAGE:               BUFFALO


Detroit (6-5 SU and ATS) at Minnesota (5-6, 5-4-2 ATS)

The sliding Lions hope 10 days off will help them right the ship when they visit the Metrodome for an NFC North matchup against the surging Vikings.

Detroit couldn’t slow Green Bay’s offense in a 37-26 Thanksgiving Day home loss as a three-point pup, dropping to 0-3 SU and ATS in its last three games. QB Jon Kitna didn’t get much out of his 40-attempt day, completing 19 for 220 yards, with one TD and one INT.

Minnesota went into the Meadowlands as a seven-point underdog and blasted the New York Giants 41-17. The Vikings picked off Eli Manning four times, returning three for TDs and converting the fourth for another TD. QB Tarvaris Jackson was uncharacteristically efficient, going 10 of 12 for 129 yards with a TD and no turnovers.

On Sept. 16, Detroit edged Minnesota 20-17 in overtime as a 2½-point home chalk, snapping the Vikes’ 10-game SU win streak in the series. Minnesota has still defeated the Lions nine straight times in the Metrodome and is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings (2-0 ATS at home).

The Lions are mired in ATS slumps of 4-9 on the highway, 4-10-1 ATS against division opponents and 3-7-1 as an underdog when coming off the Thanksgiving game.

The Vikings are on positive ATS runs of 10-3 as a home favorite and 10-4-1 against the NFC North. The straight-up winner is 9-2 ATS in Minnesota’s games this season.

ATS ADVANTAGE: MINNESOTA


Houston (5-6 SU and ATS) at Tennessee (6-5, 5-5-1 ATS)

The Texans travel to LP Field to face the free-falling Titans in a battle of teams at the bottom of the strong AFC South.

Houston saw its two-game SU and ATS streak halted in last week’s 27-17 loss at Cleveland as a three-point road underdog. QB Matt Schaub (22 of 36, 256 yards, 2 TDS) was effective but had two INTs, including one in the fourth quarter that set up the Browns’ final TD.

Tennessee comes into this contest on a three-game SU and ATS slide after getting dumped by Cincinnati 35-6 as a 1½ -point road chalk. QB Vince Young (19 of 31, 246 yards, no TDs) threw another pick, lowering his TD-to-INT ratio to a paltry 5-13, and the Titans rushed for just 61 yards and held the ball for only 21½ minutes.

The Texans are 5-9 ATS catching points on the road and 2-6 ATS in their last eight overall, including a 38-36 home loss to the Titans on Oct. 21 as a two-point favorite. That marked Tennessee’s fifth straight win in this series (4-1 ATS). The underdog is 7-1 ATS the last eight clashes.

The Titans are on negative ATS runs of 1-7 as a division favorite and 1-4 this season as a chalk.

The straight-up winner is 9-2 in Houston’s games this season.

ATS ADVANTAGE: NONE


Jacksonville (8-3, 7-4 ATS) at Indianapolis (9-2, 7-4 ATS)

The Jaguars take a three-game SU and ATS winning streak and a strong 4-1 SU and ATS road record to Indianapolis for a key AFC South showdown against the Colts at the RCA Dome.

Jacksonville thumped Buffalo 36-14 as a nine-point home chalk last week for its third consecutive win and cover. QB David Garrard went 23 of 37 for 296 yards and a TD, his ninth scoring toss of the season, and he still has yet to throw an INT. RB Fred Taylor piled up 104 yards on just 14 carries, including a 50-yard TD run. The Jaguars won the turnover battle 3-1, and they committed just one penalty for 5 yards.

Indianapolis, playing on Thanksgiving night, took care of Atlanta 31-13 as an 11½-point road favorite, the first time the Colts have both won and covered since routing Carolina 31-7 on Oct. 28. QB Peyton Manning was an efficient 22 of 32 for 272 yards with three TDs and one INT, and the Colts defense allowed just 250 total yards.

The Jaguars are 21-10-1 ATS in their last 32 as an underdog and 8-2-1 ATS in their last 11 as a division road pup.

The Colts, who belted Jacksonville 29-7 in October as a three-point road favorite, are 7-3 SU but just 4-5-1 ATS the last 10 in this series. Indy is 0-5 ATS as a division favorite of six or more points, including 0-3 ATS in that spot this year. But the defending Super Bowl champs are 11-4 ATS in their last 15 overall (including playoffs) and 4-1 ATS at home this year.

The straight-up winner is a stunning 26-1 ATS in the Jags’ last 27 starts.

ATS ADVANTAGE: INDIANAPOLIS


N.Y. Jets (2-9, 3-7-1 ATS) at Miami (0-10, 3-5-3 ATS)

The two worst teams in the AFC get together for an East Division pity party when the Jets travel to South Florida to face the luckless Dolphins.

New York followed up a stunning 19-16 overtime home win over the Steelers by getting basted on Thanksgiving Day in a 34-3 loss at Dallas as a 14-point pup. The Jets got clobbered in most every category, particularly total yards (344-180) and time of possession (37:52-22:08), and QB Kellen Clemens (142 passing yards) had his lone INT returned for a score.

Miami had perhaps its best chance yet for victory on a sloppy field in Pittsburgh on Monday night, but the Dolphins lost 3-0 on a last-minute field goal. On the bright side, they covered as 16-point ‘dogs. The Dolphins managed a meager 159 yards of total offense in the muck at Heinz Field.

The Jets are 1-4 ATS on the highway this season, but they are 18-4-2 ATS in the last 24 meetings with Miami, including 7-0-1 ATS in the last eight. Back in Week 3, New York earned a 31-28 win, pushing as a three-point home chalk.

The Dolphins are on ATS slides of 6-23-2 in division play and 9-27 as a host since 2003, including 1-3-1 ATS at home this season,

ATS ADVANTAGE: N.Y. JETS


San Diego (6-5, 6-5 ATS) at Kansas City (4-7, 5-5-1 ATS)

The Chargers will look to avenge an earlier home loss to the Chiefs when they travel to Arrowhead Stadium to take on Kansas City in an AFC West matchup.

San Diego breezed past Baltimore 32-16 last week as an 8½-point home favorite. QB Philip Rivers had his best game in weeks, looking more like the Pro Bowler of last season in going 25 of 35 for 249 yards with three TDS and no INTs. Tight end Antonio Gates had six catches for 105 yards and two TDs.

Kansas City fell to lowly Oakland 20-17 as a 4½-point home chalk last Sunday, its fourth consecutive defeat(1-3 ATS). Second-year QB Brodie Croyle struggled in his second career start, going 12 of 23 for 145 yards passing, with no TDs and one INT. On a brighter note, rookie RB Kolby Smith – subbing for the injured Larry Johnson and now-retired Priest Holmes – had 31 carries for 150 yards and two TDS.

The Chargers are 1-6 ATS in their last seven road trips dating to last season, going 1-4 SU and ATS as a visitor this year. San Diego is also 1-4 ATS in its last five as a road chalk.

The Chiefs are on a 19-7-2 ATS streak as a home pup. However, they are only 1-4-1 ATS in six home games this season.

Kansas City dealt the Chargers a stunning 30-16 loss as a 12-point road chalk back on Sept. 30. The Chiefs have won and covered three of the last four in this series, including a 30-27 win as a six-point home underdog last year, one of just two losses San Diego suffered in all of 2006.

The underdog in this series is on a 9-3-1 ATS roll.

The straight-up winner is 11-0 ATS in San Diego’s games this season.

ATS ADVANTAGE: KANSAS CITY


Seattle (7-4, 6-5 ATS) at Philadelphia (5-6 SU and ATS)

The Seahawks put their three-game SU and ATS winning streak on the line when they hit the road for the second straight week, this time visiting Lincoln Financial Field to meet an Eagles squad quickly fading from the playoff picture.

Seattle rallied to beat St. Louis 24-19 as a 3½-point road chalk last week, erasing a 19-7 halftime deficit and holding the Rams scoreless in the second half. The Seahawks’ only first-half points came on a kick-return TD, but QB Matt Hasselbeck finished 21 of 38 for 249 yards and a TD, with one INT.

Philadelphia was in position to pull off the biggest stunner of the season, but couldn’t quite finish a strong effort in a 31-28 setback at unbeaten New England, easily covering as an overwhelming 24-point road underdog. QB A.J. Feeley, subbing for the injured Donovan McNabb, had a solid game (27 of 42, 345 yards, 3 TDs), but he tossed three INTs, one of which was returned for a TD on the Eagles’ first possession and another late in the fourth quarter that squelched a potential game-winning drive.

The Seahawks are on a 3-12 SU and ATS skid as non-division road ‘dogs, and they are 0-2 ATS as an underdog this season. But in their last trip to Lincoln Financial Field in 2005, they posted a 42-0 rout as a 3½-point chalk.

The Eagles are 2-5 ATS in their last seven at home and 0-7-1 ATS as a short favorite (three points or less). But they are on a 4-1 ATS surge overall and 4-0 ATS following a SU loss.

ATS ADVANTAGE: PHILADELPHIA


San Francisco (3-8 SU and ATS) at Carolina (4-7 SU and ATS)

Two teams that had preseason playoff aspirations meet up in a meaningless game at Bank of America Stadium as the 49ers take on the reeling Panthers.

San Francisco snapped its eight-game SU skid and a five-game ATS slide by outlasting Arizona 37-31 in overtime as a 10-point road pup. The 49ers won when Tully Banta-Cain fell on a Kurt Warner fumble in the end zone for a touchdown. RB Frank Gore had 21 carries for 116 yards and two TDs, and veteran QB Trent Dilfer went 25-for-39 for 256 yards with two TDs and no INTs as San Francisco easily set a season-high for points scored.

Carolina got flattened 31-6 by New Orleans as a 2½-point home ‘dog last week, dropping to 0-5 SU and ATS in its last five contests. The Panthers, with David Carr at the Panthers’ constantly rotating QB spot, managed just 195 total yards and had four turnovers.

The 49ers are 4-9 ATS in non-division road games and 8-21-1 ATS when playing in the Eastern time zone.

The Panthers have dropped seven consecutive home games both SU and ATS, going 0-5 ATS this season.

The straight-up winner has covered in all 11 of Carolina’s games and is a 22-0-1 ATS in the Panthers’ last 22 starts.

The under is 7-1 in Carolina’s last eight starts, 12-5 in San Francisco’s last 17 as an underdog and 12-5 in the 49ers’ last 17 against fellow NFC opponents.

ATS ADVANTAGE: UNDER


Tampa Bay (7-4, 6-4-1 ATS) at New Orleans (5-6, 4-7 ATS)

The Buccaneers, looking to take full control of the NFC South, head to the Superdome to take on the Saints in a critical divisional battle.

Tampa Bay led Washington last week 19-3 at the half, then held on for a 19-13 victory as a three-point home chalk, the Bucs’ third straight win and cover. QB Jeff Garcia (back injury) left the game in the first quarter, and Tampa Bay finished with just 192 total yards while allowing 412, but benefited from six Redskins turnovers.

New Orleans whipped Carolina 31-6 as a 2½-point road favorite to halt a two-game SU and ATS dip. Up-and-down QB Drew Brees was back up again, going 24 of 36 for 260 yards, three TDs and one INT, and he led the Saints to touchdowns in four red-zone trips.

The Buccaneers are 6-2 ATS in their last eight division roadies, and they’ve covered on their last three trips to the Superdome (2-1 SU). Tampa Bay also whipped New Orleans 31-14 in September as a five-point home favorite. Despite that result, the underdog is 8-3 ATS in the last 11 in this series.

The Bucs are 4-0 ATS this season in division play.

The Saints are on negative ATS runs of 4-10 at home (1-4 this year), 4-18 hosting NFC South opponents and 8-17 as a chalk, including 2-9 ATS as a home favorite dating to last season.

The under is 16-6 in Tampa’s last 22 on the highway and 9-4 in its last 13 overall.

ATS ADVANTAGE: TAMPA BAY and UNDER


Cleveland (7-4, 9-2 ATS) at Arizona (5-6, 6-4-1 ATS)

The surprising Browns look to inch closer to securing a playoff berth when they head to the desert to meet the Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Cleveland dropped Houston 27-17 last week as a three-point home favorite, moving to 5-1 SU and 6-0 ATS in its last six games. QB Derek Anderson (24 of 35, 253 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT) continued to shine, and RB Jamal Lewis had 29 carries for 134 yards and a TD. Anderson now has 22 TD passes against 11 INTs.

Arizona last week faced a 49ers team that hadn’t scored a touchdown in 11 quarters ended up losing 37-31 as a 10-point home chalk. QB Kurt Warner went crazy, hitting 34 of 48 passes for a career-high 484 yards and two TDs, but he threw two INTs and lost a fumble in his own end zone that the 49ers recovered for the winning score in overtime.

This year, the Browns are 4-1 ATS on the highway and 5-1 ATS in non-division games. They are on positive ATS runs of 4-0 following a SU win, 5-0 following an ATS win and 9-3 against non-division opponents. Finally, the straight-up winner is 9-2 ATS for Cleveland this season.

The Cardinals are on ATS streaks of 6-2 against the AFC, 13-5 ATS overall and 5-2 in non-division games this season.

The over is 9-1-1 this season for Cleveland, including 5-0 on the road, and the over is 26-15-1 in the Browns’ last 42 overall. The over is also 4-1 in Arizona’s last five overall and 8-2 in its last 10 against teams with a winning record.

ATS ADVANTAGE: CLEVELAND and OVER


Denver (5-6, 3-8 ATS) at Oakland (3-8, 5-6 ATS)

The Broncos hit the road for the second straight week when they invade McAfee Coliseum for an AFC West clash against the hated Raiders.

Despite giving up two Devin Hester TD returns, Denver still led the Bears by 14 points midway through the fourth quarter before imploding in a 37-34 overtime loss as a 1½-point road pup. The Broncos, who had won and covered two straight before going to Chicago, had a punt blocked to set up one TD, then let QB Rex Grossman drive the Bears 65 yards for the game-tying touchdown. Denver lost it on a Robbie Gould 39-yard field goal in OT.

Oakland snapped a six-game overall losing streak (1-5 ATS) and a 16-game slide against AFC West rivals by stunning Kansas City 20-17 as a 4½-point road underdog. QB Daunte Culpepper was efficient, though hardly spectacular, in completing 15 of 22 for 170 yards with no TDs and no INTs. RB Justin Fargas had 22 carries for 139 yards and the game-winning TD.

The Broncos are just 8-19 ATS since the 2006 season opener, including 0-5 ATS as a division favorite. What’s more, Mike Shanahan’s team is mired in ATS slumps of 1-4 on the road this year, 1-4 as a chalk and 1-8 against the AFC West. That includes an 0-3 ATS funk against Oakland despite winning all three contests straight-up.

The Raiders have failed to cash in eight straight home games (0-5 ATS this year), and they’re on lengthy ATS slides of 9-27-1 at home and 9-18-1 in divisional games. Also, Oakland hasn’t posted back-to-back ATS wins this season.

The straight-up winner is 9-2 ATS in Denver games this season.

ATS ADVANTAGE: DENVER


N.Y. Giants (7-4, 6-5 ATS) at Chicago (5-6, 4-7 ATS)

The Giants, coming off a stunning blowout loss at home, look to get back on track at Soldier Field against the defending NFC champion Bears, who are trying to climb back into the playoff picture.

New York was embarrassed in a 41-17 home loss to Minnesota as a seven-point chalk. QB Eli Manning had one of the worst showings of his up-and-down career, throwing four interceptions, with three returned for touchdowns, as New York lost for the second time in three weeks.

Chicago rallied for a surprising 37-34 overtime win against Denver as a 1½-point home favorite. Devin Hester returned a kickoff and a punt for TDs, QB Rex Grossman – in an otherwise drab performance – led a 65-yard game-tying TD drive, and the Bears won on Robbie Gould’s 39-yard field goal.

The Giants are just 1-3 ATS the last four weeks, but they’re still 6-3 ATS in their last nine when laying points on the highway and 6-1 ATS on their last seven road trips overall.

The straight-up winner is 10-1 ATS in New York’s games this season.

The Bears are 1-6 ATS at home (1-4 this season), 3-9 ATS in its last 12 against the NFC and 2-5 ATS outside the NFC North this season. However, they rolled past the Giants 38-20 last season at Soldier Field as a one-point favorite.

The Bears’ first four wins this season were followed by SU and ATS losses the next week.

ATS ADVANTAGE: N.Y. GIANTS

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Re: Sunday Football

Pro pigskin survivor pool picks
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The end is so near that potential survivor pool winners can almost reach out and grab the finish-line ribbon. Of course the real battle of wits begins now as players are left with the fat and grizzle of a once juicy 32-team NFL steak.

New York Jets at Miami Dolphins

A matchup of two of the league’s worst teams presents a perfect opportunity to nab a win from a cellar-dwelling club.

The Ricky Williams reclamation project is finished for this season. The former Heisman Award-winner lasted only six carries before suffering a torn chest muscle. Jesse Chapman is still nursing a sore ankle and Ronnie Brown was lost for the season several weeks ago.

Because of the rash of injuries it appears Samkon Gado will be the main running back this weekend against the Jets.

The Dolphins’ recent under trend doesn’t mean the defense is improving. The low-scoring contests are a direct result of offensively challenged opponents and poor field conditions.

Expect the Jets to rob the Fish of their best chance to end the 11-game losing streak.

Pick: Jets +1½

Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders

Mike Shanahan left Soldier Field with a bad taste in his mouth. Denver’s head coach made the mistake of kicking to Chicago Bears return man Devin Hester. The result: a 75-yard punt return and an 88-yard kickoff return.

Hester was the Bears’ lone threat and his two scores cost Denver an important win in the chase for first place in the AFC West.

Shanahan and the rest of the Broncos will take their revenge out on Oakland.

The Raiders have been successful when they’ve been able to run the ball. The stats indicate they should be able to do this against Denver, which is 29th against the run. But something tells me the Raiders will struggle this weekend.

Oakland’s game plan with the football is predictable. The club tries its best to move the chains with runs on first and second down. Denver will stack the box and walk away from the West Coast with a win and an easy cover.

Pick: Broncos –3½

Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings

I could have sworn I was watching another team play after observing the Vikes’ opening drive against the New York Giants. Minnesota connected on a long pass on the second play of the game for a 60-yard touchdown.

The Vikings still stuck with a heavy dose of Chester Taylor, but QB Tarvaris Jackson looked much better. Super-rookie running back Adrian Peterson returns this weekend making the ground game a larger threat. The extra punch will induce safeties to bite more often on play-action.

The Lions have now dropped three straight games and their once impressive passing attack looks very average. Quarterback Jon Kitna is being given an inadequate amount of time to find his receivers on deeper routes.

Detroit drops this contest and sees its playoff hopes evaporate.

Pick: Vikings –3½

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Re: Sunday Football

NFL poolies' cheat sheet: Week 13
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Atlanta at St. Louis

Why Falcons cover: Are 4-1 ATS on the road. Rams are 0-5 ATS at home this season. Warrick Dunn has six TDs and averages 4.9 yards per carry for his career against St. Louis. Marc Bulger questionable with a concussion meaning Gus Frerotte would start at QB for St. Louis.

Why Rams cover: Have covered two of last three games, both wins. Home team is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings, winning each game. Steven Jackson gets to face the NFC’s second-worst rush defense.

Total (40½): Over is 11-4 in the last 15 meetings.

Buffalo at Washington

Why Bills cover: Have covered in five straight meetings. Trent Edwards, who is 3-1 as a starter, will quarterback the Bills. Redskins are 1-5-2 ATS in their last eight home games and 1-5 ATS in their last six games overall.

Why Redskins cover: Will want to win for murdered teammate Sean Taylor. Jason Campbell has thrown for 864 yards and six TDs in his last three games. Bills are 1-4-1 ATS in their last six road games.

Total (37): Over is 5-1 in Redskins’ last six games.

Detroit at Minnesota

Why Lions cover: Beat Vikings 20-17 on Sept. 20 as 3-point favorites. Lead the NFL with 31 takeaways. Have league’s ninth-ranked rush defense.

Why Vikings cover: Get league’s leading rusher Adrian Peterson back from a knee injury. Jon Kitna has thrown seven INTs and only three TDs in three career games against Minnesota. Lions are 0-4-1 ATS in their last five meetings.

Total (44½): Over is 4-0 in Vikings’ last four home games and 4-1 in their last five games overall.

Houston at Tennessee

Why Texans cover: Road team is 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings. Underdog is 7-1 ATS in their last eight meetings. Since Week 10 Titans have allowed an average of 149 yards rushing per game.

Why Titans cover: Could have DT Albert Haynesworth back from a hamstring injury. Texans are 1-4 ATS in their last five meetings. Houston leads the NFL with 29 turnovers.

Total (43): Over is 5-1 in the last six meetings.

Jacksonville at Indianapolis

Why Jaguars cover: Are 4-1 ATS in their last five road games and 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall. Have AFC’s second-best rushing attack. Held Peyton Manning to 54-percent completion rate, four touchdowns and three interceptions in their last five meetings. In three career games against Indy, Maurice Jones-Drew has 321 yards rushing and four TDs.

Why Colts cover: Are 6-1 ATS in their last seven home games. Have NFL’s second-best defense, holding opponents to 15.6 points per game. Won four of last five meetings and last two in Indianapolis.

Total: (45): Under is 4-1 in the last five meetings in Indianapolis.

N.Y. Jets at Miami

Why Jets cover: Have won six of last seven meetings. Are 18-4-2 ATS in last 24 meetings and 4-0 ATS in last four meetings in Miami. Dolphins could be down to fourth-string running back Patrick Cobbs with Ricky Williams and Jesse Chatman both suffering injuries last week. Thomas Jones has rushed for 179 yards in two career games against Miami.

Why Dolphins cover: Holding opponents to 11.5 points per game in their last four contests. Could be the team’s best chance to avoid going winless for the season. Favorite is 7-3-1 ATS in the last 11 meetings.

Total (38): Under is 5-2 in the last seven meetings in Miami.

San Diego at Kansas City

Why Chargers cover: LaDainian Tomlinson has rushed for 513 yards and scored four TDs in his last five games against Kansas City. Chiefs are 1-4-1 ATS at home. Both Chiefs QBs are banged up. K.C. has lost three straight at Arrowhead Stadium and four of its last five.

Why Chiefs cover: Kolby Smith rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns in his first start last week. Home team is 5-1 ATS in their last six meetings. San Diego has lost four of five games on the road this season. Underdog is 9-3-1 ATS in their last 13 meetings. Chargers are 2-7-1 ATS in their last 10 meetings in Kansas City.

Total (37½): Over is 4-0 in Chiefs’ last four home games and 4-0-1 in Chargers’ last five road games.

Seattle at Philadelphia

Why Seahawks cover: Are the league’s least penalized team. Have averaged 98.7 rushing yards per game since Maurice Morris replaced the injured Shaun Alexander. Road team is 4-0 ATS in their last four meetings. Donovan McNabb still bothered by thumb and ankle injuries and might not play.

Why Eagles cover: Have covered in three straight games and five of last seven. Lost to New England by three points last week after being pegged as 22-point underdogs. Favorite is 4-0 ATS in their last four meetings.

Total (42): Over is 4-1 in Eagles’ last five games overall.

San Francisco at Carolina

Why 49ers cover: Frank Gore may finally be healthy. He compiled 214 yards and two scores last week. Panthers have lost seven straight home games and haven’t covered at home this season. Carolina has only managed 50 points in its last five games.

Why Panthers cover: The 49ers are 1-9 ATS in their last 10 meetings between these two teams, and 0-4 ATS in their last four games in Carolina. San Francisco has been outscored by 60 points on the road this season. Vinny Testaverde will start at QB if healthy.

Total (35½): Over is 10-2 in the last 12 meetings and 4-1 in the last five games in Carolina.

Cleveland at Arizona

Why Browns cover: Are 4-1 ATS in their last five road games and 6-0 ATS in their last six games overall. Have best return game in the NFL. Cardinals are the league’s most penalized team and have committed 11 more than the next closest club. Jamal Lewis has been on fire, and has rushed for 257 yards in two career game against Arizona. Cardinals will be without Pro Bowl safety Adrian Wilson who is out for the season with a heel injury.

Why Cardinals cover: Are averaging 32.3 points over their last three games. Kurt Warner has passed for 489 yards and scored four touchdowns in two career games versus Cleveland.

Total (51½): Over is 9-1-1 in Browns’ last 11 games and 4-1 in Cardinals’ last five games.

Denver at Oakland

Why Broncos cover: Have won five straight meetings and four in a row at Oakland. Own AFC’s fourth-best offense. Road team is 6-2 ATS in the last eight meetings.

Why Raiders cover: Justin Fargas has rushed for 384 yards and two TDs in four games since becoming the starting running back. Denver running backs Travis Henry, Andre Hall and Selvin Young are all banged up.

Total (41½): Under is 9-3 in the last 12 meetings and 4-1 in the last five games in Oakland.

N.Y. Giants at Chicago

Why Giants cover: Road team is 4-0 ATS in their last four meetings. Bears starting running back Cedric Benson was lost for the season after injuring his ankle last week. Chicago is 1-4 ATS at home.

Why Bears cover: Have won four of the last five meetings. Devin Hester changes opponents’ kicking games. Defense held Eli Manning to 121 yards passing and picked him off twice in their last meeting. Giants are averaging 16.5 points per game over their last four after scoring 26.7 in their first seven.

Total (42½): Under is 4-0 in Giants’ last four road games.

Tampa Bay at New Orleans

Why Buccaneers cover: Have NFC’s top-rated pass defense. Are 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings with the Saints and 4-0 ATS in their last four games in New Orleans. Underdog is 8-3 ATS in their last 11 meetings. Road team is 7-2 ATS in their last nine meetings. Saints have the worst field-goal percentage in the NFL at 53.3 percent.

Why Saints cover:  Drew Brees has thrown for 965 yards and seven TDs in four career games against Tampa Bay. Buccaneers could be without Jeff Garcia which means either Luke McCown or Bruce Gradkowski would start at quarterback. A win would move them one game behind the Bucs for the division lead.

Total (42): Over is 4-0 in the last four meetings.

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh

Why Bengals cover: Have won three of their last four at Heinz Field. Are 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings in Pittsburgh. Rudi Johnson starting to get healthy. Road team is 10-1-1 ATS in their last 12 meetings and has won seven straight. Steelers have failed to cover in three straight contests.

Why Steelers cover: Could get star safety Troy Polamalu back from a knee injury. Holding opponents to nine points per game at home. Bengals are 2-5-1 ATS in their last eight meetings.

Total (45): Over is 5-0 in the last five meetings in Pittsburgh.

New England at Baltimore

Why Patriots cover: Will want to rebound from a near loss to Philadelphia last week as 22-point favorites. Adalius Thomas will face his former team for the first time. Ravens have lost five straight and are 1-11 ATS in their last 12 games overall.

Why Ravens cover: Could learn from Philadelphia’s success against New England last week. Patriots lost key linebacker Roosevelt Colvin for the season last week. Home team has won five of the last six meetings. Held Tom Brady to 172 yards and no touchdowns in their last meeting.

Total (51½): Over is 14-3 in Patriots’ last 17 games and 6-1 in Ravens’ last seven Monday games.

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Re: Sunday Football

Feeley likely to start second straight game

Donovan McNabb's chances of playing tomorrow in the Eagles-Seahawks game continue to look as bleak as the weather forecast.

The banged-up Eagles quarterback, now listed as doubtful but not yet ruled out by coach Andy Reid for the 1 p.m. meeting at Lincoln Financial Field, sat out practice again yesterday at the NovaCare Complex. Backup A.J. Feeley took all the snaps with the first team.

McNabb, recovering from a sprained right ankle, "has had two good workouts, but we're just not quite there," Reid said.

As he has twice this week, McNabb worked out on his own after the Eagles' crisp practice session.

Reid said McNabb, who also has an injured thumb, has not yet displayed the kind of lateral mobility he would need to avoid Seattle's speedy pass-rushers.

"His ability to push off, right or left, and be able to make sure that he keeps himself in a safe position when he wants to, until he has that, he can't go out there," Reid said.

And, though the coach did not make any such connection, there appeared to be several other reasons Feeley almost certainly will make his second consecutive start: snow, sleet, spanking new sod, and potentially sullen supporters.

The mix of snow, sleet and rain that's expected during the game could make the footing treacherous, especially for a quarterback recuperating from an ankle injury.

Then there's the untested new turf the Eagles installed at the Linc this week.

"It should be just a phenomenal playing surface," Reid said yesterday. ". . . We'll probably sneak over there tomorrow and work on it for our walk-through."

Finally, there's the issue of how Eagles fans might react to a struggling McNabb. They have booed the enigmatic quarterback in recent games, and Feeley's strong performance Sunday night in the surprisingly close loss to New England has put much of the city in the backup's corner.

"Last week, I kind of prepared to be the guy until I was told differently," Feeley said. "And that's how I'm preparing this week."

He said the word on his status for tomorrow "could come 30 seconds before the game, or it could come 30 seconds from now."

In 2002, with McNabb and backup Koy Detmer hurt, Feeley quarterbacked the Eagles to a 27-20 win at Seattle. He threw touchdowns to James Thrash and Todd Pinkston, completing 21 of 35 passes for 190 yards with one interception.

"I'd like to consider myself a better quarterback," Feeley said. "Back then, I was a second-year guy, and now I'm a seventh-year guy. I'm a little older, a little wiser."

Running back Brian Westbrook said he saw the same thing in Feeley last week and during yesterday's practice.

"He's improved," Westbrook said. "He's a better leader, a better quarterback. He's completing the ball a lot more efficiently, a lot more often. He's been doing a good job of commanding this offense. That's what you want from your backup. That's what you want from your starter, as well."

Notes. Westbrook, who has a sore knee, worked out yesterday for the first time this week. "I'll see how the knee feels," he said. "It felt a little better today." . . . Defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley (hamstring) took several snaps with the first-team defense. . . . Safety Quintin Mikell (knee) was the only Eagle other than McNabb to sit out yesterday's workout. He also is listed as doubtful for the Seahawks. . . . Reid said he had not spent any time this week worrying about whether the Eagles might suffer a letdown after the emotional loss to the Patriots. "You don't have any time to worry about yesterday or tomorrow," he said. "It's about what you do today and getting it perfect."

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Re: Sunday Football

Steelers preparing for snow

Sunday night's forecast for the Steelers-Cincinnati Bengals clash at Heinz Field?

Wet, but perhaps not so wild.

With the National Weather Service forecasting rain turning to snow, the condition of the playing field again becomes the big story for the Steelers' nationally televised game against the Bengals.

Since Monday night's debacle, when rain turned a newly resodded Heinz Field into mush, the Steelers have turned their attention to fixing the problem.

Steelers spokesman Dave Lockett said Friday the team spent the week drying out the waterlogged field.

"We're continuing our preparations to ensure the field is in the best possible condition for Sunday,'' Lockett said.

Lockett said the new field that was laid over the existing one after the South Florida-Pitt game Saturday wasn't replaced following the Monday night contest. He added workers may have moved some of the sod around, but no new strips of turf were added to the field.

The National Football League is working with the Steelers to help prepare Heinz Field for the second nationally televised game in seven days.

Earlier this week, team president Art Rooney II said the problem occurred when heavy rain overwhelmed tarps covering the field.

The National Weather Service recorded 1.31 inches of rain at Pittsburgh International Airport on Monday.

Leaky seams in the tarp caused rain to pool in areas around the goal line, midfield and the 25-yard line, resulting in players on both teams slogging through water and mud.

Extra tarps were used to cover areas where the leaks occured.

"I think by Sunday (the field) will be in great shape," Rooney said.

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis altered his practice schedule this week to prepare for playing at Heinz Field.

Instead of practicing the last two days on FieldTurf at Paul Brown Stadium, the Bengals moved to their practice facility, which has a grass field.

"You definitely have to put in longer cleats. You saw that stuff on Monday night," Bengals running back Rudi Johnson said. "We'll see. It's cool. It'll be fun. I won't be worried about the field at all."

Steelers guard Alan Faneca is prepared for anything.

When told the weather for Sunday night could include rain and snow, Faneca smiled.

"Bring on the slop," he said.

tribweb.com

mvbski
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Re: Sunday Football

WEEK 13 INJURY REPORT

Arizona Cardinals


INJURY REPORT
Out: DT Ross Kolodziej (quadricep), S Adrian Wilson (heel)
Doubtful: S Aaron Francisco (calf), WR Jerheme Urban (heel)
Questionable: WR Larry Fitzgerald (groin)
Probable: QB Kurt Warner (left elbow)

PRACTICE REPORT
Out (Definitely Will Not Play)
Wednesday: DT Ross Kolodziej (quadricep), S Adrian Wilson (heel)
Thursday: DT Ross Kolodziej (quadricep), S Adrian Wilson (heel)
Friday: DT Ross Kolodziej (quadricep), S Adrian Wilson (heel)

Did Not Participate In Practice
Wednesday: S Aaron Francisco (calf), WR Jerheme Urban (heel)
Thursday: S Aaron Francisco (calf), WR Jerheme Urban (heel)
Friday: S Aaron Francisco (calf), WR Jerheme Urban (heel)

Limited Participation In Practice
Wednesday: WR Larry Fitzgerald (groin)
Thursday: WR Larry Fitzgerald (groin)
Friday: WR Larry Fitzgerald (groin)

Full Participation In Practice
Wednesday: QB Kurt Warner (left elbow)
Thursday: QB Kurt Warner (left elbow)
Friday: QB Kurt Warner (left elbow)

Atlanta Falcons


INJURY REPORT
Questionable: QB Byron Leftwich (tailbone)
Probable: LB Michael Boley (elbow), TE Alge Crumpler (foot)

PRACTICE REPORT
Did Not Participate In Practice
Wednesday: T Todd Weiner (knee)

Limited Participation In Practice
Wednesday: LB Michael Boley (elbow), TE Alge Crumpler (foot), CB DeAngelo Hall (ankle), WR Joe Horn (hamstring, foot), QB Byron Leftwich (tailbone)
Thursday: TE Alge Crumpler (team decision), QB Byron Leftwich (tailbone)
Friday: TE Alge Crumpler (foot), QB Byron Leftwich (tailbone)

Full Participation In Practice
Thursday: LB Michael Boley (elbow)
Friday: LB Michael Boley (elbow)

Baltimore Ravens

INJURY REPORT
Out: QB Steve McNair (left shoulder), WR Demetrius Williams (ankle)
Questionable: TE Todd Heap (thigh), CB Chris McAlister (knee), S Gerome Sapp (thigh)
Probable: DT Justin Bannan (ankle), T Jared Gaither (illness), LB Jarret Johnson (thumb), RB Willis McGahee (ankle), LB Gary Stills (knee), TE Daniel Wilcox (foot)

PRACTICE REPORT
Wednesday: Team did not practice
Out (Definitely Will Not Play)
Thursday: QB Steve McNair (left shoulder), WR Demetrius Williams (ankle)
Friday: QB Steve McNair (left shoulder), WR Demetrius Williams (ankle)

Did Not Participate In Practice
Thursday: T Jared Gaither (illness)
Friday: T Jared Gaither (illness), TE Todd Heap (thigh), CB Chris McAlister (knee)

Limited Participation In Practice
Thursday: DT Justin Bannan (ankle), TE Todd Heap (thigh), LB Jarret Johnson (thumb), CB Chris McAlister (knee), RB Willis McGahee (ankle), LB Gary Stills (knee), TE Daniel Wilcox (foot)
Friday: DT Justin Bannan (ankle), S Gerome Sapp (thigh)

Full Participation In Practice
Thursday: S Gerome Sapp (thigh)
Friday: LB Jarret Johnson (thumb), RB Willis McGahee (ankle), LB Gary Stills (knee), TE Daniel Wilcox (foot)

Buffalo Bills

INJURY REPORT
Out: CB Jerametrius Butler (calf), DE Chris Kelsay (ankle), RB Marshawn Lynch (ankle), RB Anthony Thomas (calf), LB Coy Wire (neck)
Probable: DT Larry Tripplett (abdomen)

PRACTICE REPORT
Did Not Participate In Practice
Wednesday: CB Jerametrius Butler (calf), DE Ryan Denney (foot), LB Mario Haggan (illness), DE Chris Kelsay (ankle), RB Marshawn Lynch (ankle), WR Roscoe Parrish (illness), TE Robert Royal (ankle), S Bryan Scott (illness), RB Anthony Thomas (calf), S Donte Whitner (player decision), LB Coy Wire (neck)
Thursday: CB Jerametrius Butler (calf), DE Chris Kelsay (ankle), RB Marshawn Lynch (ankle), RB Anthony Thomas (calf), LB Coy Wire (neck)
Friday: CB Jerametrius Butler (calf), DE Chris Kelsay (ankle), RB Anthony Thomas (calf), LB Coy Wire (neck)

Limited Participation In Practice
Wednesday: DT Larry Tripplett (abdomen)
Thursday: DT Larry Tripplett (abdomen)
Friday: RB Marshawn Lynch (ankle)

Full Participation In Practice
Friday: DT Larry Tripplett (abdomen)

Carolina Panthers

INJURY REPORT
Doubtful: WR Dwayne Jarrett (knee)
Probable: CB Chris Gamble (thumb), DE Mike Rucker (illness), QB Vinny Testaverde (back)

PRACTICE REPORT
Did Not Participate In Practice
Wednesday: WR Dwayne Jarrett (knee), DE Mike Rucker (illness)
Thursday: WR Dwayne Jarrett (knee)
Friday: WR Dwayne Jarrett (knee)

Full Participation In Practice
Wednesday: CB Chris Gamble (thumb), QB Vinny Testaverde (back)
Thursday: CB Chris Gamble (thumb), DE Mike Rucker (illness), QB Vinny Testaverde (back)
Friday: CB Chris Gamble (thumb), DE Mike Rucker (illness), QB Vinny Testaverde (back)

Chicago Bears

INJURY REPORT
Out: RB Cedric Benson (ankle)
Probable: LB Lance Briggs (hamstring), DT Tommie Harris (knee), KR Devin Hester (foot), T Fred Miller (ankle), CB Nathan Vasher (groin)

PRACTICE REPORT
Out (Definitely Will Not Play)
Wednesday: RB Cedric Benson (ankle)
Thursday: RB Cedric Benson (ankle)
Friday: RB Cedric Benson (ankle)

Did Not Participate In Practice
Wednesday: LB Lance Briggs (hamstring), DT Tommie Harris (knee), KR Devin Hester (foot), T Fred Miller (ankle)
Thursday: T Fred Miller (ankle)
Friday: DT Tommie Harris (knee), T Fred Miller (ankle)

Limited Participation In Practice
Wednesday: CB Nathan Vasher (groin)
Thursday: LB Lance Briggs (hamstring), DT Tommie Harris (knee), KR Devin Hester (foot), CB Nathan Vasher (groin)
Friday: LB Lance Briggs (hamstring), KR Devin Hester (foot), CB Nathan Vasher (groin)

Cincinnati Bengals

INJURY REPORT
Out: T Willie Anderson (knee)
Probable: WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh (back), S Dexter Jackson (wrist), WR Chad Johnson (knee), LB Landon Johnson (back), S Nedu Ndukwe (Achilles), CB Deltha O'Neal (knee), DT John Thornton (knee), RB Kenny Watson (hip)

PRACTICE REPORT
Did Not Participate In Practice
Wednesday: WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh (back), CB Deltha O'Neal (knee)
Thursday: T Willie Anderson (knee), WR Chad Johnson (knee)
Friday: T Willie Anderson (knee)

Limited Participation In Practice
Wednesday: T Willie Anderson (knee)
Thursday: LB Landon Johnson (back), RB Kenny Watson (hip)

Full Participation In Practice
Wednesday: S Dexter Jackson (wrist), S Nedu Ndukwe (Achilles), DT John Thornton (knee)
Thursday: WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh (back), S Dexter Jackson (wrist), S Nedu Ndukwe (Achilles), CB Deltha O'Neal (knee), DT John Thornton (knee)
Friday: WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh (back), S Dexter Jackson (wrist), WR Chad Johnson (knee), LB Landon Johnson (back), S Nedu Ndukwe (Achilles), CB Deltha O'Neal (knee), DT John Thornton (knee), RB Kenny Watson (hip)

Cleveland Browns

INJURY REPORT
Doubtful: DT Ethan Kelley (knee), CB Eric Wright (knee)
Questionable: WR Braylon Edwards (hamstring), LB Antwan Peek (knee), DE Orpheus Roye (knee)
Probable: TE Steve Heiden (ankle), T Kevin Shaffer (knee), DE Robaire Smith (knee)

PRACTICE REPORT
Did Not Participate In Practice
Wednesday: WR Braylon Edwards (hamstring), DT Ethan Kelley (knee), DE Orpheus Roye (knee), T Kevin Shaffer (knee), DE Robaire Smith (knee), CB Eric Wright (knee)
Thursday: WR Braylon Edwards (hamstring), DT Ethan Kelley (knee), DE Orpheus Roye (knee), CB Eric Wright (knee)
Friday: DT Ethan Kelley (knee)

Limited Participation In Practice
Wednesday: LB Antwan Peek (knee)
Thursday: LB Antwan Peek (knee), T Kevin Shaffer (knee), DE Robaire Smith (knee)
Friday: WR Braylon Edwards (hamstring), TE Steve Heiden (ankle), LB Antwan Peek (knee), DE Orpheus Roye (knee), CB Eric Wright (knee)

Full Participation In Practice
Friday: T Kevin Shaffer (knee), DE Robaire Smith (knee)

Denver Broncos

INJURY REPORT
Out: RB Andre Hall (ankle)
Questionable: WR Glenn Martinez (ankle), WR Javon Walker (knee)
Probable: DE John Engelberger (shoulder), RB Travis Henry (knee), S John Lynch (ribs), P Todd Sauerbrun (left hamstring), RB Paul Smith (calf), WR Brandon Stokley (knee), RB Selvin Young (knee)

PRACTICE REPORT
Did Not Participate In Practice
Wednesday: DT Sam Adams (team decision), RB Andre Hall (ankle), WR Brandon Stokley (knee)
Thursday: RB Andre Hall (ankle)
Friday: RB Andre Hall (ankle)

Limited Participation In Practice
Wednesday: WR Javon Walker (knee)

Full Participation In Practice
Wednesday: DE John Engelberger (shoulder), RB Travis Henry (knee), S John Lynch (ribs), WR Glenn Martinez (ankle), P Todd Sauerbrun (left hamstring), RB Paul Smith (calf), RB Selvin Young (knee)
Thursday: DT Sam Adams (team decision), DE John Engelberger (shoulder), RB Travis Henry (knee), S John Lynch (ribs), WR Glenn Martinez (ankle), P Todd Sauerbrun (left hamstring), RB Paul Smith (calf), WR Brandon Stokley (knee), WR Javon Walker (knee), RB Selvin Young (knee)
Friday: DE John Engelberger (shoulder), RB Travis Henry (knee), S John Lynch (ribs), WR Glenn Martinez (ankle), P Todd Sauerbrun (left hamstring), RB Paul Smith (calf), WR Brandon Stokley (knee), WR Javon Walker (knee), RB Selvin Young (knee)

Detroit Lions

INJURY REPORT
Out: DE Ikaika Alama-Francis (hamstring)

PRACTICE REPORT
Did Not Participate In Practice
Wednesday: DE Ikaika Alama-Francis (hamstring)
Thursday: DE Ikaika Alama-Francis (hamstring)
Friday: DE Ikaika Alama-Francis (hamstring)

Houston Texans

INJURY REPORT
Out: RB Ahman Green (knee)
Doubtful: CB Dexter Wynn (thigh)
Questionable: LB Danny Clark (groin)
Probable: K Kris Brown (left foot), DE Earl Cochran (illness), WR Andre Johnson (knee), DE Ndukwe Kalu (knee), G Chester Pitts (knee)

PRACTICE REPORT
Did Not Participate In Practice
Wednesday: LB Danny Clark (groin), RB Ahman Green (knee), T Ephraim Salaam (team decision), CB Dexter Wynn (thigh)
Thursday: LB Danny Clark (groin), DT Travis Johnson (personal), DE Ndukwe Kalu (knee), G Chester Pitts (knee), CB Dexter Wynn (thigh)
Friday: CB Dexter Wynn (thigh)

Limited Participation In Practice
Wednesday: K Kris Brown (left foot), WR Andre Johnson (knee), G Chester Pitts (knee)
Thursday: RB Ahman Green (knee), WR Andre Johnson (knee)
Friday: LB Danny Clark (groin), DE Earl Cochran (illness), RB Ahman Green (knee), WR Andre Johnson (knee)

Full Participation In Practice
Thursday: K Kris Brown (left foot)
Friday: K Kris Brown (left foot), DE Ndukwe Kalu (knee), G Chester Pitts (knee)

Indianapolis Colts

INJURY REPORT
Out: T Daniel Federkeil (concussion)
Questionable: T Ryan Diem (ankle), WR Marvin Harrison (knee), CB Tim Jennings (upper leg)
Probable: LB Gary Brackett (illness), T Charlie Johnson (hamstring), TE Ben Utecht (groin)

PRACTICE REPORT
Out (Definitely Will Not Play)
Thursday: CB Daymeion Hughes (shoulder)
Friday: CB Daymeion Hughes (shoulder)

Did Not Participate In Practice
Wednesday: T Ryan Diem (ankle), T Daniel Federkeil (concussion), WR Marvin Harrison (knee), CB Daymeion Hughes (shoulder), CB Tim Jennings (upper leg), T Charlie Johnson (hamstring), CB Bob Sanders (team decision), TE Ben Utecht (groin)
Thursday: LB Gary Brackett (illness), T Ryan Diem (ankle), T Daniel Federkeil (concussion), WR Marvin Harrison (knee), LB Freddy Keiaho (illness), CB Bob Sanders (team decision)
Friday: RB Joseph Addai (team decision), T Ryan Diem (ankle), T Daniel Federkeil (concussion), WR Marvin Harrison (knee), CB Tim Jennings (upper leg)

Full Participation In Practice
Thursday: CB Tim Jennings (upper leg), T Charlie Johnson (hamstring), TE Ben Utecht (groin)
Friday: LB Gary Brackett (illness), T Charlie Johnson (hamstring), LB Freddy Keiaho (illness), CB Bob Sanders (team decision), TE Ben Utecht (groin)

Jacksonville Jaguars

INJURY REPORT
Out: LB Mike Peterson (hand)
Questionable: WR John Broussard (ankle)
Probable: RB Greg Jones (knee), WR Dennis Northcutt (foot)

PRACTICE REPORT
Out (Definitely Will Not Play)
Wednesday: LB Mike Peterson (hand)
Thursday: LB Mike Peterson (hand)
Friday: LB Mike Peterson (hand)

Limited Participation In Practice
Wednesday: WR John Broussard (ankle), RB Greg Jones (knee), WR Dennis Northcutt (foot)
Thursday: WR John Broussard (ankle)

Full Participation In Practice
Thursday: RB Greg Jones (knee), WR Dennis Northcutt (foot)
Friday: WR John Broussard (ankle), RB Greg Jones (knee), WR Dennis Northcutt (foot)

Kansas City Chiefs

INJURY REPORT
Out: RB Larry Johnson (foot)
Questionable: QB Brodie Croyle (back), LB Keyaron Fox (back)
Probable: S Jarrad Page (illness), CB Patrick Surtain (shoulder), T Will Svitek (foot)

PRACTICE REPORT
Out (Definitely Will Not Play)
Wednesday: RB Larry Johnson (foot)
Thursday: RB Larry Johnson (foot)
Friday: RB Larry Johnson (foot)

Did Not Participate In Practice
Wednesday: QB Brodie Croyle (back), LB Keyaron Fox (back), S Jarrad Page (illness), CB Patrick Surtain (shoulder), S Greg Wesley (knee)
Thursday: QB Brodie Croyle (back), LB Keyaron Fox (back), WR Jeff Webb (illness)
Friday: QB Brodie Croyle (back), LB Keyaron Fox (back)

Limited Participation In Practice
Wednesday: T Will Svitek (foot)

Full Participation In Practice
Thursday: S Jarrad Page (illness), CB Patrick Surtain (shoulder), T Will Svitek (foot), S Greg Wesley (knee)
Friday: S Jarrad Page (illness), CB Patrick Surtain (shoulder), T Will Svitek (foot)

Miami Dolphins

INJURY REPORT
Out: LB Zach Thomas (migraine)
Questionable: DT Vonnie Holliday (ankle), DE Matt Roth (groin)
Probable: RB Jesse Chatman (ankle), LB Edmond Miles (ankle), DT Keith Traylor (ankle)

PRACTICE REPORT
Did Not Participate In Practice
Wednesday: DT Vonnie Holliday (ankle), LB Zach Thomas (migraine)
Thursday: DT Vonnie Holliday (ankle), LB Zach Thomas (migraine)
Friday: DT Vonnie Holliday (ankle), DE Matt Roth (groin), LB Zach Thomas (migraine)

Limited Participation In Practice
Wednesday: RB Jesse Chatman (ankle)
Thursday: RB Jesse Chatman (ankle), DE Matt Roth (groin)

Full Participation In Practice
Friday: RB Jesse Chatman (ankle), LB Edmond Miles (ankle), DT Keith Traylor (ankle)

Minnesota Vikings

INJURY REPORT
Out: S Tank Williams (knee)
Doubtful: WR Troy Williamson (concussion)
Questionable: LB Dontarrious Thomas (groin), CB Antoine Winfield (hamstring)
Probable: C Matt Birk (knee), RB Adrian Peterson (knee), RB Tony Richardson (knee), DE Kenechi Udeze (player decision)

PRACTICE REPORT
Did Not Participate In Practice
Wednesday: DE Kenechi Udeze (player decision), S Tank Williams (knee)
Thursday: S Tank Williams (knee), WR Troy Williamson (concussion)
Friday: LB Dontarrious Thomas (groin), DE Kenechi Udeze (player decision), S Tank Williams (knee), WR Troy Williamson (concussion)

Limited Participation In Practice
Wednesday: C Matt Birk (knee), RB Adrian Peterson (knee), RB Tony Richardson (knee), LB Dontarrious Thomas (groin), WR Troy Williamson (concussion), CB Antoine Winfield (hamstring)
Thursday: C Matt Birk (knee), RB Adrian Peterson (knee), RB Tony Richardson (knee), LB Dontarrious Thomas (groin), CB Antoine Winfield (hamstring)
Friday: RB Adrian Peterson (knee), RB Tony Richardson (knee), CB Antoine Winfield (hamstring)

Full Participation In Practice
Friday: C Matt Birk (knee)

New England Patriots

INJURY REPORT
Probable: QB Tom Brady (right shoulder)

PRACTICE REPORT
Out (Definitely Will Not Play)
Wednesday: LB Rosevelt Colvin (foot)

Did Not Participate In Practice
Wednesday: RB Kevin Faulk (thigh)
Thursday: RB Kevin Faulk (thigh)

Limited Participation In Practice
Wednesday: QB Tom Brady (right shoulder), CB Randall Gay (back), G Steve Neal (shoulder), WR Wes Welker (team decision)
Thursday: QB Tom Brady (right shoulder), WR Wes Welker (team decision)

Full Participation In Practice
Friday: QB Tom Brady (right shoulder)

New Orleans Saints

INJURY REPORT
Questionable: DT McKinley Boykin (knee), RB Pierre Thomas (kidney)

PRACTICE REPORT
Did Not Participate In Practice
Wednesday: DT McKinley Boykin (knee)
Thursday: DT McKinley Boykin (knee), RB Pierre Thomas (kidney)
Friday: RB Pierre Thomas (kidney)

Limited Participation In Practice
Wednesday: RB Reggie Bush (shin)
Friday: DT McKinley Boykin (knee)

Full Participation In Practice
Thursday: RB Reggie Bush (shin)

New York Giants

INJURY REPORT
Doubtful: RB Brandon Jacobs (hamstring), CB Aaron Ross (hamstring), S Gibril Wilson (knee)
Questionable: WR Plaxico Burress (ankle, knee), WR Steve Smith (hamstring)
Probable: LB Antonio Pierce (ankle), RB Derrick Ward (ankle, groin)

PRACTICE REPORT
Did Not Participate In Practice
Wednesday: WR Plaxico Burress (ankle, knee), LB Antonio Pierce (ankle), CB Aaron Ross (hamstring)
Thursday: WR Plaxico Burress (ankle, knee), LB Antonio Pierce (ankle), CB Aaron Ross (hamstring), S Gibril Wilson (knee)
Friday: WR Plaxico Burress (ankle, knee), RB Brandon Jacobs (hamstring), CB Aaron Ross (hamstring), S Gibril Wilson (knee)

Limited Participation In Practice
Wednesday: RB Brandon Jacobs (hamstring), WR Steve Smith (hamstring)
Thursday: RB Brandon Jacobs (hamstring), WR Steve Smith (hamstring)

Full Participation In Practice
Wednesday: RB Derrick Ward (ankle, groin)
Thursday: RB Derrick Ward (ankle, groin)
Friday: LB Antonio Pierce (ankle), WR Steve Smith (hamstring), RB Derrick Ward (ankle, groin)

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Re: Sunday Football

New York Jets

INJURY REPORT
Out: WR Jerricho Cotchery (finger)
Questionable: CB David Barrett (hip), WR Laveranues Coles (ankle), TE James Dearth (foot), DT Dewayne Robertson (knee)
Probable: TE Chris Baker (back), WR Chris Davis (shoulder), TE Joe Kowalewski (shoulder), DE C.J. Mosley (shoulder), WR Brad Smith (back)

PRACTICE REPORT
Did Not Participate In Practice
Wednesday: WR Jerricho Cotchery (finger)
Thursday: WR Jerricho Cotchery (finger)
Friday: WR Jerricho Cotchery (finger)

Limited Participation In Practice
Wednesday: CB David Barrett (hip), WR Laveranues Coles (ankle), TE James Dearth (foot), DT Dewayne Robertson (knee)
Thursday: CB David Barrett (hip), WR Laveranues Coles (ankle), TE James Dearth (foot), DT Dewayne Robertson (knee)
Friday: CB David Barrett (hip), WR Laveranues Coles (ankle), TE James Dearth (foot), DT Dewayne Robertson (knee)

Full Participation In Practice
Wednesday: TE Chris Baker (back), WR Chris Davis (shoulder), TE Joe Kowalewski (shoulder), DT C.J. Mosley (shoulder), WR Brad Smith (back)
Thursday: TE Chris Baker (back), WR Chris Davis (shoulder), TE Joe Kowalewski (shoulder), DT C.J. Mosley (shoulder), WR Brad Smith (back)
Friday: TE Chris Baker (back), WR Chris Davis (shoulder), TE Joe Kowalewski (shoulder), DT C.J. Mosley (shoulder), WR Brad Smith (back)

Oakland Raiders

INJURY REPORT
Out: S Jarrod Cooper (knee)
Questionable: QB Daunte Culpepper (quadricep)
Probable: DE Derrick Burgess (Achilles), LB Isaiah Ekejiuba (ankle), C Jake Grove (knee), QB Josh McCown (left finger), S Stuart Schweigert (calf)

PRACTICE REPORT
Out (Definitely Will Not Play)
Wednesday: S Jarrod Cooper (knee)
Thursday: S Jarrod Cooper (knee)
Friday: S Jarrod Cooper (knee)

Did Not Participate In Practice
Wednesday: C Jeremy Newberry (team decision)
Friday: QB Daunte Culpepper (quadricep)

Limited Participation In Practice
Wednesday: DE Derrick Burgess (Achilles), LB Isaiah Ekejiuba (ankle)
Thursday: QB Daunte Culpepper (quadricep)

Full Participation In Practice
Wednesday: C Jake Grove (knee), S Stuart Schweigert (calf)
Thursday: DE Derrick Burgess (Achilles), LB Isaiah Ekejiuba (ankle), C Jake Grove (knee), S Stuart Schweigert (calf)
Friday: DE Derrick Burgess (Achilles), LB Isaiah Ekejiuba (ankle), C Jake Grove (knee), QB Josh McCown (left finger), S Stuart Schweigert (calf)

Philadelphia Eagles

INJURY REPORT
Doubtful: QB Donovan McNabb (ankle, right thumb), S Quintin Mikell (knee)
Questionable: DT Brodrick Bunkley (knee)
Probable: WR Kevin Curtis (thigh), CB William James (foot), WR Greg Lewis (chest), RB Brian Westbrook (knee)

PRACTICE REPORT
Did Not Participate In Practice
Wednesday: QB Donovan McNabb (ankle, right thumb), S Quintin Mikell (knee), RB Brian Westbrook (knee)
Thursday: QB Donovan McNabb (ankle, right thumb), S Quintin Mikell (knee), RB Brian Westbrook (knee)
Friday: QB Donovan McNabb (ankle, right thumb), S Quintin Mikell (knee)

Limited Participation In Practice
Wednesday: DT Brodrick Bunkley (knee)
Thursday: DT Brodrick Bunkley (knee)
Friday: DT Brodrick Bunkley (knee), WR Kevin Curtis (thigh)

Full Participation In Practice
Wednesday: CB William James (foot), WR Greg Lewis (chest)
Thursday: CB William James (foot), WR Greg Lewis (chest)
Friday: CB William James (foot), WR Greg Lewis (chest), RB Brian Westbrook (knee)

Pittsburgh Steelers

INJURY REPORT
Out: WR Santonio Holmes (ankle)
Doubtful: S Troy Polamalu (knee), T Marvel Smith (back)
Probable: CB Bryant McFadden (ankle)

PRACTICE REPORT
Did Not Participate In Practice
Wednesday: WR Santonio Holmes (ankle), RB Dan Kreider (knee), CB Bryant McFadden (ankle), S Troy Polamalu (knee), T Marvel Smith (back), WR Hines Ward (team decision)
Thursday: WR Santonio Holmes (ankle), S Troy Polamalu (knee), T Marvel Smith (back)
Friday: WR Santonio Holmes (ankle), T Marvel Smith (back)

Limited Participation In Practice
Friday: S Troy Polamalu (knee)

Full Participation In Practice
Thursday: CB Bryant McFadden (ankle), WR Hines Ward (team decision)
Friday: CB Bryant McFadden (ankle)

St. Louis Rams

INJURY REPORT
Out: CB Eric Bassey (knee), QB Marc Bulger (concussion), WR Dante Hall (ankle), DE James Hall (ankle)
Questionable: CB Fakhir Brown (back), C Brett Romberg (ankle)
Probable: C Andy McCollum (knee), S Hanik Milligan (hand), T Rob Petitti (illness)

PRACTICE REPORT
Out (Definitely Will Not Play)
Wednesday: CB Eric Bassey (knee)
Thursday: CB Eric Bassey (knee), QB Marc Bulger (concussion)
Friday: CB Eric Bassey (knee), QB Marc Bulger (concussion), WR Dante Hall (ankle), DE James Hall (ankle)

Did Not Participate In Practice
Wednesday: QB Marc Bulger (concussion), WR Dante Hall (ankle), DE James Hall (ankle), C Andy McCollum (knee)
Thursday: CB Fakhir Brown (back), WR Dante Hall (ankle), DE James Hall (ankle), C Brett Romberg (ankle)
Friday: T Rob Petitti (illness), C Brett Romberg (ankle)

Limited Participation In Practice
Wednesday: WR Drew Bennett (hamstring), CB Fakhir Brown (back), WR Torry Holt (knee), C Brett Romberg (ankle)
Thursday: C Andy McCollum (knee)
Friday: CB Fakhir Brown (back)

Full Participation In Practice
Wednesday: S Hanik Milligan (hand)
Thursday: S Hanik Milligan (hand)
Friday: C Andy McCollum (knee), S Hanik Milligan (hand)

San Diego Chargers

INJURY REPORT
Out: DE Luis Castillo (ankle)
Probable: LB Shawne Merriman (illness)

PRACTICE REPORT
Out (Definitely Will Not Play)
Wednesday: DE Luis Castillo (ankle)
Thursday: DE Luis Castillo (ankle)
Friday: DE Luis Castillo (ankle)

Did Not Participate In Practice
Wednesday: DT Jamal Williams (team decision)
Friday: LB Shawne Merriman (illness)

San Francisco 49ers

INJURY REPORT
Out: CB Marcus Hudson (knee), CB Shawntae Spencer (quadricep)
Doubtful: WR Jason Hill (groin), QB Alex Smith (right forearm, right shoulder)
Questionable: DT Aubrayo Franklin (calf)
Probable: RB Frank Gore (ankle), CB Walt Harris (calf), QB Shaun Hill (right finger), LB Derek Smith (groin), LB Jeff Ulbrich (ankle)

PRACTICE REPORT
Out (Definitely Will Not Play)
Wednesday: CB Marcus Hudson (knee), CB Shawntae Spencer (quadricep)
Thursday: CB Marcus Hudson (knee), CB Shawntae Spencer (quadricep)
Friday: CB Marcus Hudson (knee), CB Shawntae Spencer (quadricep)

Did Not Participate In Practice
Wednesday: G Larry Allen (team decision), CB Walt Harris (team decision), WR Jason Hill (groin), LB Derek Smith (groin), LB Jeff Ulbrich (ankle), DT Bryant Young (team decision)
Thursday: CB Walt Harris (calf), LB Derek Smith (groin)

Limited Participation In Practice
Wednesday: DT Aubrayo Franklin (calf), RB Frank Gore (ankle), QB Shaun Hill (right finger), QB Alex Smith (right forearm, right shoulder)
Thursday: DT Aubrayo Franklin (calf), RB Frank Gore (ankle), WR Jason Hill (groin), QB Shaun Hill (right finger), QB Alex Smith (right forearm, right shoulder), LB Jeff Ulbrich (ankle)
Friday: DT Aubrayo Franklin (calf), CB Walt Harris (calf), WR Jason Hill (groin), QB Shaun Hill (right finger), QB Alex Smith (right forearm, right shoulder), LB Derek Smith (groin)

Full Participation In Practice
Friday: RB Frank Gore (ankle), LB Jeff Ulbrich (ankle)
 
Seattle Seahawks

INJURY REPORT
Out: WR D.J. Hackett (ankle), LB Will Herring (hamstring)
Questionable: DT Rocky Bernard (groin), S Mike Green (knee), LB Lofa Tatupu (oblique)
Probable: RB Shaun Alexander (knee), QB Matt Hasselbeck (hip), RB Maurice Morris (ankle), C Chris Spencer (shoulder), DE Darryl Tapp (shoulder), DT Craig Terrill (illness)

PRACTICE REPORT
Out (Definitely Will Not Play)
Wednesday: WR D.J. Hackett (ankle)
Thursday: WR D.J. Hackett (ankle)
Friday: WR D.J. Hackett (ankle), LB Will Herring (hamstring)

Did Not Participate In Practice
Wednesday: DT Rocky Bernard (groin), S Mike Green (knee), LB Will Herring (hamstring), LB Lofa Tatupu (oblique), DT Craig Terrill (illness)
Thursday: DT Rocky Bernard (groin), S Mike Green (knee), LB Will Herring (hamstring), LB Lofa Tatupu (oblique)

Limited Participation In Practice
Wednesday: RB Maurice Morris (ankle), C Chris Spencer (shoulder)

Full Participation In Practice
Wednesday: RB Shaun Alexander (knee), QB Matt Hasselbeck (hip), DE Darryl Tapp (shoulder)
Thursday: RB Shaun Alexander (knee), QB Matt Hasselbeck (hip), RB Maurice Morris (ankle), C Chris Spencer (shoulder), DE Darryl Tapp (shoulder), DT Craig Terrill (illness)
Friday: RB Shaun Alexander (knee), DT Rocky Bernard (groin), S Mike Green (knee), QB Matt Hasselbeck (hip), RB Maurice Morris (ankle), C Chris Spencer (shoulder), DE Darryl Tapp (shoulder), LB Lofa Tatupu (oblique), DT Craig Terrill (illness)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

INJURY REPORT
Questionable: RB B.J. Askew (ankle), DE Kevin Carter (groin), QB Jeff Garcia (back), CB Brian Kelly (ankle), RB Michael Pittman (ankle), DE Greg Spires (calf)
Probable: LB Barrett Ruud (knee)

PRACTICE REPORT
Did Not Participate In Practice
Wednesday: RB B.J. Askew (ankle), WR Joey Galloway (team decision), QB Jeff Garcia (back), RB Michael Pittman (ankle)
Thursday: RB B.J. Askew (ankle), QB Jeff Garcia (back)

Limited Participation In Practice
Wednesday: DE Kevin Carter (groin), CB Brian Kelly (ankle), LB Barrett Ruud (knee), DE Greg Spires (calf)
Thursday: DE Kevin Carter (groin), CB Brian Kelly (ankle), RB Michael Pittman (ankle), DE Greg Spires (calf)
Friday: RB B.J. Askew (ankle), DE Kevin Carter (groin), QB Jeff Garcia (back), CB Brian Kelly (ankle), RB Michael Pittman (ankle), DE Greg Spires (calf)

Full Participation In Practice
Thursday: LB Barrett Ruud (knee)
Friday: LB Barrett Ruud (knee)

Tennessee Titans

INJURY REPORT
Out: S Chris Hope (back)
Questionable: DT Albert Haynesworth (hamstring), DE Travis LaBoy (concussion), G Benji Olson (back)
Probable: DT Tony Brown (knee)

PRACTICE REPORT
Did Not Participate In Practice
Wednesday: DT Tony Brown (knee), S Chris Hope (back), G Benji Olson (back)
Thursday: DT Tony Brown (knee), DT Albert Haynesworth (hamstring), S Chris Hope (back), G Benji Olson (back)
Friday: S Chris Hope (back), DT Randy Starks (player decision)

Limited Participation In Practice
Wednesday: DT Albert Haynesworth (hamstring), DE Travis LaBoy (concussion)
Thursday: DE Travis LaBoy (concussion)
Friday: DT Albert Haynesworth (hamstring), DE Travis LaBoy (concussion), G Benji Olson (back)

Full Participation In Practice
Friday: DT Tony Brown (knee)

Washington Redskins

INJURY REPORT
Out: RB Mike Sellers (back), WR James Thrash (ankle)
Questionable: WR Antwaan Randle El (hamstring), G Randy Thomas (triceps)
Probable: DT Cornelius Griffin (foot), G Pete Kendall (ankle), WR Santana Moss (heel), RB Clinton Portis (back)

PRACTICE REPORT
Did Not Participate In Practice
Wednesday: DT Cornelius Griffin (foot), G Pete Kendall (ankle), RB Clinton Portis (back), RB Mike Sellers (back), WR James Thrash (ankle)
Thursday: DT Cornelius Griffin (foot), RB Mike Sellers (back), WR James Thrash (ankle)
Friday: RB Mike Sellers (back), WR James Thrash (ankle)

Limited Participation In Practice
Wednesday: WR Santana Moss (heel), WR Antwaan Randle El (hamstring)
Thursday: WR Santana Moss (heel), RB Clinton Portis (back), WR Antwaan Randle El (hamstring)
Friday: WR Antwaan Randle El (hamstring)

Full Participation In Practice
Wednesday: G Randy Thomas (triceps)
Thursday: G Pete Kendall (ankle), G Randy Thomas (triceps)
Friday: DT Cornelius Griffin (foot), G Pete Kendall (ankle), WR Santana Moss (heel), RB Clinton Portis (back), G Randy Thomas (triceps)

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