PREVIEWS | Today's games



DALLAS (4-1) AT DETROIT (1-4)
Time: 1 p.m.Series history: Lions lead 9-8. Last meeting: Lions beat Cowboys 9-7 on Nov. 3, 2002, at Detroit.Last week: Cowboys beat Eagles 23-21. Lions had bye, lost to 49ers 24-17 in Week 5.Key matchup: Dallas secondary vs. Lions QB Joey Harrington. Harrington throws interceptions in bunches. In two games this season, he did not throw an INT, but in the other three he's thrown eight -- tied for third worst in NFL. Cowboys DBs have only three INTs in 2003, but could double that total against erratic Harrington.
NEW ORLEANS (2-4) AT ATLANTA (1-5)
Time: 1 p.m.Series history: Falcons lead 41-27. Last meeting: Falcons beat Saints 24-17 on Nov. 17, 2002, at Atlanta.Last week: Saints beat Bears 20-13. Falcons lost to Rams 36-0.Key matchup: Saints RB Deuce McAllister vs. Falcons LB Keith Brooking. McAllister has rushed for 100 yards in three consecutive games and has three TDs in past three games against Falcons. Falcons have allowed NFL-high nine TDs rushing. They allow 147.3 yards rushing per game, among worst in league. Brooking, who played in Pro Bowl past two years, leads Falcons in tackles and will need big game to contain McAllister.
GREEN BAY (3-3) AT ST. LOUIS (3-2)
Time: 1 p.m.TV/radio: WYFX (17/62), WBBW-AM (1240).Series history: Rams lead 44-40-2. Last meeting: Rams beat Packers 45-17 on Jan. 20, 2002, at St. Louis in NFC playoff game.Last week: Packers lost to Chiefs 40-34 in OT. Rams beat Falcons 36-0.Key matchup: Packers CBs Mike McKenzie and Al Harris vs. Rams WR Torry Holt. Holt is tied for NFL lead with 41 receptions and is first with average of 107.4 yards per game. Packers have been weak against pass, allowing 248 yards per game, third worst in NFL. Rams average league-best 275.2 yards per game. Packers allowed 400 yards passing from Chiefs last week, and must improve if they're to beat high-flying Rams.
TENNESSEE (4-2) AT CAROLINA (5-0)
Time: 1 p.m.Series history: Panthers lead 1-0. Last meeting: Panthers beat Titans (then Oilers) 31-6 on Nov. 24, 1996, at Houston.Last week: Titans beat Texans 38-17. Panthers beat Colts 23-20 in OT.Key matchup: Titans QB Steve McNair vs. Panthers DE Mike Rucker. McNair is best in NFL with 1,601 yards passing and 107.8 QB rating. He leads NFL's No. 2 passing offense against defense that has allowed second-lowest point total (68). Panthers are vulnerable against pass, allowing 239.6 yards per game, while Titans average 273.5 yards passing on offense. Rucker leads Panthers with five sacks this season.
NEW ENGLAND (4-2) AT MIAMI (4-1)
Time: 1 p.m.Series history: Dolphins lead 46-29. Last meeting: Patriots beat Dolphins 27-24 in OT on Dec. 29, 2002, at New England.Last week: Patriots beat Giants 17-6. Dolphins beat Jaguars 24-10.Key matchup: Patriots' front seven vs. Dolphins RB Ricky Williams. In two games against Patriots as a Dolphin, Williams has rushed for 290 yards and two TDs. A workhorse back, he leads NFL with 26.8 attempts per game, although he only averages 3.4 yards per carry and 92.2 yards per game. Patriots allow only 89.3 yards rushing per game, seventh best in league, but have surrendered seven TDs rushing, tied for second worst.
PHILADELPHIA (2-3)AT NEW YORK GIANTS (2-3)
Time: 1 p.m.Series history: Giants lead 75-61-2. Last meeting: Giants beat Eagles 10-7 in OT on Dec. 28, 2002, at Giants.Last week: Eagles lost to Cowboys 23-21. Giants lost to Patriots 17-6.Key matchup: Eagles QB Donovan McNabb vs. Giants QB Kerry Collins. In a matchup of two struggling passers, whoever does least harm might win. McNabb has second-worst passer rating among starting QBs in NFL (54.2). Collins has a slightly better rating (67.3), but has thrown nine INTs in five games, worst per-game average in NFL. Collins has four fumbles, while McNabb has fumbled six times.
BALTIMORE (3-2) AT CINCINNATI (1-4)
Time: 1 p.m.TV: KDKA (2).Series history: Ravens lead 10-4. Last meeting: Ravens beat Bengals 27-23 on Dec. 1, 2002, at Cincinnati.Last week: Ravens beat Cardinals 26-18. Bengals had bye, lost to Bills 22-16 in OT in Week 5.Key matchup: Ravens RB Jamal Lewis vs. Bengals LB Brian Simmons. Lewis leads NFL with 742 yards rushing -- 148.4 per game. He's rushed for over 100 yards in each of his four previous games against Bengals. In 2003, Bengals have allowed 121 yards rushing per game. Simmons leads Bengals with 28 tackles and will be busy trying to stop Lewis from running wild against Cincinnati again.
DENVER (5-1) AT MINNESOTA (5-0)
Time: 1 p.m.Series history: Vikings lead 6-4. Last meeting: Vikings beat Broncos 23-20 on Oct. 31, 1999, at Denver.Last week: Broncos beat Steelers 17-14. Vikings had bye, beat Falcons 39-26 in Week 5.Key matchup: Vikings WR Randy Moss vs. Broncos CBs Lenny Walls and Deltha O'Neal. Moss is most potent weapon in NFL's most prolific offense. He leads NFL with six TDs receiving, five of which have come in past two games. With Vikings' first-string QB Daunte Culpepper returning after missing two weeks with back injury, O'Neal and Walls must use tight coverage on Moss.
NEW YORK JETS (1-4) AT HOUSTON (2-3)
Time: 4:05 p.m.Series history: First meeting.Last week: Jets beat Bills 30-3. Texans lost to Titans 38-17.Key matchup: Jets' current and injured secondary vs. Jets' former secondary. For New York, FS Jon McGraw and CB Donnie Abraham are out with shoulder injuries and two backups got hurt last week. Jets miss veteran CBs Marcus Coleman and Aaron Glenn, who after 14 combined seasons in New York were taken by Texans in expansion draft in 2002. Coleman is tied for AFC lead with four INTs, but Glenn is doubtful (groin). Texans have strong passing game and should cause problems for Jets' patchwork secondary.
CHICAGO (1-4) AT SEATTLE (4-1)
Time: 4:15 p.m.Series history: Seahawks lead 5-2. Last meeting: Seahawks beat Bears 14-13 on Sept. 19, 1999 at Chicago.Last week: Bears lost to Saints 20-13. Seahawks beat 49ers 20-19.Key matchup: Bears MLB Brian Urlacher vs. Seahawks RB Shaun Alexander. Alexander has 10 career 100-yard games and club is 8-2 in those contests. Although he averages just under 80 yards per game, the speedy Alexander is a threat for big game against soft Chicago run defense. Urlacher, All-Pro the past two seasons, is a rock in middle of Bears' defense and will often be responsible for stopping Alexander.
WASHINGTON (3-3) AT BUFFALO (3-3)
Time: 4:15 p.m.Series history: Series tied 5-5. Last meeting: Bills beat Redskins 34-17 on Nov. 7, 1999, at Washington.Last week: Redskins lost to Buccaneers 35-13. Bills lost to Jets 30-3.Key matchup: Redskins DE Bruce Smith vs. Bills QB Drew Bledsoe. Smith has 1961/2 career sacks and needs two to pass Reggie White for most in NFL history. He spent 1985-99 with Bills, playing in four Super Bowls and was Pro Bowler 11 times. It's his first time against former team. Smith recorded 121/2 sacks on Bledsoe when he was QB for Patriots. Buffalo OL has been shaky in past few weeks, unable to open holes for runners or protect Bledsoe. Bills have allowed 19 sacks, third worst in NFL. Smith could break record in his old home stadium.
TAMPA BAY (3-2)AT SAN FRANCISCO (2-4)
Time: 4:15 p.m.TV/radio: WYFX (17/62), WBBW-AM (1240).Series history: 49ers lead 12-3. Last meeting: Buccaneers beat 49ers 31-6 on Jan. 12 in NFC playoff game at Tampa Bay.Last week: Buccaneers beat Redskins 35-13. 49ers lost to Seahawks 20-19.Key matchup: Buccaneers DE Simeon Rice vs. 49ers LT Kwame Harris. Harris has started three games in rookie season and played significantly in last five because of injury to veteran starter Derrick Deese. 49ers first-round draft pick will have hands full with Rice, who leads NFL with eight sacks. Last week, Seahawks forced 49ers QB Jeff Garcia to scramble, and against Bucs' strong defense Garcia might end up on his back more than once.
-- Associated Press

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