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PREVIEW \ Saturday's games



Published: Fri, January 7, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



ST. LOUIS at SEATTLE

Time: 4:30 p.m.

TV/radio: (33) (5) (4) (WBBW-AM 1240)

Series history: Rams lead 9-4 overall. Last meeting: Rams beat Seahawks 23-12 on Nov. 14 at St. Louis.

Key matchup: Rams WRs Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce vs. Seahawks CBs Ken Lucas and Marcus Trufant. Holt (1,372 yards receiving) and Bruce (1,292) were fourth and fifth, respectively, in NFL. While Holt had more TDs (10) than Bruce (6), it was Bruce who torched Seahawks in two meetings this season. He had 78 yards in OT win in October and 104 at home in November. Lucas led Seattle with six INTs and Trufant had five. But Seahawks struggled against pass, allowing 224.4 yards per game. Bruce has four career 100-yard receiving games in playoffs and needs one more to tie Andre Reed and John Stallworth for third-most all time.

Streaks, stats and notes: Against common opponents Seahawks are 8-4 and Rams are 5-7, but Rams won both games against Seattle this season. ... Since NFL instituted 16-game schedule in 1978, no team with 8-8 record has won a playoff game. ... Seahawks RB Shaun Alexander was second in league with 1,696 yards and 16 TDs rushing. He has run for 452 yards in his last three games against Rams, all losses. ... Holt is only player in history with five consecutive 1,300-yard receiving seasons. ... Seahawks' defense was tied for third in NFL with 23 INTs. Rams threw 22 INTs, tied for third in league, although eight were thrown by backup Chris Chandler in his disastrous relief appearances when starter Marc Bulger was hurt. ... Rams finished with league-worst minus-24 turnover differential. Since 1970 merger, the record for worst turnover differential in season is minus-28. Seahawks were plus-8.

NEW YORK JETS at SAN DIEGO

Time: 8 p.m.

TV/radio: (33) (5) (4) (WBBW-AM 1240)

Series history: Chargers lead 17-11-1 overall. Last meeting: Jets beat Chargers 34-28 on Sept. 19 at San Diego.

Key matchup: Jets' secondary vs. Chargers QB Drew Brees. In Week 2, Chargers were booed in their home opener. Brees sustained concussion on helmet-to-helmet hit from Jets safety Jon McGraw. Jets rookie safety Erik Coleman had INT and fumble recovery, and Brees finished 8-of-19 for 146 yards and two INTs before being pulled for Doug Flutie. Brees hasn't done much wrong since then. He finished third in NFL with 104.8 passer rating and third-lowest INT percentage (1.8). Jets allow 207 yards passing per game, while Chargers' offense averages 210.4. Jets were susceptible to run in first meeting, but with Chargers' improved passing game, New York can't expect a one-dimensional approach.

Streaks, stats and notes: Game features two Pro Bowl RBs. Chargers RB LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for 1,335 yards and led league with 17 TD rushing. Jets RB Curtis Martin led NFL with 1,697 yards rushing and had 12 TDs. ... Chargers are 9-1 in last 10 games. ... Jets backed into playoffs, losing to Rams in Week 17. They made postseason because Buffalo lost to Pittsburgh. ... Jets had plus-17 turnover differential, second best in league. Chargers were plus-15, third best. ... Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer hired current Jets coach Herman Edwards as his DBs coach for Kansas City (1992-94) when Schottenheimer was Chiefs head coach (1989-98).

Associated Press




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