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Today's Other Nfl Games

November 22, 1987|RICH ROBERTS | Times Staff Writer

GAME OF THE DAY San Diego (8-1) at Seattle (6-3), 1 p.m. TV: Channels 4 and 39 (San Diego). Since the strike erased the scheduled game at San Diego Sept. 27, this is the only time these teams will meet this season, so the Seahawks' situation is clear--win or scramble for a wild card in the playoffs. Charger quarterback Dan Fouts will miss the game due to a sore calf muscle, with Mark Herrmann replacing him. Seahawk quarterback Dave Krieg is slumping again and running back Curt Warner has a sore toe, so the defense may determine the winner--and, no, that doesn't mean Brian Bosworth. He may be only the fourth-best linebacker on the Kingdome carpet, behind teammate Fredd Young and Chargers Chip Banks and Billy Ray Smith. OTHER AFC GAMES Cleveland (6-3) at Houston (6-3), 10 a.m. This is for undisputed first place in the AFC Central and should produce the Astrodome's first sellout in two years. The Browns lead the league in scoring with a 29-point average and in scoring defense, allowing 17.7 points, but the latter mark will be assaulted by the Oilers' hit-and-run offense. The Oilers have won six straight at home but none of those was against an '86 playoff team, unless you count the Rams. Buffalo (4-5) at New York Jets (5-4), 10 a.m Jim Kelly is trying to carry the Bills' offense with consistently strong play, but they miss the inside running of Robb Riddick, who has a broken collarbone. The resurrections of running back Freeman McNeil and nose tackle Joe Klecko and return to form of quarterback Ken O'Brien have the Jets looking respectable again. Indianapolis (5-4) at New England (4-5), 10 a.m. TV: Channel 39 (San Diego). Patriot Coach Raymond Berry says he'll wait until after warmups to designate his starting quarterback--the beat up Steve Grogan or backup Tom Ramsey. It's a critical decision because the running game has gone south early for the winter. The Colts' running production has doubled since they got Eric Dickerson a week after they beat the Patriots in the Hoosier Dome, 30-16, and Gary Hogeboom's passing balances the offense. Pittsburgh (5-4) at Cincinnati (3-6), 10 a.m. The Bengal regulars are 0-3 at home, but they finally returned from the strike and beat lowly Atlanta last week. Steeler quarterback Mark Malone, the NFL's lowest rated passer, was so embarrassingly bad last week that his last friend in the world, Coach Chuck Noll, had to bench him. Backup Bubby Brister was no better, so Malone will go again in the hope that he can repeat last month's 23-20 win over the Bengals, his only good performance. NFC GAMES New York Giants (3-6) at New Orleans (6-3), 1 p.m. The Giants, 0-5 through the strike, are 3-1 since. Injured quarterback Phil Simms should be ready to play, although backup Jeff Rutledge came through big the last two weeks and will start. Lawrence Taylor missed his first practices in seven years because of a hamstring pull. He will probably play but may have to pass up his morning round of golf. After last week's win at San Francisco, the Saints and their fans are thinking about the playoffs. The Superdome sold out in time to lift the local TV blackout. Detroit (2-7) at Chicago (7-2), 10 a.m. The Bears' disarray may be an illusion created by the Broncos' John Elway and Coach Mike Ditka's observation that "we stink" after Monday night's loss at Denver. William Perry and All-Pro end Richard Dent haven't been benched, and Jim McMahon will start despite a sprained ankle and sore right shoulder, although running back Neal Anderson is questionable with a cracked rib. The Lions have been playing with heart but hard luck. Quarterback Chuck Long, saddled with the league's worst ground game, will come gunning, but he's no Elway. St. Louis (3-6) at Philadelphia (4-5), 10 a.m. The Cardinals, having suffered three of their four non-strike losses by five points or less, may be getting tired of hanging tough when nobody cares. They get a break here from small home crowds, but the Eagles should be smoking after losing to the Giants, 20-17, last Sunday on a missed field goal. San Francisco (7-2) at Tampa Bay (4-5), 10 a.m. TV: Channels 2 and 8 (San Diego). The Buccaneers have abandoned their running game because, Coach Ray Perkins says, quarterback Steve DeBerg "is making things happen. We might not run it again all year." That could work, since the 49ers aren't getting many sacks or interceptions. On the other side, Joe Montana will be playing to the Buccaneers' strength, their pass defense. Atlanta (2-7) at Minnesota (5-4), 10 a.m. How low can they go? The crippled Falcons rank last in offense and defense in both yardage and points (non-strike games), but Coach Marion Campbell says, "We can still get some wins." Good luck. In the Vikings' rotating quarterback system, Tommy Kramer starts this week, with Wade Wilson in relief. INTERCONFERENCE GAMES Miami (4-5) at Dallas (5-4), 5 p.m. TV: ESPN. Steve Pelluer will replace erratic Danny White at quarterback for the Cowboys in what is only the second home game for the real team. Although playing at Irving, Tex., normally is no edge for the Cowboys, this will introduce Herschel Walker as the new thrust of the offense after his explosive effort at New England. But it's questionable whether Walker can run fast or far enough to keep up with Dolphin quarterback Dan Marino, who will attack a weak Cowboy pass defense. Green Bay (3-5-1) at Kansas City (1-8), 10 a.m. Rookie quarterback Don Majkowski, a 10th-round draft choice, gets another chance with the Packers because Randy Wright has sprained ligaments in his right ankle. Coach Forrest Gregg was asked who he'd like to try next. "How about Johnny Unitas?" he said. Seriously, folks, Gregg's record is identical to Bart Starr's, 41%, and you know what happened to Starr. Chief Coach Frank Gansz and kicker Nick Lowery had a sideline shouting match last week after Lowery "pooched" a kickoff when Gansz wanted a "squib." The Chiefs lead the league in turnovers with 21. NOTE: All times PST. Statistical references exclude the three strike games.

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