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NFL INSIDER

Week 10 at a Glance

November 07, 1998|DAN POMPEI, The Sportings News

Atlanta Falcons (6-2) at New England Patriots (5-3), 10 a.m.

The Falcons have won 12 of the last 14 games that Chris Chandler has started and finished, but they really haven't beaten many good teams. This is an opportunity for the Falcons to dispel the notion that all they are is a team that beats up on the downtrodden. The Falcons would love to win this game and go into next week's game against the 49ers tied for first place in the NFC West. The Patriots also need to win to keep pace in the AFC East. Watch for Drew Bledsoe to try to shred the Falcons' secondary.

Edge: Patriots.

Buffalo Bills (5-3) at New York Jets (5-3), 10 a.m.

The Bills are one of the hottest teams in the NFL, having won five in a row. But the Jets also are on a streak of three consecutive impressive wins. The quarterbacks behind the winning streaks are a pair of afterthoughts--Doug Flutie, who practically had to beg his way into the league, and Vinny Testaverde, who was cut by the Baltimore Ravens and started the year as Glenn Foley's backup. The Jets have lost six straight to the Bills, but they are undefeated in the AFC East this year.

Edge: Jets.

Cincinnati Bengals (2-6) at Jacksonville Jaguars (6-2), 10 a.m.

Upon finally returning home after four three straight on the road, the Jaguars could unload on the Bengals, who bring a 1-3 road record into this game. The Jaguars' passing offense won't be the same if injured receiver Keenan McCardell can't play, so more of the burden could fall to running back Fred Taylor. He shouldn't mind, considering the Bengals rank 30th in the league in run defense.

Edge: Jaguars.

Detroit Lions (2-6) at Philadelphia Eagles (1-7), 10 a.m.

We know the Eagles are bad, but the Lions are baffling. Just when we think they might sneak back into playoff contention, they lose a winnable game against the Arizona Cardinals at home. And now they take to the road, where they have yet to win. Is Charlie Batch's confidence shot after throwing three interceptions in the first half against the Cardinals? The Eagles also have their problems at quarterback, where ineffective Bobby Hoying must play with Rodney Peete sidelined.

Edge: Lions.

Indianapolis Colts (1-7) at Miami Dolphins (5-3), 10 a.m.

After tough games against the Patriots and Bills, the Dolphins could use a breather. The Dolphins have been an excellent home team, as their sterling defense has been its best in South Florida. Look for John Avery to have his coming out party against the Colts' defense. The Colts offense has improved since the Dolphins last saw the Colts on opening day, but not enough to make a difference in this one.

Edge: Dolphins.

New Orleans Saints (4-4) at Minnesota Vikings (7-1), 10 a.m.

Both of these teams are dealing with quarterback controversies. The Vikings have to decide if they should stick with red-hot Randall Cunningham or go back to Brad Johnson. And the Saints have to figure out if Kerry Collins deserves a chance at the expense of Billy Joe Tolliver. Perhaps this game will help clear things up. If the Saints couldn't beat the Panthers, arguably the worst team in the NFC, how can they beat the Vikings, arguably the best team in the NFC?

Edge: Vikings.

New York Giants (3-5) at Dallas Cowboys (5-3), 10 a.m.

Once upon a time, this looked like it would be a good game. No longer. The Giants already lost big to the Cowboys earlier this season, and that game was at Giants Stadium. The Cowboys clearly are the class of the NFC East, especially now with Troy Aikman and Leon Lett healthy and effective. The Giants can take solace in one fact: It isn't a Monday night game, so Deion Sanders might not be wearing his Superman outfit.

Edge: Cowboys.

Oakland Raiders (6-2) at Baltimore Ravens (2-6), 10 a.m.

If the Ravens don't do better than they did in last week's 45-19 loss to Jacksonville, this could be Ted Marchibroda's final curtain. But what happened in the loss to the Jaguars was mostly the result of some fluky turnovers. That shouldn't happen again. The Ravens are a desperate (read: dangerous) team. If Jeff George is able to return, it will have an impact. What kind of impact, we're not sure.

Edge: Ravens.

St. Louis Rams (2-6) at Chicago Bears (3-5), 10 a.m.

The Rams are reeling from three consecutive losses and too many injuries to mention. Unfortunately for the Rams, Tony Banks is not among the injured. This game would look a lot more like a lock for the Bears if Erik Kramer were healthy. Turnovers will play a big part in this one, as the Bears have more giveaways than any team in the league and the Rams the third most.

Edge: Bears.

Carolina Panthers (1-7) at San Francisco 49ers (6-2), 1 p.m.

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