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Pro Football Week 4

Tonight's Game

September 28, 1998|The Sporting News

TAMPA BAY (1-2) AT DETROIT (0-3)

* Kickoff: 5:15 p.m.

* TV: Channel 7

* Story line: Nobody left the Buccaneers for dead when they started the season 0-2, but it certainly didn't help their chances to chase down the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings for the division title. Now that the offense is finally rolling, the Buccaneers have a chance to get back in it. After the Lions, they have winnable games against the New York Giants, Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints before facing the Minnesota Vikings again. Hope Bobby Ross enjoyed his honeymoon in Detroit. Stopping the run will be critical for both defenses. If the Buccaneers can contain Barry Sanders--as they did in two victories against the Lions last season--they can put more pressure on rookie quarterback Charlie Batch, making his second start after replacing the demoted Scott Mitchell. Sanders, however, has rushed for more yards (1,998 in 344 carries) against the Buccaneers than against any other opponent. The Lion defense has been tough against the run and will need to be against Mike Alstott and Warrick Dunn, who helped the Buccaneers to 192 yards rushing in the second half of last week's victory over the Chicago Bears. Buccaneer quarterback Trent Dilfer is the only NFC starter who hasn't thrown an interception.

* The Line: Tampa Bay by 2

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