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GAMEDAY / WEEK 3

Capsules

September 17, 2000|STEVE SPRINGER and ROY JURGENS

PITTSBURGH at CLEVELAND 10 a.m.

* The line: Pittsburgh by 2

* Key injuries: PIT--Linebacker Levon Kirkland (ankle, questionable); running back Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala (hamstring, questionable). CLE--Wide receiver JaJuan Dawson (clavicle, out).

* Key elements: The Cleveland defense is tied with Tampa Bay with an NFL-high 11 sacks (compared to one sack in its first two games of 1999). After starting the 1998 campaign at 7-4, Pittsburgh is a woefull 6-16 in its last 22 games.

*--*

THE MATCHUPS PIT CLE Points scored 0.0 (31) 15.5 (23) Points allowed 16.0 (T6) 17.0 (T8) Passing Off. 199.0 (20) 209.5 (18) Rushing Off. 30.0 (31) 100.5 (15) Passing Def. 199.0 (9) 275.5 (26) Rushing Def. 140.0 (28) 115.0 (21) Time of Poss. 24:53 (28) 28:27 (22) Turnover Ratio -1 (T14) +1 (T10) Red Zone Off. 0.0 (29) 66.7 (T5)

*--*

The pick: Pittsburgh. The Steelers will have to take their wins where they find them. And they may not find a better opportunity than this one.

TAMPA BAY at DETROIT 10 a.m.

* The line: Tampa Bay by 3

* Key injuries: TB--Safety John Lynch (thigh, probable). DET--Linebacker Stephen Boyd (back, questionable).

* Key elements: Forget about a fourth-quarter comeback against the Bucs, as they are 26-2 under Coach Tony Dungy when leading after three quarters. The stingy Tampa Bay defense has given up only two offensive touchdowns in its last five games. The Lions have won six of the last seven meetings at the Silverdome vs. Bucs.

*--*

THE MATCHUPS TB DET Points scored 31.0 (4) 14.5 (27) Points allowed 8.0 (2) 10.0 (3) Passing Off. 176.5 (26) 147.0 (31) Rushing Off. 148.0 (5) 80.0 (24) Passing Def. 156.0 (12) 207.0 (10) Rushing Def. 102.0 (16) 105.0 (19) Time of Poss. 32:36 (7) 29:57 (18) Turnover Ratio +4 (T4) +3 (T6) Red Zone Off. 83.3 (2) 0.0 (31)

*--*

The pick: Tampa Bay. The Lions have not scored an offensive touchdown. This is not the week to end that slump.

PHILADELPHIA at GREEN BAY 10 a.m.

* The line: Green Bay by 4 1/2

* Key injuries: GB--Wide receiver Corey Bradford (leg, out); cornerback Mike McKenzie (knee, out) .

* Key elements: Eagle Coach Andy Reid knows the Packers well; he was a Green Bay assistant coach from 1992-98. Duce Staley is tied with the Rams' Marshall Faulk for the NFC lead with 331 scrimmage yards.

*--*

THE MATCHUPS PHI GB Points scored 29.5 (5) 17.0 (20) Points allowed 23.5 (T20) 23.5 (T20) Passing Off. 172.0 (27) 210.5 (17) Rushing Off. 181.0 (2) 51.0 (30) Passing Def. 177.5 (4) 260.0 (T20) Rushing Def. 117.0 (22) 103.5 (17) Time of Poss. 30:22 (16) 24:23 (30) Turnover Ratio -1 (T14) -3 (T24) Red Zone Off. 54.6 (14) 50.0 (15)

*--*

The pick: Green Bay. He may have an aching elbow, but he's still Brett Favre. They may look like an improved club, but let's not get carried away. They are still the Eagles.

SAN FRANCISCO at ST. LOUIS 10 a.m.

* The line: St. Louis by 16 1/2

* Key injuries: STL--Defensive tackle D'Marco Farr (knee, out).

* Key elements: St. Louis has set an NFL record by scoring 30 or more points in eight consecutive games. The Rams have won each of their last four games with a score in final minutes of the fourth quarter.

*--*

THE MATCHUPS SF STL Points scored 25.0 (T10) 39.0 (T1) Points allowed 37.0 (31) 35.0 (28) Passing Off. 280.0 (6) 413.5 (1) Rushing Off. 91.0 (17) 88.5 (19) Passing Def. 314.0 (31) 276.0 (27) Rushing Def. 96.5 (12) 125.5 (25) Time of Poss. 26:07 (26) 30:40 (14) Turnover Ratio -1 (T14) -1 (T14) Red Zone Off. 77.8 (3) 66.7 (T5)

*--*

The pick: St. Louis. Once upon a time, this rivalry was a joke. It still is, but now the laugh is on the 49ers. They've given up 74 points in two games. That sound is Kurt Warner licking his chops.

BUFFALO at NEW YORK JETS 10 a.m.

* The line: New York by 1

* Key injuries: None.

* Key elements: The Bills are looking to go 3-0 for the first time since the 1992 Super Bowl XXVII season. In his last six starts, Bill quarterback Rob Johnson is a red hot 6-0 with a 121.3 passer rating (10 touchdowns, one interception). The Jets are aiming for their third consecutive home victory vs. Buffalo for the first time since they took three in a row from 1984-86.

*--*

THE MATCHUPS BUF NYJ Points scored 21.5 (T15) 20.0 (17) Points allowed 15.5 (5) 17.5 (11) Passing Off. 216.5 (15) 271.0 (9) Rushing Off. 109.0 (13) 88.5 (18) Passing Def. 210.5 (13) 190.5 (8) Rushing Def. 46.5 (2) 81.0 (6) Time of Poss. 33:11 (5) 29:56 (19) Turnover Ratio +3 (T6) E (12) Red Zone Off. 50.0 (T15) 57.1 (T10)

*--*

The pick: Buffalo. You think the Jets' Vinny Testaverde looked shaky last week until the fourth quarter? Wait until you see him against the conference's best defense.

ATLANTA at CAROLINA 10 a.m.

* The line: Carolina by 6

* Key injuries: None.

* Key elements: The Falcons and Panthers never lack for offense, as they have combined for 183 points in their last three games (61 per game). In the series history, the Falcons have scored 209 points, the Panthers 208, each team winning five games. Carolina has scored 31 or more points in nine of its last 15 contests.

*--*

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