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GAMEDAY / WEEK 4

Capsules

September 24, 2000

ST.LOUIS at ATLANTA 10 a.m.

* The line: St. Louis by 6 1/2

* Key injuries: STL: None. ATL: Wide receiver Tim Dwight (appendicitis, out).

* Key elements: The Rams have scored 30 points or more in an NFL record nine consecutive games. Kurt Warner needs only 97 yards passing to surpass Drew Bledsoe's NFL record of 1,417 yards after four games. The Rams have given up 94 points in their first three games, after giving up only 87 points in their first seven games of 1999.

*--*

THE MATCHUPS STL ATL Points scored 39.7 (1) 21.7 (T13) Points allowed 31.3 (T29) 26.7 (27) Passing Off. 407.0 (1) 203.0 (19) Rushing Off. 105.7 (T11) 83.3 (26) Passing Def. 280.7 (30) 254.0 (26) Rushing Def. 120.7 (25) 101.0 (15) Time of Poss. 31:29 (7) 29:17 (19) Turnover Ratio -1 (T16) -1 (T16) Red Zone TD% 66.7 (T7) 0.0 (30)

*--*

* The pick: St. Louis. To say the Rams will win is no upset. To say the Rams will actually play good defense is a huge upset.

DETROIT at CHICAGO 10 a.m.

* The line: Chicago by 2

* Key injuries: DET: Linebacker Stephan Boyd (back, questionable). CHI: Wide receiver Bobby Engram (torn right ACL, out).

* Key elements: The Lions have lost two in a row and are 4-12 at Soldier Field since 1984. Detroit has been limited to fewer than 100 yards rushing in six consecutive games dating to last season.

*--*

THE MATCHUPS DET CHI Points scored 13.0 (28) 11.3 (29) Points allowed 17.0 (9) 28.3 (28) Passing Off. 190.3 (24) 196.0 (21) Rushing Off. 59.0 (31) 105.7 (T11) Passing Def. 208.3 (T10) 208.3 (T10) Rushing Def. 110.0 (20) 171.3 (31) Time of Poss. 27:57 (24) 26:56 (28) Turnover Ratio 0 (T13) -4 (T24) Red Zone TD% 0.0 (31) 75.0 (2)

*--*

* The pick: Chicago. The Bears held the Giants to 14 points last week. And that's against a team with a discernible running game.

SAN FRANCISCO at DALLAS 10 a.m.

* The line: Dallas by 6 1/2

* Key injuries: SF: Defensive end Junior Bryant (neck, out). DAL: Quarterback Troy Aikman (concussion, questionable); wide receiver Raghib Ismail (hamstring, questionable).

* Key elements: These rivals have met six times for the NFC championship in what was once the NFL's marquee matchup. The 49ers have given up 34 points or more in four consecutive games dating to last season.

*--*

THE MATCHUPS SF DAL Points scored 24.7 (6) 24.0 (T7) Points allowed 38.3(31) 31.3 (T29) Passing Off. 283.3 (4) 187.7 (26) Rushing Off. 97.7 (16) 103.3 (13) Passing Def. 340.7 (31) 204.7 (8) Rushing Def. 111.0 (21) 170.3 (30) Time of Poss. 26:22 (29) 24:41 (31) Turnover Ratio -1 (T16) 0 (T13) Red Zone TD% 72.7 (T3) 71.4 (T5)

*--*

* The pick: Dallas. The recharged Cowboys keep winning. And if Troy Aikman has to give way to Randall Cunningham, all the better.

NEW ENGLAND at MIAMI 10 a.m.

* The line: Miami by 4

* Key injuries: NE: Defensive end Willie McGinest (leg, questionable). MIA: Wide receiver Tony Martin (foot, questionable).

* Key elements: Always a close battle, with five of the last six meetings decided by three points or fewer. The Patriots are 2-9 in their last 11 games at Miami. The Dolphins have limited opponents to 13 points or fewer in three consecutive games.

*--*

THE MATCHUPS NE MIA Points scored 16.0 (23) 16.3 (22) Points allowed 20.7 (20) 6.3 (1) Passing Off. 211.7 (16) 156.3 (30) Rushing Off. 97.0 (17) 112.0 (10) Passing Def. 208.3 (T10) 209.3 (13) Rushing Def. 117.7 (23) 104.7 (18) Time of Poss. 29:06 (20) 30:44 (12) Turnover Ratio +2 (T8) +8 (2) Red Zone TD% 25.0 (T28) 71.4 (T5)

*--*

* The pick: New England. The winless Patriots are desperate, determined and more talented than the Dolphins. Upset in the making.

PHILADELPHIA at NEW ORLEANS 10 a.m.

* The line: New Orleans by 1 1/2

* Key injuries: None.

* Key elements: The Eagles are 2-23-1 in their last 26 road games dating to 1997. Eagle running back Duce Staley has accounted for 54.4% of the club's total offense (453 of 833 yards). Saint wide receiver Joe Horn leads the NFC with 24 receptions (for 242 yards). The last Saint receiver to lead the NFC in catches was Danny Abramowicz with 73 in 1969.

*--*

THE MATCHUPS PHI NO Points scored 20.7 (16) 16.0 (T23) Points allowed 17.7 (10) 20.3 (19) Passing Off. 154.0 (31) 195.7 (22) Rushing Off. 149.0 (4) 95.3(18) Passing Def. 181.3 (3) 143.3 (1) Rushing Def. 104.3 (17) 98.7 (13) Time of Poss. 29:28 (18) 30:10 (14) Turnover Ratio +2 (T8) -1 (T16) Red Zone TD% 54.5 (14) 33.3 (T22)

*--*

* The pick: New Orleans. Duce Staley is looking for a place to break out. This isn't it. Donovan McNabb's troubles continue.

TENNESSEE at PITTSBURGH 10 a.m.

* The line: Tennessee by 7

* Key injuries: TEN: Quarterback Steve McNair (chest, questionable); wide receiver Kevin Dyson (knee, out); wide receiver Yancey Thigpen (hamstring, questionable). PIT: None.

* Key elements: Within the AFC Central, Pittsburgh has lost eight in a row. Tennessee has won 15 of its last 16 in the division. Titan quarterback Steve McNair is 5-1 against the Steelers.

*--*

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