NFL game capsules - Week 8
Rams (4-2) at Steelers (2-4)
Sunday, 1 p.m.
Line : Steelers by 1 1/2
Series record : Rams lead, 14-6-2.
Last meeting : Steelers beat Rams, 42-6, on Nov. 3, 1996, at Pittsburgh.
Last week : Rams beat Packers, 34-24. Steelers had bye, lost to Broncos, 17-14, in Week 6.
Rams rankings: Offense -- Overall (2), Rush (21), Pass (1); Defense -- Overall (8), Rush (12), Pass (11t)
Steelers rankings: Offense -- Overall (18), Rush (28), Pass (8); Defense -- Overall (2), Rush (8), Pass (2)
Key matchup : Rams WR Torry Holt vs. Steelers CBs Chad Scott and DeWayne Washington. Holt is one of NFL's most dangerous receivers. He leads league with 45 receptions and seven TD catches. He ranks third with 604 yards receiving. Scott has two INTs on season. Both Scott and Washington are veteran DBs and will have their hands full with Holt.
Streaks, stats and notes : Rams last won in Pittsburgh in 1971. ... Steelers playing their 1,000th game. Team began as Pirates in 1933 and were called "Steagles" when merged with Philadelphia Eagles during World War II. Six other NFL teams have played 1,000 games (Cardinals, Bears, Lions, Packers, Giants and Redskins). ... Steelers RB Jerome Bettis played three years with Rams (1993-95) and rushed for 3,091 yards. In only game against former team, he rushed for 129 yards and two TDs. ... Rematch of 1980 Super Bowl, where Steelers beat Rams 31-19 to win fourth title.
Jerry DiPaola says : Steelers, minus-1 1/2
Cowboys (5-1) at Buccaneers (3-3)
Sunday, 1 p.m.
Line : Bucs by 61/2
Series record : Cowboys lead, 8-2.
Last meeting : Buccaneers beat Cowboys, 10-6, on Sept. 9, 2001, at Dallas.
Last week : Cowboys beat Lions, 38-7. Buccaneers lost to 49ers, 24-7.
Cowboys rankings: Offense -- Overall (4), Rush (8), Pass (10); Defense -- Overall (1), Rush (2), Pass (5)
Buccaneers rankings: Offense -- Overall (3), Rush (20), Pass (2); Defense -- Overall (11), Rush (17), Pass (9)
Key matchup : Cowboys WR Terry Glenn vs. Buccaneers' injured secondary. Glenn had three TD catches in last week's win and leads Cowboys with 23 receptions. He averages 14.5 yards per catch. Bucs CB Brian Kelly was placed on injured reserve and SS John Lynch has shoulder and neck injuries. His backup, John Howell, suffered concussion last week. Indianapolis exploited backup CB Tim Wansley in Week 5, and Cowboys could do same Sunday against Bucs' patchwork secondary.
Streaks, stats and notes : Game marks fifth time Cowboys and Bucs have played since 1983. ... Bucs QB Brad Johnson is tied for NFL lead with 13 TDs passing. His QB rating of 94.3 and 1,596 yards passing rank second in NFC. ... Glenn's teams are 14-2 when he has 100 yards receiving or more. ... Bucs DE Simeon Rice is tied for NFL lead with eight sacks. He has 37.5 sacks in past 32 games, including playoffs.
Jerry DiPaola says : Buccaneers, minus-6 1/2
NY Giants (2-4) at Vikings (6-0)
Sunday, 1 p.m.
Line : Vikings by 5 1/2
Series record : Vikings lead, 10-8.
Last meeting : Giants beat Vikings, 27-20, on Nov. 10, 2002, at Minnesota.
Last week : Giants lost to Eagles, 14-10. Vikings beat Broncos, 28-20.
Giants rankings: Offense -- Overall (6), Rush (16), Pass (5); Defense -- Overall (13), Rush (13), Pass (16)
Vikings rankings: Offense -- Overall (1), Rush (7), Pass (6); Defense -- Overall (20), Rush (11), Pass (21)
Key matchup : Giants CBs Will Allen and Ralph Brown vs. Vikings WR Randy Moss. Regular CB William Peterson is out with back injury. Brown, who has only four career starts in four seasons, and Allen have to contain Moss. Moss leads NFL with 666 yards receiving and is tied for second with six TDs. Moss has three 150-yard games in 2003 and 11 for career. Vikings are 11-0 in those games. In last three games against Giants, Moss had 300 yards receiving and averaged 18.8 yards per catch.
Streaks, stats and notes : Vikings lead NFL with 6.3-yard average per offensive play. ... Giants QB Kerry Collins needs 220 yards passing to reach 25,000. ... In past three games against Vikings, Giants RB Tiki Barber averaged 5.7 yards per carry. He needs 106 all-purpose yards to pass Frank Gifford (9,862) for most in club history. ... Vikings lead NFL with 16 INTs and plus-13 turnover differential. Giants have second-worst differential, minus-8.
Jerry DiPaola says : Vikings, minus-5 1/2
Bills (4-3) at Chiefs (7-0)
Sunday , 8:30 p.m.
Line : Chiefs by 61/2
Series record : Bills lead, 20-16-1.
Last meeting : Chiefs beat Bills, 17-16, on Nov. 17, 2002, at Kansas City.
Last week : Bills beat Redskins, 24-7. Chiefs beat Raiders, 17-10.
Bills rankings: Offense -- Overall (25), Rush (30), Pass (18); Defense -- Overall (3), Rush (16), Pass (3)
Chiefs rankings: Offense -- Overall (11), Rush (9), Pass (15); Defense -- Overall (27), Rush (24), Pass (25)
Key matchup : Bills LB Takeo Spikes vs. Chiefs RB Priest Holmes. Holmes leads league with nine TDs rushing and is third with 687 yards rushing. He leads Chiefs with 31 receptions and is third on roster with 307 yards receiving. Spikes was Buffalo's big free-agent acquisition in offseason. Spikes and Buffalo defense need to contain Holmes to give inconsistent offense a chance to keep up with high-scoring Chiefs.
Streaks, stats and notes : Holmes and Bills RB Travis Henry are tied for second in NFL with nine TDs each. ... Bills have not run well, averaging only 77.3 yards per game. To compensate, Bills pass a lot. QB Drew Bledsoe is second in AFC in completions (135), attempts (222), and yards (1,595). ... Chiefs are off to best start in franchise history. ... Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil is 3-0 against Bills. ... Chiefs TE Tony Gonzalez became team's all-time receptions leader last week (417). ... Chiefs lead NFL with 20 takeaways and top AFC with plus-11 turnover differential. Bills have minus-2 differential.
Jerry DiPaola says : Bills, plus-6 1/2
Broncos (5-2) at Ravens (3-3)
Sunday , 1 p.m.
Line : Ravens by 1 1/2
Series record : Ravens lead 3-1.
Last meeting : Ravens beat Broncos, 34-23, on Sept. 30, 2002, at Baltimore.
Last week : Broncos lost to Vikings, 28-20. Ravens lost to Bengals, 34-26.
Broncos rankings: Offense -- Overall (12), Rush (3), Pass (21); Defense -- Overall (4), Rush (9), Pass (6)
Ravens rankings: Offense -- Overall (20), Rush (1), Pass (31); Defense -- Overall (9), Rush (10), Pass (17)
Key matchup : Broncos RB Clinton Portis vs. Ravens RB Jamal Lewis. With inexperienced QBs at the helm, both teams are dependent on running game for offensive success. Lewis leads NFL with 843 yards rushing. Broncos have No. 3 running game in league. Portis and Lewis have nine 100-yard games between them in 12 appearances this season. QB Danny Kanell, who hasn't started since Nov. 12, 2000, will play for Denver with Jake Plummer and Steve Beuerlein hurt. Ravens rookie QB Kyle Boller has one of NFL's worst passer ratings at 58.7 and may not start (shoulder). Third-year pro Chris Redman is next in line.
Streaks, stats and notes : Portis has 18 TDs rushing in past 16 games. ... Ravens CB Chris Mcalister set NFL record with 107-yard TD return of missed FG in last game against Broncos, longest play in NFL history. ... Both teams have minus-3 turnover differentials. ... Rookie LB Terrell Suggs leads Ravens with four sacks. ... Broncos K Jason Elam is tied for NFL lead with 64 points. He's made 19-of-19 PATs and 15-of-16 FGs.
Jerry DiPaola says : Ravens, minus-1 1/2
Lions (1-5) at Bears (1-5)
Sunday , 1 p.m.
Line : Bears by 3
Series record : Bears lead, 82-59-5.
Last meeting : Bears beat Lions, 20-17 in OT, on Nov. 24, 2002, at Chicago.
Last week : Lions lost to Cowboys, 38-7. Bears lost to Seahawks, 24-17.
Streaks, stats and notes : Bears need win to become first NFL team with 650 victories. ... Lions have lost only one fumble in 2003, lowest total in NFL. ... Detroit's offensive line has surrendered only five sacks in 2003, third fewest in NFL. ... Lions' special teams allow only 4.5 yards per punt return, second best in NFL. Lions have punted 39 times in six games, tied for most per game. ... Bears K Paul Edinger is perfect this season, 6-for-6 on PATs and 13-for-13 on FGs. ... Lions have minus-3 turnover differential. Bears are minus-7, third worst in league.
Jerry DiPaola says : Lions, plus-3
Seahawks (5-1) at Bengals (2-4)
Sunday , 1 p.m.
Line : Seahawks by 2
Series record : Tied, 8-8.
Last meeting : Seahawks beat Bengals, 37-20, on Nov. 7, 1999, at Seattle.
Last week : Seahawks beat Bears, 24-17. Bengals beat Ravens, 34-26.
Streaks, stats and notes : With win, Seahawks would be 6-1 for first time in franchise history. ... Seahawks rank third in NFL with plus-10 turnover differential. Bengals are minus-1. ... Seahawks are second in league with 46.6 percent third-down conversion rate. ... Bengals QB Jon Kitna was with Seahawks from 1996-2000 and led club to division title in 1999. ... Seahawks are 9-2 when Alexander rushes for more than 100 yards.
Jerry DiPaola says : Bengals, plus-2
Titans (5-2) at Jaguars (1-5)
Sunday , 1 p.m.
Line : Titans by 3 1/2
Series record : Titans lead, 10-7.
Last meeting : Titans beat Jaguars, 28-10, on Dec. 22, 2002, at Jacksonville.
Last week : Titans beat Panthers, 37-17. Jaguars had bye, lost to Dolphins, 24-10 in Week 6.
Streaks, stats and notes : Titans coach Jeff Fisher (DB, 1977-80) and Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio (LB, 1981-84) were both college standouts at Southern Cal. ... Titans have plus-5 turnover differential. Jaguars are minus-2. ... Titans WR Derrick Mason is tied for AFC lead with 41 receptions and second in conference with 563 yards receiving. ... Jaguars rookie QB Byron Leftwich, No. 7 pick in last draft, ranks third in NFL, averaging 7.96 yards per pass attempt.
Jerry DiPaola says : Titans, minus-3 1/2
Browns (3-4) at Patriots (5-2)
Sunday , 1 p.m.
Line : Patriots by 6
Series record : Browns lead, 12-6.
Last meeting : Patriots beat Browns, 27-16, on Dec. 9, 2001, at New England.
Last week : Browns lost to Chargers, 26-20. Patriots beat Dolphins, 19-13 in OT.
Streaks, stats and notes : Patriots coach Bill Belichick coached Browns (1991-95) and guided 1994 team to 11-5 record and playoff win over Patriots. ... Patriots have won 15 of last 20 games at home. ... Patriots are one of four AFC clubs not to allow 100-yard rusher in 2003 and have scored four defensive TDs. Browns RB William Green has two 100-yard games this season, and Browns are 4-0 in his career when he breaks 100.
Jerry DiPaola says : Patriots, minus-6
Panthers (5-1) at Saints (3-4)
Sunday , 1 p.m.
Line : Saints by 2
Series record : Saints lead, 9-8.
Last meeting : Panthers beat Saints, 19-13, on Oct. 5, at Carolina.
Last week : Panthers lost to Titans, 37-17. Saints beat Falcons, 45-17.
Streaks, stats and notes : Saints are 15-2 when WR Joe Horn has 100-yard receiving game. He needs 100 yards to tie Eric Martin for most 100-yard games with Saints. Horn leads NFL with 17 third-down receptions. ... Panthers K John Kasay is perfect this season, making all eight PATs and 14 of 14 FGs, including two in OT. ... Panthers' special teams lead NFL in average drive start after kickoffs (33.4-yard line). Their opponents' average drive start after kickoffs is 24.8-yard line, second best in NFL.
Jerry DiPaola says : Saints, minus-2
49ers (3-4) at Cardinals (1-5)
Sunday , 4:05 p.m.
Line : 49ers by 6 1/2
Series record : 49ers lead, 14-9.
Last meeting : 49ers beat Cardinals, 17-14, on Dec. 21, 2002, at Arizona.
Last week : 49ers beat Buccaneers, 24-7. Cardinals had bye, lost to Ravens, 26-18, in Week 6.
Streaks, stats and notes : Cardinals have NFL's worst turnover differential at minus-14 on league-high 18 giveaways and league-low four takeaways. 49ers are plus-7. ... Cardinals rookie WR Anquan Boldin leads NFL with 270 yards receiving on third down. ... 49ers WR Terrell Owens is third in NFC with 40 receptions. ... 49ers CB Ahmed Plummer is third in league with four INTs. ... Cardinals LB Ronald McKinnon has started 69 of club's past 70 games.
Jerry DiPaola says : 49ers, minus-6 1/2
Texans (2-4) at Colts (5-1)
Sunday , 4:15 p.m.
Line : Colts by 13
Series record : Colts lead, 2-0.
Last meeting : Colts beat Texans, 19-3, on Dec. 1, 2002, at Indianapolis.
Last week : Texans lost to Jets, 19-14. Colts had bye, lost to Panthers, 23-20, in OT in Week 6.
Streaks, stats and notes : Game features two QBs drafted No. 1 overall, Colts' Peyton Manning (1998) and Texans' David Carr (2002). ... Texans play third straight game against playoff team from last year. They lost to Titans in Week 6 and Jets last week. ... Texans rookie RB Domanick Davis recorded team's first 100-yard rushing game (129) last week and had team-record 199 yards from scrimmage.
Jerry DiPaola says : Colts, minus-13
NY Jets(2-4) at Eagles (3-3)
Sunday , 4:15 p.m.
Line : Eagles by 3 1/2
Series record : Eagles lead, 6-0.
Last meeting : Eagles beat Jets, 21-20, on Dec. 14, 1996, at Jets.
Last week : Jets beat Texans, 19-14. Eagles beat Giants, 14-10.
Streaks, stats and notes : McNabb has worst passer rating (51.1) of any regular starter in NFL. ... Jets lead NFL with plus-15 sack differential (21 sacks, 6 allowed). ... Eagles are only team Jets have never beaten after defeating Texans last week. ... Jets last played in Philadelphia in 1978, losing 17-9. Current Jets coach Herman Edwards started at CB for Eagles in that game. He played nine seasons there and is Eagles all-time INT leader with 38 (including playoffs).
Jerry DiPaola says : Eagles, minus-3 1/2
Dolphins (4-2) at Chargers (1-5)
Monday , 9 p.m.
Line: Dolphins by 3 1/2
Series record : Chargers lead, 12-11.
Last meeting : Dolphins beat Chargers, 30-3, on Nov. 24, 2002, at Miami.
Last week : Dolphins lost to Patriots, 19-13 in OT. Chargers beat Browns, 26-20.
Streaks, stats and notes : Dolphins have 37 wins on Monday Night Football, most in NFL, and are making league-leading 68th appearance. Chargers are playing on Monday for first time since 1996. ... Dolphins RB Ricky Williams leads NFL with 26.8 carries per game. ... Dolphins CB Patrick Surtain is tied for AFC lead with four INTs.
Jerry DiPaola says : Dolphins, minus-3 1/2