The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 5, 1997 · Page 39
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 39

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Sunday, October 5, 1997
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THE SALINA JOURNAL PRO FOOTBALL SUNDAY, OCTOBER 5, 1997 07. NFL MATCHUPS: WEEK 6 . Pittsburgh (3-2) at Baltimore (34), neon • Baltimore finally returns home after three consecutive road games, but rickety, decrepit Memorial Stadium Is nothing to look forward to. The Ravens' offense presents a lot of problems for the Steelers, who appear t6 have fedis- -.> -covered their Blitzburgh defense. Former Steeler Bam Morris, who had 81 t! yards on 17 carries in first game back last week, had 100 yards against his ;r ,ex-teammates last year. Did you know that, In 1996, the home team In this thei Daw° n pou 'd? SamS SC ° re ' 31 " 17? By ^ W&<f< Whatev6f ha PP ened td P ' • - . . Prediction: Steelers, 23-50 '.'.;* Taripa Bay (5-0) at Green Bay (fr2). noon 1,, .This Is Tampa Bay's chance to lay claim to the NFC Central. A victory r...,Yj?ould not only give the Bucs their best start In club history, It would knock Green Bay three back in the division race. But the Packers have won 18 In ,a row and 27 of the past 28 games at Lambeau Held. Last year, the Bucs '} C e , o Packer s to «helr lowest point of the season In 13^7 loss at Lambeau - Field. Still, no NFC Central team has won at the frozen tundra since the Bears In 1992. The Packers aren't about to abdicate the division throne until they are good and ready. ;".',. Prediction: Packers, 28-17 £".' Kansas City (4-1) at Miami (2-2). noon '^ 'Kansas City Is making Its fourth consecutive appearance in Miami, which aln t so bad if It's mid-November In the Midwest. That, of course, is a whole ;• lot better than making four consecutive trips to rural Kansas City. The Dol• '• phins, who didn't play last week, are 7*1 after a, bye week, which means they are using the extra time to do something more than jet ski on the Inter- "•;cbastal. The Chiefs aren't as good as they have looked, and they didn't look •f. -loo good In last week's overtime victory against Seattle. i> Prediction: Dolphins, 24-21 Detroit (3-2) at Buffalo (2-2). noon Now, if you were a betting man, who would you wager to become the first back to have 1,000 rushing yards In nine consecutive seasons — Barry PI Sanders or Thurman Thomas? Well, these former Oklahoma State teammates are each at eight and counting, Sanders, though, appears to be the -favorite. Heck, Thomas Isn't even the leading rusher on his team anymore. Can anyone figure Detroit? The Lions are coming off a 26-15 victory against the Packers, which comes one week after their sterling performance In a 35- V.17 loss to the Saints. Prediction: Bills, 17-16 Cincinnati (1-3) at Jacksonville (3-1). noon . Cincinnati quarterback Jeff Blake has defeated Jacksonville three, of four times, but he is not catching them at a good time. Not after the Jaguars lost . for the first time this season, 24-12, at Washington. The Jaguars' offense (< .'consisted of four field goals by Mike Hollls and little else against the Red•'skins. The Bengals have gotten off to a surprisingly poor start, considering '" their finish last season with new coach Bruce Coslet. Don't expect the Jaguars to sputter on offense against the Bengals, who have allowed,division-high 113 points. Prediction: Jaguars, 30-24 Dallas (3-1) at New York Giants (3-2), noon , Oh, how those Cowboys love October. They are 18-2 the past five years, 9-2 on the road, when the leaves turn brown. Some of that has been complied against the Giants, who have lost eight of the past 10 meetings with the Cowboys. Troy Alkman has been near flawless, throwing seven TDs and just one interception. Giants QB Dave Brown, meantime, has been near moronic. Wins one game and starts taking shots at Mike Ditka. Hey, Dave, Dit-. ka wll be around a lot longer than you, whether on the field or In the TV booth. Prediction: Cowboys, 17-12 Washington (3-1) at Baltimore (1-3). noon This isri't about Ty Detmer losing his cool and screaming.at a running back — a star running back — because he dropped a.pass. This is about Ricky Walters short-arming a pass over the middle and ducking when he knew he .was going to get hit. This Is the same Ricky Walters who admitted doing the same thing several years ago when he first arrived in Philly. Is it me, or is .tbere a pattern here? The Eagles might be the besl 1-3 leam in the NFL And ttiey will prove il to the Redskins, who have lost eight of the past nine to Philly. Prediction: Eagles, 23-13 • San Diego (2-3) at Oakland (2-3), 3 p.m. 0 -Could be Ihe NFL's 10,000th game. Depends on which of the four 4 p.m. 'games gets started the quickest. Entering the weekend, 9,992 games have Jeen contested In NFL history. The seven early games bring the tolal to . ! 9',999. (I know, I can't wait, either.) Here's an oddity: The visiting leam has vfon seven of the past nine meetings, Including last year when Chargers es- -"c'aped with 40-34 victory. That was the same game in which Raiders had a club-record 553 yards total offense. Don't expect a recurrence this year. At feast, not with the outcome. Prediction: Raiders, 31-23 Minnesota (3-2) at Arizona (1-3), 3 p.m. OK, so maybe Arizona Is the best 1-3 team in the NFL. The Cardinals have been involved in two overtime games, lost to the Bengals on a TD pass with 41 seconds remaining and lost last week, 19-18, al Tampa Bay, which Is only the hottest team In the NFL. Speaking of hot, it will be that in Sun Devil Stadium. But the Vikings' offense also is hot with RB Robert Smith, WR Jake Reed and QB Brad Johnson. They are ranked No. 1 in the NFL. But the Cardinals held Tampa Bay to 44 yards rushing, 157 yards overall, Prediction: Cardinals, 17-14 t '• Tennessee (1-3) at Seattle (2-3), 3 p.m. , After an 0-2 start, Seattle Is Just an overtime kick away from being 3-0 in , .the past Ihree games. The Seahawks took the Chiefs lasf week to an extra v: period — in Kansas City, no less — before falling. They've also gotten four interceptions In the past two games from safety Darryl Williams. In case you've forgotten, the Oilers lost here last year when Seahawks DE Michael McCrary blocked a field goal and lateraled Ihe ball to safety Robert Black- rhon, who ran 61 yards for the winning TD with :04 left. The Oilers haven't, Prediction: Seahawks, 31 -19 New York Jets (3-2) at Indianapolis (0-4), 3 p.m. The Jets are coming off back-to-back wins for the first time since the 1994 season, which, after one month of the season, ought to qualify Bill Parcells for immediate canonization by the New York media. Indianapolis, meantime, had a week off to contemplate its woes. The Colts spent the first three weeks . trying to produce a touchdown. They spent Week 4 trying to prevent them In , 'the final quarter against Buffalo. The sum and substance of their travails is ..that they hope their five-game winning streak against the Jets extends to six. The Upset Special. Prediction: Colts, 30-28 New Orleans (1-4) at Chicago (0-5), 7 p.m. There is only one reason for watching this game. And It's the only reason Jt's on prime-time TV. Mike Ditka, the most popular sports figure. In Chicago outside of Michael Jordan, makes his regular-season return to the city where ,.h,e became a coaching Icon. Never mind that he already did this In the pre' season. This one is for keeps, if such a thing matters between teams with a .combined one victory. The good news is, after the pregame Introductions 'and hoopla, there might not be much reason to keep watching. Prediction: Bears, 14*13 ^ New England (4-0) at Denver (5-0), Monday night -this could have been last year's AFC championship game. At least, that's what a lot of people expected until Jacksonville came along and ruined Denver's season. That paved the way for New England to make it to the Super Bowl... and the Broncos still haven't forgotten. That was supposed to be them getting waxed by the Packers in Super Bowl XXXI, not the Patriots. And they're Intent of proving it to the Patriots, who have the league's highest scoring average. Prediction: Broncos, 91-30 •By Scrlpps Howard News Service- CHIEFS-DOLPHINS Johnson's honeymoon over Miami fans expected head coach to produce contender quicker By THOMAS GEORGE The New York Times His team had just been kicked by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jimmy Johnson was standing now in the middle of the Miami locker room. This was his question to his Dolphins: "How are you going to respond?" Good question for the Dolphins. Good question for Johnson. The Dolphins have not played since that Sunday night two weeks ago when they ran into'a hurricane in Houlihan's Stadium against the rejuvenated Buccaneers and lost; 31- JOHNSON tlSSff"* against the Kansas City Chiefs (4-1) and for the Dolphins and for Johnson, average just will not do anymore. Both will either rise above that level or fall below it. Miami is 2-2 this season. Johnson is 10-10 in Miami. And so far, that has been the case with Johnson's tenure in Miami. Just average. An 8-8 record last year and now 2-2. This is not the JimmY Johnson we know. Sure, it takes time. He went 1-15 in his first season in Dallas before eventually winning two Super Bowls there. But Miami and its fans expected so much more. Quickly. The quarterback, Dan Marino, was already in place. So were a few other key pieces. And Johnson was given total authority on and off the field to whip this team into shape, into his image. Dolphins fans in Florida and elsewhere are getting a tad restless. They see the once-inept Tampa Bay soaring and the newcomer Jacksonville still climbing. They see the Dolphins stuck in neutral. They do TNOTES CHIEFS GAME CAPSULE A look at today's Kansas City Chiefs NFL game KANSAS CITY AT MIAMI (noon today) • TELEVISION — NBC, Sallna cable 3,13. • OPENING LINE — Dolphins by 3. • RECORD VS. SPREAD — Chiefs 3-2; Dolphins 1-2. • SERIES RECORD — Dolphins lead series 12-10. • LAST TIME MET — Dolphins defeated Chiefs 13-8 In 1995 at Miami. • STREAKS — Dolphins have won last 4 meetings. • LAST WEEK — Chiefs beat Seahawks 20-17 In overtime. Dolphins had an off week. • LAST WEEK'S STARS — Chiefs RB Marcus Allen rushed for 2 TDs. Dolphins QB Dan Marino was 24-for-37 for 235 yards 2 weeks ago against Buccaneers. • CHIEFS OFFENSE — RUSH (No. 5), PASS (No. 17), OVERALL (No. 9) Allen had 78 yards rushing and scored from 8 yards and 1 yard. QB Elvis Grbac threw for 274 yards and was 24-for- 38, but was Intercepted 3 times. WR Andre Rlson caught 7 passes for 78 yards. • DOLPHINS OFFENSE — RUSH (No. 30), PASS (No. 12), OVERALL (No. 25) Marino threw 2 TD passes. RB Karim Abdul-Jabbar rushed for 45 yards with a TD. WR Fred Bamett caught 5 passes for 50 yards with TD. WR O.J. McDuffie had 6 receptions for 55 yards with TD. ^ • CHIEFS DEFENSE — RUSH (No. 12), PASS (No. 27), OVERALL (No. 26) CB Jerome Woods intercepted a pass In OT that set up winning FQ and was named AFC Defensive Player of the week. He also had a sack and 8 tackles. LB Terry Wooden had 4 tackles and a sack. • DOLPHINS DEFENSE — RUSH (No. 28), PASS (No. 10), OVERALL (No. 20) LB Zach Thomas had an Interception and 12 tackles. • SPECIAL TEAMS — Chiefs K Pete Stoyanovich made game-winning FG from 41 yards in OT. Dolphins KR Irving Spikes had 102 return yards. • KEY MATCHUP — Chiefs OG Dave Szott vs. DT Daryl Gardener. • STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES — Allen has gained 3,321 yards rushing for Kansas City, fourth on the Chiefs all-time list. His 2 touchdowns gave him i J7 in his career, 115 of which have been rushing touchdowns.... Chiefs' 466 yards were their most since Oct. 23,1994 against Seattle, and 47 rushing attempts were most since 48 against the Los Angeles Raiders on Dec. 22,1991.... The Chiefs went into the game with plus-16 advantage in turnovers in 16 games against Seattle.... Kansas City has won 12 of last 13 games with Seahawks. — By The Associated Press not like what they see. How will the Dolphins — and Johnson — respond? "We won our first two games at home but really didn't play that well," Johnson said. "Then we went to Green Bay and challenged but lost. And then we did not play well against Tampa; they were jacked and their crowd was into it. "It's early in the season and we've got two losses. There are a lot of teams with two losses. We've got to go from here. "There are two to four teams at the top. All of the rest of us are in a real big sack in the middle." So, can the Dolphins jump out of the sack? Is their running game good enough? Is their defense good enough? Can Marino still lead them' over the top? That last question bears watching. It says here that this is Marino's last season in Miami, and he 49ers looking much like old selves at 4-1 By DAVE GOLDBERG The Associated Press After the San Francisco 49ers barely survived in St. Louis with Jim Druckenmiller at quarterback in Week 2, the relief on Carmen Policy's face was clear. "People keep writing our obitu- 'aries," the 49ers' president said. "As far'as I can tell, they're still premature." After Monday night's performance in Carolina (219 yards rushing, of all things), they certainly are. In fact, assuming that Steve Young stays healthy, the 49ers may have the easiest route to the Super Bowl in the NFC — simply because they play in the NFL's weakest division. Look at it this way. San Francisco has won four in a row since losing 13-7 on opening day in Tampa, when Jerry Rice was lost for the season and Young got his third concussion in 10 months. In hindsight, given Tampa Bay's unexpected success, that loss doesn't look that bad. But more important is this: Since that loss they've edged St. Louis (without Young), then outscored New Orleans, Atlanta and Carolina by a combined 101-35, giving them a sweep of the division on their first run. They get this week off then play ... St. Louis, Atlanta and New Orleans, combined record 3-12. So assume (and that's always dangerous) that they'll be 7-1 going into their Nov. 2 game with Dallas, the showdown that for the first half of the '90s decided home field in the NFC. That starts a second half that is much tougher — games at Kansas City and Philadelphia and at home to Denver and Minnesota. Still, it's hard to envision San Francisco finishing worse than 124 and there's almost certainly no way the Miners won't reach 10 wins for the 15th straight season. They have a solid, veteran defense; a newly acquired running game that features Garrison Hearst; and Young, who is making up for Rice's loss by spreading the ball around to Terrell Owens, Terry Kirby, Iheanyi Uwaezuoke, Hearst, William Floyd, Brent Jones and a newly dedicated J.J. Stokes. Measure that against the other presumed contenders and it could be good enough for home field in the NFC playoffs. Carolina concerns The reaction at Ericsson Stadium to Kerry Collins 1 second straight four-turnover game Monday night indicates that the Panthers certainly did. The crowd booed Collins, cheered when he was shaken up and replaced by Steve Beuerlein, then cheered Beuerlein when he drove the team to two late but meaningless TDs. What those fans don't understand is that in the free-agent, salary-cap era, success can be ephemeral — there's no guarantee that because you make a conference championship game one season, that the Super Bowl is a given the next. Last year everything went right for the Panthers. This year, everything's gone wrong — Kevin Greene's holdout; Collins' injury; the flare-up after Collins' racially tinged remark to Muhsin Muhammad in a bar. The problems linger: Muhammad and Collins have reconciled but some black players remain upset. Margaritas probably won't make it through this season as the starter. He has not played up to his standards for many reasons and, embarrassing for a Hall of Fame-caliber quarterback like himself, he enters Sunday's game trailing Chiefs starter Elvis Grbac in quarterback rating (77.9 to 70.8). Marino currently ranks 25th among all National Football League quarterbacks. This is Marino's 15th season in Miami. Johnson likes youth, and he likes his players, his picks, his drafts. It is how he has built his teams at every stop along the way, infusing loyalty and stamping his teams with his mark. This will not happen in the Johnson way until Marino is gone. Johnson does not flinch when he talks about building Miami strictly in his image. "Yeah, I think that's true, that you have to have your people to make it your team," Johnson said..',. "But I think by the second year, they're your people. "Dan has played well the last two weeks. He started slowly against ': Tampa, but he played well enough .„ for us to win." Maybe the entire Miami/Johnson story would be different already if what Johnson had put together was indeed together. Injuries have ripped this team. Miami has endured 13 surgeries among its players and, on top of that, has sus- -^ tained three broken legs. . '•'• The key Idsses have been Daniel Stubbs (knee), a defensive lineman ' who was the sack leader; Yatil Green (knee), the big, fast, rookie ;; receiver from Miami who was going to stretch defenses; Stanley Pritch-' ett (knee), who gave the Dolphins .,. tremendous versatility in its two- 2 back offense; and Larry Izo (foot) and Kirby Dar-Dar (knee), special '•<•' teams play-makers. FULLER SCRAP METAL We also buy copper, brass, aluminum (all types), batteries, radiators, stainless steel and much morel We'll match any price in town. (785) 825-4822 Ducks Unlimited Banquet Oct. 7th Holidome Social Hour 5:30 pm PLAY-N-STAY GETAWAY {^OcF Per Person BOOp ACCO3MMODATIONS ^FPJCTIQN RIDGE 7 COUNTRY CLUB, A4»GA CHAMPIONSHIP COURSE of Golf, including Cart, fay ifro Persons GOLF TEE TIMES WILL BE ARRANGED FOH YOU, UPON AVAILABILITY, UY THE GENERAL MANAGED SOME RESTRICTIONS MAY APPLY. FOR INFORMATION AND RESERVATIONS CALL TOLL FREE, 1*888-466-2877 2405 N. RIDGE ROAD, WICHITA, KS. 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