GAME OF THE DAY
Buffalo (4-0) at Chicago (3-1), 10 a.m.
The Bills are trying to match their best starts, 5-0 in 1964 and 1980. Buffalo’s defense, with seven No. 1 draft choices, had allowed just 44 points until giving up 2 late touchdowns to Pittsburgh last week. But the Jim Kelly-led offense scored 38 points to offset the defensive letdown. Chicago is playing its first game at home since losing, 31-7, to the Vikings--the Bears’ worst defeat at Soldier Field in 13 years. Excluding that game, the Bears have allowed just 9 points per game.
Minnesota (3-1) at Miami (1-3), 1 p.m.
Dan Marino is expected to play despite a sore right elbow and an inflamed throwing hand. With All-Pro center Dwight Stephenson still recovering from knee surgery and the rest of the offensive line banged up, Marino has been sacked 6 times, 4 by the Colts last week, He was sacked only 9 times last season. Both Viking quarterbacks, Tommy Kramer and Wade Wilson, were hurt last week against Philadelphia, but Kramer returned to rally Minnesota to victory and will start against the Dolphins.
Seattle (2-2) at Atlanta (1-3), 10 a.m.
The Falcons have played well the past 2 weeks, but quarterback Chris Miller and running back Gerald Riggs are out with injuries suffered in Atlanta’s loss to Dallas. Former Ram Steve Dils will replace Miller. The Seahawks have 2 straight losses and have scored only 1 touchdown in 10 quarters, so Coach Chuck Knox will start Kelly Stouffer at quarterback ahead of Jeff Kemp, who struggled while replacing injured Dave Krieg last week.
Houston (3-1) at Philadelphia (1-3), 10 a.m.
The Eagles have signed free-agent kicker Luis Zendejas, recently cut by Dallas, after losing 3 straight games by a total of 13 points, partly because of poor kicking by Dean Dorsey and Dale Dawson. Zendejas’ cousin, Tony, kicks for the Oilers. Houston’s second-year quarterback, Cody Carlson, has struggled in his last two starts after an outstanding debut against the Raiders, but the Oilers rely on the running of Mike Rozier and Allen Pinkett, who has 6 touchdowns.
Denver (1-3) at San Diego (2-2), 1 p.m.
TV: Channels 4, 39.
The Broncos defeated the Chargers, 34-3, Sept. 11 in Denver for their lone victory, but now Denver is just trying to regroup. Safety Dennis Smith aggravated a hamstring injury Monday night against the Raiders and has been placed on injured reserve. Gerald Willhite, Karl Mecklenburg and Vance Johnson may play despite injuries. John Elway has 8 interceptions and only 5 touchdowns. San Diego’s Gary Anderson has rushed for more than 100 yards in 2 straight games and the revitalized Chargers won both.
Cleveland (2-2) at Pittsburgh (1-3), 10 a.m.
The Browns couldn’t beat the Steelers at Three Rivers Stadium until Bernie Kosar came along, but Kosar remains sidelined with an elbow injury and won’t be able to try for 3 straight. Mike Pagel, who has played well during Kosar’s absence, goes against a Pittsburgh defense that has allowed 104 points--most in the NFL. Steeler quarterback Bubby Brister has thrown for 6 touchdowns and run for 4.
Indianapolis (1-3) at New England (1-3), 10 a.m.
New England quarterback Steve Grogan has been beaten up, but is expected to start, although reserves Tom Ramsey and Doug Flutie have taken most of the snaps in practice. Linebacker Andre Tippett, the Patriots’ best defender, is out with a groin pull. The Colts have scored just 3 touchdowns in 4 games, and rookie quarterback Chris Chandler again is expected to play ahead of Gary Hogeboom in place of injured Jack Trudeau. Indianapolis has relied on Eric Dickerson’s running until the ball is close enough for a field goal attempt by Dean Biasucci. He kicked 5 last week, and the Colts beat Miami, 15-13.
Kansas City (1-3) at New York Jets (3-1), 1 p.m.
The Chiefs have turned around their early-season play with Steve DeBerg at quarterback. However they’re going against a Jet defense that has allowed an NFL-low 44 points, including 16 in the last 3 games. Kansas City gets a boost with fullback Christian Okoye returning after missing the first 4 games with a broken thumb.
Detroit (1-3) at San Francisco (3-1), 1 p.m.
A big game to get out of the way for the 49ers, who play Denver, the Rams, Chicago, Minnesota, the Raiders and Washington in the next 6 weeks. Joe Montana has done his best to dissolve any quarterback controversy in San Francisco. Despite their struggles, the Lions don’t have one either, with Coach Darryl Rogers sticking with inconsistent Chuck Long.
New York Giants (2-2) at Washington (2-2), 10 a.m.
TV: Channels 2, 8.
Giant Coach Bill Parcells said All-Pro linebacker Lawrence Taylor, back after a 4-game drug suspension, will play if he’s ready. The Giants, with only 7 sacks, need his strong pass rush. New York rallied on a blocked punt and a fumble return in the fourth quarter to beat the Redskins, 27-20, in the opener a month ago. The Redskins will have to keep Taylor and other Giant rushers off inexperienced quarterback Mark Rypien, who played reasonably well in a loss to Phoenix.
Green Bay (0-4) at Tampa Bay (1-3), 10 a.m.
The Packers are the league’s only winless team, but Tampa Bay’s only victory was a 13-10 win over Green Bay 3 weeks ago when Donald Igwebuike kicked a 28-yard field goal on the last play. The Packers lead this series, 10-8-1, but have lost 2 straight to the Buccaneers since winning 7 of 8. Tampa Bay has been outscored, 54-0, in first quarter, but has allowed only 17 second-half points. Vinny Testaverde of Tampa Bay and Randy Wright of Green Bay are the NFC’s two lowest-rated quarterbacks.
Dallas (2-2) at New Orleans (3-1), 5 p.m.
TV: Channel 7.
Cowboy quarterback Steve Pelluer led a comeback victory over Atlanta, but he had trouble with crowd noise in Pittsburgh and Phoenix, and that could be a factor in the Superdome. He’s been sacked an NFL-low 3 times. Proving that last season’s 12-3 record was no fluke, the Saints have 3 straight victories since losing the opener, 34-33, to San Francisco. New Orleans is playing on Monday night for the first time since 1984.