GAME OF THE DAY
New Orleans (5-1) at Seattle (4-2), 1 p.m.
Rookie Kelly Stouffer was labeled Seattle’s quarterback of the future when he signed with the Seahawks, but he’s doing pretty well now with two straight victories since replacing Jeff Kemp, who struggled after replacing injured Dave Krieg. However, the Seahawks’ Kingdome advantage may be lessened against the Saints, who also play in a domed stadium and have won eight of their last nine road games. New Orleans has won five straight games and is tied for the NFC West lead with the Rams, who play San Francisco today at Anaheim.
Atlanta (1-5) at Denver (3-3), 1 p.m.
John Elway, who has an inflamed right elbow, and the sputtering Denver offense may get injured receiver Mark Jackson back. Also, the Broncos might activate fullback Calvin Thomas, acquired from Chicago 2 weeks ago. The Broncos, who needed 3 field goals by Rich Karlis to beat the 49ers in overtime last week, could have better luck against the Falcons, who allowed 422 yards in a 33-0 loss to the Rams last week. The Falcons, who have plenty of troubles on the field, now have to deal with the drug-caused death of cornerback David Croudip.
Philadelphia (3-3) at Cleveland (3-3), 10 a.m.
If Don Strock, the Browns’ fourth starting quarterback this season, can hold up against Reggie White and the Eagle defense, Cleveland will have a backup for Bernie Kosar, who may be able to return next week. The Eagles found a big-play replacement for injured all-pro receiver Mike Quick when Cris Carter had a big game against the Giants Monday. Randall Cunningham’s passing has made tight end Keith Jackson, virtually a third tackle at Oklahoma, the NFL’s leading receiver with 38 receptions, but the rookie may be slowed by a hip injury.
Tampa Bay (2-4) at Indianapolis (1-5), 10 a.m.
Tampa Bay has become competitive, even though its only victories this season have been over 1-5 Green Bay. The Buccaneers’ last three defeats, against Phoenix, New Orleans and Minnesota, have been by a total of 11 points. Vinny Testaverde is improving, even though he has thrown 14 interceptions and has been sacked 15 times. Rookie quarterback Chris Chandler led the Colts to a 10-0 lead over Buffalo last week before leaving with a bruised chest, and Gary Hogeboom added a touchdown pass to make it 17-0 before Indianapolis collapsed. Chandler is expected back. The Colts have been outscored, 60-33, in the second half.
Cincinnati (6-0) at New England (2-4), 10 a.m.
New England will remain with Doug Flutie at quarterback against the NFL’s only undefeated team, even after last week’s 45-3 trouncing at Green Bay--the second-worst defeat in Patriot history. Flutie threw 3 interceptions and Steve Grogan added 2 more, giving him 12 for the season. Cincinnati’s Boomer Esiason has thrown 15 touchdown passes in 6 games, and, as if he needs any help, versatile running back James Brooks will return from the injured list.
Houston (4-2) at Pittsburgh (1-5), 10 a.m.
This has become a big rivalry in the AFC Central since Pittsburgh Coach Chuck Noll accused the aggressive Oilers, the league’s most penalized team, of resembling the 1970s Raiders. Houston swept the season series with Pittsburgh last year for the first time since division play began in 1970, but the Oilers have lost 8 of their last 11 games to the Steelers and lost 9 straight at Three Rivers Stadium before last season. Quarterback Warren Moon is expected back for Houston after missing the last five games with a shoulder injury, but third-stringer Brent Pease probably will start again.
San Diego (2-4) at Miami (3-3), 1 p.m.
The Chargers will start Mark Malone at quarterback, replacing Babe Laufenberg, who has bruised ribs. Coach Al Saunders was contemplating the change anyway because the Chargers’ offense has scored only 6 touchdowns in 6 games and is last in the league in total offense, passing and scoring. Miami and quarterback Dan Marino have had similar problems, despite beating Minnesota and the Raiders the last 2 weeks. Part of the problem has been a Dolphin running game that ranks 27th in the league. Running back Troy Stradford, a sensation as a rookie last season, has yet to get going.
Dallas (2-4) at Chicago (5-1), 10 a.m.
Richard Dent and the ferocious Chicago pass rush will challenge the Cowboys’ offensive line, which has allowed only 5 sacks of quarterback Steve Pelluer in 6 games, including 3 shutouts. The Bears will probably have Jim McMahon, who suffered a concussion last week, back at quarterback. If they don’t, Mike Tomczak is 11-2 as a replacement starter. He played more than a half in last week’s 24-7 victory over Detroit.
Phoenix (4-2) at Washington (3-3), 10 a.m.
The Redskins will try to avenge a 30-21 defeat in Phoenix 3 weeks ago, 1 of 4 straight victories that have lifted the Cardinals into the NFC East lead. Washington has benched Super Bowl hero Timmy Smith in favor of more versatile Kelvin Bryant. Mark Rypien has thrown 8 touchdown passes in 3 starts and Coach Joe Gibbs has said Doug Williams may be a backup when he returns from the injured-reserve list next week. Neil Lomax has had the Cardinal offense rolling despite an ailing hip, but the Redskins will send Dexter Manley, Charles Mann, Wilber Marshall and the rest of their pass rushers after him.
Green Bay (1-5) at Minnesota (4-2), 10 a.m
Don Majkowski again will start at quarterback for Green Bay with Randy Wright still bothered by a pulled groin muscle, having been put on the inactive list. Majkowski passed for a touchdown and ran for another to lead Green Bay to a 45-3 rout of New England last week, the Packers’ first victory. However, he’ll be going against a Minnesota defense that has a big pass rush and leads the league with 14 interceptions. Tommy Kramer, the injury-prone Viking quarterback, played his first complete game since 1986 last week in a victory over Tampa Bay.
Detroit (1-5) at New York Giants (3-3), 10 a.m.
After playing Washington twice, San Francisco, Dallas, the Rams and Philadelphia in the first 6 games, the Giants get a breather the next 3 weeks with 2 games against Detroit and 1 with Atlanta to get their defense in order. The unit that carried New York to its Super Bowl victory in 1986 ranks last in the NFL and has allowed 142 points, second-most behind Atlanta. But the Lions, who have played well despite their record, have bigger problems. Quarterbacks Chuck Long and Eric Hipple are out with injuries, so Detroit must go with former Raider Rusty Hilger, who has been with the team only 2 weeks.
Buffalo (5-1) at New York Jets (3-2-1)
TV: Channel 7, 6 p.m.
Mark Gastineau has been getting all the publicity for his comeback, but the Jets’ other veteran defensive end, Marty Lyons, also has been playing well. In last week’s loss to Cincinnati, he had 12 tackles, including 3 sacks--1 for a safety--and a fumble recovery. The Jets’ young defense, manhandled by Boomer Esiason and the Bengals, will get another test against the Bills’ Jim Kelly, who finally got warmed up last week with 3 touchdown passes to rally the Bills from 17 points down to a 34-23 victory over Indianapolis. New York has won seven of its last eight games against Buffalo, which is trying to run away with the AFC East. The Jets are 7-0 at home on Monday night.
NOTE: All times PDT. .