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Sunday Is a Big Day for the Fluties

November 27, 1998

Bill Flutie will be looking for a big win when the Buffalo Bills play the New England Patriots Sunday.

The 11-year-old boy will compete as one of five regional finalists in the 10- to 11-year-old division of the NFL Punt, Pass and Kick Championship, then watch as Uncle Doug tries to lead the visiting Bills over the Patriots in an important AFC East matchup.

The game at Foxboro, Mass., will be a homecoming for Doug Flutie, who grew up in Natick, Mass., also young Bill’s hometown. The Bills quarterback won the Heisman Trophy at Boston College and played for the Patriots for three seasons (1987-89) before spending eight years in the Canadian Football League.

Flutie’s play upon his return to the NFL this year is the major reason the Bills (7-4) are tied for first in the AFC East with Miami and the New York Jets. Flutie also is 10-0 at Foxboro Stadium, where he played five games with Boston College and five with the Patriots.

The Bills, who beat the Patriots 13-10 Nov. 15, also count on the AFC’s No. 2 rushing attack (138.5 yards), led by Antowain Smith, who has run for 788 yards and five touchdowns.

The Patriots (6-5) have struggled since winning four of their first five games, but they remained in the division title fight by beating Miami 26-23 Monday night when Drew Bledsoe passed for 423 yards.

In other NFL games Sunday, Denver plays at San Diego, New Orleans at Miami, Carolina at the New York Jets, Tennessee at Seattle, Arizona at Kansas City, Atlanta at St. Louis, Indianapolis at Baltimore, Jacksonville at Cincinnati, Tampa Bay at Chicago, Philadelphia at Green Bay and Washington at Oakland.

The New York Giants play at San Francisco Monday night.

On Thanksgiving Day, Detroit beat Pittsburgh 19-16 in overtime and Minnesota defeated Dallas 46-36.

Broncos at Chargers

John Elway and Terrell Davis, the league’s top-rated passer and leading rusher, respectively, will face the NFL’s top-ranked defense (255.7) as the Broncos look to go 12-0 with their 17th straight win, including the last postseason. Quarterback Craig Whelihan has won his last two starts for the Chargers (5-6).

Saints at Dolphins

The Dolphins (7-4) are looking to rebound from their loss to the Patriots. Miami wide receiver O.J. McDuffie has 24 catches for 314 yards in the past three games. Although the Saints (5-6) lost 31-20 to the 49ers last week, Kerry Collins passed for 328 yards and ran for a touchdown in his second start for the team.

Panthers at Jets

Vinny Testaverde will be looking to go 8-1 as the starting quarterback for the Jets (7-4). Wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson has caught 53 passes for 755 yards and eight touchdowns for New York. Wide receiver Rocket Ismail has caught 53 passes for 748 yards and six touchdowns for the Panthers (2-9).

Oilers at Seahawks

Quarterback Jon Kitna will try to go 2-0 as a starter for the Seahawks (5-6) as a replacement for Warren Moon. The Oilers (6-5) have the the AFC’s second-leading rusher in Eddie George (1,025 yards).

Cardinals at Chiefs

The Cardinals (6-5) might be what the Chiefs (4-7) need to stop a six-game losing streak. In their last 17 games against NFC teams, the AFC Chiefs have won 15.

Falcons at Rams

Led by quarterback Chris Chandler and running back Jamal Anderson (10 touchdowns), the Falcons (9-2) are having their best season ever, but Chandler is listed as doubtful because of ankle and knee problems. Chandler’s backup is 44-year-old Steve DeBerg. The Rams (3-8) will be trying to snap a three-game losing streak to the Falcons.

Colts at Ravens

Peyton Manning has thrown a touchdown pass in eight straight games for the Colts (2-9), the most by a rookie since Joe Namath in 1965. Michael McCrary, a defensive end for the Ravens (4-7), has 33 sacks in his last 33 games.

Jaguars at Bengals

The Jaguars (8-3) need to complete a sweep of the Bengals (2-9) to increase their AFC Central lead to two games. Jaguars running back Fred Taylor has 10 rushing touchdowns and two receiving TDs in the last eight games. Corey Dillon needs 119 rushing yards to become the second Bengals player with consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.

Buccaneers at Bears

Rookie wide receiver Jacquez Green of the Bucs (4-7) leads the NFL with a 17.2-yard average on punt returns. Glyn Milburn of the Bears (3-8) is third among league punt returners with a 14.4 average.

Eagles at Packers

Brett Favre of the Packers (7-4) needs 67 passing yards to join Miami’s Dan Marino (9) and Denver’s John Elway (7) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history with seven straight 3,000-yard seasons. Wide receiver Irving Fryar of the Eagles (2-9) will be making his 100th consecutive start.

Redskins at Raiders

Matt Turk of the Redskins (2-9) leads the NFL with a 40.8-yard net punting average. Quarterback Donald Hollas is 4-1 as a starter for the Raiders (7-4).

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