Undated (AP) _ The Chicago Bears will be hoping for a real-life flashback when they play the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
In the fifth game of the 1988 season, the Bears handed the Bills their first loss of the year by beating them 24-3 in Chicago.
Sunday’s battle of unbeatens - each club is 4-0 - is in Buffalo, however, where the Bills have won 12 straight dating back to a 22-19 loss to New Orleans Dec. 10, 1989.
Chicago held the Bills to zero rushing yards in 1988, which was Thurman Thomas’ rookie season. Thomas gained 881 yards that year and followed with seasons of 1,244 and 1,297.
This year, Thomas is running wild again. He has rushed for 388 yards, best in the AFC, and has caught passes for 269 yards, making him tops in the NFL with 657 yards from scrimmage.
The other 4-0 teams are New Orleans and Washington.
New Orleans plays at Atlanta (2-2) Sunday, while Washington is at home Monday night against Philadelphia (3-1) Monday night.
Other Sunday matchups have Denver at Minnesota, New York Giants at Dallas, San Francisco at Los Angeles Raiders, Miami at the New York Jets, Tampa Bay at Detroit, Kansas City at San Diego, New England at Phoenix, Green Bay at Los Angeles Rams and Indianapolis at Seattle.
AFC Central clubs Cincinnati, Cleveland, Houston and Pittsburgh are off on Sunday.
New Orleans, off to the best start in its 25-year history, holds a two-game lead over the Falcons in the NFC Central. The Saints have won seven of the last eight meetings, including four of five in Atlanta. Expect to see Craig Heward carry often for the Saints, who are 6-0 when he rushes at least 15 times in a game.
In a night game, Minnesota (2-2) tries to rebound from 26-0 loss to New Orleans. Vikings coach Jerry Burns is seeking his 50th victory in six NFL seasons. Anthony Carter will try to extend his club record to 85 games with at least one reception.
Giants at Cowboys
Giants quarterback Phil Simms has completed 269 of 516 passs for 4,169 yards and 33 touchdowns against Dallas, but this season Simms is the backup to Jeff Hostetler. The Giants (2-2) haven’t scored more than 17 points in a game this season. The Cowboys (2-2), who count heavily on the running of Emmitt Smith, will try to snap a six-game losing streak to New York.
Raiders running back Roger Craig and safety Ronnie Lott, who starred for the 49ers for several seasons, will be meeting their former team for the first time. The Raiders (2-2) are 15-2 under coach Art Shell in the Coliseum. San Francisco (2-2) is 0-2 away from home this season, but 17-2 on the road under coach George Seifert. They’ve also won 12 straight against AFC foes.
The Jets (1-3) will put their character on the line after gut-wrenching losses to Buffalo and Chicago the past two weeks. They also will be trying to snap a three-game losing streak to Miami (1-3). The Jets have been a favorite target for the Dolphins’ Dan Marino, who has completed 325 of 548 passes for 4,480 yards and 40 touchdowns in 14 games against them.
The Lions (3-1) paced by the dazzling running of Barry Sanders could be 4-1 for first time since 1980. In their 33-24 win over Indianapolis last week, Sanders rushed 30 times for 179 yards and two touchdowns. The Bucs rushed for a season-high 138 yards in 17-10 loss to Buffalo.
Kansas City (2-2) won both games against the Chargers (0-4) last season. Chiefs’ quarterback Steve DeBerg is fourth in all-time completion standings, with 2,442 after passing Y.A. Tittle and Sonny Jurgenson last Sunday. Chargers’ rushing attack has produced three straight 150-yard-plus games.
The Patriots (2-2), who handed Houston its first loss 24-20 last week, will be seeking consecutive victories for the first time since 1988. Phoenix (2-2) tries to snap a two-game losing streak with its fourth straight win over the Patriots.
The Rams are searching for home-field advantage at Anaheim Stadium, where they’ve lost five straight dating back to Nov. 4, 1990. Jim Everett is searching for his first TD pass of the season. Green Bay linebacker Bryce Paup leads the NFL with 7.5 sacks.
Seattle’s Kingdome might be just what the Colts (0-4) need. They are 2-0 under the dome, but no coaches or players remain from the last time they played there and won 17-14 in 1978. The Seahawks are 1-3, with each of the four games decided by seven points or less.