Panthers Try To Sweep 49ers
A big question in the NFL is whether Carolina fans will show up with brooms Sunday when the Panthers try to sweep the San Francisco 49ers.
The expansion team could even its record at 7-7 with a second upset of the 49ers and extend the Cougars’ home winning streak to five games. The Panthers beat the 49ers 13-7 Nov. 5 at San Francisco.
That loss was one of two during the five games quarterback Steve Young missed because of a shoulder injury. Since then the 49ers (9-4) have won four straight games, the last two with Young at the helm, and could clinch the NFC West title should a victory be coupled with an Atlanta loss or tie.
San Francisco, which lost 11-7 to New Orleans the week before the upset by Carolina, has beaten Dallas, Miami, St. Louis and Buffalo in the last four weeks and goes into Sunday’s game with the NFC’s No. 1 passing attack.
The Panthers have recorded 13 sacks in their last two home games.
There will be two Saturday NFL games _ Cleveland at Minnesota and Arizona at San Diego.
In other Sunday matchups, Green Bay will be at Tampa Bay, Dallas at Philadelphia, Pittsburgh at Oakland, Buffalo at St. Louis, New Orleans at Atlanta, Detroit at Houston, Indianapolis at Jacksonville, Seattle at Denver, Chicago at Cincinnati, the New York Jets at New England and Washington at New York Giants.
Kansas City will play at Miami on Monday night.
Browns at Vikings
The Browns (4-9), as cold as a winter’s day on Lake Erie, will run into a hot quarterback, Warren Moon, who has passed for 16 touchdowns in the last four games for the Vikings (7-6).
Cardinals at Chargers
The Chargers will try to even their record at 7-7 without running back Natrone Means, out with a pulled hamstring for the fifth straight game. Dave Krieg needs only 134 yards for his sixth 3,000-yard passing season, but even with a win the Cardinals would be only 5-9.
Packers at Buccaneers
When the Brett Favre-led Packers (9-4) beat the Bucs in Tampa last year they qualified for a wild-card spot. Sunday, they could clinch their first NFC Central title since 1972 with a victory and a Detroit loss. The Bucs (6-7) are averaging only 276.5 yards a game on offense.
Cowboys at Eagles
Dallas (10-3) will try to clinch the NFC East behind Emmitt Smith, the NFL’s leading rusher with 1,494 yards and Troy Aikman, the NFC’s top-rated passer. The Eagles (8-5) will try to bounce back from a loss to Seattle and move to within a game of the Cowboys.
Steelers at Raiders
The winner in nine of the last 11 games between these teams has gone to the AFC championship. The Steelers (9-4) beat Oakland 21-3 last Nov. 27 and went on to the title game, where they lost to San Diego. Billy Joe Hobert will start at quarterback for the Raiders (8-5) in place of Jeff Hostetler, who is out with an injured shoulder.
Bills at Rams
Jim Kelly once again will be at quarterback for the Bills (8-5) despite a sore rotator in his throwing shoulder. Chris Miller will not play for the Rams (7-6) because of a concussion sustained against Jets last Sunday. He will be replaced by Mark Rypien.
Saints at Falcons
The Saints will try to even their record at 7-7 after an 0-5 start. The Falcons need to right themselves after stumbling in the last two games. The game figures to be a tossup between quarterbacks Jim Everett of the Saints and Jeff George of the Falcons.
Lions at Oilers
Barry Sanders of the Lions (7-6) probably will gain the six yards he needs to become the 10th player in NFL history to rush for 10,000 career yards. The Oilers (5-8) will be faced with stopping the NFL’s No. 1 offense (384.5) sparked by Sanders and quarterback Scott Mitchell, who has thrown for 26 touchdowns and a single-season club record 3,470 yards.
Colts at Jaguars
Craig Erickson, replacing the injured Jim Harbaugh at quarterback for the Colts (7-6) shouldn’t be too worried about pressure from a Jacksonville defense which has recorded 11 sacks _ the fewest in the NFL. On the other hand, the Jaguars (3-10) have allowed a league-leading 51 sacks.
Seahawks at Broncos
The Broncos (7-6) have the AFC’s No. 1 offense (380.5) behind the passing of John Elway. The Seahawks (6-7) will be trying for second straight upset, having beaten Philadelphia last Sunday.
Bears at Bengals
Quarterback Erik Kramer is having a fine season for the Bears, but they stumbled to a 7-6 record after starting 6-2. The Bengals (5-8) are battling for second place in the AFC Central, which is not a ticket to the playoffs.
Jets at Patriots
The Jets (3-10) are 6-19 in games in December and January since 1989. The Patriots (5-8) are 8-2 in the last three Decembers.
Redskins at Giants
Should the Giants (4-9) complete a sweep of the Redskins (4-9), it would increase their lead in this traditional series to 74-51-3.