Week 5 Will Be A Wild One


The best against the worst? Try Philadelphia at Denver.

The Eagles have allowed 60 more points than they've scored, have a minus-6 turnover differential and are ravaged by injuries. They're off to their first 0-4 start since 1972, when they started 0-5. They appear ready to implode.

Denver is 4-0, the first Super Bowl champion since the 1990 49ers to start the season that way. They have won 18 in a row at Mile High Stadium, and they rank third in offense. With 141 points, the Broncos are on pace to score an NFL-record 564 points.

"They're the defending world champions, and they're playing like world champions right now," Eagles coach Ray Rhodes said. "They're averaging over 35 points a game.

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  • "I turned on the Dallas film briefly for about five minutes. After I saw all those possessions with touchdowns, I thought to myself: I'm not ready to look at this yet. That's something a coach at 0-4 doesn't want to take a look at right now. Let's go to another game.

    "I haven't seen everybody in the league play thus far, but from the people I've seen, they're definitely the best."

    And the Eagles look like the worst. There's little continuity on offense, little stinginess on defense. Even if John Elway doesn't play quarterback for the Broncos, this appears to be a huge mismatch.

    Of course, Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, as NFL coaches will do, found something to worry about: the Eagles' close loss to Kansas City last week.

    "In their first three games they struggled, scoring 15 points on offense," Shanahasaid. "Then you watch them against Kansas City and see them score three touchdowns and moving the ball better than any team moved the ball against Kansas City all year and playing with a lot more confidence."

    Several teams brimming with confidence include the NFL's remaining unbeatens. One of them, Jacksonville, has a bye, along with Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Baltimore and St. Louis.

    But two of them, the NFC Central's Packers and Vikings, meet Monday night at Green Bay.

    New Orleans, the most surprising success story thus far at 3-0, is home for New England Sunday. Miami (3-0) is at the New York Jets, and San Francisco (3-0) is at Buffalo.

    Also Sunday, it's Carolina at Atlanta, Dallas at Washington, Detroit at Chicago, San Diego at Indianapolis, Oakland at Arizona, the New York Giants at Tampa Bay, and Seattle at Kansas City.

    The winner of the Minnesota-Green Bay game will take a big edge in the division. The ackers have won 29 straight at Lambeau Field, two short of Miami's NFL record for consecutive home victories.

    "It's a midseason Super Bowl," Vikings tight end Greg DeLong said.

    "At this stage of the season, it doesn't get any better than this," Packers receiver Antonio Freeman said.

    The Packers are undefeated thanks to a big-play defense led by sackmaster Reggie White, and the passing of three-time MVP Brett Favre. That has made up for a weak running game, poor special teams play and too many turnovers.

    In fact, the Packers are off to their best start in 32 years, despite those woes.

    "We're not where we can be," Packers coach Mike Holmgren said. "We can be a better team."

    The Vikings can't do much more offensively; their 129 points lead the conference. And they lead the league with 11 takeaways.

    "They've got probably the best three receivers in the league," White said of Cris Carter, Jake Reed and rookie Randy Moss.

    Packers receiver Derrick Mayes doesn't agree.

    "I see us being the best receivers in the league," Mayes, who caught three TD passes last week, said of Freeman, Robert Brooks and himself. "We're going to be going against supposedly the best ones in the league this week. So, we'll see."

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