Three games will feature five teams that are big disappointments this season.
Rams at Browns. Sunday's 28-17 victory over the 49ers aside—hey, the Rams have beaten them at Candlestick Park three years in a row—Los Angeles (4-7) has languished because its defense, crippled by holdouts, injuries and the shortcomings of a new system, has slumped to 27th in the league rankings. Entering the season, Cleveland (2-9) was counting on a revived ground attack, but Eric Metcalf has not been a factor, and the Browns have the NFL's second worst rushing game.
Falcons at Bucs. Two young teams with struggling quarterbacks, superb individual talent and stern coaches—all looking ahead to 1991 with hope of better things to come. Atlanta (3-8) has lost five of its last six and Tampa Bay (4-8) has dropped six of seven. Buc tackle Paul Gruber could be speaking about either team when he says, "It's been awfully disappointing because we know we have our best overall talent since we've been here. We're soul-searching now, and we're going to see who's going to fall by the wayside."
Saints at Cowboys. New Orleans (5-6) has been an enigma, considering that it has a dominant rushing game and terrific linebackers. "But part of being good is keeping your hands on the ball," says Saints coach Jim Mora. "In five games, we've turned it over 25 times." New Orleans coughed up the ball eight times against the Lions, five times each against the 49ers and the Vikings, four times against the Redskins and three times against the Oilers—all losses. Meanwhile, Dallas (5-7), which is on the upswing after going 1-15 in 1989, actually has a shot at a .500 season.