Each of the NFC leaders—the Giants, Bears and 49ers—plays its toughest intradivision rival.
Giants at Eagles. What's it like when hated New York takes the field in Philadelphia? "Well," says Giants coach Bill Parcells, "when you walk out of the tunnel, you always hear some words you didn't know had been invented." The Giants hope to avoid serious injuries and turnovers—not to mention defeat—in this last game before their much anticipated Dec. 3 showdown with San Francisco. Nine Redskins were injured in a 28-14 loss to the Eagles on Nov. 12. And, oh, those turnovers. In four straight losses to Philly, in 1988 and '89, New York had a turnover figure of minus 7.
Bears at Vikings. Minnesota has won only four games this season, but all four were indoors. "There's nothing like playing in a dome and not being able to hear yourself think," says Chicago linebacker Ron Rivera. "We've had some of those games at the Metrodome." The Vikings have prevailed in three of their last four meetings with the Bears in the noisy dome.
Rams at 49ers. This game has been a pain in the neck for San Francisco. The Niners have suffered only three defeats in their last 33 games, but two of them came at home to Los Angeles. In fact, the Rams have won in three of their last five regular-season appearances at Candlestick Park but have lost eight of their last nine games against San Francisco at Anaheim Stadium. Small wonder that the unbeaten 49ers remain wary of their downstate rivals, who are struggling at 3-7. "Every week we face a team's best effort—they all want to beat the Super Bowl champions," says San Francisco linebacker Keena Turner. "The icing here is that it's Rams- 49ers."