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September 20, 1987|RICH ROBERTS | Times Staff Writer

GAME OF THE DAY Tampa Bay (1-0) at Chicago (1-0), 10 a.m. Considering that the players may go on strike next week, the Buccaneers have a shot at a perfect season. Right now they're paying rookie quarterback Vinny Testaverde $8.2 million over six years to signal plays in to starter Steve DeBerg. Testaverde must be doing a terrific job because DeBerg threw a club-record five touchdown passes against the Atlanta Falcons. But the Bears aren't the Falcons and, in fact, looked a lot like the Super Bowl Bears of 1985 last Monday night. "We're licking our chops," kick returner-wide receiver Dennis McKinnon said in anticipation of playing Tampa Bay. Walter Payton has a sprained ankle, but that's no problem. Neal Anderson is the Bears' top running threat now.

OTHER NFC GAMES Dallas (0-1) at N.Y. Giants (0-1), 1 p.m. TV: Channels 2 and 8

Since quarterback Danny White broke his wrist in Giants Stadium at midseason a year ago, the Cowboys have lost 8 of 9 and 6 in a row, the longest losing streak in the league. Now, the way they're losing is very unlike the Cowboys. A 13-3 lead became a 24-13 defeat to the Cardinals in the last two minutes at St. Louis last week when White fumbled on his eighth sack. The Giants hope they purged the effects of Monday night's mauling by the Bears by releasing cornerback Elvis Patterson.

New Orleans (1-0) at Philadelphia (0-1), 10 a.m. The rest of the NFC West can't count on the Saints coming back to earth. With Rueben Mayes' rushing (147 yards last week) and solid defensive play, they can handle the second-rate teams. The focus here will be to keep the Eagles' hyperactive quarterback, Randall Cunningham, under control. Veteran Eagle cornerback Roynell Young ended his holdout and will start.

Washington (1-0) at Atlanta (0-1), 10 a.m. Redskin Coach Joe Gibbs said the Raiders offered him a second-round draft choice for backup quarterback Doug Williams two weeks ago. He's glad he didn't accept. Now, with Jay Schroeder out (shoulder), Williams is the starter. The Redskins also are without running back George Rogers (shoulder) and had to replace injured kicker Jess Atkinson with ex-Giant Ali Haji-Sheikh. The defense is suspect, but the Falcons aren't likely to do much about it. Their quarterback, David Archer, has been replaced by Scott Campbell after a poor opener against Tampa Bay. The Redskins are the NFL's best road team over the last four seasons (27-12).

AFC GAMES Houston (1-0) at Buffalo (0-1), 10 a.m. Jim Kelly and the Bills figure to be more bold than the Rams were in attacking a less-than-awesome Oiler defense. Also, the Oilers have fallen into slumps after opening victories the last two years and are 3-21 outside the Astrodome the last three seasons.

Kansas City (1-0) at Seattle (0-1), 1 p.m. The Chiefs' new running game led by 253-pound rookie Christian Okoye will find a better test than it had against the Chargers, but the defense and special teams are established strengths. After being shaken at Denver with the help of their own five turnovers, the Seahawks and quarterback Dave Krieg may settle down in the Kingdome, where they have won four straight from the Chiefs.

Miami (0-1) at Indianapolis (0-1), 10 a.m. Dan Marino was kicked in the face last week but wouldn't miss this one for anything. Even against the Colts, he'll have to pump in some points to offset the Dolphins' sorry defense. With Reggie Roby out (groin, ankle), the Dolphins will have a new punter, Jeff Hayes, but may not need him often. Colt quarterback Jack Trudeau is 0-12 as a starter and will be replaced by Gary Hogeboom, who will play with a pin in his injured left thumb. Hogeboom tore ligaments in the thumb during training camp.

Pittsburgh (1-0) at Cleveland (0-1), 10 a.m. This game may tell whether the Browns, mentioned in some Super Bowl speculation, were as overrated as the Indians this year. The Steelers achieved their upset of the 49ers with defense and strong running, but certainly not Mark Malone's passing (9 for 33). The Saints kept Bernie Kosar under control by forcing him to frequently dump off passes to his backs.

INTERCONFERENCE GAMES San Francisco (0-1) at Cincinnati (1-0), 10 a.m. Wide receiver Jerry Rice is listed as "questionable" with a sprained knee as the 49ers go East for the second straight week. They have been only a mediocre traveling team (9-9-1) since '84. Their defense appears to be slipping and their running game hasn't developed, but they may be catching the Bengals--notoriously slow starters--at the right time. All-Pro offensive tackle Anthony Munoz has ended his holdout and will be back in the Bengal lineup.

Denver (1-0) vs. Green Bay (0-1) at Milw., 10 a.m. TV: Channels 4 and 39.

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