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September 06, 1996


* KICKOFF: Monday, 6 p.m.,

Channel 7.

* STORY LINE: Showtime for the Packers, who will get the opportunity to make their case as legitimate threats to Dallas and San Francisco. Green Bay, which already has household names in Reggie White and Brett Favre, can provide additional small-talk fodder for Dan Dierdorf and Frank Gifford because of the emergence of tight end Keith Jackson, wide receivers Robert Brooks and Antonio Freeman and running back Edgar Bennett. The Eagles will counter with a troubled Rodney Peete, who has nothing going for him other than a 10-3 record in his last 13 starts.

* EAGLE UPDATE: Defensive tackle Andy Harmon needed arthroscopic knee surgery, thus ripping a hole in Philadelphia's run defense. Defensive end Mike Mamula, coming off a bad season, opened with two sacks.

* PACKER UPDATE: Green Bay is fit and armed with the No. 1 passing offense.

* EDGE TO GREEN BAY: Packers are 14-2 at Lambeau Field over the last two years--the best home-field mark in the NFL.

* THE LINE: Green Bay by 8.


OAKLAND (0-1) at KANSAS CITY (1-0)

* KICKOFF: Sunday, 10 a.m., Channel 4.

* STORY LINE: The Raiders are already facing a "must" win in the second game of the season, and have lost six in a row to the Chiefs.

* RAIDER UPDATE: Quarterback Jeff Hostetler wants to play, but there is talk in Oakland that the Raiders want to use Hostetler's injured knee as an excuse to give Billy Joe Hobert a longer look as the starter.

* CHIEF UPDATE: Defense has held 14 of the last 17 foes to two touchdowns or fewer and, given the Raiders' anemic offense, let's make it 15 of 18.

* EDGE TO KANSAS CITY: Coach Marty Schottenheimer's commitment to excellence has resulted in a 13-4 record against the Raiders.

* THE LINE: None, because of Hostetler's status.



* KICKOFF: Sunday, 10 a.m.

* STORY LINE: The Ravens took advantage of an opening-day emotional boost in Baltimore and now have a chance to gut the Steelers, who are reeling from a season-ending knee injury to Greg Lloyd and poor quarterback play.

* RAVEN UPDATE: Search for a running game still centers on 13-year veteran Earnest Byner, who gained one more yard than quarterback Vinny Testaverde last week.

* STEELER UPDATE: Mike Tomczak starts in place of Jim Miller at quarterback. Besides Lloyd, the Steelers will be without linebackers Jason Gildon and Steve Conley, who have knee injuries.

* EDGE TO STEELERS: Pittsburgh has been backed into a corner. It has also defeated Art Modell's team seven consecutive times at home.

* THE LINE: Pittsburgh by 4.


ST. LOUIS (1-0) at SAN FRANCISCO (1-0)

* KICKOFF: Sunday, 1 p.m., Channel 11.

* STORY LINE: The 49ers have won the last 11 against the Rams and that's no typo. San Francisco outscored the Rams last season, 85-23. The Rams are loaded with upstarts on offense, but how do they avoid being in awe of the 49ers? The Rams also want to run the ball, but the 49er tackles should corral Lawrence Phillips.

* RAM UPDATE: Tight end Troy Drayton is expected back, but a sore knee and conditioning concerns might not allow him to be very productive. Rookie Eddie Kennison takes over for Alexander Wright, who is out 10 weeks because of a back injury.

* 49ER UPDATE: Defensive end Chris Doleman has a knee injury, but the 49ers have already overcome the loss of linebacker Gary Plummer because of a wrist injury and tackle Kirk Scrafford because of a foot problem.

* EDGE TO SAN FRANCISCO: They moved to St. Louis, but they are still the Rams.

* THE LINE: San Francisco by 12 1/2.



* KICKOFF: Sunday, 1 p.m.

* STORY LINE: Great expectations versus the overachievers. Cincinnati was supposed to mount a challenge in the AFC Central and with Pittsburgh swooning, it had its chance. But the Bengals managed only 37 yards on the ground, crippling quarterback Jeff Blake's opportunity to back off the defense. The Chargers were expected to be seriously tested by the Seahawks, but San Diego mauled Seattle with a nasty defensive charge.

* BENGAL UPDATE: Running back Ki-Jana Carter gained 14 yards in 14 carries and now must contend with Garrison Hearst biting into his playing time.

* CHARGER UPDATE: San Diego's offensive line is getting stronger, but the running back by committee raises season-long questions.

* EDGE TO SAN DIEGO: Bobby Ross versus Dave Shula--no contest.

* THE LINE: San Diego by 6 1/2.


NEW ENGLAND (0-1) at BUFFALO (1-0)

* KICKOFF: Sunday, 1 p.m.

* STORY LINE: The possible undefeated vs. the possible mediocre. Last week, New England was the first victim of the Jimmy Johnson-Miami juggernaut, while Buffalo decided to show up for the second half and rallied to defeat the Giants.

* PATRIOT UPDATE: Drew Bledsoe passed for 222 yards and two touchdowns last week. Wide receiver Shawn Jefferson contributed with five catches for 48 yards, but suffered a concussion.

* BILL UPDATE: Jim Kelly passed for 313 yards last week. Wide receiver Andre Reed leads the AFC in yards receiving with 138.

* EDGE TO BUFFALO: Not only are they No. 1, but the Bills can be extra-motivated against New England. Last season, the Patriots swept the series against the Bills for the first time since 1987.

* THE LINE: Buffalo by 4 1/2.



* Atlanta no line vs. Minnesota

* Indianapolis 5 over N.Y. Jets

* Detroit 12 over Tampa Bay

* Chicago 1 1/2 over Washington

* New Orleans 3 over Carolina

* Jacksonville 2 1/2 over Houston

* Dallas no line vs. N.Y. Giants

* Denver 2 over Seattle

* Miami 6 over Arizona

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