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Game Of The Week

The Key Games In The Nfl

November 01, 1996


* KICKOFF: Sunday, 10 a.m., Channel 11.

* STORYLINE: Will the Cowboys suffer a letdown, or have they found their stride and blow away the Eagles? They will blow away the Eagles. Ty Detmer has been awesome as the Eagles' starting quarterback but he faces his toughest defense to date. The last time he played Dallas he suffered a concussion.

* EAGLE UPDATE: Defensive tackle Andy Harmon will be trying to come back from a knee injury. Philadelphia is 8-0 when Ricky Watters rushes for 100 yards. Watters' 936 yards from scrimmage leads the NFC.

* COWBOY UPDATE: Tackle Mark Tuinei still has a sore knee and tight end Eric Bjornson, who has filled in well for Jay Novacek, is trying to recover from a sprained ankle. If Dallas wins, its' five-game win streak will be longest since 1994.

* EDGE TO DALLAS: The Cowboys have won six of their last seven against the Eagles.

* THE LINE: Dallas by 8 1/2.



* KICKOFF: Sunday, 1 p.m.

* STORYLINE: The weekly question persists--are the Redskins for real? A week ago they disposed of Indianapolis at a time when the Colts looked vulnerable, and now the Bills appear in decline. But Jim Kelly and his aging friends are at home.

* REDSKIN UPDATE: Washington is already 3-0 against AFC East opponents this season and its seven-game win streak is the longest since '91 Super Bowl title season.

* BILL UPDATE: Buffalo's defense has given up only nine touchdowns in opponents' 22 trips inside the red zone--second-best job in AFC.

* EDGE TO BUFFALO: It makes no sense for the Redskins to have the best record in the NFL.

* THE LINE: Washington by 3.



* KICKOFF: Sunday, 1 p.m., Channel 4.

* STORYLINE: Both teams are threatening to fall out of the NFL's elite class. The Vikings must play without quarterback Warren Moon and running back Robert Smith. They showed an ability to win without Moon earlier this season, but have struggled previously without Smith.

* CHIEF UPDATE: The offensive line has given up only one sack in the last three games, giving quarterback Steve Bono time to operate. It hasn't helped. In only two seasons, Tamarick Vanover has a club-record three kickoff return touchdowns.

* VIKING UPDATE: Amp Lee replaces Smith, and Brad Johnson takes over for Moon. Minnesota's next four opponents come from the AFC West. Under Coach Dennis Green, Vikings are 10-6 vs. AFC.

* EDGE TO KANSAS CITY: Bono, as bad as he is, can't be any worse than a backup to a 39-year-old quarterback.

* THE LINE: Minnesota by 1 1/2.


DETROIT (4-4) at GREEN BAY (7-1)

* KICKOFF: Sunday, 10 a.m.

* STORYLINE: It's about time for the Lions to start making their second-half run for the playoffs, or the football world has seen the last of Coach Wayne Fontes. Quarterback Scott Mitchell, who was yanked from last week's game after throwing three interceptions, will start again for Detroit.

* LION UPDATE: Detroit is hurting on offense with wide receiver Herman Moore, wide receiver Brett Perriman and running back Barry Sanders all limping. In 13 games against the Packers, Sanders has rushed for 1,360 yards, an average of 104.6 a game. Moore leads the NFL in receptions (59) and yards (772) and is working on a streak of 73 games with a reception.

* PACKER UPDATE: Quarterback Brett Favre moves on without his starting wide receivers, and will now be throwing to Don Beebe and Derrick Mayes. Green Bay has the NFL's No. 1 defense, top rushing defense and No. 2 pass defense. Green Bay is 7-1 for first time since 1966.

* EDGE TO GREEN BAY: Coach Mike Holmgren has a 7-3 mark against Detroit, and the Packers will be going for a 12th consecutive victory at home. Holmgren is 23-4 in his first 27 games at Lambeau Field, one game better than Vince Lombardi.

* THE LINE: Green Bay by 11.


MIAMI (4-4) at NEW ENGLAND (5-3)

* KICKOFF: Sunday, 1 p.m.

* STORYLINE: The resurgent Patriots, who have found their offense, must hope Jimmy Johnson expended himself in getting the Dolphins ready for the Cowboys last week. New England has scored 182 points in the last six games.

* DOLPHIN UPDATE: Quarterback Dan Marino had difficulty finding the mark after returning from a broken ankle, and the Dolphin running game was stopped in place.

* PATRIOT UPDATE: New England is 5-0 this season when quarterback Drew Bledsoe completes more than 50% of his passes.

* EDGE TO NEW ENGLAND: The Patriots should be able to take advantage of Miami's subpar defense.

* THE LINE: Miami by 4.


DENVER (7-1) at OAKLAND (4-4)

* KICKOFF: Monday, 6 p.m., Channel 7.

* STORYLINE: This could be the Raiders' last gasp. They will have a chance to impress their hometown fans and keep their playoff hopes alive with a victory over the Broncos. If they lose . . .

* BRONCO UPDATE: Running back Terrell Davis has gained 2,011 yards in 22 games.

* RAIDER UPDATE: The Raiders are 12-0 at home on Monday night, 8-0 in Oakland.

* EDGE TO DENVER: The Broncos went into Oakland a year ago and knocked off the Raiders, 31-28.

* THE LINE: Oakland by 1 1/2.


San Diego plus 6 at Indianapolis

St. Louis plus 13 at Pittsburgh

Cincinnati plus 3 1/2 at Baltimore

Arizona plus 5 1/2 at N.Y. Giants

Tampa Bay plus 6 at Chicago

Carolina minus 1 1/2 at Atlanta

Houston at Seattle, even

San Fran. minus 8 1/2 at N. Orleans

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