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THE NFL / WEEK 2

Today's Games

September 07, 1997|T.J. SIMERS

CINCINNATI at BALTIMORE

* Kickoff: 10 a.m.

* Records: Bengals 1-0, Ravens 0-1

* Story Line: The Bengals were on their way to a defeat and the Ravens had a chance to win last week. They should continue to go in opposite directions. The Bengals hogged the ball an average of 37 minutes 30 seconds in beating the Ravens twice last year, and Ki-Jana Carter gets another chance to establish his credentials.

* The Line: Bengals by 2.

* The Pick: Edge to the Bengals.

NEW ENGLAND at INDIANAPOLIS

* Kickoff: 10 a.m.

* Records: Patriots 1-0, Colts 0-1

* Story Line: The Patriots look as if they are a better pick to duplicate the 1972 Miami Dolphins' perfect record than the Packers. Or maybe they were just playing the Chargers last week and everybody will look awesome given that opportunity. The Colts have five guys in front of Jim Harbaugh who should be indicted for attempted quarterback-slaughter. Patriots have won five of last seven meetings, but could get blindsided if they are looking ahead to next week's meeting with old coach Bill Parcells.

* The Line: Patriots by 5.

* The Pick: Slight edge to Patriots.

SAN FRANCISCO at ST. LOUIS

* Kickoff: 10 a.m.

* TV: Channel 11

* Records: 49ers 0-1, Rams 1-0

* Story Line: Rams haven't beaten the 49ers since Dickie Vermeil was learning how to ride his first tricycle, and now they get their chance. Looks like the lock of the week with the beaten-up 49ers coming into the noisy Trans World Dome, where the Rams are feeling so good after last week's win. Get real. The Rams trailed the Saints at halftime last week.

* The Line: Rams by 2

* The Pick: Slight edge to 49ers.

WASHINGTON at PITTSBURGH

* Kickoff: 10 a.m.

* Records: Redskins 1-0, Steelers 0-1

* Story Line: Here's our first look at the embarrassment rule. The Steelers got drilled and the Redskins have won the last three meetings between these teams. But Terry Allen's hurting, and is Gus Frerotte really that much better than Kordell Stewart? Probably so, but all Stewart is going to be doing is handing the ball off to Jerome Bettis.

* The Line: Steelers by 6.

* The Pick: Edge to Steelers.

TENNESSEE at MIAMI

* Kickoff: 10 a.m.

* Records: Oilers 1-0, Dolphins 1-0

* Story Line: Last four meetings have been decided by four points or less, with Miami overcoming a 14-0 deficit last year to win, 23-20. Simple formula to beat the Oilers this year--stop Eddie George, and Steve McNair has to throw and opponent wins. Jimmy Johnson appears smart enough to figure that out.

* The Line: Dolphins by 6.

* The Pick: Edge to Dolphins.

MINNESOTA at CHICAGO

* Kickoff: 10 a.m.

* Records: Vikings 1-0, Bears 0-1.

* Story Line: The Bears gave it their all against the Packers, and now lie down for a long winter's nap. Minnesota has won four of last five in Chicago, and Brad Johnson looks like a quarterback. Vikings had to stop Bills' running attack last week, so they won't need practice to stop Raymont Harris & Co.

* The Line: Vikings by 1 1/2.

* The Pick: Edge to Vikings.

TAMPA BAY at DETROIT

* Kickoff: 10 a.m.

* Records: Buccaneers 1-0, Lions 1-0

* Story Line: Everybody loves a freak show, and the Buccaneers now qualify, because when's the last time anyone saw Tampa Bay sporting a winning record? The Buccaneers have the defense to throttle the Lions and the Lions don't have the defense to stop anyone. And Tampa Bay has won six of its last eight games going back to last year. Freaky, huh? No, lucky.

* The Line: Lions by 4 1/2.

* The Pick: Edge to Lions.

BUFFALO at NEW YORK JETS

* Kickoff: 10 a.m.

* Records: Bills 0-1, Jets 1-0

* Story Line: The Bills have won the last four, but any football fan who can't wait for his Sundays must be rooting for the Jets to win, thereby adding hype to Bill Parcells' return to New England next week. The Bills will run at the Jets, and their defense will pressure quarterback Neil O'Donnell. This has trouble written all over it for the Jets.

* The Line: Jets by 5.

* The Pick: Edge to the Jets.

CAROLINA at ATLANTA

* Kickoff: 10 a.m.

* Records: Panthers 0-1, Falcons 0-1

* Story Line: The Panthers suddenly look old and not so sharp on defense. They are also getting hit hard by injuries. The Falcons went nowhere running the ball against a terrible defense in Detroit and have Chris Chandler at quarterback. Carolina needs only a field goal.

* The Line: Panthers by 3.

* The Pick: Edge to Panthers.

SAN DIEGO at NEW ORLEANS

* Kickoff: 10 a.m.

* Records: Chargers 0-1, Saints 1-0

* Story Line: Figure this one out: You have Jim Everett returning motivated to play the Saints, and New Orleans turning out en masse to welcome Mike Ditka in his first home game. Goose bumps, if anyone cared to watch. Given the Chargers' level of embarrassment and the Saints' level of talent, this looks easy. But it would be more fun with a fairy-tale ending for Ditka, and who can picture Ditka being the main character in any fairy tale?

* The Line: Saints by 2.

* The Pick: Slight edge to Saints.

GREEN BAY at PHILADELPHIA

* Kickoff: 1 p.m.

* TV: Channel 11.

* Records: Packers 1-0, Eagles 0-1

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