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Today's Games

September 28, 1997

Jacksonville at Washington

* Kickoff: 10 a.m.

* TV: Channel 4.

* Records: Jaguars 3-0, Redskins 2-1.

* Storyline: The Redskins had an extra week of practice to figure out how to get to Mark Brunell. They probably need twice as long to figure out a way to stop running back Natrone Means, but Jacksonville looked a little overrated against the Steelers.

* The Line: Redskins by 1 1/2.

* The Pick: Upset Special, the Redskins.

Green Bay Packers (3-1) at Detroit Lions (2-2)

* Kickoff: 10 a.m.

* TV: Channel 11.

* Records: Packers 3-1, Lions 2-2.

* Storyline: Exam time for the Packers, who appear to have lost the edge. The Lions were left embarrassed in New Orleans, and if the Packers aren't the same team as a year ago, Detroit can make them mighty uncomfortable. Detroit has no defense, the Packers have offense and this looks like another blowout, though, if everyone plays to form.

* The Line: Packers by 7 1/2.

* The Pick: Packers.

Chicago Bears (0-4) at Dallas Cowboys (2-1)

* Kickoff: 1 p.m.

* TV: Channel 11.

* Records: Bears 0-4, Cowboys 2-1.

* Storyline: A Jerry Jones-coached team could win this one. The Cowboys probably need a confidence builder and wouldn't be surprised to see them pound the Bears, who don't have a thing to scare Dallas. Just wait until next week when the Bears welcome Mike Ditka back to Chicago.

* The Line: Cowboys by 14.

* The Pick: Cowboys.

Philadelphia at Minnesota

* Kickoff: 5 p.m.

* TV: TNT.

* Records: Eagles 1-2, Vikings 2-2.

* Storyline: The Vikings were in position to upset the Packers early on, couldn't nudge the ball into the end zone and then came storming back only to fall short. The Eagles have had two weeks to deal with their disappointing defeat in Dallas. Who plays with the best frame of mind?

* The Line: Vikings by 2 1/2.

* The Pick: Vikings.

Cardinals (1-2) at Buccaneers (4-0)

Arizona at Tampa Bay

* Kickoff: 10 a.m.

* Records: Cardinals 1-2, Buccaneers 4-0.

* Storyline: Trent Dilfer is on a mission from God, Warrick Dunn and Mike Alstott are the greatest backfield tandem since Jim Kiick and Larry Csonka and the NFL trophy for congeniality will be retired in Tony Dungy's name. The Buccaneers remain the best story in football, and while matched against the poor wretches from Arizona, who also could be undefeated if they had any luck, next week everyone gets the game of the year: New England at Denver. Just kidding: undefeated Tampa Bay at 4-1 Green Bay. So long as the Buccaneers don't fall in the trap and look ahead a week and lose to the Cardinals.

* The Line: Buccaneers by 7 1/2.

* The Pick: Trap City, baby, the Cardinals.

Broncos (4-0) at Falcons (0-4)

* Kickoff: 10 a.m.

* Records: Broncos 4-0, Falcons 0-4.

* Storyline: Dan Reeves vs. John Elway for the first time, and Elway has been waiting for this moment, believing throughout his career he would have better stats today than Dan Marino if Reeves had just let him play. Since Reeves' departure, Elway has been brilliant, and the Broncos haven't won a playoff game. Some kind of revenge for Elway & Co.--they get Reeves without a team to coach.

* The Line: Broncos by 13.

* The Pick: Broncos.

Oilers (1-2) at Steelers (1-2)

* Kickoff: 10 a.m.

* Records: Oilers 1-2, Steelers 1-2.

* Storyline: A match race between two battering rams with Eddie George and Jerome Bettis piling up three yards at a time, while Steve McNair and Kordell Stewart try to stay out of the way. The Steelers trampled the Jaguars' run defense, and by now they've figured out how to snap the ball from center to holder.

* The Line: Steelers by 6 1/2.

* The Pick: Steelers.

Saints (1-3) at Giants (1-3)

* Kickoff: 10 a.m.

* Records: Saints 1-3, Giants 1-3.

* Storyline: Time capsule material to keep all aliens away from this planet. Dave Brown vs. Heath Shuler, and these are supposed to be the best football players in the land playing each other every Sunday.

* The Line: Giants by 5.

* The Pick: Giants.

Ravens (3-1) at Chargers (1-3)

* Kickoff: 1 p.m.

* Records: Ravens 3-1, Chargers 1-3.

* Storyline: Sooner or later the Ravens will revert to form, but against the Chargers? San Diego has failed to get a grasp on Coach Kevin Gilbride's new offense, and now kicker John Carney has a sore knee. The Chargers don't have the weapons to beat anyone, but then they are playing the Ravens.

* The Line: Chargers by 1 1/2.

* The Pick: Chargers.

Jets (2-2) at Bengals (1-2)

* Kickoff: 1 p.m.

* Records: Jets 2-2, Bengals 1-2.

* Storyline: The Bengals continue to disappoint, but Ki-Jana Carter had shown signs of life before he got hurt. If they can muster a rushing game, Jeff Blake and Carl Pickens should present problems for the Jets' secondary. Until Keyshawn Johnson becomes a bigger factor in the Jet offense, teams like Cincinnati should be able to hang with Neil O'Donnell, Wayne Chrebet and Adrian Murrell.

* The Line: Bengals by 4.

* The Pick: Bengals.

Rams (2-2) at Raiders (1-3)

* Kickoff: 1 p.m.

* Records: Rams 2-2, Raiders 1-3.

* Storyline: A crossroads game for both teams. If the Raiders make the wrong turn, they fall off the face of the earth. If the Rams make the wrong move, as they did three weeks ago against the 49ers, they will have to spend all of their time telling everyone they are not the same old Rams. If the Raider defense makes an appearance, it's no contest.

* The Line: Raiders by 7.

* The Pick: Raiders.

Seahawks (2-2) at Chiefs (3-1)

* Kickoff: 1 p.m.

* Records: Seahawks 2-2, Chiefs 3-1.

* Storyline: Chiefs try to stay within striking distance of the Broncos, while the Seahawks try to give Coach Dennis Erickson a fighting chance to keep his job. The Seahawk secondary has been destroyed by the opposition's passing game, and Elvis Grbac and Co. are coming on strong for the Chiefs.

* The Line: Chiefs by 5.

* The Pick: Chiefs.

* Off this week: Buffalo, Indianapolis, Miami and New England.

* Last week's record: 9-4.

* Overall record: 37-19.

* Overall upset special record: 2-2.

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