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PRO FOOTBALL WEEK 1

Tonight's Game

September 07, 1998|The Sporting News

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS AT DENVER BRONCOS

* Kickoff: 6 p.m.

* TV: Channel 7.

* Storyline: This could be a preview of the AFC title game and is the official beginning of the "John Elway Farewell Tour," and that should add more intrigue to the game. Denver has much the same look as last season, but New England will have a new starting running back, probably rookie Robert Edwards, thanks to the exodus of Curtis Martin to the Jets. Edwards is quick but injury-prone. He'll get a tough initiation to the NFL by trying to run against Denver linebackers John Mobley and Bill Romanowski. Quarterback Drew Bledsoe is one of the game's best but tends to wilt in big games. Much more will be asked of him because Martin is gone. Wide receiver Terry Glenn needs to become more consistent and stay healthy. The offensive line is solid. Denver's philosophy of beating teams down with Terrell Davis won't change. Elway is still dangerous, but he's the secondary focus on offense. The Broncos had their most serious upheaval from last season on the offensive line. Left tackle Gary Zimmerman retired, and guard Brian Habib departed for Seattle via free agency. New starters Harry Swayne and David Diaz-Infante must make a smooth transition.

* The Line: Broncos by 7.

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