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SPORTS WEEKEND | WEEK 6 PRIMER

Game Of The Week

October 06, 2000|STEVE SPRINGER

Tampa Bay (3-2) at Minnesota (4-0), Monday, 6 p.m., Ch. 7. This game isn't as big as it appeared to be a few weeks ago because the Buccaneers haven't been as good as anticipated. That could change if Tony Dungy opens up his mind and his offense.

The line: Minnesota by 1.

UPSET OF THE WEEK

Seattle (2-3) at Carolina (1-3), 1:15 p.m. The Seahawks get a new starting quarterback in Brock Huard. The Panthers get a new offensive coordinator in Richard Williamson. The result? The guy on the field inspires, the guy upstairs struggles and it's upset time.

The line: Carolina by 3 1/2.

POTENTIAL STAR OF THE WEEK

San Diego Charger quarterback Jim Harbaugh. A Charger quarterback as star of the week? Could be because Harbaugh goes against the Denver Broncos, 14th among AFC teams in pass defense. Besides, how good does Harbaugh have to be to look like a star compared to his predecessor, Ryan Leaf?

POTENTIAL STIFF OF THE WEEK

Chicago Bear quarterback Cade McNown. On the learning curve, this figures to be a steep drop for McNown, who has thrown five interceptions along with six touchdown passes. His opponents this week, the New Orleans Saints, have the league's best defense and are best against the pass. This could be ugly.

THE BREAKDOWN

* Buffalo at Miami, 10 a.m.

Dolphins' Thurman Thomas needs 112 rushing yards to surpass Franco Harris and move into eighth on the NFL's all-time list. Thomas would love to do it against the Bills.

The line: Miami by 1 1/2

* Green Bay at Detroit, 10 a.m.

In his past eight games at the Silverdome, Packer quarterback Brett Favre has thrown 17 interceptions. And those were in the days when his arm was at full strength.

The line: Detroit by 3

* Indianapolis at N. England, 10 a.m., Ch. 2

Patriot quarterback Drew Bledsoe has won six of his last seven games against the Colts, throwing 16 touchdown passes and only two interceptions.

The line: Indianapolis by 3 1/2

* New Orleans at Chicago, 10 a.m.

The Saints have given up an average of only 234.5 yards a game, 143.8 through the air. Both totals are the league's lowest. The problem: New Orleans has scored a conference-low 55 points.

The line: Chicago by 5 1/2

* Pittsburgh at New York Jets, 10 a.m.

The Bus is back on the road. Jerome Bettis has 307 yards rushing and four touchdowns in his last three games. The Jets are 1-8 at home against the Steelers.

The line: New York by 8

* Tennessee at Cincinnati, 10 a.m.

Titans love October, a month in which they have won nine of their last 11. Quarterback Steve McNair loves the Bengals, a team he has victimized for 11 touchdown passes.

The line: Tennessee by 9 1/2

* Washington at Philadelphia, 10 a.m., Ch. 11

Donovan McNabb, beware. Redskin defensive end Marco Coleman is on a rampage with a league-leading eight sacks, a career high.

The line: Washington by 3

* New York Giants at Atlanta, 1 p.m.

With 62 carries, Giants' Tiki Barber has already equaled his 1999 total. And he's making good use of the opportunity with a 6.3-yard per-carry average.

The line: Pick.

* Oakland at S. Francisco, 1:15 p.m., Ch. 2

If the Raiders can hold on for the first 15 minutes, watch out. They have outscored their opponents, 93-42, in the final three quarters.

The line: Oakland by 4 1/2

* Cleveland at Arizona, 1:15 p.m

With 72 yards rushing and an equal amount receiving last week against San Francisco, Arizona's Michael Pittman has moved into the starting lineup.

The line: Arizona by 4 1/2

* Denver at San Diego, 1:15 p.m.

The Broncos have scored more than 30 points in their last four games in Qualcomm Stadium, including Super Bowl XXXII. No reason to think Denver's streak will end Sunday.

* The line: Denver by 6 1/2

* Baltimore at Jacksonville, 5:15 p.m., ESPN

Stop the presses. Raven quarterback Tony Banks has won eight of his last 10 starts. Of course it helps that Baltimore has the conference's best defense.

The line: Jacksonville by 2 1/2

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