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SPORTS WEEKEND | WEEK 8 PRIMER

Game Of The Week

October 20, 2000|MIKE PENNER

Miami (5-1) at New York Jets (5-1), Monday, 6 p.m., Ch. 7. What if the Jets played a big game at home and no one noticed? Who wants to watch Jay Fiedler pitch against Vinny Testaverde when Mike Hampton and Roger Clemens are on their minds? Where are Bob Griese and Joe Namath when you need them? The line: Jets by 3.

UPSET OF THE WEEK

Washington (5-2) at Jacksonville (2-5), 1:15 p.m., Ch. 11. In a midseason matchup of the hopelessly hyped, the former Green Bay bench-sitter (Mark Brunell) outmaneuvers the former Minnesota bench-sitter (Brad Johnson). Take a seat, Norv Turner. The line: Washington by 4.

POTENTIAL STAR OF THE WEEK

The Cowboy logo. Deion's gone, Michael Irvin's retired, Joey Galloway's hurt, Emmitt Smith makes bigger headlines now ripping rookie running backs, Troy Aikman throws five interceptions against the Giants. The lone star in Dallas is the one you see on each side of the helmet.

POTENTIAL STIFF OF THE WEEK

Everyone has potential: My dictionary defines "stiff" as a corpse, which is what this tired, annoying feature becomes after this week. By that definition, everyone in the league is a "potential stiff." Because the only certainties in this world are death, taxes and the Bengals missing the playoffs.

THE BREAKDOWN

* St. Louis at Kansas City, 10 a.m., Ch. 11

If the Chiefs couldn't beat Rich Gannon and Tyrone Wheatley, how are they going to stop Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk and the Greater St. Louis Track Club?

The line: St. Louis by 7.

* Buffalo at Minnesota, 10 a.m.

If this were a Super Bowl matchup, they'd have canceled it by Wednesday. Because if it were, neither the Bills (0-4 in the Super Bowl during the 1990s) nor the Vikings (0-4 during the 1970s) could win it.

The line: Minnesota by 6.

* Tennessee at Baltimore, 10 a.m.

Tony Banks hasn't produced a touchdown in three weeks, but there is no quarterback controversy in Baltimore. That's because the other quarterback is Trent Dilfer.

The line: Baltimore by 1.

* New England at Indianapolis, 10 a.m.

Colt President Bill Polian says Peyton Manning, in his third NFL season, is "where Jim Kelly was in his fifth year." And he's right. Kelly was in Buffalo in his fifth year, Manning is now in Indianapolis. That's as close to a push as you're going to get.

The line: Indianapolis by 8.

* Arizona at Dallas, 10 a.m.

So sad to see how far the once-mighty have fallen. The Cardinals were a playoff team in 1998.

The line: Dallas by 7.

* San Francisco at Carolina, 10 a.m.

Y.A. Tittle, John Brodie, Joe Montana, Steve Young, Jeff Garcia. The 49ers' gold-plated quarterback assembly line simply never rests.

The line: Carolina by 3.

* Denver at Cincinnati, 10 a.m.

Akili Smith, benched for Scott Mitchell. Akili Smith, searching for one good reason to get out of bed in the morning.

The line: Denver by 10.

* Chicago at Philadelphia, 10 a.m.

McNown versus McNabb. And two cities resume their petition campaign for Jim McMahon For Sainthood.

The line: Philadelphia by 7.

* New Orleans at Atlanta, 10 a.m.

The Rams might be good, but come on, take a closer look at that walk-through division of theirs. The Saints are 3-3, in second place, causing raucous snake-dancing down Bourbon Street.

The line: New Orleans by 1.

* Seattle at Oakland, 1 p.m., Ch. 2

So many questions haunting these staunch football towns: Are the M's better off without Griffey? Are the A's better off without McGwire? Can the M's find a way to keep A-Rod? Can the A's find another Giambi? Can either find a way to beat the Yankees in 2001?

The line: Oakland by 7.

* Cleveland at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.

Four helmet sides, only one logo decal. How cheap can two professional football franchises be?

The line: Pittsburgh by 9.

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