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SPORTS WEEKEND

Week 1 Primer

September 01, 2000|STEVE SPRINGER

GAME OF THE WEEK

Tennessee at Buffalo. The Bills have spent off-season with one traumatizing image in mind: Kevin Dyson eliminating them on the Music City Miracle. The Titans have their own traumatizing image: Dyson stopped a yard short of potential victory in the Super Bowl.

Line: even.

UPSET OF THE WEEK

Chicago over Minnesota. The Daunte Culpepper era begins with a big thud. Wipe that smile off your face, Jeff George. With a bumpy year of experience to fortify him, Cade McNown shows that he is ready to take over the Bears' controls.

Line: Minnesota by 4 1/2.

POTENTIAL STAR OF THE WEEK

St. Louis Ram Coach Mike Martz. Talk about pressure! Martz, the Rams' offensive coordinator last season, is taking over the defending Super Bowl champion. Martz will quickly set the tone Monday for another Super Bowl drive in St. Louis, showing he can be Dick Vermeil without the tears.

POTENTIAL STIFF OF THE WEEK

San Diego Charger quarterback Ryan Leaf. We know, his shoulder is sound. We know, his attitude is changed. We know, his numbers were up in the exhibition season. But this Leaf has been known to blow it before. And against the reinvigorated Oakland Raiders on their home turf, Leaf figures to blow it again.

* Arizona at New York Giants: This New York victory will give the Giants false hope. Repeat after us, guys: "It's only the Cardinals. It's only the Cardinals."

The line: New York by 6 1/2.

* Baltimore at Pittsburgh: Ravens will win despite Tony Banks, not because of him. Steelers have problems of their own at quarterback.

The line: Baltimore by 2 1/2.

* Carolina at Washington: The Redskins will get off to a fast start against the beat-up Panthers. Good thing for Norv Turner and his $100-million roster.

The line: Washington by 10 1/2.

* Detroit at New Orleans: Rudderless Lions, waiting for their quarterback to heal, will lose their opener. Jim Haslett and Saints will be happy to find it.

The line: even.

* Indianapolis at Kansas City: The Colt offensive steamroller, back in gear after an unexpected playoff breakdown, will roll over the Chiefs.

The line: Indianapolis by 3.

* Jacksonville at Cleveland: The Jaguars will win big and pretend they are playing the Titans. Browns will have a big crowd.

The line: Jacksonville by 10 1/2.

* New York Jets at Green Bay: Brett Favre, still struggling because of sore elbow, gets upset in this duel between veteran quarterbacks and rookie coaches.

The line: Green Bay by 2 1/2.

* Philadelphia at Dallas: Cowboys enjoy an easy Sunday, but know full well there won't be many more.

The line: Dallas by 6.

* San Diego at Oakland: Raiders terrorize Leaf, causing him to revert to his old, inept ways.

The line: Oakland by 6 1/2.

* San Francisco at Atlanta: Once upon a time, this was a mismatch. It still is, but now the Falcons win easily.

The line: Atlanta by 7.

* Seattle at Miami: The good news for the Seahawks is that Marino is gone. The bad news is, they'll lose anyway.

The line: Miami by 2.

* Tampa Bay at New England: How big a difference will Keyshawn Johnson make? The Patriots will be the first to find out in this Buccaneer victory.

The line: Tampa Bay by 3.

* Denver at St. Louis (Monday): Two sure bets. Georgia Frontiere will hog as much prime time as she can on the sideline. And the Rams will hog the ball in winning big.

The line: St. Louis by 6 1/2.

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