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SPORTS WEEKEND

Week 2 Primer

September 08, 2000|STEVE SPRINGER

GAME OF THE WEEK

Oakland (1-0) at Indianapolis (1-0). The Raiders battered the No. 2 pick of the 1998 draft, Charger quarterback Ryan Leaf, last week and now set their sights on 1998's No. 1, Colt quarterback Peyton Manning. But it's a big step up from No. 2 to No. 1.

The line: Indianapolis by 6 1/2.

UPSET OF THE WEEK

Jacksonville (1-0) at Baltimore (1-0). The Ravens are favored because they are at home coming off a shutout. Nobody sees Baltimore shutting out Jacksonville. The Jaguars have won all eight games they've played against the Ravens. This will make it nine.

The line: Baltimore by 3.

POTENTIAL STAR OF THE WEEK

Denver Bronco quarterback Brian Griese. When it came to high expectations, he could either be Bob Griese's son or John Elway's successor. Last week, in the caldron of "Monday Night Football," he carved out his identity. And this week, with the pressure off, watch him air it out against Atlanta.

POTENTIAL STIFF OF THE WEEK

New England quarterback Drew Bledsoe. He never felt comfortable playing under Bill Parcells, so how comfortable will Bledsoe be coming into Parcells' lair? Parcells is in the New York Jets' front office now, but can offer pointers on how to frustrate his old quarterback.

THE BREAKDOWN

* Atlanta at Denver

Falcon quarterback Chris Chandler has passed for 800 yards in his last three games, with six touchdown passes and zero interceptions. Look for the Broncos to get him back to normal.

The line: Denver by 5.

* Chicago at Tampa Bay

Bear quarterback Cade McNown is drawing comparisons to Bobby Douglass. Buccaneer quarterback Shaun King is drawing comparisons to Trent Dilfer.

The line: Tampa Bay by 7.

* Cleveland at Cincinnati

The expansion Browns don't belong on the same field as the Cleveland teams that built a 27-26 lead in the series.

The line: Cincinnati by 6 1/2.

* Green Bay at Buffalo

The Packers have played three times in Buffalo, and lost three times. The trend figures to continue.

The line: Buffalo by 6.

* Kansas City at Tennessee

Eight for eight at Adelphia Stadium, the Titans need a victory Sunday to tie the record for the best stadium-opening streak in league history. No problem.

The line: Tennessee by 8.

* Miami at Minnesota

Potential matchup of the day: Viking receiver Randy Moss against Dolphin cornerback Sam Madison.

The line: Minnesota by 3.

* New York Giants at Philadelphia

A Giant win would be the team's seventh in a row over the Eagles. Only problem is, this streak is over.

The line: Philadelphia by 3.

* Carolina at San Francisco

The last time they met in San Francisco, Panther quarterback Steve Beuerlein threw for 300 yards and four TDs. Imagine what he'll do this time.

The line: Carolina by 3 1/2.

* St. Louis at Seattle

With Kurt Warner at the controls, the Rams gained 513 yards last week. The Seahawks ought to reach that figure by Thanksgiving.

The line: St. Louis by 8.

* Washington at Detroit

When the Lions beat the Redskins last December, 33-17, that broke a 16-game winning streak for Washington in this series, dating 34 years. A new Redskin streak is about to begin.

The line: Washington by 6.

* New Orleans at San Diego

The Saints have the second-best defense in the NFC, the best against the pass. Is there any reason to have Ryan Leaf even suit up?

The line: San Diego by 5 1/2.

* Dallas at Arizona

Emmitt Smith needs eight yards rushing to reach 14,000, leaving him 1,269 shy of Barry Sanders, second on the all-time list, and 2,726 behind all-time leader Walter Payton. Looks as if Smith will be the only Cowboy worth watching.

The line: Arizona by 3.

* New England at New York Jets

The Jets will be the ones smiling Monday night.

The line: Jets by 6 1/2.

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