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SPORTS WEEKEND | WEEK 3 PRIMER

Game Of The Week

September 15, 2000|STEVE SPRINGER

Buffalo (2-0) at New York Jets (2-0). Jet quarterback Vinny Testaverde finally woke up to lead a fourth-quarter rally Monday against New England. That won't work against the AFC's top-ranked defense. The Bills' Rob Johnson should start fast, finish strong.

The line: N.Y. Jets by 1.

UPSET OF THE WEEK

New York Giants (2-0) at Chicago (0-2). It's hard to believe the Bears, who were demolished by Tampa Bay last week, are favored. Obviously, the oddsmakers haven't seen the Bears' swinging door on defense. Or seen the Giants run over their previous opponents.

The line: Chicago by 2 1/2.

POTENTIAL STAR OF THE WEEK

Washington Redskin owner Daniel Snyder. Forget Norv Turner, Brad Johnson and Deion Sanders. The star will be the owner, prowling the sidelines in search of Melissa Stark, Eric Dickerson and every ABC camera. That's why Snyder spent $800 million to buy this team. He's more attracted to a spotlight than a moth.

POTENTIAL STIFF OF THE WEEK

Dallas Cowboy owner Jerry Jones. This will be the toughest week of the season for Jones, tougher than all the losses that lie ahead. Because Jones' team will get thoroughly whipped, leaving him in the shadow of Snyder. For Jones, seeing his players battered is a lot easier than having his ego battered.

THE BREAKDOWN

* San Francisco at St. Louis, 10 a.m., Ch. 11

A byproduct of the Rams' resurrection has been their revival in this bitter rivalry. The Rams are shooting for a three-game winning streak in the series for the first time in 20 years.

* The line: St. Louis by 16 1/2.

* Atlanta at Carolina, 10 a.m.

After 10 meetings, these teams are separated by a single point, Falcons ahead 209-208. Even with the porous Atlanta defense, look for the Panthers to be held under 200 points.

* The line: Carolina by 6

* Cincinnati at Jacksonville, 10 a.m.

In his last five games, the Jaguars' Jimmy Smith has caught 47 passes for 746 yards. The Bengals are giving up an average of 354 yards a game. You do the math.

* The line: Jacksonville by 13.

* Tampa Bay at Detroit, 10 a.m.

The Buccaneer defense has yielded two offensive touchdowns in its last five games. The Lions have not scored an offensive touchdown this season. You do the math.

* The line: Tampa Bay by 3.

* Philadelphia at Green Bay, 10 a.m.

These teams met 40 years ago for the NFL title, with the Eagles winning, 17-13. There won't be a rematch this season.

* The line: Green Bay by 4 1/2.

* Pittsburgh at Cleveland, 10 a.m.

Why bother? The schedule demands it. The Browns are tied with the Buccaneers for the league lead with 11 sacks.

* The line: Pittsburgh by 2 1/2.

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

The Broncos need 26 points to set a club record for the highest point total in their opening three games. And that includes the era of a quarterback named Elway.

* The line: Oakland by 3.

* San Diego at Kansas City, 1 p.m.

The Chiefs got crushing news Thursday. Quarterback Ryan Leaf will not start for the Chargers.

* The line: Kansas City by 5.

* Minnesota at New England, 1:15 p.m., Ch. 11

Viking receiver Cris Carter is averaging 17.6 yards a catch, which, for a full season, would be his best average in 12 years. The yardage will be tough to get, however, against the Patriots' Ty Law.

* The line: New England by 1 1/2.

* New Orleans at Seattle, 1:15 p.m.

Joe Horn leads NFC with 17 catches. The last Saint to lead the conference in pass-catching over a season was Dan Abramowicz 31 years ago.

* The line: Seattle by 6.

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

Miami has won 11 straight on its home field in September in a streak that stretches back over seven years. Good-bye streak.

* The line: Baltimore by 2 1/2.

* Dallas at Washington, Mon., 6 p.m., Ch. 7

These clubs are meeting on "Monday Night Football" for a record 11th time. The Cowboys are 33-25 on Mondays, the Redskins 23-22. None of that, however, will help this injury-plagued, struggling Dallas team.

* The line: Washington by 10 1/2.

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