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SPORTS WEEKEND | WEEK 4 PRIMER

Game Of The Week

September 22, 2000|STEVE SPRINGER

New York Jets (3-0) at Tampa Bay (3-0), 1:15 p.m. Vinny and the Jets have remained unbeaten because of big plays. But in Raymond James Stadium, nothing is bigger to an opposing quarterback than the sight of Warren Sapp bearing down on him. Say good night, Vinny.

* The line: Tampa Bay by 7.

UPSET OF THE WEEK

New England Patriots (0-3) at Miami (2-1), 10 a.m., Ch. 2. Sooner or later, the Patriots are going to win one of those close games. Sooner or later, the Dolphins are going to lose at home. It turns out that it all happens as soon as Sunday with underdog New England pulling off the upset.

* The line: Miami by 4 1/2.

POTENTIAL STAR OF THE WEEK

Washington Redskin quarterback Jeff George. Imagine a horse locked in the starting gate for four weeks. Imagine what he'd do when that gate flung open. This week, with starting quarterback Brad Johnson again struggling, the gate will finally fling open for George. New York Giants beware.

POTENTIAL STIFF OF THE WEEK

Washington Redskin quarterback Brad Johnson. George won't get his chance unless Johnson falters. Consider that Johnson struggled against the Dallas Cowboy defense. Consider that the Giants have a much better defense. Consider Coach Norv Turner has Johnson on a short lease. Consider Johnson gone.

THE BREAKDOWN

* Cincinnati at Baltimore, 10 a.m.

Raven quarterback Tony Banks is 2-0 against the Bengals. Big deal. Isn't every quarterback at least 2-0 against hapless Cincinnati?

The line: Baltimore by 11 1/2.

* San Francisco at Dallas, 10 a.m., Ch. 11

49er running back Fred Beasley has five touchdowns (two rushing and three receiving) after getting a total of four in his previous two seasons.

The line: Dallas by 6 1/2.

* Detroit at Chicago, 10 a.m.

Bear receiver Marcus Robinson had 11 catches for 170 yards and three touchdowns in his last game against the Lions. But it won't mean a thing this week if Cade McNown keeps overthrowing him.

The line: Chicago by 1 1/2.

* Philadelphia at New Orleans, 10 a.m.

Shut down Duce Staley, shut down the Eagles. With 453 yards of total offense, the Philadelphia running back has accounted for 54.4% of his team's total.

The line: New Orleans by 1 1/2.

* St. Louis at Atlanta, 10 a.m.

Ram quarterback Kurt Warner needs 197 yards through the air to surpass Patriot QB Drew Bledsoe's 1,417 yards, the league record for the first four games.

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

* Green Bay at Arizona, 1 p.m.

Still paying attention, fantasy owners? Cardinal receiver David Boston has two touchdown catches in his first two games after having only two all of last season.

The line: Arizona by 1.

* Tennessee at Pittsburgh, 10 a.m.

The Steelers are 22-7 when Jerome Bettis rushes for at least 100 yards. The Bus is still piling up the miles, but, with Pittsburgh having so many other problems, he's on a road going nowhere.

The line: Tennessee by 7.

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

Raider dilemma. Who to use--Napoleon Kaufman (8.9 yards a carry) or Tyrone Wheatley (six touchdowns in last six games)?

The line: Oakland by 10 1/2.

* Kansas City at Denver, 1:15 p.m.

The Chiefs have won 26 consecutive games when leading at halftime. That would be great if only they were good enough to get ahead.

The line: Denver by 7

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

Seahawk quarterback Jon Kitna has a 122.1 rating in the fourth quarter, third best in the conference. Now if he can only do something about those other three quarters.

The line: Seattle by 2.

* Washington at N.Y. Giants, 5:20 p.m., ESPN

If the Giants can win, they will be 4-0 for the first time since 1990, a season that culminated in their victory in Super Bowl XXV.

The line: N.Y. Giants by 1

* Jacksonville at Indianapolis, 6 p.m. Mon., Ch. 7

Think they're excited about the return of Monday Night Football in Indianapolis? A civic rally will be held downtown Monday afternoon.

The line: Indianapolis by 3 1/2.

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