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SPORTS WEEKEND | WEEK 5 PRIMER

Game Of The Week

September 29, 2000|STEVE SPRINGER

Minnesota (3-0) at Detroit (3-1), 10 a.m. This could also qualify as the upset of the week since the oddsmakers have inexplicably favored the Lions, a team with no offense (a conference-low four offensive touchdowns) against an unbeaten club with offensive firepower in Moss and company.

UPSET OF THE WEEK

Indianapolis (2-1) at Buffalo (2-1), 10 a.m. Don't the oddsmakers get Monday Night Football at home? Didn't they watch the Colts dominate a pretty good Jacksonville team? Even though the Bills are coming off a bye week, they have beaten Tennessee and Green Bay, weak and weaker.

POTENTIAL STAR OF THE WEEK

Dallas Cowboy running back Emmitt Smith. The Lone Star in Dallas' attack. He is still fuming over Terrell Owens' taunting last week. And there is no more frightful sight to a defensive lineman than a fuming Smith. Watch him flatten Panthers while imagining they are 49ers.

POTENTIAL STIFF OF THE WEEK

San Francisco 49er receiver Terrell Owens. This isn't a matter of potential. Owens is already a stiff. He'll spend this weekend out of uniform, his punishment for taunting the Cowboys, an act he claimed was actually a form of praying. Maybe he can spend the time off praying for brains.

THE BREAKDOWN

* Dallas at Carolina, 10 a.m.

Cowboy rookie kicker Tim Seder is six for six on field-goal attempts. So much for the Dallas highlights.

The line: Carolina by 6

* Baltimore at Cleveland, 10 a.m.

Browns must hope defensive linemen Keith McKenzie (four sacks) and Courtney Brown (three) can get through Raven tackles Jonathan Ogden and Harry Swayne. Don't bet the house on it.

The line: Baltimore by 8 1/2

* N.Y. Giants at Tennessee, 10 a.m., Ch. 11

The Titans have yet to lose in Adelphia Coliseum in a streak that has stretched to nine games over two seasons.

The line: Tennessee by 5

* Pittsburgh at Jacksonville, 10 a.m.

Since 1995, the Steelers have a 13-6 record in October, best in the conference. Looking at its current personnel, this Pittsburgh team may be in for a long hunt for a winning October.

The line: No line

* San Diego at St. Louis, 10 a.m., Ch. 2

The winning team has scored at least 30 points in five of the previous six games in this series. Be assured, the Rams will score at least 30.

The line: St. Louis by 17

* Miami at Cincinnati, 1 p.m.

The Dolphins lead the league in interceptions (nine) and have held opposing quarterbacks to a league-low 46.4 passer rating. Miami has given up only 22 points. Cincinnati has scored only seven. Need we go on?

The line: Miami by 7

* New England at Denver, 1 p.m.

The Broncos, winners of 10 of the past 11 against the Patriots, have not lost to New England at Mile High Stadium since 1968.

The line: Denver by 8 1/2

* Arizona at San Francisco, 1:15 p.m.

It must run in the family. 49er quarterback Jeff Garcia has a 100.6 quarterback rating. San Francisco's Joe Montana and Steve Young had a third of the 27 100-plus QB season-ratings in league history.

The line: San Francisco by 3 1/2

* Chicago at Green Bay, 1:15 p.m.

The Bears have blocked seven of the last 29 field goals attempted against them. At least Chicago fans have something to talk about.

The line: Green Bay by 5 1/2

* Tampa Bay at Washington, 1:15 p.m., Ch. 11

Although the Buccaneer defense crumbled in the closing minutes against the New York Jets last week, Tampa Bay is still the only team in its conference to not allow a rushing touchdown.

The line: Washington by 1 1/2

* Atlanta at Philadelphia, 5:20 p.m., ESPN

In the last two weeks, the Falcons have recovered two fumbled punt returns and an onside kick, blocked a punt and a field-goal attempt, and caused another attempt to be aborted.

The line: Philadelphia by 3

* Seattle at Kansas City, Mon., 6 p.m., Ch. 7

The Seahawks' .706 winning percentage is the best on Monday Night Football for teams playing at least 10 games.

The line: Kansas City by 4

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