NFL Week 1: Today's games

September 12, 1999

Arizona at Philadelphia

Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Cardinals by 3.

Vs. spread (1998): Cardinals 6-11; Eagles 7-7.

Series: Cardinals lead, 49-48-5.

Last meeting: Cardinals won, 20-17, in OT on Dec. 13, 1998, in Philadelphia.

Outlook: QB Jake Plummer ripped the Cardinals' front office last week over how it was handling the holdout of star WR Rob Moore. Several days later, Moore was in camp. That is the growing influence of Plummer inside the organization, and it will soon be felt across the league. Plummer will play with a sore thumb and WR Frank Sanders has an injured ankle, but Arizona has more than enough firepower to beat one of the league's worst teams. Eagles QB Doug Pederson will make his first career start, and Andy Reid will make his NFL coaching debut.

Notable: Cardinals have lost seven consecutive opening games, the longest current streak of its kind in the NFL. RB Duce Staley led the Eagles in rushing yards (1,065) and receptions (57) last year.


CARDINALS: Out: DT Eric Swann (knee). Questionable: QB Jake Plummer (thumb); WR Frank Sanders (ankle). Probable: T Jon Clark (neck).

EAGLES: Questionable: QB Koy Detmer (back); DT Bill Johnson (ankle); CB Bobby Taylor (ankle). Probable: S Brian Dawkins (back); WR Brian Finneran (concussion); T John Welbourn (knee).

Cincinnati at Tennessee Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Titans by 9 1/2.

Vs. spread (1998): Bengals 4-11; Titans 8-8.

Series: Titans lead, 31-28-1.

Last meeting: Titans (then Oilers) won, 44-14, on Oct. 18, 1998, in Tennessee.

Outlook: In six career starts against Tennessee, Bengals QB Jeff Blake has an 11-to-1 TD-to-interception ratio and a 93.9 passer rating, but the teams have split the games. The reason: Titans RB Eddie George, who has rushed for 538 yards in that span and faces a Cincinnati defense that gave up 360.2 yards a game and did nothing in the off-season to improve. This is the Titans' first game at Adelphia Coliseum, which should provide some home-field edge after playing in three different stadiums the past three years.

Notable: Bengals have the NFL's second-worst record this decade at 48-96. Titans QB Steve McNair has no interceptions in five games vs. the Bengals.


BENGALS: Out: T Mike Doughty (foot). Questionable: RB Nick Williams (ankle). Probable: CB Artrell Hawkins (ankle); WR James Hundon (toe); DT Kimo von Oelhoffen (foot).

TITANS: Questionable: WR Isaac Byrd (groin); S Anthony Dorsett hamstring); TE Jackie Harris (rib); DE Kenny Holmes (knee); CB Steve Jackson (hamstring); G Jason Layman (finger); LB Jason Mathews (back); DT Joe Salave'a (concussion); LB Dennis Stallings (calf).

Oakland at Green Bay Time: 1 p.m.

Line: Packers by 8 1/2.

Vs. spread (1998): Raiders 7-9; Packers 6-8.

Series: Raiders lead, 5-2.

Last meeting: Packers won, 28-0, on Dec. 26, 1993, in Green Bay.

Outlook: After its run of three straight NFC Central titles was ended last year by the Vikings, Green Bay is counting on new coach Ray Rhodes to stir up a team that was distracted by Mike Holmgren's imminent departure. Having Brett Favre as your quarterback and playing at Lambeau Field will help, too. Favre is still the top passer in the game, and the Packers have won 30 of their past 31 home games. The Raiders' offense is still in the building stages, with new QB Rich Gannon trying to learn the system.

Notable: Raiders have the NFL's toughest schedule (opponents' 1998 winning percentage is .570). Packers' Antonio Freeman (Poly) has 26 TD catches over the past two seasons, the most by an NFL wide receiver in that span.


RAIDERS: Out: QB Scott Dreisbach (leg); T Matt Stinchcomb (shoulder). Doubtful: RB Zack Crockett (foot). Probable: QB Wade Wilson (finger).

PACKERS: Probable: G Joe Andruzzi (knee); WR Corey Bradford (shoulder); TE Mark Chmura (neck); CB Tod McBride (hamstring); WR Bill Schroeder (shin).

N.Y. Giants at Tampa Bay Time: 4: 15 p.m.

Line: Buccaneers by 6.

Vs. spread (1998): Giants 8-8; Buccaneers 8-8.

Series: Giants lead, 8-5.

Last meeting: Buccaneers won, 20-3, on Oct. 4, 1998, in Tampa Bay.

Outlook: Two of the NFL's fastest, most well-coached defenses face off. The Giants always have a difficult time with Tampa Bay, losing two straight games. This occasion could be different. DE Michael Strahan leads the NFL with 29 sacks over the past two seasons and is determined to push the Giants deep into the postseason. He is good enough to carry the team on his back alone. Also, QB Kent Graham, because of what he perceives as a front-office snub with the signing of Kerry Collins, is out to prove he can be a top player in the league.

Notable: Buccaneers (558) and Giants (574) rank Nos. 1 and 2 in fewest points allowed in the NFC over the past two years. Giants had only six pass plays of 40 yards or more last season, but had eight in four preseason games this year.


GIANTS: Questionable: CB Conrad Hamilton (ankle); RB Joe Montgomery (hamstring); CB Jason Sehorn (hamstring). Probable: DT Robert Harris (ankle); C Brian Williams (knee).

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