Today's Games

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Week One

September 12, 2004|By Ken Murray

GAME OF THE WEEK

Chiefs at Broncos

Line: Broncos by 3

Lowdown: Each team has ample weaknesses to be exploited. The Broncos have to replace RB Clinton Portis and are very thin at receiver. The Chiefs have their lame defense to overcome, and they're so short at receiver that kick returner Dante Hall will have to start. The Chiefs also have a new kicker and punter. On the plus side, Kansas City still has RB Priest Holmes and QB Trent Green and the Broncos unveil CB Champ Bailey.

The pick: Broncos

WORTH SEEING

Seahawks at Saints

Line: Seahawks by 2 1/2

Lowdown: Two disturbing sets of numbers from last year for the Seahawks: They were 2-6 on the road and 5-5 outside their division. Handling Saints RB Deuce McAllister will be a difficult chore.

The pick: Seahawks

Raiders at Steelers

Line: Steelers by 4

Lowdown: There will be no pretense for the Steelers this year. They're going to run Duce Staley down the Raiders' throats and see where it takes them. Raiders QB Rich Gannon will answer with his pitch-and-catch game.

The pick: Steelers

Bengals at Jets

Line: Jets by 4 1/2

Lowdown: Donnie Henderson's first challenge as Jets defensive coordinator is to rattle Bengals rookie QB Carson Palmer. He should have learned enough in Baltimore to know how.

The pick: Jets

Cowboys at Vikings

Line: Vikings by 5

Lowdown: The Cowboys' old-timers, Vinny Testaverde and Keyshawn Johnson, will test the Vikings' revamped defense. But for the Cowboys, it could come down to how well Eddie George and Julius Jones run the ball.

The pick: Cowboys

LESS THAN COMPELLING

Jaguars at Bills

Line: Bills by 3

Lowdown: The Jaguars are being propped up as a playoff contender; don't believe it. They couldn't win on the road last year and will be hard-pressed to win in Buffalo unless Bills QB Drew Bledsoe bombs again.

The pick: Bills

Lions at Bears

Line: Bears by 3

Lowdown: Deposed Bears coach Dick Jauron returns to Chicago as Lions defensive coordinator. It's the Lions' revitalized offense, with rookie WR Roy Williams, that should steal the day, though.

The pick: Lions

Chargers at Texans

Line: Texans by 4 1/2

Lowdown: The Chargers haven't been able to halt their downward spiral. The Texans haven't lost either of their two season openers. Make that three, unless QB David Carr has a really bad day.

The pick: Texans

POTENTIAL BLOWOUTS

Cardinals at Rams

Line: Rams by 11

Lowdown: New Arizona coach Dennis Green is bringing in replacements by the busload. He didn't know things were this bad when he signed on and predicted a playoff berth for the Cardinals.

The pick: Rams

Giants at Eagles

Line: Eagles by 9

Lowdown: If the Eagles' blitz gets to Giants QB Kurt Warner, he may not last a half. He has serious issues holding onto the ball, and the Eagles will come swarming. Eli Manning should get his first game action.

The pick: Eagles

Falcons at 49ers

Line: Falcons by 3 1/2

Lowdown: After a low-key preseason, Falcons QB Michael Vick will display his mastery of the West Coast offense. Even with a tender hamstring, it shouldn't take much to dispatch the 49ers.

The pick: Falcons

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