Lots could be finer than playing Carolina

August 06, 2002 11:06 AM
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Steve Spurrier’s Washington Redskins came out throwing, throwing and throwing some more.

The strategy produced an impressive 38-7 rout of San Francisco, but keep in mind NFL history is replete with instances of teams looking like Super Bowl contenders in August.

In this week’s game against Carolina, the Redskins opened up as 5½-point road favorites only to be immediately bet up to —7. Keep in mind that had Washington won in less impressive fashion, the Skins likely open up as perhaps 3 or 3½-point favorites.

Let’s see if Spurrier can get his team to perform close to the level of last week or, as would seem logical, the team regresses just a bit. The Panthers are making their debut under new coach John Fox.

Here are some thoughts on the full lineup of exhibition games.

Jets (+4) at Steelers (31): Two playoff teams that figure to take a more conservative approach to the early preseason. Getting more than a FG when more backups than starters play is generally attractive. JETS.

Jags (+3½) at Falcons (33): Both teams battled injuries to key offensive starters last year. Atlanta’s Michael Vick is an exciting player but figures to see only limited action. Both teams are coached by offensive minded people. OVER.

Bengals (+2½) at Bills (33): Both teams will be improved this season. Cincinnati shows a much better defense. Buffalo has a new look with ex-Patriots QB Drew Bledsoe. Kitna, Frerotte and Akili Smith competing for Cincy QB job. Lots of passing. OVER.

Lions (+3) at Ravens (33): Inexperienced QB play signals sloppy play from both offenses. Baltimore has a new defensive coordinator. UNDER.

Raiders (—1) at Cowboys (34): Oakland is an aging team. Might be last season as a legitimate title contender. Dallas working back towards respectability. DALLAS.

Packers (+3) at Eagles (34): Two teams taking a conservative approach to the preseason. The Eagles must replace some key defensive losses. GREEN BAY.

Pats at Giants (NL): The defending Super Bowl champs will be out to prove last season was no fluke. Giants have a short week of preparation. NEW ENGLAND.

Rams (—1½) at Titans (37): Both teams loaded with vets who should see limited playing time. Rams likely to emphasize offense late. ST. LOUIS.

Redskins (—7) at Panthers (37): Conditions are conducive to a winning wager. Shorter prep time hurts Skins. A huge preseason line. CAROLINA.

Texans at Saints (NL): Houston may be more interested in winning. Saints recognize how important it is to forget last year. NEW ORLEANS.

Broncos (+1) at Bears (34½): Brian Griese under some pressure to prove his leadership qualities. Chicago is looking to build on last season’s surprising 13-3 record. Look for a ground attack. UNDER.

Browns (+3½) at Vikes (37): Minnesota looks to rebound from its worst season in a decade with new coach Mike Tice. OVER.

Chiefs (+3½) at 49ers (36½): The 49ers could be a bit more fatigued in the second half against a Chiefs team that will contend for the playoffs. KANSAS CITY.

Colts (+1½) at Seahawks (37): The Tony Dungy era begins in Indianapolis, which means better defense. Colts should emphasize the ground game. UNDER.

Cards (+3) at Chargers (34½): Arizona is enthusiastic. Marty Schottenheimer rarely places emphasis on winning in the preseason. ARIZONA.

Dolphins (+3½) at Bucs (32½): Should see more offense from the Bucs. Miami should be very conservative early on, TAMPA BAY.