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Look for starters to see more action

Aug 13, 2002 12:58 PM

Most starting units should see more action in the NFL this week, thought not playing more than a full half in most cases.

Coaches have to make decisions on many backup players over the next couple of weeks before turning their attention to getting ready for the regular season opener.

There will be games played daily this weekend from Thursday through Monday. Here’s a brief preview for each.

Thursday, Aug. 15

Saints at Dolphins (NL): This is a tough spot for Miami having just played three days earlier. Little could have been accomplished in camp this week. New Orleans, with extra rest, might be further along in the evaluation process. SAINTS.

Raiders (+3½) at Titans (36): Two veteran teams likely to be more interested in developing backup depth than giving work to the starters. That often leads to a low scoring contest. UNDER.

Jets (pick’em) at Ravens (32): Both teams showed positive things on defense in their respective openers and neither really opened it up on offense. Expect both teams to work more on the passing game. OVER.

Friday, Aug. 16

Bucs at Jaguars (NL): Tampa Bay just played on Monday while the Jaguars have had several extra days to evaluate their first preseason effort. Because of this Tampa Bay may be more likely to treat this as a scrimmage or a workout. JACKSONVILLE.

Vikings (+3) at Bills (38): Both teams lost at home in their opening game. This is Buffalo’s final game in front of the home fans before the regular season. BUFFALO.

Bears (+6) at Cards (37½): Chicago was dull and unimpressive in its opener last week, held to a total of just 44 yards of offense. The Bears should show more of an offensive effort here against a Rams team that plays aggressively on offense. OVER.

Seahawks (+3½) at Chargers (36): Both teams lost at home last week and Seattle has to adjust its offense with QB Trent Dilfer likely lost for two months. San Diego plays its final two preseason games on the road and might be more motivated. SAN DIEGO.

Saturday, Aug. 17

Giants (+2½) at Falcons (36): The Giants have won both of their preseason games and might be tempted to go more conservative. The Falcons won their opener in Atlanta last week and play the next two games on the road. Both teams might look to work on developing the ground game. UNDER.

Bengals (+5½) at Colts (39½): Cincinnati is looking to settle on a starting QB while the Colts are looking to improve its defense. UNDER.

Eagles (+2) at Patriots (34): RB Dorsey Levens played well for Philly last week and should get more work. New England looks to build depth at wide receiver. UNDER.

Lions (+3½) at Browns (34): Cleveland has already suffered one of the most significant injuries of the preseason, losing their only Pro Bowler, LB Jamir Miller, likely for the season. Both teams need to work on sustaining offensive drives. UNDER.

Cowboys (—2) at Panthers (34½): Carolina showed some early signs of having an improved offense while Dallas also should concentrate more on offense this week. OVER.

Texans (+5) at Chiefs (35½): Houston QB David Carr looked more comfortable in last week’s inaugural win. Kansas City has one of the top offenses in the league. CHIEFS.

Packers (—1½) at Cards (36½): Green Bay’s goal is to develop a new set of receivers for QB Brett Favre. Arizona is a team on the rise. QB Jake Plummer is emerging as more of a leader in the Favre mold. OVER.

Sunday, Aug. 18

Steelers (+3) at Skins (42): Washington continues to be impressive. Pittsburgh’s defense is likely to be well tested by Washington’s varied offensive sets. UNDER.

Monday, Aug. 19

49ers (+4) at Broncos (39): Both head coaches have plenty of experience in preseason games and figure to be more concerned with evaluating depth. Look for the big play. OVER.