NFL quality missing

Aug 12, 2003 7:41 AM

The NFL’s first full exhibition weekend produced an overall quality of play that left much to be desired.

The "over" was just 6-9 and those that did exceed the posted total were more related to low numbers rather than significant offensive displays. Only the New York Jets managed to score as many as 28 points, and they needed a pair of interception TD returns. The league-wide average was barely 15.

Look for improved scoring efficiency, as starters play deeper into games. The five new coaches last week were a collective 3-2 ATS. The second full week should find most coaches focusing on specific weaknesses.

Raiders (+1½) at 49ers (34½): The Battle of the Bay finds San Francisco with more questions to be answered than the Raiders, especially at backup QB. New 49er coach Erickson may take more chances than Oakland’s Callahan. 49ERS.

Dolphins (-1½) at Jags (34½): Miami has a pair of veteran QBs competing for the starting job. The Fish also have concerns at WR. The Jaguars seek backup depth behind oft-injured Mark Brunell. DOLPHINS.

Panthers (+3½) at Giants (34): The Carolina boss John Fox was defensive coordinator for the Giants and is familiar with New York’s personnel. Both teams have concerns along the offensive line and each figures to concentrate on the run. UNDER.

Seahawks (+3) at Colts (38½): Both teams have defensive concerns that need to be addressed. The offenses are balanced and feature solid ground attacks. Look for an emphasis on the pass. OVER.

Packers (+2½) at Browns (38): Green Bay has major issues along the defensive line with last week’s injury to Gilbert Brown. Cleveland wants to establish a running game to make their pass attack more effective. UNDER.

Texans (+4½) at Cowboys (32½): Houston will look to improve play along the offensive line and protect QB David Carr. Parcells could not have been too pleased with the Dallas offense, though the defense is solid. UNDER.

Eagles (+2) at Steelers: Pittsburgh has some QB concerns with Charlie Batch and Tommy Maddox, but there is RB depth. The Eagles have a formidable QB rotation, but are looking for RB depth with Duce Staley holding out. EAGLES.

Lions (+2½) at Bengals (36½): A pair of new coaches meet, with Mariucci off to the better start at Detroit. Both teams have more questions on defense than offense. The Lions have the more talented roster. LIONS.

Ravens (+4½) at Falcons (38): Baltimore has a brewing QB controversy with the rapid development of rookie Kyle Boller. Atlanta starting QB Mike Vick looked sharp last week. Both teams are coached by guys who stress offense. OVER.

Broncos (pk) at Bears (36): Denver would like to give new QB Jake Plummer added playing. Chicago has major questions in the running game and new QB Kordell Stewart has been having trouble adjusting to the offense. BRONCOS.

Saints (+2) at Jets: Both teams thinking defense since each has solid starting QBs and RBs. The Jets, playing their third game, are further ahead in the decision making process. JETS.

Bills (+3½) at Titans (37): The Bills want a better running game and to work WR Josh Reed more into the offense. Tennessee seeks to develop RB depth behind the oft banged up Eddie George. They will be careful with QB Steve McNair. BILLS.


Pats (+3) at Skins (38): Washington was more effective on offense last week despite being shut out. Expect Spurrier to emphasize elimination of mistakes. New England should be more concerned with choosing backups. SKINS.

Vikes (+4) at Chiefs (39): If this were regular season, we might see the total reached by halftime. The Chiefs have the better running game. Vikes have major RB concerns. CHIEFS.

Cards (+4½) at Chargers (34): Both teams need to give their receivers more of a look, while also addressing defensive concerns. Expect better performances from both offenses. OVER.

Bucs (+2½) at Rams (37½): One of the NFL’s top rivalries in recent years. St Louis has some decisions to make at QB between a "declining" Warner and an "emerging" Bulger. RAMS.

Last week: 7-7

Preseason: 7-8