|Saints face Colts in "what might have been" opener|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 05 September 2007 08:08|
It's also a reverse homecoming for Peyton Manning, who grew up in New Orleans, where his father played for the Saints. Manning still has a soft spot in his heart for both his hometown and the team for which he rooted as a boy.
But not too soft this week in what figures to be a royal shootout with Drew Brees. The over-under is a whopping 52 points, with the Colts favored by six.
ints cohorts could turn this into a track meet.
The Colts' defenders think otherwise.
``We're playing fast and playing smart, and I think we're a lot farther along right now than we were this time last year,'' middle linebacker Gary Brackett say. ``We built some confidence last season in the playoffs, so we wanted to get some things established during the preseason, and I think we did that.''
And maybe Manning will be OK with rookie Tony Ugoh at left tackle in place of the retired Tarik Glenn, and no running back with an NFL carry behind Joseph Addai.
The Saints enter the season with the burden of expectations. Last year, coming off a 3-13 season and an exile forced by Hurricane Katrina, they were the NFL's feel-good story. Now, a lot of folks, especially in New Orleans, expect them to go all the way.
Chicago (plus 6) at San Diego
Another Super Bowl matchup that could have been. Or could be this year.
Turnover time for Rex Grossman.
New England (minus 6 1/2) at New York Jets
Fourth meeting in just over a year between mentor (Belichick) and pupil (Mangini).
New York Giants (plus 5 1/2) at Dallas (Sunday night)
Eli Manning has had a good preseason. But do the Giants really want to save Tom Coughlin's job.
Baltimore (plus 2 1/2) at Cincinnati (Monday night)
The Ravens will need to generate offense. Against Cincinnati's defense, they can.
Arizona (plus 3) at San Francisco (Monday night)
Two teams grasping at mediocrity.
Detroit (plus 2) at Oakland
Two teams just grasping for a win.
Denver (minus 3) at Buffalo
The Broncos keep signing defensive linemen, a sign of weakness.
But there are more such signs on the Bills.
Atlanta (plus 3) at Minnesota
Never mind Detroit-Oakland. THIS could be for the first pick in next year's draft. (Bobby Petrino takes Brian Brohm, his former Louisville QB.)
Philadelphia (minus 3) at Green Bay
The final Favre-McNabb matchup?
Pittsburgh (minus 4 1/2) at Cleveland
Brady Quinn isn't ready yet. The Steelers are.
Tennessee (plus 6 1/2) at Jacksonville
Can Vince Young throw to himself?
Carolina (plus 1) at St. Louis
Exhibitions mean little, but the Panthers were bad.
Tampa Bay (plus 6) at Seattle
Mike Holmgren runs a West Coast offense. Can his team defend one?
Miami (plus 3) at Washington
Al Saunders' 700-page playbook for the Redskins goes against a very good defense.
Kansas City (plus 3) at Houston
A spread that shows how far the Chiefs have fallen.
LAST SEASON: 117-131-8 (spread); 154-102 (straight up).