After the Philadelphia Eagles took apart St. Louis 38-3, Andy Reid tried to play down the huge expectations that game created, especially with his team going into Dallas on Monday night.
``There is a lot of emphasis put on the first game of the season and it's the most important game for us that week. But the reality of it is that there are 15 more of them and that's just one of 16 games,'' the Philadelphia coach. ``Can we assess the talent? Well, we can for this week. We did well this week, but it's time to rip that one up and get on with the next one.''
The next one is a big one, even this early.
Philadelphia and Dallas were impressive last week and so were the Giants in an NFC East that may contain three of the top seven or eight teams in the NFL. In fact, any of them would be the favorite in one of the other three NFC divisions.
So division games will be even more important because they are the first tiebreakers. And a win in Dallas would be huge for Philadelphia, which is a 6 1/2-point underdog.
ses. That was the game in which Brian Westbrook broke the heart of his fantasy owners by falling down at the Dallas 1-yard-line in the final minute and avoiding a sure touchdown so the clock could run out without the Cowboys getting the ball back.
Wade Phillips, always an even-keel coach, is well aware Dallas fans and the nation at large expect nothing less than a Super Bowl trip from his team. So he was happy with the way last week's 28-10 win in Cleveland went.
``I think it's a credit to our guys that with all the hype, or the supposed distractions, that they went out and played our kind of game,'' he said of his team.
They'll continue to play their kind of game. The playoffs is when danger lurks.
COWBOYS, 24-20
---
New England (plus 2 1/2) at New York Jets
The Jets, favored because Matt Cassel is the New England QB instead of Tom Brady, are on alert. ``They still have deep threats. They still have Randy Moss and Wes Welker,'' cornerback Darrelle Revis says. ``We still have to prepare for them if Tom is playing or not. We have to go up there and focus on them and play.''
Actually, its ``down here,'' not ``up there.''
Whatever.
JETS, 16-13

Indianapolis (minus 2) at Minnesota
ine, where the Bears' defense created havoc last week.
VIKINGS, 20-17

Chicago (plus 3) at Carolina
Two recent Super Bowl teams who may have morphed into good teams again.
Panthers have been a better road team lately, so ...
BEARS, 13-11

San Diego (minus 1 1/2) at Denver
Be wary of Denver's win against the horrible Raiders.
CHARGERS, 31-27

New Orleans (pick 'em) at Washington
Have the Redskins figured out that you have to throw the ball 10 yards on third-and-9?
REDSKINS, 20-17

Pittsburgh (minus 6) at Cleveland
Cleveland's hopes of a division title could die in Game 2.
STEELERS, 27-23

Buffalo (plus 6) at Jacksonville
The Bills are a lot better than folks think. And the Jags' OL is in bad shape.
JAGUARS, 20-19

New York Giants (minus 8 1/2) at St. Louis
After bettors looked at the Rams, the spread jumped 2 1/2 points. Eleventh straight road win for New York - not counting neutral site Super Bowl.
GIANTS 31-10

Tennessee (plus 1) at Cincinnati
At this point, Kerry Collins is a better fit for the Titans than the injured Vince Young.
TITANS, 22-20

Atlanta (plus 8) at Tampa Bay
A little tougher defense for Matt Ryan than the Lions' unit.
BUCS, 29-20

San Francisco (plus 8) at Seattle
ahawks' receiving corps is in tatters. But they win at home.
SEAHAWKS, 19-14

Green Bay (minus 3) at Detroit
The post-Favre Packers are still better than Lions.
PACKERS, 24-14

Miami (plus 7) at Arizona
At least the Dolphins will be used to the heat - if the Dome is open.
CARDINALS, 27-19

Baltimore (plus 4 1/2) at Houston
Joe Flacco meets Mario Williams.
TEXANS, 12-11

Oakland (plus 4) at Kansas City
The Raiders were awful at home. Now they're on the road.
CHIEFS, 31-13

LAST WEEK: 9-7 (spread); 11-5 (straight up)

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