"This is MY house," Deion Sanders said last year after coming back to the Georgia Dome with the San Francisco 49ers, returning an interception for a touchdown and getting into a scuffle with Atlanta's Andre Rison.
Rison is in Cleveland now as Deion returns to make his debut with the Dallas Cowboys in perhaps the most fitting locale he could find.His house, of course.
That the Cowboys are favored by 10 points is the perfect reflection on the NFL this year. At 6-1, they're only a game better than the 5-2 Falcons, are playing on the road and yet . . . They're considered at least 10 points better by the people who are supposed to know.
Here's the problem for the Falcons:
- Their defensive line is small and Dallas' is big, meaning plenty of room for Emmitt Smith to run.
- If Clayton Holmes was not the best cover guy in the secondary, Deion is, meaning the Falcons' run and shoot might have to revert to the run.
- The run doesn't work very well against Dallas, either.
Last year, the 49ers won 42-3 in Deion's return game.
Jerry Jones, of course, always wants to one-up San Francisco.
Buffalo (plus 5 1/2) at Miami
The Dolphins are losing and squabbling while Jimmy Johnson waits for Wayne Huizenga's call at his BoatPhone. The Bills are hurt while Marv Levy recuperates at home and watches tape.
The key may be Dan Marino, who should be back.
Green Bay (plus 2 1/2) at Detroit
Every time Wayne Fontes comes under fire, the Lions somehow manage to beat a good team."You can beat me up but you can't keep me down," Fontes says.
Brett Favre beat the Lions 30-21 two weeks ago.
Cleveland (minus 2) at Cincinnati
Cleveland went up a point when it was announced that Eric Zeier would replace Vinny Testaverde in this battle for AFC Central "supremacy."
St. Louis (plus 3 1/2) at Philly
The worst 5-2 team in the league against the worst 4-3 team.
Make them the two worst 5-3 teams.
New Orleans (plus 14) at San Fran.
San Francisco has that gleam in its eye again.
The Saints have bags over their heads.
Jacksonville (plus 10) at Pitt.
Another "key" AFC Central game.
Revenge? The Steelers still can't score touchdowns.
Carolina (plus 8) at New England
Three straight wins is an expansion record.
No offense, but the Panthers don't have one.
Jets (plus 10 1/2) at Indianapolis
The return of the real Jets.
Giants (plus 3) at Washington.
The Giants usually win at RFK.
A lot of traditions change.
Tampa Bay (minus 1) at Houston
The Bucs' last three games have been decided by three points or less.
The Oilers have lost three games by a total of 10 points.
Seattle (plus 4) at Arizona
Disarray on both sides.
Chicago (plus 3) at Minnesota This is one of those games in which "must win" fits the Vikings.
Like last Monday night . . .
Last week: 6-7 (spread); 5-8 (straight up).
Season: 46-60-3 (spread); 60-49 (straight up).