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Archive for Saturday, September 23, 2000

Bucs’ status as best team won’t be altered this week

September 23, 2000

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Will Keyshawn Johnson ever shut up about his former employers in New York?

Maybe.

But not until his unbeaten Bucs play host to the unbeaten Jets on Sunday in a game in which the stats of Johnson and his favorite whipping boy, Wayne Chrebet, may be more important than the final score.

"I'll do my normal deal," Johnson said. "But one thing in this normal deal is this is considered a big-time game. And big-time players show up in big-time games. According to my past history, I've done well in big-time games."

The important stuff: Both teams are 3-0 and Tampa Bay is favored by seven, indicative of its current status as the NFL's best team. Not only has the defense been as stifling as usual but the Bucs have scored 93 points in three games, a figure it took them seven games to reach last season.

Remember, the Jets slid to 8-8 last year after Vinny Testaverde was hurt. But they went to the AFC title game the year before, albeit with Keyshawn.

And they dominated a good Buffalo team Sunday, although the Bills helped by self-destructing, especially on special teams. Testaverde, who played for Tampa Bay in its dark ages, seems back to his 1998 form and New York misses Johnson only minimally. Shaun Ellis and John Abraham, two draft picks the Jets got in the deals involving Johnson and Bill Parcells, have helped appreciably with the pass rush.

Nonetheless, the Bucs are home, Keyshawn claims to be a big-game player and Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks, John Lynch, etc. are the best defense this side of the 1985 Bears.

BUCS, 19-13

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