Redskins at Cowboys. This used to be the NFL's premier rivalry, with George Allen and Tom Landry maneuvering some of the biggest stars in the league. But no more. Since 1985, the average margin of victory in the series has been 15.3 points. "It's still there between us; it's just not as big," says Cowboy defensive end Ed Jones, a 15-year veteran. Why? "Maybe," says Dallas safety Bill Bates, "it's because the Cowboys haven't really been competitive the last four or five years." Good thinking. Washington has won three of the last four games.
Vikings at Steelers. There seems to be a pattern this year of notable players on new teams returning to face their old clubs. Already Jim McMahon has thrown against the Bears (in the preseason), and Eric Dickerson has run against the Rams. In Week 8, future Hall of Famer Mike Webster, now a Chief, will snap against the Steelers. This week Viking outside linebacker Mike Merriweather returns to Pittsburgh. He sat out '88 in a contract dispute with the Steelers and then was traded to Minnesota. In the 18 games since Merriweather last played for them, the Steelers have started six players at his old position.
Jets at Dolphins. Either team could finish 5-11, but these games are wild. New York quarterback Ken O'Brien has had two of his three best passing days against Miami. The average score in the last six meetings is Dolphins 37, Jets 34. Miami scored 45, 45, 31, 37, 30 and 34 points in those six games—and lost four of them. "It's like a basketball game," says Miami linebacker David Frye.