Lions at Chiefs. Ball versus Okoye. What happens when Detroit's Jerry Ball, maybe the NFL's best nosetackle, and Kansas City's Christian Okoye, certainly the league's best big running back, meet head-on? Well, it's a 566-pound collision, for one thing. "He's definitely a nightmare," says the 306-pound Ball of the 260-pound Okoye. "Other backs run hard, but with Christian, it's the feel of the hit. Because I have a lot of weight, what I do is I put my hat right near his sternum and hit him hard. That kind of takes his equilibrium away." In two previous meetings with Ball & Co., Okoye has a total of 91 yards.
Bengals at Oilers. Wyche versus The Revenge Factor. Cincinnati's running up of the score on Houston, 61-7, last December at Riverfront Stadium set the stage for the first meeting between these teams in 1990. Or did it? "Wait a minute," says Bum Phillips, who coached the Oilers from 1975 to '80 and remains close to them as the analyst on their radio network. "The Bengals didn't run up the score on the Oilers. Sam Wyche ran up the score on Jerry Glanville. I don't think [new coach] Jack Pardee's going to use this to get his team up."
Chargers at Jets. Beathard versus Steinberg. Two high-profile general managers, Bobby Beathard and Dick Steinberg, took over two low-profile teams, San Diego and New York, respectively, after both clubs had miserable seasons in 1989. The two have been pals since 1969, when Beathard, who was a scout for the Falcons at the time, quizzed Steinberg, who was an assistant at Kansas State, about pro prospects on the Wildcat team. "What I like about Bobby," says Steinberg, "is he's got absolutely no fear of failure. If a trade doesn't work out, hey, life goes on."