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TONIGHT'S GAMES

Bills at Patriots

When: 7, ESPN

Line: Patriots by 11

Notes: The Patriots defense wants to prove it's just as strong without five veteran starters. Terrell Owens sees nothing to prove in his debut with Buffalo.

"Not at all," the receiver said. "Anybody that has anything to question, as far as my abilities go, their opinions, you know, they don't count."

Bragging won't help when he and the Bills open against a team picked by many as a top Super Bowl contender. Experience and savvy might. Much younger players now fill spots once taken by defensive end Richard Seymour, linebackers Tedy Bruschi and Mike Vrabel, and defensive backs Rodney Harrison and Ellis Hobbs.

One new starter is cornerback Jonathan Wilhite, a fourth-round draft choice last year. But Owens presents a major challenge.

"He's one of the guys that I watched when I was younger," Wilhite said. "I always looked up to him, liked his game, a physical guy that can play the game."

* * *

Chargers at Raiders

When: 10:15, ESPN

Line: Chargers by 10

Notes: How far have the once-mighty Raiders fallen?

Oakland, which won 14 straight Monday night games back when the series was at the height of its popularity starting in the mid 1970s, has lost its past 10 appearances in prime time, dating to the start of the 2005 season. The Raiders have been outscored 151-33 over the past six games.

That's just part of a sad recent history for a franchise with the No.6 winning percentage (.555) in league history. They are an NFL-worst 24-72 the past six seasons, and the first team to lose at least 11 games for six straight years.

But the Chargers are still wary of a team that recently acquired Seymour from the Patriots (he'll likely see limited action tonight).

"I think they're a team that's on the up," running back LaDainian Tomlinson said. "They've added some players. Obviously Richard Seymour being there now, they're going to be that much tougher. They scare me."

Times wires

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