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SPORTS WEEKEND | WEEK 10 PRIMER

November 06, 1998|T.J. SIMERS

Game of the Week

Atlanta (6-2) at New England (5-3). The Falcons are a win away from setting up one of the biggest games in the franchise's boring history. A victory would probably keep Atlanta tied with San Francisco--next week's opponent in the Georgia Dome. Atlanta Coach Dan Reeves is 6-1 against the Patriots. Line: New England by 4 1/2.

Upset of the Week

Baltimore (2-6) over the Oakland Raiders (6-2). Going with the embarrassment rule here, which states that if a team allows an opponent to score 42 points in the first half the previous week--that would be Baltimore--it will redeem itself the next week--especially if matched against the overrated Raiders. Record: 2-7. Line: Oakland by 2 1/2.

POTENTIAL STAR OF THE WEEK

Jacksonville running back Fred Taylor. Taylor has been as sensational in his rookie season as Minnesota's Randy Moss, having scored seven touchdowns in the past five games. A couple of quick Jaguar scores and Taylor can take advantage of a Bengal defense short on morale and talent and begin his campaign for rookie of the year.

POTENTIAL STIFF OF THE WEEK

Seattle Coach Dennis Erickson. With practically no chance of returning, he ran out to a good start to save the day, then collapsed. He doesn't have many collapses left. Speaking of collapses, here come Marty and his disappointing Chiefs. If Erickson is in trouble, why not Schottenheimer? Winner in this game still has playoff hopes.

THIS WEEK'S TREND

The 49ers have beaten three NFC West opponents by an average of 20 points, while rolling up 22 sacks and giving up seven. In five non-division games, they have gone 3-2 with 11 sacks, while giving up 23. Do not look for San Francisco to support realignment if it takes them out of the NFC West.

NO DOUBT ABOUT IT

The Rams are losers. St. Louis running back coach, Wilbert Montgomery, interviewed by Walter Payton and others on a Chicago radio station this week, said last year, "I gave our reports to the players that they were supposed to read, and all four corners were stapled together. When I got them back, all four corners were still stapled together."

AND FINALLY

This stinging compliment from Buffalo Coach Wade Phillips when asked how Rob Johnson was taking Phillips' decision to continue starting Doug Flutie: "He has showed a lot of maturity that I wasn't sure he had."

ON TV

* Oakland at Baltimore, 10 a.m., Ch. 2

Defensive-minded Raiders try for their best start since 8-2 in 1995.

Line: Oakland by 2 1/2.

* New York Giants at Dallas, 10 a.m., Ch. 11

Cowboys beat Giants on a Monday night game. No reason they can't repeat the feat.

Line: Dallas by 8.

* San Diego at Denver, 1:15 p.m., Ch. 2

It is late autumn in Colorado. That means Leaf will be falling.

Line: Denver by 16.

* Tennessee at Tampa Bay, 5:15 p.m., ESPN

Buccaneers are stingy against the run and will be tested by the Oilers' Eddie George.

Line: Tampa Bay by 3.

THE REST

* Detroit at Philadelphia, 10 a.m.

Line: Detroit by 3 1/2.

* Atlanta at New England, 10 a.m.

Line: New England by 4 1/2.

* Indianapolis at Miami, 10 a.m.

Line: Miami by 9 1/2.

* Cincinnati at Jacksonville, 10 a.m.

Line: Jacksonville by 10 1/2.

* St. Louis at Chicago, 10 a.m.

Line: No line.

* New Orleans at Minnesota, 10 a.m.

Line: Minnesota by 14.

* Carolina at San Francisco, 1 p.m.

Line: San Francisco by 14.

* Washington at Arizona, 1 p.m.

Line: Arizona by 4 1/2.

* Buffalo at New York Jets, 1:15 p.m.

Line: New York Jets by 4.

* Kansas City at Seattle, 1:15 p.m.

Line: Seattle by 3.

* Pittsburgh at Green Bay, Mon., 5:15 p.m.

Line: Green Bay by 3.

TV game comments from Times staff

SIMERS' RANKINGS / TOP 5

1. Denver--How do you prepare to play the Chargers without doubling over in laughter?

2. Green Bay--Request to play/beat up on 49ers every week has been denied.

3. Jacksonville--The Jaguars scored 42 points in one half--getting ready to play Denver in AFC title game.

4. Minnesota--The clock is striking midnight and Cinderella, ah, Cunningham is still partying.

BOTTOM 5

5. Buffalo--Given the sagging NFL TV ratings, why not put the little guy on every week?

26. Indianapolis--Colts losing by average of 10 points a game; could be worse--they could have drafted Leaf.

27. San Diego--June Jones mentions playoffs and Chargers in same sentence. A Comedy Store audition?

28. Washington--It's a good thing Norv Turner wasn't running for office.

29. Carolina--Washington looking good--Redskins also get Panthers' first-round draft pick.

30. Philadelphia--The Flyers scored more points last week than the Eagles did.

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