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SPORTS WEEKEND

Week 3 Primer

September 18, 1998|T.J. SIMERS

GAME OF THE WEEK

Pittsburgh (2-0) at Miami (2-0). Jimmy Johnson is making Dolphins one of the league's dullest teams. Dan Marino has thrown only 50 passes in two games. Steelers have league's best circus act in Kordell Stewart, unless he's asked only to hand ball to Jerome Bettis. Last team to stay awake wins.

Line: Miami by 2 1/2.

UPSET OF THE WEEK

Green Bay (2-0) at Cincinnati (1-1). Packers' Brett Favre completed 31 of 43 passes for 339 yards and three touchdowns in his last game against the Bengals. He can't be that good again. The Bengals are flush from making Detroit quarterback Scott Mitchell look bad. How tough is that? Line: Green Bay by 7. Record to date: 0-2.

POTENTIAL STAR OF THE WEEK

Raider quarterback Jeff George. Are you nuts? George hasn't been the problem, although he has the potential to be at any given moment. But he can still throw the ball better than anybody in the league and the Bronco secondary looks as if it can be had. Wide receiver Tim Brown has had two 100-yard games in last three meetings. Just a hunch.

POTENTIAL STIFF OF THE WEEK

Natrone Means. The Chargers have leaned hard on John Carney's leg while stealing victories over Buffalo and Tennessee, and Means figures to get stuffed by an agitated Chief defense. Can't believe Charger offensive line is that good, even though Joe Bugel is that good as the team's offensive line coach.

THIS WEEK'S TREND

Indianapolis doesn't look like a team that has a chance of winning as long as Peyton Manning continues to learn on the job, but the Colts have won 11 of 16 games played in the Meadowlands, including eight of their last nine against the Jets. . . . The Dolphins are looking to go 3-0 for fourth time in five years but play a Steeler team that has won 13 of 15 and five in a row against AFC East opponents. . . . The Chiefs have won 21 of their last 26 games against AFC West foes and get the inflated Chargers.

NO DOUBT ABOUT IT

The game between the Jaguars and Ravens will be decided by three points or fewer as have all four games played in this series, and Jacksonville will win, just as it did in all the others.

AND FINALLY

Get a load of Jerry Rice. Last year he returned too quickly from an injury just to make a triumphant return on "Monday Night Football" and Joe Montana Night; this year the 49ers won by 35 points on Monday night and Rice threw a tantrum because he didn't get the ball enough.

ON TV

* San Diego at Kansas City, 10 a.m., Channel 2

Chargers gunning for first 3-0 start since '94 Super Bowl team won its first six games.

Line: Kansas City by 10

* Green Bay at Cincinnati, 10 a.m., Channel 11

Packers, last in the league in rushing, will be without Dorsey Levens for at least six weeks.

Line: Green Bay by 7

* Denver at Oakland, 1:15 p.m., Channel 2

Broncos won't know John Elway's status until after today's practice.

Line: None

* Philadelphia at Arizona, 5:15 p.m., ESPN

Eagles rank last in the league in total offense. Cardinals only slightly better at No. 28.

Line: Arizona by 4 1/2

THE REST

Detroit at Minnesota, 10 a.m.

Line: Minnesota by 6 1/2

Indianapolis at New York Jets, 10 a.m.

Line: New York Jets by 9

Pittsburgh at Miami, 10 a.m.

Line: Miami by 2 1/2

St. Louis at Buffalo, 10 a.m.

Line: Buffalo by 4 1/2

Tennessee at New England, 10 a.m.

Line: New England by 6 1/2

Washington at Seattle, 1 p.m.

Line: Seattle by 8 1/2

Chicago at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.

Line: Tampa Bay by 7 1/2

Baltimore at Jacksonville, 1:15 p.m.

Line: Jacksonville by 7

Dallas at N.Y. Giants, Mon., 5:15 p.m., Ch. 7

Line: New York Giants by 4

TV game comments from Times staff

SIMERS' RANKINGS / Top 5

1. DENVER

Shanahan reportedly dislikes Al Davis, as if he's anybody different.

2. SAN FRANCISCO

49ers get an extra week to prepare for 2-0 Falcons; not enough time.

3. GREEN BAY

Like a bad case of athlete's foot, no getting rid of Cheeseheads.

4. KANSAS CITY

Chiefs don't have Grbac but have date with Chargers. Who needs Grbac?

5. SEATTLE

Death march awaits: Seahawks go next to Pittsburgh, Kansas City, get Denver at home.

SIMERS' RANKINGS / Bottom 5

26. CAROLINA

Panthers can't beat Saints or Falcons. Get bye, although it's bye-bye already.

27. CHICAGO

Bears rooting hard for Sosa to keep Chicago's attention diverted.

28. ST. LOUIS

Players threaten mutiny. Would you want to live in St. Louis?

29. INDIANAPOLIS

Perfect Peyton?

30. PHILADELPHIA

Owner wants city to pay for new stadium--how 'bout buying some players?

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