The National Football League enters Week Three with the two teams that played in Super Bowl XXXIII still looking for their first victory. It's awfully early in the season, but Denver and Atlanta have must games this week. (More about them later.)
The only game between teams with 2-0 records is also a battle for first place in the AFC Central. Tennessee's first road game takes the Titans to Jacksonville, where the Jaguars won big in their season opener before surviving a close call on the road last week.
For now, the Jaguars and Titans share first place with Pittsburgh.
Playing at Carolina last week, the Jaguars did what a lot of good teams have a tendency to do: play like an ordinary team when playing against an ordinary team.
They have to pick up their game this week against the Titans. Neil O'Donnell had a big week filling in for injured Titans quarterback Steve McNair, completing 31 of 40 passes for 310 yards. Of course, he was playing against Cleveland.
Mark Brunell, the Jaguars' quarterback, was 20-32, and running back James Stewart rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns. It's a wonderful life for a player who usually performs in the shadow of Fred Taylor. He will have to do it again this week since Taylor is questionable with a hamstring injury.
But look for the Jaguars to play like they did in beating the 49ers. In other words, take the Jaguars and give the 9 1/2 points.
When Minnesota plays Green Bay, it's always a big game. This week, both teams are coming off losses. Brett Favre, playing hurt, didn't have a great game against Detroit. Randall Cunningham threw two interceptions for the Vikings against Oakland.
The Packers have an edge playing at home against the Vikings. I'll take the Packers.
The Steelers are coming home after winning two road games. But victories over Cleveland and Baltimore don't amount to a hill of beans.
Seattle, which has the potential to be a playoff team, is off to a slow start, but I think the Seahawks are catching the Steelers at the right time.
Quarterback Jon Kitna, who was unable to play last week, is expected to be back along with the Seahawks' top defender, linebacker Chad Brown. The Seahawks are a solid choice as 4 1/2 -point underdogs.
Best of the rest
The biggest problem facing the Bills this week is letting down after a great team effort against the Jets. Philadelphia could lull them to sleep if they don't stay focused. In case you are worried that it could happen, you should know that the Eagles are 1-8 against the spread playing AFC teams on the road since 1994. Take the Bills and give the 12 points. . . . By the way, I don't think the Falcons or the Broncos will lose their third game in a row. The Falcons have lost star running back Jamal Anderson for the season, but quarterback Chris Chandler will find a way to play against St. Louis, a team the Falcons usually beat. . . . As for the Broncos, it's now or never. I'm betting on now. Don't forget, Tampa Bay lost at home to the Giants. . . . The Giants are 7-1 against the spread vs. the AFC East in their last eight games. The Patriots are 3-18 against the spread vs. the NFC East in their last 21 games. You don't need a compass to know the Giants are a good bet as 6 1/2 -point underdogs. . . . The Raiders play their third game against the NFC Central. Their problem is that the Bears have their number. The Bears are a great pick as seven-point underdogs. . . . Here's an usual thing: Washington plays its second straight road game on the same field. The visiting Redskins thumped the Giants, 50-21, last week and return to the scene of the crime against the grounded Jets. How can you not take the Redskins as only one-point favorites?