Bears at Raiders. In 1984, Chicago, which hadn't won a playoff game in 21 years, was off to a 6-3 start when the defending Super Bowl champion Raiders came to Soldier Field. Nine sacks later, the Bears were 17-6 winners. "I think when we won that game, it went a long way toward convincing ourselves we could be a really good team," says Chicago center Jay Hilgenberg. From that point through the '86 playoffs, the Bears went 37-8, including a Super Bowl victory. And how does this game rate, with both teams on the rise after recent downslides? "Again, it's a good game to measure both franchises," says Hilgenberg. Indeed, they're both 3-0.
Falcons, 49ers, Rams, and Saints idle. This is the first of seven Sundays on the schedule that are designated as open dates for four teams, the result of the league's decision to stretch the 16-game season over 17 weeks. That makes TV programmers happy. It also makes coaches happy. "This comes in handy because we've suffered through more injuries at an early stage than we have in the past," says 49er coach George Seifert.
Bengals at Seahawks. Cincinnati will begin the longest run of road games in its history on Monday night, if its fellow tenants at Riverfront Stadium—the Reds-win the National League West. The Reds would host a playoff game on Oct. 14, forcing the Bengals to move their scheduled home date with the Oilers to Houston. As a result, the Bengals would go 41 days between home games, playing five in a row on the road in three time zones. "Like joining the Army, isn't it?" says Cincinnati center Bruce Kozerski. Only one team in the last 40 years—the 1973 Jets, who played six straight away games—has had a longer run on the road.