By Adam Menikefs
Tuesday, September 24th, 2019
The NFL Season is underway and that means all fans believe they have the most correct takes and opinions on all the action that has taken place around the league, including myself. I decided to break down every game from Week 3 and how the result will affect each team going forward. As well, I tried to give my outlook on how each team has faired this season and generally, my unoriginal, overall thoughts or predictions for how the season will unfold for each franchise. Going forward I will most likely only break down a few games that are of importance, but wanted to have a say on each team as some let the season slip away to irrelevance. If anyone reads this, feel free to tell me why my opinion on your team, or any team is wrong, or in the rare case, right. – Adam
The classic Thursday Night Football game between these two AFC South rivals that really nobody wants to watch (other than the 10 fans from each team). The under always seems to hit and starting any of these players on your fantasy team will surely leave you disappointed. Despite the game being rather uneventful, it left fans with countless storylines after the game, as well as re-emphasizing some earlier fears. On the Jacksonville side, it was nice to see a win, however, it may be too late as All-Pro Cornerback Jalen Ramsey still wants to be traded despite the team being adamant about keeping him. Though I have no opinion on Ramsey’s current attitude towards the Franchise, it has been surprising, to say the least, to watch this Jaguars team, specifically the defence, struggle, given their amazing 2017 season. Beating the Bell, Brown, Roethlisberger led Steelers at Heinz Field just two years ago in the AFC Divisional and coming one quarter short of beating the Patriots in the AFC Championship game, the Defense, and the team as a whole, seemed poised to overcome the inconsistencies of the offence and Blake Bortles, and lead their long-struggling franchise to a possible Super Bowl. Two years later, with the team coming off back-to-back losses to begin the season, and Super Bowl MVP Starting QB Nick Foles being sidelined indefinitely, the season looked to be over.
However, the play of Washington State product Gardener Minshew, who threw 2 TD and 204 Yards, has the team possibly believing that their campaign is far from over. Though it is too early to tell how the team will fair with Minshew in the long run, the team would drastically suffer without Ramsey and a trade would give a team a beneficial piece in contending for a Superbowl. On a less serious note, Leonard Fournette has been horrible and he almost had -8 yards on 9 carries (If it was not for a late 69-yard run, Nice.) late in the fourth quarter. As @PFTCommenter puts it, “He approaches the line of scrimmage like Le’veon Bell with Mono”. On the Titans side, it is the same inconsistent team and they drop to 1-2. Marcus Mariota was 23/40 for 304 yards, and he currently sits at 28th in completion percentage. Though his offensive line is poor (he has been sacked the most through three weeks) it might be time for the Titans to move on from the Former-Heisman winning QB, unless Mariota can somehow turn this team around and lead the Titans to the into playoffs.
The Eagles, primarily their Wide Receivers, suck. I watched this entire game (as I bet on the Eagles) and it was a huge disappointment. Despite the Eagles missing Desean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery, one would think they could still beat the Lions. However, I was wrong, and the Eagles Offence was brutal. Miles Sanders fumbled twice on the same possession late in the second quarter and Nelson Agholor fumbled the ball without anyone even touching him. Despite all this, the Eagles actually had a chance to win (and cover) after a blocked Field goal with two minutes remaining in the fourth. However, Carson Wentz was let down again by his Division 3 level receivers, who dropped two balls on the final drive and the Lions would kneel it out for a 27-21. As a Cowboys fan, the Eagles losing is always good, however, this Eagles team is certainly dangerous and will be pushing for a playoff spot come December, possibly sneaking into the sixth seed for a second straight season. The craziest part of all this is that the Lions move to 2-0-1 and are now second place in the NFC North. We all know though, that they will finish either 8-7-1 or 7-8-1 and will lose to the Packers and Vikings most likely both times, giving them no shot at the division. Also, they have beaten the Chargers and tied the Cardinals, nothing to write home about. I am hoping I am wrong in the long run, as it would be nice for Detroit to not finish 9-7 and lose in the wild card, but even that might be pushing their luck.
You only watched this game if you are a “Patriots” fan or bet on the massive 21 point spread. The Patriots were dominating all game New York as expected, however, many gamblers were left disappointed as Tom Brady, uncharacteristically, left the game in place of Rookie Backup QB Jarret Stidham from Auburn. Stidham then proceeded to throw an interception that was returned for a touchdown in the fourth quarter and brought the Jets within two scores. The Jets season is lost at this point, and their pre-season hype has completely vanquished after starting the season 0-3. At this point the team will look to develop their relatively young core and allow for Sam Darnold, to grasp control of Adam Gase’s offence (once Darnold returns from Mono). As for the Patriots, they will play the surprise Buffalo Bills (3-0) next week led by Josh Allen for the top of the AFC East. Barring a miracle, realistically, they will beat them and continue on their path to, what some believe is a possible perfect season. The possible loss of Julian Edelman to injured ribs, and Antonio Brown to, whatever you describe his case as, will certainly hurt the Pats. Nonetheless, the team will remain solid and given their supremely easy schedule, they’re on their way to a possible first seed in the AFC once again and a repeat Super Bowl title.
The Vikings stayed to their strengths, showcasing their defense and great run game, as Dalvin Cook topped 100 yards for the third straight game, and Kirk Cousins did not screw up by throwing late interceptions (though there was no possibility for that this game). The Vikings look as if they will contend for the NFC North crown, barring many injuries, and could possibly return to the NFC Championship to avenge their loss from two seasons ago. The only question for the team will be if Cousins can legitimately find a rhythm in the offence and win tough games down the stretch, especially in January. I would love for them to make a deep playoff run (so long as they do not beat Dallas), and this early on it looks feasible. The Raiders, are at the beginning of a long road trip and Jon Gruden will most likely not just be knocking on wood over the next few weeks. Derek Carr has been poor, the defence does not have the depth and personnel to compete, and Oakland, unfortunately, will most likely sit near the basement of the AFC for their last season in the Bay area. Gruden could possibly move on from Carr as he builds his young core for Las Vegas and that story will certainly become clearer as the season continues and the play of the quarterback becomes magnified.
Though the game did not live up to the hype, the Ravens and Chiefs provided a great game led by two spectacular young Quarterbacks. Pat Mahomes ‘only’ threw three Touchdown passes and the Chiefs were up 30-13 in the second half, before Lamar Jackson led two solid drives down the field and brought the Ravens within a score. Despite Jackson underperforming throwing the ball (22/43 for 267 yards), the Ravens offence ran the ball well against solid Chiefs front seven. I will admit I am biased but Jackson struggled to pass against a relatively poor secondary. He did however made up for it on the ground. The Ravens team as a whole is a contender and if the passing game and Jackson develop, the Ravens will contend for the AFC North title and could be potentially upset a team or two come January. The Chiefs are looking better than last year with an improved defence and the most potent passing offence in the league and will most likely keep stride with New England in hopes of another AFC first seed and a possible Super Bowl title.
The Falcons yet again duped all those who believed in them this week in Indianapolis (including me). With arguably the most offensive weapons in the league, including the best Wide Receiver, the Falcons could only muster 3 points in the first half and would come up short of a comeback, dropping to 1-2. Matt Ryan threw another Interception at the end of a drive and their offence feels like a shell of the 2016 team that was minutes away from a Super Bowl. Though the coordinators could be blamed, many have started to doubt Matt Ryan and the future of the former second overall pick with Atlanta. I believe this team has what it takes to make the playoffs, at this point, however, it seems unlikely and another losing season could be the result for Dan Quinn and his team. As for the home team, despite Franchise QB Andrew Luck retiring just weeks ago, the Colts sit atop the AFC South standings at 2-1. Through the excellent play of Jacoby Brissett (28/37, 310 Yards, 2 TD), a solid Offensive Line and a stingy defence, the future of the team looks bright. They will be hoping to build on its divisional loss last season and prosper in the new Post-Luck era. As of now, if Brissett keeps the offence moving and the defence remains steady, the Colts will surely take a wild card spot and compete with the Texans for the AFC South title.
The Packers took care of the Broncos at home in what was a close, yet rather uneventful game for a majority of the contest. Though I am not completely sold on the Packers, they have started the season perfectly, and their defence has been fantastic. They sacked Joe Flacco six times on Sunday and it is evident that their drafting has paid off on the defensive side of the ball. Once Aaron Rodgers and Matt Lafluer begin to click more on offence, things will look even brighter in Green Bay and the chance of bringing another Super Bowl to title town will look more realistic. Though there is much to improve and I like the Vikings more at this point, one should never doubt Aaron Rodgers. At this point, the Pack look certain to claim a Wild Card spot and will contend with Minnesota for the NFC North title and possibly meet them in the playoffs come the new year. As for Denver, Joe Flacco, elite or not, is clearly not the answer to the Broncos offence and Rookie Drew Locke will certainly be the starter at some point this season if the Broncos continue to struggle mightily. Another huge concern is that the Broncos have ZERO sacks and takeaways. They have Superbowl MVP Von Miller and 1st Round pick Bradley Chubb, along with former All-Pro Chris Harris and somehow they are statistically last in two important categories. There is a good chance that Miller is dealt at some point in the season as the Broncos build for the future and continue to sit near the bottom of both the AFC West and AFC.
The Dolphins held the Cowboys to only 10 first-half points, however, the final score would show they struggled in the second half of the contest. Amari Cooper caught two touchdowns and Dak Prescott played another good game as both Cowboys await their contract extensions. The Dolphins, led by Josh Rosen, will surely finish the season in the basement of the league, possibly 0-16, and continue to #TankforTua as the franchise will begin to rebuild for the future. As for my Cowboys, the season has started off very well, however, they have yet to face a real test. Next week they play the Saints at the Superdome, in what will be an important early game that will display whether they can be a true contender this season. With the much-improved offence run by new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, the Cowboys have put up the most points in the NFC and should hopefully continue pace on route to another NFC East crown. With the sting of the divisional loss to the Rams last season, making the NFC Championship game has to be a realistic hope for the team this year and the possibility of a Super Bowl will begin to look more clear as the team plays some more difficult opponents.
Though it isn’t the early 90’s Bills, Buffalo has started the season with a perfect 3-0 record for the first time since 2011 and has many in Bills Mafia believing that this team could reach the playoffs for the second time in three years. Though he had a subpar day (23/26 243 yards, TD, INT) Josh Allen has surprised many, leading the team to 8th in total offence, and the defence is currently ranked 6th, along with a top 5 scoring defence. Though their schedule is back-heavy, this team could certainly finish with a winning record and will be fighting for a wild card spot with the possibly the Texans/Colts, Browns or Chargers. As for the Bengals, in their first year without Marvin Lewis, the team is back where they started. With an 0-3 start, the season is believed to be lost. Even with a great RB in Joe Mixon and a solid WR core, QB Andy Dalton (249 Yards, TD, 2 INT) has still struggled during this stretch. It looks as if the franchise may move on from the ‘Red Rifle’ as they look towards the future in Cincinnati.
If you actually cared to watch this game, it could have been the most entertaining contest of the week. Rookie QB Daniel Jones, in his first NFL start, combined for 4 touchdowns and led his team back from an 18 points deficit, something Eli Manning had never done in his career. Giants fans have to like what they saw this week and though the team will certainly not make the playoffs, the belief in Jones seems to be growing as he will lead this team in the upcoming future as New York continues their rebuild. As for Tampa Bay, they suffer another loss in what should have been an easy win for Bruce Arians and the Bucs. The game was lost after an easy FG was missed as time ran out and it seems as if the team has yet to find a solution at Kicker after cutting Roberto Aguayo two seasons ago. Jameis Winston played well, throwing 3 TD’s, and an INT for 380 Yards. However, through three games the Bucs sit at 1-2 despite looking competitive and certainly good enough for a wild card spot. Yet, another losing campaign could see the team move on from the former #1 overall pick, as he is in the final year of his rookie contract. It is tough to see as someone who has watched Jameis since college and did not think he would end up a bust, but that road seems all too likely at this point.
Despite no Cam Newton, the Panthers offence put up the most points of their season and backup QB Kyle Allen threw for 4 Touchdowns and 261 yards. Christian McCaffrey added 150 yards on the ground and the defence picked off Kyler Murray two times en route to a big win. Cam Newton is injured but even when healthy he has been inconsistent and unable to lead the offence. It seems certain he will never return to his 2015 MVP Campaign and if Kyle Allen plays well for multiple weeks, Newton could be on his way out of Carolina, though that seems unlikely right now. At 1-2, the season is not lost, however, there are a lot of questions in Charlotte right now and the answers will only come through the play of the team over the next few weeks. I doubt the Panthers make the playoffs from what the team has shown early on, and Ron Rivera will begin to look for answers as the team tries to return to its form of four seasons ago. As for the Cardinals, they are off to an 0-2-1 start and though the defence has solid playmakers, they have struggled both in stopping the pass and run game. On the offensive side, #1 Overall pick Kyler Murray looks to be a good fit as the franchise QB, however, the offensive line is brutal and the team will certainly be rebuilding for the next couple of seasons sitting at the bottom of the NFC West under new Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury.
The 49ers might be the worst 3-0 team this season, and they can thank their defence for their perfect start. San Francisco had 5 turnovers against Pittsburgh, including three in the RedZone. Jimmy Garropolo (277 Yards, TD, 2 INT) continues to leave more questions than answers and really has yet to prove he is a franchise QB for the Niners. The defence, led by possibly the best defensive line in the league (Buckner, Bosa, Ford, Thomas) created two turnovers of their own, as well as sacking Mason Rudolph two times. On offence, the rushing attack, led by Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson combined for two touchdowns and 169 yards rushing. The 49ers have yet to play a team with a winning record and their schedule remains easy until November, giving the team a real shot at returning to the postseason for the first time since Jim Harbaugh was in town. Though I do not believe they have a real chance at winning the division due to the Rams, they will surely battle it out with Seattle for the second spot and will have to win important divisional games down the stretch to ensure they are playing come January. As for the Steelers, Mason Rudolph was not terrible in his starting debut, but not great, throwing for only 174 yards and James Conner was brutal with only 43 yards rushing. The season is likely lost at 0-3, and the poor start has come as a surprise to those, including myself, who believed the team would still prosper without Antonio Brown and return to the top of the AFC North once again. Despite this, the future is bright for the black and yellow, and the team will look to develop its young defensive core while awaiting Roethlisberger’s return next season.
Despite no Drew Brees, Teddy Bridgewater (177 Yards, 2 TD) and the Saints went on the road against the undefeated Seahawks to move to 2-1 on the season. With the win, the team sits atop the NFC South standings and gives fans hope that the team will remain competitive as they await their Franchise QB to return from his thumb injury. Though, I did see a video on twitter showing all of Bridgewater’s completions and they were practically all passes within 10 yards. Teams will certainly to pick up on that in the coming weeks as they prepare for the Saints. As for the Seahawks, they fall to 2-1 and also let me down as -3.5 seemed too easy after their solid start to the season. Russel Wilson continues to play fantastic, throwing for 400 yards, and D.K Metcalf is not the bust so many thought he would be, grabbing two receptions for 67 yards. The pass rush is lacking, as they were unable to get to Bridgewater all game, however, they are still led by one of the top defensive players in the league in Bobby Wagner. They will continue to be a solid team against the rush and pass as a whole. As of now, the team looks like it will finish with a winning record and will be fighting with the divisional rival 49ers for a wild card spot.
Deshaun Watson and the defence continue to carry this Texans team as Houston moved to 2-1 on Sunday to sit tied for the lead in the AFC South. Despite his offensive line, and atrocious run game, Watson put up three touchdowns and 350 yards, against a formidable Chargers defence. The defence, led by future Hall of Famer J.J Watt, sacked Phillip Rivers five times and almost shut out the Chargers in the second half, giving up just a field goal. Barring an injury to Watson, which is always a possibility given the way he plays, the Texans could certainly repeat as AFC South champions and at the least, fight for a wild card spot as they hope to avenge their wild-card loss to the Colts last January. As for the Chargers, Phillip Rivers and the offence continues to struggle (though Keenan Allen had 183 receiving yards, 2 TD’s) and Melvin Gordon’s absence seems to be plaguing them after two straight losses. Despite the 1-2 start, the team is good enough to compete for an AFC wild-card spot but will have to pick up where they left off last season if they want to compete. The team has countless playmakers on the roster and I believe the team will be able to give Rivers another shot in the playoffs, though an AFC championship game appearance, let alone a Super Bowl, seems truly unlikely at this point.
This Sunday Night Football match-up was appealing prior to the game, though expectations were not met, as the contest was a slow, defensive affair for its majority. Baker Mayfield struggled, throwing a TD, INT, with a 50 comp.% and less than 200 yards. Jared Goff did not fare much better though, throwing 2 INT, along with 2 TD and 269 yards. The preseason hype for the Browns has certainly not held true and the team falls to 1-2 with a tough upcoming schedule. The offensive line has been atrocious to begin the year and the offence will continue to struggle for Freddie Kitchens if nothing is addressed. The team certainly has the playmakers to lead this team to a winning record, though many pieces must come together in order for the team to turn around. Despite the fact that I was not completely sold on the Browns to begin the year, I expected the team to be better at this point, however, I believe they will still finish the year in the #6 or #7 seed and possibly bring the Browns back to the postseason for the first time in over a decade. As for Los Angeles, the passing game looks better with Cooper Kupp back and Todd Gurley will continue to get limited touches to save his energy for the latter half of the year. The defence is still solid, led by Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald, as well as veterans in the secondary Eric Weddle, Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters. Sean McVay’s play-calling remains the best in the conference and he is certainly looking to avenge their poor performance in Super Bowl 53 and repeat as NFC Champions for another chance at a Super Bowl. I think it is safe to say this team looks to finish with a first-round bye in the playoffs, though there are still questions about whether Jared Goff can continue to lead his team in important games, especially in January when the Rams will surely be playing for the NFC crown.
The final game of the week was a positive for that of Bears fan, as Mitch Trubisky, who has continued to face heavy scrutiny to begin the year, threw for 3 TD, INT and 231 yards, en route to a crucial win at FedEx Field. The Bears’ defence was fantastic again, forcing five turnovers and sacking Case Keenum four times. Though they have gotten off to a slow start, the team moves to 2-1 and has fans believing that a repeat of last year’s season is a possibility. Though the team played well, I do not think they will end the season ahead of either the Packers or the Vikings and will be fighting for the last wild card spot in the division in order to reach the playoffs for a second consecutive year. Trubisky’s inconsistencies will be the fault of the team as the season continues and his future in Chicago will come into question by many if he struggles throughout the year. As for Washington, the season looks over at 0-3, and the biggest question for fans is when first-round draft pick Dwayne Haskins will finally start at QB. Further, as the team looks to rebuild for the future, All-Pro Offensive Lineman Trent Williams could be dealt as he continues to hold out, and the Redskins could get a solid return of draft picks for the Left Tackle, as his future in Washington looks bleak.