By: Timothy Haggerty
Week three in the NFL was one of the most wild ones we have seen this year. It featured a game across the pond in London, 10 underdogs covering the spread in Vegas, and a couple of unbelievable finishes that came down to the final seconds.
Here are my biggest takeaways on the games we saw in week three.
Thursday Night: Los Angeles Rams (41) @ San Francisco 49ers (39)
Biggest Takeaway: What are we going to continue get out of the Rams?
The Rams are so tough to gauge. They piled it on the Colts in week one, held with a competitive Redskins team in week two, and barely held on to beat the 49ers on the road in week three. In an NFC West that has overall struggled, it’s hard to tell where the Rams will fall at the end of the season. We will have a much better idea in the next two weeks, where they travel to Dallas and then host the surprisingly struggling Seahawks.
London Game: Baltimore Ravens (7) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (44)
Biggest Takeaway: The Jaguars defense might be something worth watching this year.
Second year cornerback Jalen Ramsey thinks the Jaguars have the best defense in the NFL. The jury is still out on that, but he definitely has a point.
They are sacking opponents unlike anyone else in the NFL and they have four interceptions through three games. It is something to pain attention to going forward as they play a lot of manageable offenses in the coming weeks.
New York Giants (24) @ Philadelphia Eagles (27)
Biggest Takeaway: The Giants have put themselves in a very tough place to recover from.
The Giants play a tough schedule from here out and needed to come away with at least one win in these last three games. Their only hope going forward if they play well is that their other divisional rivals also stumble. They have a front loaded schedule that features all three divisional home games in the final four weeks of the season, which could end up being a very important four weeks.
Pittsburgh Steelers (17) @ Chicago Bears (23)
Biggest Takeaway: The Bears might just be good at home
The Bears have managed to put up a good fight against playoff teams at home this year. They lost to the Falcons by six at home in week one, and now just beat the Steelers at home in week three. They got blown out on the road, so they certainly aren’t a serious playoff contender yet, but they seem to have some fight in them in the windy city.
Denver Broncos (16) @ Buffalo Bills (26)
Biggest Takeaway: There is a lot more to the Bills than LeSean McCoy.
As a casual fan or a fan that doesn’t do a ton of research on other teams, LeSean McCoy is the only Buffalo Bills player that really stands out. The Bills got by this week without leaning too much on McCoy. They passed the ball well behind Tyrod Taylor and the defense was great. What this means is that the Bills are certainly multi-dimensional and shouldn’t be underestimated, just ask the thousands of people who bet the Broncos at -3 yesterday.
Atlanta Falcons (30) @ Detroit Lions (26)
Biggest Takeaway: The Lions are going to be a contender in the NFC this year.
The Lions were handed their first loss of the season in one of the most heartbreaking ways to lose a game. Otherwise, the Lions looked very good against the reigning NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons. Matthew Stafford is a great quarterback and is earning his latest pay check. Their defense is flying under the radar but did a good job, for the most part, containing a lethal offense this week. No one else in the NFC North has made a better case as the favorite to take the division than the Lions.
Cleveland Browns (28) @ Indianapolis Colts (31)
Biggest Takeaway: The Browns are still going to have a rough year
Some people thought this would be the year the Browns finally turn it around. Now, three weeks in, the Browns are without a win and most recently suffered a demoralizing loss at the hands of a bad team without their starting quarterback. DeShone Kizer shows some promise but his team is still at least one year out from looking seriously competitive.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (17) @ Minnesota Vikings (34)
Biggest Takeaway: The Vikings are looking like an above .500 team
The Vikings looked really good in week one with their starting quarterback Sam Bradford. Last week he was out at Pittsburgh and the Vikings suffered. However, many teams at full strength typically suffer in Pittsburgh. This week, they dominated even with Case Keenum at the helm against a good team. There is no reason for the Vikings to not continue this play behind a great defense and salvageable offense, en route to at least nine wins.
Houston Texans (33) @ New England (36)
Biggest Takeaway: The Patriots might not be as good as we think
The mighty New England Patriots have not looked as mighty as they were hyped up to be through three weeks. The dominated the Saints last week and looked like week one against the Chiefs was just a stumble. Now, after being a near 14 point favorite against the Texans and winning by just three, the Patriots look to be more beatable than initially thought. Brady and the offense looks lethal, but the defense has serious holes. You don’t have to look much further than this week where the Texans put up 33.
Miami Dolphins (6) @ New York Jets (20)
Biggest Takeaway: The Dolphins aren’t going to get far with Cutler.
The Dolphins had an embarrassing showing against the Jets on Sunday in the Meadowlands. This was a game they were supposed to win handedly. Instead, Cutler looked sloppy against a below average defense and only managed to put six points on the board. The menacing Dolphins front only managed to sack Josh McCown twice. It was disappointing all around, and it’s clear the Dolphins aren’t going to get far without Tannehill to be able to carry the offense.
New Orleans Saints (34) @ Carolina Panthers (13)
Biggest Takeaway: Cam Newton is far from the MVP he used to be
Newton can blame it on anything, but he is not the MVP we remember. This matchup gave him a chance to prove to everyone he still had it in him, but he failed miserably. He threw for just 167 yards and no touchdowns, completing three passes to the wrong team. His team suffers exponentially when he doesn’t play well. It looks like it’s going to be a long season for Newton and the Panthers.
Seattle Seahawks (27) @ Tennessee Titans (33)
Biggest Takeaway: The Seahawks are in huge trouble if they can’t play defense.
This may have been common knowledge, but no one expected the Seahawks defense to not play well. The offense has it’s struggles and when it puts together 27 points, it needs to lead to a win. If the defense looks this bad all year it’s going to be tough for the 12th man. They should bounce back, but it doesn’t look promising through the first three weeks this year.
Cincinnati Bengals (24) @ Green Bay Packers (27)
Biggest Takeaway: Aaron Rodgers is great even when he doesn’t look it
One thing I couldn’t help but to think throughout this game was how Rodgers didn’t look good. He was sacked six times, threw a costly pick six, and had a QBR of 58.7. However, he had three touchdowns and over 300 yards to his credit and still got the win. The highlight of the game was a throw he made in OT to Geronimo Allison to put the Packers in field goal range for the win. Rodgers is the best quarterback in the game and it was very clear on Sunday afternoon, even when he doesn’t always look it.
Kansas City Chiefs (24) @ Los Angeles Chargers (10)
Biggest Takeaway: It does not look promising for Phillip Rivers
Rivers had a very rough Sunday at home against a staunch Chiefs defense. Rivers was picked off three times and only completed half of his 40 attempts. This was by far his worst performance of the season and it produced the worst result for the Chargers. Even when Rivers play decently well like he did in the first two weeks, the Chargers have struggled to find a win. If Rivers doesn’t figure it out it’s going to be a very long season for the Chargers.
Sunday Night: Oakland Raiders (10) @ Washington Redskins (24)
Biggest Takeaway: The Raiders are very beatable.
The Raiders looked flat on Sunday night in the nation’s capital and it came as a surprise to many people. The Redskins are nothing to write home about but they managed to keep the Raiders one or two scores away all night. The Raiders only impressive win was a 10 point victory over the Titans in week one. We have learned that the Raiders can be beaten through this performance.
Monday Night: Dallas Cowboys (28) @ Arizona Cardinals (17)
Biggest Takeaway: Dallas is still a good team
After being trounced in Denver last week, Dallas bounces back nicely and looks good in the desert against the Cardinals. Elliott was on his game with 80 yards and touchdown. Prescott didn’t throw the ball a bunch and that is certainly for the best. The defense played well against a stagnant offense and gave the Cowboys a chance to win. The Cowboys face the Rams at home and have no reason to come up short there.