Like 95 percent of the football world, I find myself saying sorry for the doubt heading into Monday night’s demolition of Baltimore. The Chiefs are the undisputed top dogs in the NFL and not just because of Andy Reid’s mind and Patrick Mahomes’ arm. Their defense was ferocious in Week 3.
Others have but I’m not dropping the Ravens further than this spot following their loss to what Lamar Jackson described as their “kryptonite.” Baltimore will get things straightened out and will be a major contender in the playoffs. But Lamar does need to start beating some teams with his arm.
The Packers have now scored 43, 42 and 37 points in their three games to date and Aaron Rodgers is in MVP form, while Aaron Jones can stake a claim as one of the league’s very best backs. Next up for the Packers? The Atlanta Falcons on Monday night. They could very easily score 50 in that game.
The injury to Jamal Adams is something to monitor because he was one of the few bright spots on a struggling Seattle defense. But Russell Wilson remains the driving force of this team and is going to need his late-game magic more often than not this season due to deficiencies on the other side.
A star is born in quarterback Josh Allen, who is averaging 346 passing yards per game this season and ranks second in the league with a rating of 124.8. Allen really showed us his steel on Sunday after the Rams took a late lead in Buffalo. Allen didn’t blink and led a 75-yard scoring march to move to 3-0.
The Steelers are 3-0 for the first time since the 2010 season when they reached the Super Bowl. The pieces are in place for a decent run this year. Big Ben looks perfectly fine at quarterback, James Conner is waking up in the backfield, the young receivers are exciting and the pass rush is simply demonic.
It’s going to be a tough week for the Titans as they move across to remote preparation following a Covid-19 outbreak. They cannot even get together before Saturday. This is a tough team finding ways to win and Stephen Gostkowski has kicked three straight game-winners after a shaky start.
It may not be all that pretty or look anything like the Mahomes-led fireworks in KC, but New England are one late tackle on Cam Newton away from being 3-0. Coaching and physicality are going to be major features of every New England game and that is going to be enough to keep them relevant.
The Rams showed tremendous mental strength to go from 28-3 down to leading 32-28 late in Buffalo. Of course, Josh Allen spoiled the party, but the Rams showed they can compete at a very high level this season. Sean McVay is back in the conversation as one of the very best coaches in the league.
After a tough showing in New Orleans, Tom Brady is looking increasingly comfortable in Tampa Bay’s offense and his connections with Chris Godwin, Mike Evans and Scottie Miller are growing. But Tampa’s defense also ranks fourth in fewest yards allowed and first in defending big plays.
The 49ers have been totally decimated by injuries yet are 2-1 on the season. But how impressive have those wins been against the two New York offerings who rank 31st and 32nd in these rankings? A win is a win, of course, but there are still worries for the banged-up Niners in the long term.
It’s not full-on panic mode in New Orleans, but there are worrying signs in the passing game. There are times when Drew Brees seems unable to stretch the field and other occasions where he is unwilling to take a shot. No team misses an injured player more than these Saints miss Michael Thomas at receiver.
If we are to truly believe in the Cardinals, they have to beat the likes of Detroit at home. While he was brilliant at times once again, there were too many mistakes from Kyler Murray as he threw three interceptions. That is not the norm as the Cards are usually very good at taking care of the football
But for that stubbing of their toes in Jacksonville in Week 1, the Colts would be a very quiet 3-0. As it is, they are a credible 2-1 without blowing our minds. The Colts are very efficient, but they need more than wins against Minnesota and the New York Jets to make me think they can contend for glory.
A commitment to the run with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt appears to be the way forward for the Browns, who have their first winning record since Week 14 of the 2014 campaign. That commitment to the ground attack certainly suits Baker Mayfield, who is faring well on play action passes this year.
Dallas have a wealth of offensive firepower and maybe owner Jerry Jones should not be throwing even the most subtle form of shade at NFL passing yards leader Dak Prescott (1,188 yards). The finger of blame should go to a struggling secondary that has given up a touchdown pass every 12 attempts.
Credit the Bears for dramatic wins over Detroit, the New York Giants and Atlanta to start this season 3-0. But the fact that Chicago have needed to scratch and claw in order to win these games against the NFL’s lower order suggests there are some problems here, hence the move to Nick Foles at QB.
The Silver and Black traded some blows with New England in Week 3 but ultimately made too many mistakes to win on the road in Foxboro. There were also a couple of worrying signs as tight end Darren Waller was shut down and the defense got pushed around in the running game.
That’s two weeks in a row the Chargers have gone down to the wire and lost with Justin Herbert at quarterback. It has not been perfect, but this team feels much more relevant with the rookie at the helm. Getting a good look at the young signal-caller has to be the priority for the remainder of 2020.
The very obvious narrative is that the Texans have been unlucky to start the year against Kansas City, Baltimore and Pittsburgh. But surely if Bill O’Brien’s team are to be considered genuine contenders, they have to win at least one of those? And the failure to stop the run on D has been alarming.
There are some pressure cracks beginning to appear for the 0-3 Vikings. Head coach Mike Zimmer called last week’s final drive against Tennessee “a disaster.” He’s not wrong. Needing just a field goal to win and aided by a 15-yard penalty against the Titans, an errant snap and an interception ended a frustrating game.
Fans always want to see the backup in action and usually I am against such knee-jerk reactionary moves. But when you consider how affected Carson Wentz has become due to the pressure being leaked by a terrible offensive line, I have to wonder if Doug Pederson is thinking about athletic rookie Jalen Hurts?
The Dolphins could come out of this season with no more than the five wins they registered in 2019. But they will come out as a better team and I think they could beat all of those below them on this list. The best-case scenario is for Fitz to keep playing well, allowing Tua to learn and heal up.
For the first time last Thursday night, the Jags looked like the outfit I was worried we would see in 2020. The pass rush was non-existent, Gardner Minshew was under a ton of pressure and there were not enough weapons to help him out with wide receiver D.J. Chark missing due to injury.
The Bengals missed their opportunity to put the Eagles away last week and were forced to settle for a tie. Joe Burrow has been impressive on shorter throws but needs better protection to expand his game. Burrow is one of 16 on passes covering 20+ air yards and has been sacked an NFL-high 14 times.
The Lions finally found a way to win a close game and what was most impressive about their victory was the way Matt Patricia’s defense confounded Kyler Murray time and again. We also saw the value of Kenny Golladay at receiver as he returned to the lineup from injury to catch a touchdown pass.
Emotion-wise, it feels like the Falcons should be at 32 on this list. But they must have some talent to jump out to these leads against Dallas and Chicago. Holding onto them is another matter and I think big-time changes are coming to this organisation soon. Next up for the D? Green Bay. Gulp!
It’s already shaping up to be a lost season for the Broncos and the kind where an organisation may list four or five quarterbacks who started games by the end of the campaign. Next up following Drew Lock and Jeff Driskell is Brett Rypien, the nephew of former Super Bowl-winning QB Mark Rypien.
The Panthers have not really grabbed our attention through the first three weeks of this campaign, but they are 1-2, they are young and they have been competitive in every game to date. These are the early days of a Matt Rhule rebuild and it looks like his team will at least put up a fight every Sunday.
Head coach Ron Rivera did a quick about-turn after the weekend, going from saying Dwayne Haskins cannot learn if he’s not playing to stressing that the other 52 guys in the locker room deserve a chance to win. I wonder if Rivera will consider a move to Kyle Allen, who subbed for him in Carolina last year?
The Giants are an offensive mess without their best player, running back Saquon Barkley. I don’t know what else to tell you. My mum always said if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. So let’s move on.
It’s time for Adam Gase to go and I don’t think he gets another crack as a head coach in the NFL. He might not get much of a shot as a ‘quarterback whisperer’ either given the state of Sam Darnold’s game right now. How bad are these two teams in New York? It’s an absolute horror show.