The Jets defense is ranked 31st against the run. Philip Rivers has thrown more INTs than TDs. The Eagles secondary has allowed eight passing TDs, tied for most in the NFL. The Bills (!) lead the league in scoring. Everywhere you look, there's a stunning statistic as we head into Week 4. Which of these, or any not mentioned, is the most surprising to you?
- Jason La Canfora NFL Network
Panthers passing proficiency has been remarkable
All of that is shocking, for sure. But I still think Cam Newton's back-to-back 400-yard games, coupled with Carolina's inability to run the ball, is most stupendous of all. No one saw that coming.
The Bills were hanging 30 and 40 points on playoff teams like New England and Baltimore a year ago. The Eagles' lack of sufficient linebackers was a concern coming into the season and a lifetime offensive coach is calling defensive plays.
The Jets happened to face a buzzsaw in Oakland and their lack of speed and impact players on the edge of their defense is not a total revelation. And Rivers has 13 games to get his ratio in order, and the Chargers are notorious slow starters.
But find me the guy who had Carolina with the fourth-ranked passing attack after two weeks.
- Brian Billick NFL Network
Most of the surprising stats can be explained
The most surprising has to be the Bills leading the league in scoring as the others can be somewhat justified. While it shouldn't be used as an excuse, the Jets had to travel cross-country to face the Raiders and the 234 rushing yards allowed in that game is the reason their number is so bloated. Prior to that, they were giving up just 89 yards per game. As for Rivers, that offense takes a lot of chances down field and goes for the big play more than any other team, and that comes with consequences. It is also not uncommon for the Chargers to struggle in September, so I look for his numbers to get back on track as the season progresses.
With the Eagles, it's not just their secondary, it is also their rushing defense that is currently ranked 30th in the league. When you know you are susceptible to the run, the secondary, mainly the safeties, will keep their eyes in the backfield and bite on play action more often than not, leaving you vulnerable in the passing game. Remember, this is a defense with a ton of new faces, and it will take them awhile to get an understanding and confidence of their teammates on the field. Football is the ultimate team game, and as they grow together, they will play better as an entire unit.
- Jeff Darlington NFL.com
Inefficiency in Eagles secondary has been stunning
The Eagles shelled out a five-year, $60 million contract to snag cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, and it wasn't the only addition they made to bolster the secondary. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, a Pro Bowler during his second season in 2009, also joined Asomugha and Asante Samuel on the roster. Surely, that trio would help better that nasty reputation as one of the most vulnerable groups in giving up touchdowns, right?
Maybe not. After giving up 31 touchdowns last year (tied for third-most in the league), the unit is actually on pace to give up even more in 2011. Maybe it's simply a matter of growing comfortable -- but for a group with three Pro Bowlers, it's time for this unit to start protecting the end zone far better than it has so far.
- Adam Rank NFL.com
Nobody saw this coming from the Bills
There is a surprise team every season, and every year the experts try to figure out who that surprise team will be. And every year we fail. (The Lions' 3-0 start is hardly a surprise, because everybody was on that bandwagon.)
One misguided expert thought the Dolphins were going to be the pick this season. Oh wait, that was me. Turns out it was the right division, wrong team.
The Bills have been a punch line for so long, that nobody saw this 3-0 start coming, save the most ardent Buffalo fan. And even then, many of them had their doubts.
- Steve Wyche NFL.com
Cam Newton, not run game, carrying Panthers
I'm going to go off the grid a little bit because something has developed that is a complete 180 from what I expected. There is no way entering the season that I would have imagined Carolina ranking No. 24 in rushing and No. 4 in passing. I know rookie QB Cam Newton is off to a great start and looks promising, but after agreeing to pay RB DeAngelo Williams $43 million over five years and teaming him with Jonathan Stewart, I expected Carolina to be churning up yardage on the ground. The players are there and the proof is in prior production, yet Carolina is averaging just 84 yards per game and 3.3 yards per carry. Running the ball is how Atlanta, the Jets, the Ravens and the Rams complemented their rookie QBs. In Carolina, it appears Newton -- the third-ranked QB in the NFL based on total yards (1,012) -- doesn't need that kind of help.
- Charles DavisNFL Network
Amazing story in Western New York
Buffalo leading the league in scoring jumps out at me. Yes, the 3-0 Bills are a nice story, with a collection of players that has many fans heading to NFL.com to punch up their bios and learn more about just who those guys are wearing the new and improved Bills uniforms. Who's the top WR? C.J. Spiller still can't beat out Fred Jackson for the lead RB role? The Harvard guy is that good at QB? Wasn't the OL supposed to be a weak link? Amazing story coming out of Western New York.
- Pat Kirwan NFL.com
Several more stats jump out
Some stats that caused me to look twice include: the Jaguars reaching the red zone one time in three games; five teams not scoring a rushing touchdown in the red zone (Chicago, Cincinnati, Jacksonville, Kansas City, St. Louis); the Steelers being minus-9 in turnover differential (worst in the NFL); three teams averaging less than three yards a rush (Tennessee, Detroit, San Francisco); and the Jets running game (No. 1 in 2009, No. 4 in 2010) now averaging 3.37 yards per rush.