Thursday night was quite the matchup between the 49ers and the Rams. Granted, we expected it to be a bit better of a matchup between 1-2 teams from the NFC West. Nonetheless, the 49ers flexed their might and ran away with the first game of the weekend. Here is the rest of our coverage for games from this weekend.
The suddenly surprising Ravens will head to Buffalo to face the 1-2 Bills. With the poor production that Buffalo put up last week, they may not be so excited to see the Ravens defense come to town. The Ravens, who haven’t had much of an offense thus far this season, will look to expend the force of their defense for another week. Baltimore surprised a lot of people last weekend with a 30-9 upset over the previously undefeated Texans. The only blemish on the Ravens so far this year is their opening weekend loss to the Broncos, but Peyton Manning has been destroying defenses all season, so it’s the defensive wins that the Ravens have had that look better over the last two weeks. Buffalo suffered a loss to the Jets last weekend, but EJ Manual will look to continue leading his team while hooking up with receiver Stevie Johnson. If C.J. Spiller is back, this could add to the attack of Buffalo, but it still may not be enough. Another win could be a huge sign for the Ravens, who everyone thought might have a terrible season after their offseason losses and opening night blowout.
The Bengals still look like a great team and they will have a chance this weekend against the Browns to improve their record to 3-1. Look to this game to get an idea of how good Cincinnati really is. They have won some tough games so far this season, but its trap games like this that really prove what a team has to offer. Look for Andy Dalton to exploit a weak Browns defense and to score early and often. We also will be keeping an eye on Giovani Bernard to see if he can keep up his rookie campaign and keep putting the ball in the end zone. As for the Browns (cue cricket chirpings for dull silence), we don’t really know what to expect from them. After all, it was a bit of a surprise last week when they beat the Vikings, so we suppose anything is possible. But don’t forget that this team still isn’t sure about Brandon Weedon, still traded away Trent Richardson last week, and still has a whole bunch of other gaps in their entire team. Cincinnati SHOULD win this one, but we’ve already seen our share of surprising turnouts so far this season, so this could potentially be another one.
Chicago has a real test this weekend as it visits Detroit in an NFC North showdown. The Bears are an impressive 3-0 and have looked to be one of the more complete teams in the NFL this season. The Lions have looked good as well, despite a loss in week 2 to Arizona. Jay Cutler has nearly 700-yards in three games and has relied on Brandon Marshall for 269 of them. On the other side, Matt Stafford has amassed 1,020 yards (reread that if you need to – yes, 1,020 yards. In just three games) and has relied on Megatron for just under one-third of all of those. Stafford is looking beastly this year and it doesn’t hurt knowing he has one of the best receivers in the league to toss the ball to whenever in doubt. This game could come down to the home field advantage that Detroit has. We imagine that Ford Field will be going crazy as they welcome the division rival to town, with the number one spot in the division up for grabs.
Who would’ve guessed when the season started that in week 4, the winless Giants would be visiting the undefeated Chiefs? Anyone who says otherwise, is either lying or a diehard Chiefs fan that is out of touch with reality. The Giants have downright looked terrible this season. It’s nearly impossible to put a finger on exactly what it is, but just the overall lack of success has lead to one of the worst starts in recent years for the G-Men. After last week’s embarrassing show against Carolina, Eli Manning had better have something up his sleeve if he doesn’t want the wheels to come off in New York. But a loss to KC could mean just that. As for the Chiefs, things couldn’t be going better as of late. Andy Reid is coming off a huge win over his old team and Alex Smith’s old team is having its own problems in San Francisco, adding to the value of both of these new assets. They will want to keep the ball rolling this weekend and make a statement against Eli and company. With the Broncos playing to the form that they have been, there is no rest for Kansas City to have a hiccup here against a lackluster team like New York.
If you raised your hand after reading the first line of the last paragraph, maybe you are also a genius who would’ve guessed the Vikings and Steelers would be heading into London with winless records as well. Sure, the Vikings weren’t expected to be a contender this year, but with Adrian Peterson on your team and with a matchup against the Browns last week, they surely should have a tally in the win column by now. Instead, they will face off against Ben Roethlisberger who has had his own issues so far this season. Admittedly, the Steelers competition has looked much tougher this year, after losing to a stout defense in Tennessee, a surprisingly good team in Cincinnati and an undefeated squad in Chicago. Nonetheless, this is the worst start in almost a decade for the Steelers and another loss this weekend would be hazardous to Roethlisberger and company. For the sake of football, we just hope that this game is competitive. We’d hate for our friends across the pond to think that their football is more entertaining than ours; which may happen if the Steelers and Vikings don’t impress on Sunday.
Earlier this week Josh Freeman was relieved of his duties as the starting quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That is, unless rookie Mike Glennon has about as much success as Freeman did through three weeks of the 2013 season. The Bucs are 0-3, although their record may not be as lopsided as a few other teams that share the same record. Instead, the Bucs have lost to the Jets (2-1) by 1, the Saints (3-0) by 2 and the Patriots (3-0) by, well, 20. But despite the blowout from the Patriots, the Bucs have had close games and have been competitive this year. The fact of the matter is that they have a solid defense with Darelle Revis and will look to round out their squad with the change in quarterback. Doug Martin will also hope that the change to Glennon will return him to the success he saw in his rookie campaign. The second-year player has had 297-yards, but only 1 touchdown to show for it. The Cardinals have also had a tough season so far, going 1-2 through three weeks. The bright side is that they won at home against a good Detroit team. The bad news is they lost to St. Louis and were embarrassed by the Saints. This matchup could be between two of the better ‘bad’ teams in the league and a win could give either one the confidence they need to turn around their season.
The Colts have been a team that many expected would do well, but after last week’s win against the 49ers, they look even better. Now that they have Trent Richardson to team up with Andrew Luck, this is one of the more perennial offenses in the league, and could be for years to come with both players’ youth. As for their opponents, well the Jags don’t have too many good things going for them. Aside from being 0-3, their entire team is a mess with no clear direction of where they are going. There are a lot of 0-3 teams out there who are looking to get their first win this weekend. We don’t expect to be the Jags to be so lucky when all is said and done on Sunday.
When Seattle and Houston square off on Sunday, this is going to be an interesting game that will probably garner a lot of attention. While some may look at Houston’s loss last week to the Ravens to be an embarrassment, we see it as a sign that the Texans will look to bounce back this week and prove that they deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as some of the other perennial teams in the league. Sure, Arian Foster didn’t show up last week, so we don’t expect lightening to strike twice in a row. The only problem for the Texas is that they are going up against Seattle. The Seahawks have looked nearly unstoppable all season and they will want to add to this as they go into a tough Reliant Stadium on Sunday. What more is there to say about Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and a Seahawks defense that is more stout than a freshly brewed beer on game day? If they can go into Houston and rough up the Texans like they did the 49ers a few weeks ago, there may be no stopping this Seattle train. But, if Houston can use the home crowd to keep it close, as well as the motivation of knocking off the powerhouse Seahawks, we could see a big surprise after this game comes to a close.
Another game that may turn some heads is the matchup between the Jets and Titans in Nashville. After three weeks, both teams are 2-1 and have had some pretty decent wins that don’t discredit their current standing. The Titans only loss came to the Texans and, oh yeah, that was in overtime. Otherwise, they beat up on Pittsburgh and won a thriller in San Diego last week. All of the Jets games have been entertaining, wining close ones against Tampa and Buffalo, and losing a heart breaker against New England. After last weeks win, Geno Smith should have the confidence he needs to take on a ready Tennessee defense. And with Jake Locker on the other side of the ball, Smith and company will need to keep things fast-paced and high scoring. Both teams made huge leaps in NFL power-rankings this week and that could happen again with another win this weekend. We are excited to see this game and see who comes out victorious at an impressive 3-1.
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Even though we expect the Jets and Titans game to be an interesting one, they probably won’t be getting the airtime they deserve, considering the fact that the Broncos and Eagles will be kicking off at around the same time. The Broncos have continually looked impressive this year and the Eagles, despite their two losses, can put up points in a hurry against any team. The jury is still out on Chip Kelly’s offense and whether or not a college style system can win in the NFL. They certainly looked impressive in week-1 against Washington, but then lost a close one against San Diego and then had an emotional loss to Kansas City last Thursday night. It’s no question that Peyton Manning will be looking to rack up a ton of points to continue his bid for yet another NFL MVP award. In only three games Manning has completed 89-of-122 passes for 1143 yards. If my math is right, that should put Peyton at a cool 6,096-yards at the end of the year if he keeps up this pace, which would crush the previous season record of 5,476 set by Drew Brees. If that’s not enough to impress, his 12-touchdowns and no interceptions just further bolster the numbers. We’ll also have to keep an eye out for Champ Bailey and whether or not he makes his return this weekend. With a potent Philly defense, the Broncos will need all the help they can get, even though they have looked stout without Bailey in previous weeks. Michael Vick isn’t having a bad season, despite the losing record. Also in the backfield is LeSean McCoy, who leads the league in rushing yards with 395 through 3 weeks. We aren’t really sure what to expect from Philly this weekend, but how they fair against the Broncos will surely answer a lot of questions. As for the Broncos, they’ll be looking to make a statement of their own.
Robert Griffin III has to be excited to see this game on the schedule against the Raiders. With only 1-win, the Raiders will be starting backup quarterback Alex Flynn this weekend as Terrell Pryor sits with concussion like symptoms. Granted, Flynn has a tendency of coming into one-game situations and lighting teams up for massive points like he did for Green Bay, but there’s no way that could happen on Sunday. Or, could it? If there’s a team to do it against, it would certainly be the Skins. The Redskins were the darling of the NFL last season but have started 0-3 and questions are swirling around the nation’s capital and whether or not RGIII is able to avoid a sophomore slump. This is the worst start for the Redskins in the last 12-years and they will look to stop the skid where it is. The Raiders defense is coming off a short week in which they got scorched by the Broncos offense. And while some may think they may come out hungry and looking to return the favor to the Redskins, we think its more likely that the Redskins will use the holes that the Broncos exposed to rack up their own high-scoring affair against the Raiders. You may not see much defense in this game, but it’ll be interesting which team can get the ball flowing and take control of this game. Each team is looking to stay relatively close in their respective divisions, so a lot is on the line as they get ready to play in Oakland.
Dallas will visit San Diego late on Sunday afternoon as they hope to improve to 3-0 and solidify a win against the Chargers. The Chargers tried their hardest to come back in week one against the Texans and even looked impressive against Philly despite a loss. And last week they let the Titans come back on them and steal a game that should’ve gone in favor of the Chargers. With all of this evidence, don’t let the Chargers 1-2 record fool you. That said, don’t let the Cowboys 2-1 record fool you either. The Cowboys wins have come against the Giants (and this season, who doesn’t win against the Giants?) and the Rams (we hate to say the same for St. Louis, but that looks apparent too). Don’t get us wrong. The Cowboys only loss was to the undefeated Chiefs and was only by one point. Had that game went the other way, people would probably be talking about the Cowboys the way that they are instead talking about the surprisingly undefeated Chiefs. Nonetheless, just with a 2-1 record isn’t enough to give the Cowboys the advantage on Sunday. Instead, this should be an intriguing game and the X factor could be that it’s being played in San Diego.
Sunday’s prime time game should be a great one as we watch Tom Brady and the Patriots take on Matt Ryan and the Flacons. The Patriots are 3-0 for the first time since they went 18-1 a few years ago. And this comes despite the frustration that Brady has expressed towards his lackluster receiving core. Nonetheless, Brady has done what Brady always does and has found a way to make his team win. He only has 698 yards for the season, but he’s already racked up 5 touchdowns. In comparison, Matt Ryan has 6 touchdowns on over 900-yards, but has his team with a 1-2 record. Falcon fans may still be surprised about their loss last weekend against the Dolphins, and even more concerned at the fact that their only win came against the lowly Rams. While this game is for the taking, the Falcons being 1-3 would almost be nearly inconceivable. This team made it to the NFC Championship last year and was expected to remain among the top tier of teams this year as well. Sure, the schedule may be tough, but good teams win tough games. And if the Falcons want to prove that they deserve to stay in the hunt, they’ll have to beat one of the best of them with the Patriots.
When all of the dust clears on Sunday, we’ll have to wait 24-hours for yet another surprising game on the schedule. Monday night’s game may have been overlooked at the beginning of the season. After all, while some people may have guessed that the Saints would be at 3-0 at this point, who would’ve guessed that the same could be said about the Dolphins? Well per typical NFL fashion, things have a funny way of working out and this matchup will surely be one of the most watched of the weekend, especially since it’ll be on Monday night. Drew Brees has thrown for over 1,000-yards in just three games, but more surprisingly may be the 827 that has been put up by Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill has already beat Andrew Luck and Matt Ryan this year, so he’ll look to add Brees to that list. The common opponent that these teams have had was the Falcons. The Dolphins beat the birds 27-23, while the Saints beat them 23-17. This should be a great one on Monday night and will be the perfect icing on the cake for week 4 of the NFL season.