Five undefeated teams remain after week three. As for my picks, week three was tough. Going 1-2 in my week three selections is almost as bad as Cody Parkey missing a game winning field goal for what could’ve been the Browns best shot at a win this year. Week four is packed with good matchups, so let’s look back, then forward.
Biggest Takeaway: Did the Browns blow the best shot they had at a win this year?
Oh Cleveland, I only root against the Browns when they play the Eagles. It has to be brutal to be a Browns fan. Heartbreak in the playoffs many years ago, being known for having a different QB start week in and week out, and pretty much, game opposing fans have looked at the Browns as an automatic win for the past decade.
The Browns had a great chance to win their first game of the year in Miami. They were a 46 yard field goal away from sweet sweet victory. Newly signed kicker, Cody Parkey, missed the time expiring game winner and the Browns lost in OT on a Jay Ajayi game-winning touchdown. What I’m worried about is if they will win a game this year.
They have the revitalized Skins on the road and then get blessed with the Patriots in week five, which is Tom Brady’s first game after the suspension. He’ll be in a forgiving mood…. The Titans road game the following week is their best chance. After that, they have the Bengals, Ravens, Bills, and Steelers on the road and the Jets, Cowboys, Steelers, Giants, Bengals, and Chargers at home. Expect them to be an underdog every single week with a strong possibility at 0-16.
Best Week 3 Win: Philadelphia Eagles
It’s Wentzylmania! Not many people picked the Eagles to beat the Steelers, myself included, and they did more than beat the early AFC Super Bowl favorites. The Eagles smashed the Steelers by 31 points in convincing fashion. They dominated both sides of the ball as the surprising Eagles head into an early bye week at 3-0.
This game was supposed to be a reality check for Wentz after beating the Browns and Bears. Well here’s reality, Carson Wentz is the real deal. The size, poise, confidence, and control he has of the offense has Philadelphia believing they will be a playoff team this year. However, Jim Schwartz’s defense has been the most impressive. They pressured Big Ben all day. They sacked the 240 pound QB four times and forced one turnover. The Steelers came into the game averaging 31 points after their first two matchups, and are considered one of the best offenses in the league. This Eagles defense held them to 3 points to improve on being one of the NFLs stingiest defenses, holding opponents to an average of 9 points a game.
Worst Week 3 Loss: Carolina Panthers
First off, the Minnesota Vikings deserve a ton of credit for this win. They easily could’ve been listed above. Sam Bradford may have found the right home and this Vikings defense is one of the best in the league. However, after three weeks, the Carolina Panthers have doubled the amount of regular season loses they experienced last year. They snapped a 14 home game winning streak and find themselves in an early hole. I still think this is the team to beat in the NFC, but there are some serious problems.
Cam Newton cannot stay upright. The Panthers offensive line needs to do a better job of protecting the franchise quarterback. Here’s three numbers that exemplify how good the Vikings defense was – 8 sacks, 3 interceptions, and 1 safety. That’s a dominating defensive performance and the Panthers need to fix these offensive struggles. They have the division leading Flacons next week on the road.
Week 4 Predictions:
Can’t Miss Win: Cardinals over Rams
Now, I don’t think there are a lot of, “Can’t Miss Wins,” this week, but there are a few. The Cardinals have not looked sharp this year. They just got handled by the 0-2 Buffalo Bills last week. They are not going to lose to the Rams at home though. University of Phoenix is a tough venue to play in. Arizona has a great defense while the Rams have a poor offense. Carson Palmer will bounce back after throwing 4 INTs in Buffalo, and expect a heavy dose of David Johnson this Sunday. The Cardinals will win by double digits at home.
Intriguing Matchup: Buffalo at New England
You have to love when one Ryan faces off vs. Belichick, but now TWO Ryan’s will enter Bill’s world. Rex and Rob will enter Gillette Stadium against the Patriots this Sunday. This will be the Patriots last game without Tom Brady. They’re looking to go 4-0 without him, which many thought would not happen. If you’re a Bills fan, this is an early season must win. The 1-2 Bills must find a way to beat the Patriots if they want to find themselves in the playoff picture. Taylor, McCoy, and the rest of the Bill’s offense will need to find a way to score frequently to win. They want to make this game a shootout. Make whoever the QB is for New England beat them through the air. If this happens, the Bills will steal one in Foxborough. However, no one should beat against the QB whisper himself. The Patriots are 16-2 at home since 2014 and will add to the win column this week. Patriots in a one score game.
Biggest Upset: Raiders over Ravens
The Ravens are the softest 3-0 I’ve seen in a while. They are still 3-0, which is exactly where you want to be at this point in the season – but look at their wins. Week one, they beat the Bills at home in a riveting 13-7 game. In week two the Browns were dominating Baltimore until they eked out a 25-20 victory. Last week, they outpaced the Jaguars 19-17. No win is an easy win in the NFL, but I’m not convinced on the Ravens.
Oakland was my early season pick to win the AFC West. Trevor Siemian may have something to say about that, but I will stick with Oakland. This is a young, talented team whose defense looked much better against Tennessee. Derek Carr didn’t look great and Cooper had some noticeable drops, but this is a strong offense. The defense shouldn’t struggle too much against the Ravens offense and expect Jack del Rio to air the ball out down the field more in week four. Big games by the 3 Big C’s, Cooper, Crabtree, and Carr, will boost the Raiders to a road win in Baltimore.
Now, let’s enjoy looking forward, and hope we were right when we take a look back next week. Enjoy week four everyone.
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