NFL Hot Takes: Week 3

Arizona Cardinals: You can blame the early start time. You can point to the fact that their opponent was desperate for a win. But really, Bruce Arians did not prepare his team well for a game for the second time in three weeks.

Atlanta Falcons: MONDAY NIGHT GAME

Baltimore Ravens: So it’s not like they’ve played anybody really that good – but the Ravens are 3-0 and sitting atop one of the toughest divisions in football. If Flacco can return to his 2014 form, this team could be competing for a playoff spot.

Buffalo Bills: This was the definition of a must-win game for Buffalo and the team came to play, potentially saving Rex’s job for another week. But you can expect the seat to heat up quickly if they can’t beat a Brady-less Patriots team this week.

Carolina Panthers: Through three weeks, the Panthers have already lost more games than they did all of last year. This clearly isn’t the same team on either side of the ball. We think the offense overachieved last year and is regressing to the mean.

Chicago Bears: We knew this team wasn’t going to be very good, even with Jay Cutler back there – but Brian Hoyer didn’t play terribly. It was the defense that really struggled, letting a pair of rookies in Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott run roughshod over them. John Fox described the loss as “Disappointing.” Ok John.

Cincinnati Bengals: It’s not quite time to abandon ship just yet, considering the Bengals have played one of the NFL‘s toughest schedules so far and it’s only week three. But… Dalton is still proving he can’t win in the playoffs by losing to two playoff teams from last year.

Cleveland Browns: I seriously have no words to describe this Cleveland team. Set up for the game winning field goal as time expires only to miss and eventually lose in overtime. The one person I feel bad for? Terrelle Pryor who played his ass off and came away with nothing to show for it.

Dallas Cowboys: Every time they showed Tony Romo on the sidelines he looked uncomfortable. Maybe it was because of his collarbone, but we think it’s because he realizes that Dak Prescott is stealing his job one week at a time.

Denver Broncos: Since we all like to jump to conclusions, we are here to say that this Broncos team is actually better than the squad that won Super Bowl 50 last year. The knock on Trevor Siemian was that he couldn’t make plays down the field – so he goes out and does just that. The AFC should be worried.

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Detroit Lions: It’s going to be tough for the Lions to put together any kind of successful season with the defense they are trotting out onto the field. The offense can put up points on just about any defense, but Detroit can’t stop anyone from scoring.

Green Bay Packers: We might be harsher on Green Bay than any other team in the league, but even we were telling folks to relax after their close loss last week. See how everything turned out?

Houston Texans: For an offense that spent big money on a quarterback, boasts DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller V at WR, and also added Lamar Miller at running back, getting shutout is unacceptable. Luckily nobody in the AFC South has a defense that remotely resembles what the Patriots showed on Thursday.

Indianapolis Colts: The Colts were one big connection between Luck & Hilton away from being 0-3, but instead they were able to gain a game on the Texans in the AFC South. We still have lots of questions about this team and whether their window has closed, but we can wait a couple weeks for answers.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Blake Bortles is taking responsibility for the offensive struggles so far in this 0-3 season for Jacksonville, but the truth is that as long as Gus Bradley is running the show, the Jags will miss the playoffs.

Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs defensive backs had more interceptions (6) than receptions allowed to Decker & Marshall (5). This is definitely an outlier game for Kansas City, but still exciting to see their defense pick things up after a rocky start to the season.

Los Angeles Rams: Sure it’s week three, and sure they aren’t alone – but Los Angeles is sitting atop the NFC West right now. The real question is how long they decide to stick with Case Keenum over #1 pick Goff.

Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins were able to snag victory from the jaws of defeat, but nobody in that locker room is ecstatic after eking out a win over the Browns. Up next is a struggling Cincy team on short rest which should give Miami a chance to even their record.

Minnesota Vikings: I think it’s time we start looking at Minnesota as one of the best teams in the NFC, after putting up eight sacks against Carolina. The team is built on defense, which means Bradford has almost no pressure to put up big numbers – and that suits his abilities just fine.

New England Patriots: Down to their third string QB, New England was able to pull out a fairly dominating win. If you think of it this way – you or I could have played QB and still won that game. Although the QB situation for the Patriots is still up in the air, they are guaranteed to at least go 3-1 in Brady’s absence which will be good enough for sole possession of the AFC East.

New Orleans Saints: MONDAY NIGHT GAME

New York Giants: This game was a huge let-down for the Giants. A lot of attention was given to the rematch between Norman and Beckham Jr. but we can’t overlook just how awful Eli Manning played in this game. Big chance to go 3-0 and keep pace in the NFC East, but too many costly turnovers allowed Washington to stick around.

New York Jets: One week after receiving the highest score PFF can award to a quarterback, Ryan Fitz-tragic posted the lowest score possible. When you feel slighted over a $12 million offer and then go out and throw six interceptions – people aren’t going to have a lot of sympathy for you.

Oakland Raiders: After week one we were ready to put the Raiders in Super Bowl LI. After week two we all assumed they’d be drafting first overall. After week three and a close win against a low-tier opponent, we are starting to dial them in a bit. We don’t do power rankings in this article, but if we had to, we’d probably put them at #20. - Customized NFL Gear

Philadelphia Eagles: CARSON WENTZ. CARSON WENTZ. CARSON WENTZ.  He has officially showed us that he CAN be a complete quarterback, but it’s only been three weeks and they’ve yet to go up against a truly solid defense – or maybe Wentz is just so good that he makes good defenses look pedestrian. Who knows. Not us.

Pittsburgh Steelers: It’s been a while since the Steelers failed to make it into the endzone in any sort of fashion which is concerning at best. But eight teams have won the Super Bowl in the same season where they suffered a loss of 25 or more points.  There’s no way that Ben plays another game as bad as he played today, but we are starting to think the defense may have been just a wee bit overrated.

San Diego Chargers: The 2015 Chargers went 4-12, with an average margin of defeat at 7 points, including five losses by less than 7 points. We thought it was just bad luck, but now we are starting to think that maybe the head coach isn’t doing such a good job at preparing his players in end of game situations.

San Francisco 49ers: I think we were all a little delusional when the 49ers were sitting at 1-1 after a dominating season opening win and a tough road loss to a Panthers team we used to think was good. San Francisco is still a few years away from really competing and it showed yesterday.

Seattle Seahawks: All the 12’s are holding their breath in hopes that Wilson’s knee injury isn’t anything serious. Trevone Boykin isn’t the worst option to have at backup, but this offense was having enough struggles before losing Wilson that it could really set Seattle back.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: We have a lot of questions about the late game clock management, but if we had just one question to ask, it would be “what was Jameis thinking on the game’s final play?” He was literally 5 yards past the line of scrimmage looking for open receivers.

Tennessee Titans: So this team isn’t terrible, but any time it looks like they’re about to gain momentum, they are flagged for something.  Step one is gathering the talent, which it looks like they’re doing – step two is getting a coach who can minimize penalties and mistakes, which isn’t happening with Mularkey.

Washington Redskins: If Washington ever needed a win, it was going to be this week. Cousins actually played half decent, spreading the ball around to 7 different receivers. The lack of a running game is major cause for concern as they are 28th in the league in rushing yards/game. Until they get that going it’s going to be tough sledding for Cousins and this offense.

About Aaron Garcia

Aaron is an avid sports fan who passionately follows the NFL, NBA and MLB, in addition to NCAA Sports. He is an Arizona State University grad who loves the Dodgers and the Patriots.