As we’re approaching the quarter mark of the NFL season, we’re beginning to get a clearer view of how the rest of the season will play out. The blue chip teams like the Patriots, Steelers, and Seahawks are winning, the bottom feeders like the Jets and Giants are struggling, and the Falcons are back to blowing big leads.
Order has been restored in the NFL.
On a real note, week three was filled with major storylines like the Bills solidifying their spot as a playoff contender, the Lions showing signs of life in an unexpected win, and the Chiefs convincingly defeating the Lamar led Ravens.
Here are the biggest takeaways from Week 3:
Rough Times in the Big Apple
While New York is the largest market in all of America, they’ve been plagued with a lack of success in the sports department, and I’m here to show my sincerest condolences. Typically, the New York Knicks are the culprit of depressed New York sports fans, but New York’s football teams are attempting to take that title.
The Big Apple’s teams (excluding the Buffalo Bills) are a combined 0-6 and the future outlook doesn’t look promising either. The most intriguing aspect about these New York teams is that I’m a true believer in their quarterbacks, or at least I used to be.
The typical rule of thumb for NFL quarterbacks is that you know who they are by their third pro season, which is why I believe that Jets have failed Sam Darnold and the Giants are doing the same to Daniel Jones. Regardless, both of the New York teams are in a rough state and desperately should be looking forward to next offseason to retool and reload.
The Seahawks Defense belongs in the Big 12
Listen, I know that Russell Wilson is going to overcome poor play from his defense 9 times out of 10, but the Seahawks cannot be too ecstatic with the way they’ve played thus far. They’ve given up 497 yards per game (32nd in the NFL), and 6.6 yards per play (31st), and allowed 450 yards in all three games thus far. Sure you can attribute some of the yards to the fact that the Seahawks have constantly jumped out to big leads which forces offenses to throw the ball, but there needs to be accountability.
The biggest issue with this team doesn’t lie in their secondary, but actually their pass rush. In the NFL a vicious pass rush can overcome a lackluster secondary, but NOT vice versa. Seattle has allowed opponents to convert on 51.2% of third downs (28th), and this is due to a lack of pressure being generated (27th).
While the Seahawks are the only team to ever allow 1,200 passing yards through three weeks, the bright side is that we’re only in week four. Seattle has time to address their issues, and it’s necessary if they want to win a Super Bowl.
Deshaun Watson Needs Help, BAD
Ever since Watson came out of Clemson, I’ve believed that he has the talent to be a top-five quarterback, but the Texans aren’t doing him any favors. Watson has endured more sacks than any quarterback not named Joe Burrow, and his receiving core isn’t providing help either.
The other day, someone brought up the possibility that Watson was the issue in Houston and I was curious to see if he was right. Watson’s film did show a tendency to hold onto the ball for a split second too long, but the film also displayed the need for Watson to carry the Texans by himself. Will Fuller, Brandin Cooks, and Randall Cobb have been productive receivers, but the Texans need to surround Watson with a better supporting cast or they risk wasting Watson’s All-Pro potential.
Terry McLaurin & Diontae Johnson will become Top 10 Receivers
Yes, I understand that McLaurin and Johnson combined for a mere 84 yards in week three, but they are both budding superstars. Both receivers are excelling due to their crafty route running, fluidity, and dynamic after the catch ability. Coming out of college, they had similar concerns with inconsistent hands but their textbook route running and creativity in space make them top notch receivers.
Despite being on somewhat inefficient offenses, they both have proven to consistently produce solid stat-lines and contribute to their respective teams passing attack. Both of these receivers are leading the next generation of dynamic, technical receivers, and will soon be regarded as some of the best in the business.
The Cleveland Browns Will Go as Far as Their Run Game Takes Them
Nick Chubb is one of, if not the purest running backs in the league, that is all. Heading into the season, fans were curious to see what changes new head coach Kevin Stefanski would bring to the offense, and now it’s evident. The Browns have rushed for the fourth most yards through three weeks and their offense has shown major signs of life over the past two weeks.
During the past two weeks, Stefanski made it his mission to establish the run early with the league’s best running back duo in Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb and it worked to perfection. The way the Browns will struggle is if Baker Mayfield is forced to pick apart an opposing defense, but Stefanski has also done a tremendous job of avoiding this.
If Stefanski is able to establish the run and give Baker opportunities in play action rollouts/simple two read concepts, this Browns offense has a chance to be very productive, but that’s a big if.
We Should All be Scared for Joe Burrow
Would you consider sitting Burrow for the remainder of the season? Obviously the answer is no because the Cincinnati Bengals still have a chance to win 5+ games this season, but seeing a potential star quarterback get hit consistently is not a fun sight. Joe Burrow is one of, if not the best quarterback prospects I’ve ever seen, but in order to have a lengthy career he has to be protected.
The reason I brought up the idea about sitting Joe Burrow is because he’s displayed all of the makings of a superstar quarterback in the league, and I don’t want to see him get a major injury. Listen, I’m confident that the Bengals will add to their offensive line this upcoming offseason, but for the meantime, I’m going to keep grimacing every time he gets knocked down by a 300+ pound defensive lineman.
Kyle Shanahan Deserves all the Credit in the World
The 49ers were missing a total of 11 starters this weekend against the Jets and they still won by 27 points. Kyle Shanahan is widely regarded as one of the brightest offensive minds in the game of football, but he still feels underappreciated with the job that he’s done with this 49ers offense.
Last year he turned an abysmal team into a well oiled machine that had all the right gears to keep it rolling. What’s so impressive about Shanahan’s job with the 49ers is no matter who goes down with an injury, he finds the next guy up to take the production left behind.
The 49ers haven’t had a star receiver since Michael Crabtree or a star running back since Frank Gore, or a star quarterback since Colin Kaepernick, but Shanahan still fields a productive offense that consistently moves the chains.
Stay tuned for the top takeaways from each week’s football action! If you want to stay caught up on the action or want to join the conversation, follow me on Twitter @danielalameda11.