Sports

NFL – Week 3 Preview – Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

After the opening two weeks of the 2019/20 NFL season, there are already signs of which teams look set for a real run at the SuperBowl – and which teams are looking destined for a long, tough, losing season, with only a high pick in the 2020 Collegiate Draft as any consolation for their fans.

Here, we look at a few of the teams who have got off to great starts – and a few of the ones who haven’t :

HOT – DALLAS COWBOYS (P2 W2)

It could be argued that ‘Americas Team’ haven’t exactly been tested as yet – their initial two games against divisional rivals New York Giants and the Washington Redskins both delivered comfortable wins, but against teams that look already destined to be on the wrong side of .500. But, what is encouraging for the Cowboys is the form of enigmatic Quarterback Dak Prescott (above), boasting a QB rating of 142.9 across those two games, and the return to the fold of stud Running Back Zeke Elliott, who was holding out for a new contract and got it – right in time for the season start. Next up for the Cowboys are the NFL’s weakest team so far – the Miami Dolphins. You can fully expect Dak, Zeke and Co to show the ailing outfit no mercy and go 3-0, before they face their first stern test in week 4, against the New Orleans Saints – but who will be without QB Drew Brees. We see this hot streak continuing for a Dallas franchise that has often flattered to deceive.

NOT – MIAMI DOLPHINS (P2 W0)

Miami aren’t just not hot….they aren’t cold….they are absolutely mind numbingly frozen – and don’t look likely to thaw out any time soon. To be fair, they have had a dreadful schedule – facing the potent Baltimore Ravens and defending SuperBowl Champions New England Patriots – which most teams would suffer losses to. But it has been the manner of the losses that means the Dolphins are already on pace to become the worst EVER NFL team. 59-10 against the Ravens was followed by a 43-0 to the Pats. At the moment, it is the 2008 Detroit Lions that hold the dubious title of having the worst ever NFL season….we truly fear for the 2019 Miami Dolphins. As above, next up the rampant Cowboys. Ouch.

HOT – NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (P2 W2)

Its getting very boring and very predictable. The Patriots are, again, showing that they don’t need true ‘stud’ players…Tom Brady apart…oh and (now, eventually, controversially) Antonio Brown….and the best modern day Head Coach around. So a fair few studs then! But, whilst we really tried to avoid waxing lyrical again about the Patriots, how can we ignore 2 games, 2 wins, 76 points scored and just 3 conceded?? We have been waiting for the decline of this franchise to allow other teams to shine. There may well be a few pretenders around, but the Patriots look set fair again to be the team to beat – not just in their AFC Conference – but the whole of the NFL. Next up for the Pats are the New York Jets. Good luck with that Gang Green!

NOT – PITTSBURGH STEELERS (P2 W0)

Things look to be falling apart in Pittsburgh, where pre season promise has now been replaced with regular season worries. 61 points conceded in two games shows the defence is nothing like the unit it was of a few seasons ago. QB Ben Roethlisberger, so often the teams driving force and inspiration, is done for the season after suffering an elbow injury that requires surgery. Running Back James Conner is banged up but has already suffered a stuttering start and isn’t looking the replacement for Le’Veon Bell it was hoped he would be. The schedule gets no easier for the Steelers either, with the unbeaten San Francisco 49ers next up, and the Ravens & Chargers lying in wait across the next few games as well. With the Ravens flying high and the Cleveland Browns starting to catch fire as expected, a playoff challenge is looking ever more unlikely for coach Mike Tomlin and his men.

HOT – GREEN BAY PACKERS (P2 W2)

Two wins…not convincing, but wins nonetheless – and crucial ones to boot, against divisional rivals Chicago and Minnesota, putting Green Bay firmly in early control of their Division. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers (above) has looked super hot and much more like himself, which can only be good news for the Cheeseheads – and Running Back Aaron Jones is warming up nicely and becoming the backfield outlet the pass happy Rodgers needs to keep opposing defences honest. We expect the Pack to win this weekend against Denver to further extend their great start to the season, before big tests against Philadelphia and Dallas. But this is a team to watch – and that defence looks much better than expected. They could be for real this season.

NOT – CAROLINA PANTHERS (P2 W0)

The Panthers opening game loss to the Rams (27-30) was forgivable – but they were dismal in going down to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (14-20) and, more importantly, Quarterback Cam Newton (above) looked nothing like his usual energetic, exuberant, confidant self. They failed to score a touchdown against, being honest, an average Tampa side at best and lacked any real rhythm or threat. Newton has, since the game, acknowledged a foot injury that looks likely to keep him out of this weekends game against Arizona. Backup Kyle Allen will fill in for Newton if he cant make it, but that will only restrict Carolina’s potency ever more and increase the pressure on RB Christian McCaffrey, who continues to put up good numbers despite Carolina’s woes. The good news for the Panthers is that the upcoming schedule looks manageable. After the Cardinals comes Houston, Jacksonville and the Buccaneers again. But they will need at least three wins from these 4 games to harbour any hopes of interest in the post season. On current form, that seems unlikely.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS :

Hot : San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs

Not : New York Giants, Denver Broncos, Cincinnati Bengals, Washington Redskins, New York Jets

NFL WEEK 3 SCHEDULE

  • Thursday : Tennessee Titans 7 – 20 Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Sunday : Cincinnati Bengals @ Buffalo Bills
  • Sunday : Detroit Lions @ Philadelphia Eagles
  • Sunday : New York Jets @ New England Patriots
  • Sunday : Oakland Raiders @ Minnesota Vikings
  • Sunday : Baltimore Ravens @ Kansas City Chiefs
  • Sunday : Atlanta Falcons @ Indianapolis Colts
  • Sunday : Denver Broncos @ Green Bay Packers
  • Sunday : Miami Dolphins @ Dallas Cowboys
  • Sunday : New York Giants @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Sunday : Carolina Panthers @ Arizona Cardinals
  • Sunday : Pittsburgh Steelers @ San Francisco 49ers
  • Sunday : New Orleans Saints @ Seattle Seahawks
  • Sunday : Houston Texans @ Los Angeles Chargers
  • Sunday : Los Angeles Rams @ Cleveland Browns
  • Monday : Chicago Bears @ Washington Redskins