Kelly: I feel like the conversation out of Week 3 included, what will the Steelers do after their beatdown in Philly; will the Patriots go undefeated; when will Rex Ryan be a studio analyst; and what will Fitzpatrick do for a six-pick encore. Let’s just say Week 4 answered a ton of those questions.
Week 3 Winners
Atlanta FalconsMax: The best offense in the NFC almost undoubtedly belongs to the Atlanta Falcons. They have two impressive running backs in Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman, a solid, if unspectacular quarterback in Matt Ryan and a freakishly talented wide receiver in Julio Jones. Jones put up a beyond video game stat line Sunday, catching 12 passes for 300 yards and a touchdown. I’m still doing double takes looking at it. Their defense has plenty of question marks, but if they do just enough and that offense keeps its foot on the gas pedal this team will be hard to beat.
Kelly: What a performance. Seriously, it basically left me speechless. A week after being shut out by the Eagles, the Steelers put on a show. Ben Roethlisberger was near perfect, throwing for 300 yards and five (!) touchdowns, Antonio Brown caught four of those balls, 2 of them for touchdowns, and Le’Veon Bell made his debut with 144 yards on the ground and 34 in the air. They made it look easy in their 43-14 drubbing of the Chiefs. Apparently the Eagles know the secret to stopping this team – I wish they would share it.
Max: Someone should lie and tell Rex Ryan he’s playing Bill Belichick every weekend. The special pleasure Rex takes in beating the Patriots is so transparent its hard not to admire him for it. After the first two weeks, which saw the Bills lose two games in five days, it looked like Ryan was on his way out. These last two games though, both Bills victories, have kept the Bills in the picture and shown that, if they can get healthy, they have a decent team.
Kelly: It looks like Mike McCoy (or Chuck Pagano) moved up the list to “first coach likely to be fired.” Bradley rallied the troops at Jacksonville’s favorite place to play and pulled off a 30-27 victory – over the lowly Colts – but amidst rumors that he might be left behind across the sea. For a week, his offense was clicking, thanks to a 19 for 33, 207 yard and two touchdown performance from Blake Bortles. His defense also looked stout, sacking Andrew Luck six times, and hitting him countless others – and saving Bradley’s job, at least for now.
Week 3 Losers
Max: I’m officially worried about Andrew Luck’s career. How many more years is he going to be forced to play behind a terrible offensive line and risk injury on seemingly every play? This is a guy who was heralded as a generational talent coming into the league and, at times, has shown flashes of incredible brilliance. But for every great play we as NFL fans are forced to endure five or six plays that end with Luck on his back grimacing. The Colts need to punt on this season and completely overhaul the team for next year before they waste the entire career of a potentially great QB.
New York Jets
Kelly: While this loss wasn’t exactly, the utter disgrace that Week 3 was, it was pretty darn close. The defense was tasked to face a quarterback on one leg and a backup running back. Let’s just say Russell Wilson and his one leg won that battle. The Jets for what feels like the 23rd year in a row, still have not figured out how to cover a tight end. And their offense, especially without Eric Decker was lackluster at best. Ryan Fitzpatrick is getting a lot of the blame – some of it rightly so, but his receivers had some costly drops and to be fair, many of them shouldn’t be on an NFL roster…The Jets are now 1-4 – I’m already counting Pittsburgh as a loss.
Max: This is the second straight week in the losers column for Arizona and in may be time to panic in the valley of the sun. This team is 1-3, already two games back in the division and is starting down the barrel of a must-win game, on short rest, without their starting quarterback. Carson Palmer’s sloppy performance has slowed their offense to a crawl and their defense can’t do enough to stop the run or get enough pressure to keep the Cardinals in games. Drew Stanton, the likely starter this Thursday, has been a journeyman backup for a reason. I’m not sure how the Cardinals come back from this start, even if Palmer does get healthy.
Kelly: I’m a little biased, I think Rivers is a really good quarterback, but I just feel so incredibly bad for him. Somehow, the Chargers, who realistically could be 4-0 right now, blew another lead late in the 4th quarter and spoiled the win for him. Seriously, think about if Rivers was on a competent team, think of how good he would be! Like put him on the Texans team, even without J.J. Watt, I would love to see Rivers connect with DeAndre Hopkins time and time again. Or heck, (warning – more bias) put him on the Jets and let him play with Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker when healthy. However, he’s left to suffer out in San Diego – until they move cities – without most of his offense, a defense that can’t stop a nosebleed in the fourth quarter and an incompetent coaching staff. Phil, I’m so sorry.