Updated: Oct 12
Welcome back! It's time to count down the best stories from every game and make predictions about who will come out on top.
16. Packers vs. Patriots
Protecting the Legacy
Aaron Rodgers legacy at this point is that he is one of the greatest regular season quarterbacks of all time. He is at his most vulnerable this year because the Packers receiving core and line are weaker than they have been in recent years. Bill Belichick is barely holding on to the moniker of greatest coach of all time. If Belichick loses this game, he will have a losing record without Tom Brady. Rodgers got really lucky last week facing a Bucs team with an injured receiving core and linemen, and a suspended Mike Evans. Rodgers still almost lost. This week, Rodgers has a lucky draw facing a Mac Jonesless Patriots. Rodgers has a chance to take advantage and stack another easy regular season win or be embarrassed in an upset. One thing the Patriots defense always does is take away your strength. It will be interesting to see if Belichick targets the run game or the receivers.
15. Texans vs. Chargers
Most people remember the amazing Raiders vs. Chargers game last season, where the Chargers lost and missed the playoffs. What most people don't remember is that the Chargers lost to the Texans to make that Raiders game a must win. Justin Herbert was without Keenan Allen then too. The Texans are a year better and pretty healthy. Can the Texans upset the Chargers again? Also, Herbert is hurt, but he soldiered through last week and got blown out by the Jaguars. The Chargers have a good backup. Should they consider letting Herbert rest? Would a healthy Chase Daniel be better for the team than an injured Herbert?
14. Browns vs. Falcons
First Come, First Served
The AFC playoffs are reserved for teams with great quarterbacks. The Browns have a great QB, but they just have to stack enough wins to remain viable for Deshaun Watson when he gets back. They have done a good job so far, but Atlanta is another winnable game, which makes it a must-win game. In the NFC, there are no reservations for the playoffs. It's first come, first serve. Anybody could get in. Why not the Falcons? The Falcons could surprise everybody and make the playoffs, but it starts with winning games like these against teams that have exploitable weaknesses, like starting their second-string QB.
13. Cardinals vs. Panthers
Offense vs. Defense Who Wins?
Both these teams are off to rocky starts. The Cardinals have been digging their way out of a hole with their offense. Kyler Murray has just taken over and played video game-level football to give his team a chance to win games. The Panthers defense has refused to lose and is the only reason they have been able to gain a victory. Who will come out on top, a stingy defense or a highlight reel offense? Last year, the Panthers beat the Cardinals with Cam Newton. Do they still have the Cardinals number?
12. Steelers vs. Jets
Must Win Game
Zach Wilson is back in the saddle against the Steelers. Will the Jets take flight with Wilson? Robert Saleh and Mike Tomlin are both two defensive coaches with teams with some question marks trying to scrape together some wins for a winning season. This is a crucial game for both to accomplish that mission. Who will come out on top? Also, if Mitch Trubisky gets outperformed by Wilson, the calls for Kenny Pickett will be deafening.
11. Titans vs. Colts
Don't Call It a Comeback
The Titans and the Colts were both in endanger of starting out with zero wins, but they both kicked out at two against AFC West teams. Now, they have to run through each other on the way to compete for their division's golden ticket to the playoffs. These teams always play each other hard, but who can survive this battle?
10. Seahawks vs. Lions
Who Are You Really?
The Seahawks have shown some fire early on, but have since whittled out. The NFC is wide open. Can Pete Carroll make it back to the playoffs playing his brand of football? The Lions are one the most exciting teams to watch this year, and they have a real chance to make noise in the playoffs. However, have they finally turned the corner, or are they still doomed? If the Lions have turned the corner, they need to beat teams like this.
9. Commanders vs. Cowboys
Who Is Going to Rain on the Parade?
The Commanders were absolutely dominated last year by the Cowboys, but a lot has happened since then. The Commanders have optimism now that they have Carson Wentz. However, if the Commanders lose to the Cowboys, who are with their backup QB, after being blown out by the Eagles, it will take all the wind out of their sails. However, if the Commanders can upset the Cowboys, they halt all the momentum Cooper Rush and the Cowboys have built. Plus, they will end Cooper's undefeated streak.
8. Jaguars vs. Eagles
Doug Pederson is playing the Eagles after just gaining a big victory over the Chargers. You better believe he wants to be the first loss of the team that fired him after he brought them a Super Bowl. So far, Doug has failed in his revenge against Carson Wentz. However, Jalen Hurts buried Wentz, so will Pederson get his revenge on the organization that fired him, or will Hurts get his revenge on the coach that pulled him against Washington while he was leading a comeback?
7. Giants vs. Bears
Who Is Better Off?
The Giants and the Bears are the same teams when you think about it, or at least in the same position. They both just hired new coaches meaning they both could have had the coach the other team hired. They both are depending on the run game and defense to carry them. They both have gotten off to a hotter start than people believed they would have. The difference is the QB. The Bears have a struggling future star at QB. The Giants have a QB they will probably leave behind. Both QBs are playing for their future. Who will continue their hot streak, and who will turn into a pumpkin?
6. Broncos vs. Raiders
The Broncos are two and one, and sitting at the top of the AFC West. They need wins to stay there and outlast the Chiefs, who they are tied with. Also, beating the Raiders would be killing two birds with one stone because they would also be handing the Raiders a divisional loss as well. The Raiders, on the other hand, are already in a do-or-die mode. They are winless, and so this is basically a playoff game for them. The coach has already been called into the owner's office, and who knows how long his leash is. Davante Adams did not come to the Raiders to lose. This is a must-win game. I expect the Raiders to throw out everything but the kitchen sink at the Broncos. The last Broncos win was ugly, but they started to figure out the offense on the last drive, and the defense was solid the whole time. Can the Broncos survive the Raiders onslaught?
5. Vikings vs. Saints
Who Is Going to Put It Together?
The Saints and the Vikings are both really talented teams. Both teams biggest limitation is their QBs.Kirk Cousins is a certified baller at times, but in big spots, he shrinks. In 2019, Jameis Winston threw for 30 touchdowns and 5,000 yards, but also threw 30 interceptions, and now he is injured. Which team will find a way to optimize their QBs and minimize their weaknesses to take advantage of the potential of their team? I think the answer lies in their sleeping giant running backs, Alvin Kamara and Dalvin Cook. Will they wake these sleeping giants?
4. Dolphins vs. Bengals
How About Now?
Everybody was singing Joe Burrow's praises last year. He brought the Bengals to a Super Bowl, and he deserves a lot of credit for that, but he had the weapons to do so. Meanwhile, Tua Tagovailoa was 20-13 with no playoffs, and everyone was writing him off. However, Tua had no Joe Mixon, no Ja'Marr Chase, or no Tee Higgins tandem to throw to. But Tua has the weapons now, so how about now? Who is better? The Dolphins have a short week this week, and they are very injured. The Bengals are struggling. Who will come out on top?
3. Rams vs. 49ers
Who Will Land the First Blow?
Both of these teams are dealing with some turmoil. The Rams running game and, to an extent, their passing game with Allen Robinson is still not clicking. The 49ers offense with Jimmy Garoppolo is suffering because they decided to play stupid games with Jimmy in practice during the offseason. Both of these teams have dominant defenses, but who will get their offenses in gear to win? The 49ers beat the Rams way more often than they lose to them. Will they add to that legacy or take a second consecutive loss?
2. Chiefs vs. Bucs
Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes were a prevalent topic of debate a few years ago. However, Brady has since quieted that debate by beating Mahomes in the Super Bowl. Now, the fact that Mahomes has lost to Brady significantly shifts the weight of the conversation to Brady. Mahomes will have to win 8 Super Bowls to become the GOAT. However, a win over Brady would at least jog people's memories that, hey, this was the guy who was supposed to be the next GOAT. This game will be the first time Mahomes has ever faced Brady without the game-breaking Tyreek Hill. How will that affect the match-up?
1. Ravens vs. Bills
Since the very beginning, Josh Allen has been thrust into the conversation with Lamar Jackson. However, in the very beginning, Josh was no match for Lamar. Now, Josh has surpassed Lamar in some people's eyes. Josh beat Lamar the year Lamar got injured at the end of the playoff game. Plus, when the Ravens went down with injuries last year, Josh Allen ascended, so Lamar Jackson had faded a bit in people's memories. They are going head-to-head, and we get to answer the question of who really is the best QB today. The Bills and Ravens defenses are both used to playing elite running QBs, so they are probably the best defenses in the NFL to play the other team's QB. This match-up should be incredible.
Week 3 Power Rankings
Don't miss out on the Weekly Power Rankings dropping on Patreon. You won't just be getting access to who the best teams are, but also who is leading the MVP race and who is leading the second-year QBs. Also, join the Reverse Hipster site to interact with me and get the weekly newsletter, so you never miss a post.