The Greatest Story on Turf Week 4
Updated: Oct 4, 2021
Welcome back! It's time to rank the NFL storylines of each game and try to predict the outcomes. Last week I went 9-7. Let me know your picks in the comment section! Let's see if I can do better this week.
16. Bills vs. Texans
Story: Well, Well, Well How the Turntables
Not too long ago, the Texans were beating the Buffalo Bills in the playoffs with MVP candidate Deshaun Waston and arguably the best receiver in the league. Now, Josh Allen returns as the MVP candidate with arguably the best receiver in the league. Waston watches from the sideline, and fans just have to hope they can keep the game close. Hopefully, the jarring juxtaposition and probable slaughter will cause Texans management to take some action. They need to either drop their price for Watson and trade him, sign Cam Newton, or maybe even both.
15. Saints vs. Giants
Story: Who Dat?
This might be a surprising placement for both teams to some. However, neither team really excites me. The Giants are in football purgatory right now. They have not made as much progress in year two as some would have expected. They have started the season 0-3, and it's getting difficult to remember a time when the Giants didn't suck. This game is more about the Saints to me. Who are they, and are they good? Here is a game that they should win soundly. I want to see how the Saints play in a game they should win because that will tell me more about who they really are as a team.
14. Titans vs. Jets
Story: Cory Davis Revenge Game
Both Titans receivers (AJ Brown & Julio Jones) look to be out for this one. It will be interesting to see if the Titans have to watch Zack Wilson and Cory Davis and wonder if maybe they should have kept Cory around. This game is a big test for both teams, in my opinion. The Titans should still be able to beat a winless Jets team even without their star receivers. How the Titans perform here will give us some hints of what we can expect from the Titans down the stretch.
This is also a big test for the Jets. Lately, the Jets have drawn some brutal matchups that have fans and commentators questioning everything about this Jets team, especially the rookie QB. However, the Titans are not a good defense, and if the Jets look pathetic against them, that will tell me everything I need to know about this team and the rookie QB.
13. Eagles vs. Chiefs
Storyline How The Mighty Have Fallen
Both these teams are former Superbowl teams who don't look like they are going back to a Superbowl team this year. Eagle's side has had an insane turnover and might be a bottom-five team based on personnel. They have some exciting pieces like the young, explosive QB Jalen Hurts and Heisman winner Devonta Smith, Watkins, and Sanders. However, they were just embarrassed on national television by a division. But nothing quiets the doubters like winning, and this Chiefs defense looks exploitable.
On the other side, Andy Reid is returning to Philly. However, he returns with a Chiefs team that has lost two straight and is at the bottom of the division. Reid looks to have a get-right game against his old team and quiet the chatter around the Chiefs for at least one week.
12. Washington vs. Atlanta
Storyline: A Tale of Two Sides of the Ball
Atlanta has a lot of offensive weapons and a very questionable defense. On the other side, Washington has a questionable offense and a lot of defensive talent. Both teams are still struggling even with what they are supposed to be good at. However, someone must win. I think the Washington Football Team is closer to putting it all together than the Falcons are.
11. Jaguars vs. Bengals
Story: Big Bro vs. Little Bro
Last year, the Bengals were the Jaguars, a previously terrible team who had their QB and a few weapons, and were trying to change the fate of the franchise. Now, it's year two, and it's time for Bengals to see how much they have progressed versus the equivalent of the last year's Bengals. This will be a good measuring stick game for the Jaguars for how far they are from where they want to be.
10. Bears vs. Lions
Storyline: Matt Nagy's Career on the Line
After last week's embarrassing performance, rumor has it that if Nagy loses, he will be fired. Honestly rightly so, the Lions have shown themselves to be a feisty opponent, but the Bears should win. The entire NFL community is on Nagy's head right now, and the only hope he has is to beat the Lions. Any one of the Bears three quarterbacks should be able to get the job done. It's a trial by fire. Can Nagy turn this team around and make the Bears run like a legit NFL offense against the Lions, which is bad but will not give anything away for free. It's the perfect test. Time to see what Nagy is made of.
9. Packers vs. Steelers
Storyline: Superbowl Rematch
The Packers have quieted haters with a last-second win over the 49ers. However, the Packer's defense is still highly suspect. Unfortunately, although I expect Mike Tomlin to put out a much better Steelers team than we saw last week, I just don't think it will be enough. The Steelers have too many injuries on both sides and not enough difference-makers to counteract Rodgers.
8. Dolphins vs. Colts
Storyline: Brissett Revenge Game
Both of these teams have offenses that have been ravaged by injuries and really strong defenses. So this will mostly be a battle of the defenses. However, injuries on the Dolphins side have put Brissett in the driver's seat of the Dolphins. It would be poetic for the current Dolphins starting QB to get his first win against his old team, who cast him aside. It would also be a massive blow to the Colts to have their old QB outproduce their current QB of the future.
7. Cowboys vs. Panthers
Storyline: Loser Loses Their Reputation
The Panthers have had a strong start and are now undefeated. However, they have lost CMC and Horn, their star corner, just as they set to face the Cowboys. This is terrible timing because the Cowboys are their first real test. Despite the Cowboys taking one loss, they are solidified as contenders than the Panthers, who have gone undefeated on a light schedule. Even their biggest win over the Saints has an asterisk because they were missing many coaches. Outside of that, they beat Texans and Jets. Also, it's time to find out if Darnold is actually good. First three games, they haven't needed Darnold to do much. They will need him this Sunday. Will he be able to answer the call?
If the Panthers beat the Cowboys, they will cement themselves as genuine contenders. On the other hand, the Cowboys look to be the real deal, but we have seen this story before. Cowboys look good, then we all buy in, and then they find some way to fall short of their potential. Cowboys fans and NFL fans, in general, have well-warranted trust issues with the Cowboys. However, something feels different about this year, and it has since game one. A win here against a tough Panthers defense would help to chip away at those Cowboys trust issues.
6. Ravens vs. Broncos
Storyline: Is Denver For Real?
The Ravens have proved they are who they say they are with a win over the Chiefs and a gutsy win over the Lions. They definitely aren't as strong a team as they used to be, but oddly enough, they still have enough to get where they want to be. Denver should be a tough matchup for the Ravens because of the Ravens declining defense and the Broncos elite defense.
However, are the Broncos for real? They are undefeated and at the top of their division, but who have they played? They beat a winless Giants team, a winless Jets team, and the winless Jaguars. Despite the overwhelming talent the Broncos have amassed, they are still a highly questionable undefeated team. A win here would cement them as legit.
5. Seahawks vs. 49ers
Storyline Rivalry Game
Two teams both play in the toughest division in the NFL and are off to lukewarm starts. The 49ers have a better record, but they have mostly faced bad teams. The Seahawks have been balling, but they have not been able to finish games. This game holds extra weight because it's divisional, so whoever loses here will be taking a double loss. They give away a head-to-head to a rival and fall farther behind.
The Seahawks defense looks absolutely terrible, but they are facing a 49ers team that hasn't found their way on offense yet. Also, the high-powered Seahawks offense faces a 49ers defense that is nowhere near what it once was. I expect this to be a hotly contested game that will come down to clock management and smart situational football.
4. Browns vs. Vikings
Storyline: Zimmer vs. Stefanski
The last time the Vikings were true playoff contenders, Stefanski was with the Vikings. Based on what the Browns have built, it certainly seems like Kevin has brought the Vikings juice to the Browns. They are a run-first team with a strong defense and playmakers on offense with an above-average QB who isn't elite. This game will show us who was more responsible for the Vikings success. Zimmer is on the hot seat even if he doesn't think he should be. I just can't imagine his seat gets any cooler if he loses to a coach who used to work under him.
3. Raiders vs. Chargers
Storyline: Battle for The AFC West
Both these teams are off to hot starts, especially the Raiders. Now they get to compete for first in the division. The Raiders offense is ready to go, and I have complete faith that they will put pressure on the Chargers despite the Chargers tough defense. Herbert beat the baby goat last week and looked like the best QB on the field. The Raiders defense doesn't scare me, and I don't think it scares Herbert either. I think the Raiders defense will be the difference in this matchup. I'm predicting the Raiders undefeated streak comes to an end here.
2. Cardinals vs. Rams
Storyline: NFL Civil War Part 2 Winner Takes All
Last week, the Rams beat the Bucs, who were a little banged up and missing some key players. Still, the Rams looked great, and now they come up against another super team that hasn't seemed as unstoppable as they have, but also hasn't been stopped. Both teams walk into this game with a lot of hype and significant upgrades in personnel. Both teams are undefeated, but someone is going to have to lose. If that wasn't entertaining enough, the stakes are even higher because this is a division game, and the winner will walk away from this game with a head-to-head win, the number one spot in the division, and an undefeated record.
1. Buccaneers vs. Patriots
Storyline: Brady vs. Belichick
This is the revenge game of all revenge games. Tom Brady is going back to his old stadium to play his old coach. Belichick has got Mac Jones, AKA, his new Tom Brady. He is trying to prove that he made the right choice in moving off of Brady and that he is more responsible for the dynasty. Brady is showing up with his new team, and he wants to show Bill he was wrong. Brady wants to leave Bill wishing he never let Brady go and show everyone else that he is the reason for the dynasty. Brady vs. Belichick, who was more responsible for the dynasty we are about to find out.