By Tim Monk, Lawrence Vos and Shaun Blundell
Week 4 already here folks! Why does it go so quickly?!?!
Without wasting any more time thinking about such things, here is what we ehre at F10Y HQ are thinking about as we look ahead to the week’s action.
Die Eagles Die!
As a Cowboys fan, this could be a huge week for America’s Team.
A depleted Eagles team travel on a short week to Lambeau field to face a resurgent Packers defence and Aaron Rodgers. At 1-2, this is potentially already a must win game for an Eagles team without a plethora of talent on both sides of the ball. A loss here coupled with a Dallas Cowboys win vs a Drew Bree-less Saints, and the cowboys could be 3 games ahead in the NFC East.
Yes, there are still the 2 divisional games they have to play in Week 7 and 16, but the Eagles will not want to go in to the week 7 game finding themselves 3 games back and having to win that one.
If there is one team who is set up to come from disadvantageous situations such as this though, it’s Wentz, Pederson and the 2018 Super Bowl Champions. They’ll need to achieve what noone outside the NFC North has done this far in 2019, beat an NFC North team. NFC North vs all opposition outside division- 7-0-1.
Water Under the Bridge(water)
Teddy Bridgewater put in a composed performance at CenturyLink Field last week, condemning Pete Carroll to his first loss in September at home in his tenure as the Seahawks HC. No turnovers, but no aggressive play calling either as Bridgewater only threw the ball once over 15 yards, and that was incomplete.
That’s a sign of a good head coach though, putting plans in place to help his players succeed as easily as possible.
Bridgewater and co return home this week in primetime to face a 3-0 Cowboys team that are looking to wrap up the NFC East as early as possible.
Will Sean Payton be more aggressive with how he gameplans for Bridgewater? Or will it be more of the dink and dunk style we saw last Sunday? Either way, everything will probably need to right to have any chance of winning, even at home. If Teddy Bridgewater does come away with a victory and puts in another assured performance, maybe i’ll let bygones be bygones and take notice of the understudy in “Naw’lins”.
Multiplication and Division
Some tasty divisional games this week which will go some way in determining final finishing positions like they do every year.
This week sees all of the AFC North squaring up as the Ravens and the Browns face off and someone’s 0 must go when Pittsburgh face the Bengals. If the Ravens win this one, it could be a long rest of the season for the other 3 teams as the Ravens will have a couple of games on the field and an early tiebreaker.
The NFC North gets in on some divisional action as well which pits the Vikings against the Bears, where both teams need the win having both already lost to the 3-0 Packers, the loser of this game may start to fall back in the wildcard playoff race.
Talking of 3-0, we have a 3-0 bowl in Buffalo where the Patriots will want to put the Bills in their place in the AFC East. Surely Buffalo will come unstuck against the masters. Worth noting that New England have not lost in Buffalo since 2011 and only twice in the Tom Brady era.
Other div matchups that maybe aren’t as important in terms of playoffs and divisional races sees that Seahawks travel the Glendale to try and get back to winning ways as they face the winless Cardinals and Kyler Murray and finally, the Redskins travel to Big blue to face Danny Dimes and a Barkley-less Giants.
Divisional games are always hotly contested and form some of the most heated rivalries in the sport so whichever one you may end up watching should be a good one. Well, maybe except the Giants/Redskins game. Yawn.
It feels as though each week Patrick Mahomes does something that we have never seen before in the NFL.
After tying Kurt Warner’s record of most 300 yard games within his first 20 career starts last weekend, what will be the record he smashes this week? Well how about a cast iron guarantee, Mahomes will throw for more yards in a domed stadium then he ever has before. Sunday will mark the first time in his 21 career starts when the Chiefs signal caller will suit up with a roof over his head as the Lions host the Chiefs.
How about a bold prediction? The single game passing yardage record of 554 yards held by Norm Van Brocklin falls in this game. Why not? Mahomes seems set to break every other record going. With perfect conditions in his favour expect to see the young quarterback shine yet again.
Myles Better Than Lamar
2 hype trains are on an AFC North collision course this weekend as the Browns face Lamar Jackson and the Ravens.
It was a “back to reality” type of game for Jackson last week where he found not facing the teams ranked 29th and 32nd defensively rather tricky. His final stat line could and should have been much worse with some ill advised heaves and garbage time yards padding his overall figures. On the opposite side of the field this week he gets Myles Garrett who has 6 sacks to his name already through 3 games this year.
For all the offensive hype preseason, Garrett has been the Browns most dominant player and will look to continue his hot start to the campaign. This promises to be a stellar match up for years to come and Jackson will be advised running away from the Browns #95 if he relies on his legs too often this weekend.
Hyde & Seek
The Texans traded a conditional 3rd round pick for Duke Johnson on the eve of the 209 season, 3 games in and he appears to have gotten lost. Johnson touched the ball just 4 times in last Sundays victory over the LA Chargers.
He is currently being out played by Carlos Hyde. Hyde had been with the Chiefs during camp but was also traded for by the Texans following the Lamar Miller injury in preseason. This was supposed to be Johnson’s opportunity to shine after becoming frustrated at dropping down the Browns depth chart previously.
With the season reaching the quarter pole it will be interesting to see how the Texans backfield continues to be utilised. Johnson’s strength is catching the ball out of the backfield but at the moment he looks like nothing more than a very poor man’s James White.
Someone’s “0” Has Got To Go
ESPN must have really annoyed someone at the league office. This weeks Monday Night Football offering sees a battle of 2 teams yet to taste victory this year. The Bengals travel to Heinz Field to take on the Steelers with both looking to kick start their respective campaigns.
The Steelers will be once again suiting up Mason Rudolph behind center as he gets his 2nd consecutive start. Outside of 2 big plays last week he went 12/25 for 59 yards with an interception. James Conner is under 100 yards on the ground in 3 games, averaging less than 3 yards per carry.
In short, the Steelers are really struggling. The Bengals have played 2 close games either side of being blown away by the 49ers so we aren’t quite sure how good or how bad they are. Monday night is a big game for both and barring a draw at least 1 of them will get into the win column.
Oooh Ek(eler) Melvin’s back
The Los Angeles Chargers are notoriously slow starters and 2019 is no exception, as the team boast a 1-2 record. Facing the Dolphins in Week 4 will ease the Bolts to 2-2, as they utilise Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson in the backfield.
The news in the last couple of days that stud running-back Melvin Gordon has ended his holdout will be a huge boost to the fans in Hollywood. Gordon has finally grown bored of playing Madden and watching Sports Centre. Melvin could well miss the Dolphins game as he gets up to speed with the offense and renews his bond with old man (Philip) Rivers.
The Chargers are right at the precipice of remaining Super Bowl relevant with Rivers at the helm, and with Gordon back this is a bigger boost than that of a truck of IV drips. This will make Austin Ekeler a borderline flex, as he becomes a third-down back as opposed to a viable starter in fantasy. Gordon is a top 8 running back talent, he just needs to rather appropriately hit the ground running.
For those of you who were patient and kept Gordon on your bench you deserve a round of applause. If you are in multiple leagues then dig around the waiver wire and you may just unearth a Melvin or two.
Can the real Carson Wentz stand up
It’s a small sample size but Carson Wentz is underperforming so far as the Eagles, only two years removed from their first Vince Lombardi Trophy, are 1-2 and at risk of falling three games behind the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East with just a quarter of the season in the books.
Wentz has started sluggishly in contests so far, throwing only one first-half touchdown. A large part of this lack of production has been due to injuries. After three weeks Nelson Agholor leads the team in catches (18) but he is averaging less than 10 yards a catch. Wentz has seriously missed Desean Jackson who exploded Week 1 against a poor Redskins secondary. The Eagles running game has also failed to take-off this season, the combination of rookie Miles Sanders, Jordan Howard and pocket-rocket Darren Sproles has failed to make a significant impact.
The Eagles travel to Green Bay for a juicy Thursday Night Football matchup, where we get to see the ever improving Packers defense, led by Week 3 NFC Defensive Player of the Week Preston Smith. Wentz needs to step up this week or it will be an uphill battle already with twelve games remaining.
To start or not to start Dwayne Haskins that is the question…
There is something rotten in the state of Maryland, a true Shakespearian tragedy is unfolding as Redskins head coach Jay Gruden is enduring a 0-3 start and calls for his head are getting louder and louder.
In the first two weeks it was the Washington defense that was primarily to blame, but the loss fell clearly on the bruised and battered shoulders of veteran QB Case Keenum in Week 3. Keenum’s MNF woes included three fumbles and three interceptions, including a pick-6 to begin the nationally televised humiliation. The New York Giants used Week 3 to make the change and play their first round rookie, with great success, so now is the time for the Redskins to consider following suit.
Coach Gruden came out of the MNF dismantling saying he wanted consistency, in other words carry on with Case. It’s a tough situation to bring a rookie in, where the offensive line is leaky, the running game is not shining, and the wide receivers are poor, with the exception of Terry McLaurin.
One major thing to note is that Dwayne Haskins, the future at QB for the Redskins was team mates with McLaurin at Ohio State. With nothing to lose, and as Yazz would sing ‘the only way is up’ so let’s unleash the Haskins.