Week 3 of the NFL season is in the books, and we are starting to see some separation among the teams. Five teams have survived the first 3 weeks unbeaten while 5 other teams have yet to taste victory. That leaves 22 teams somewhere in between. The season is still young and teams can obviously turn it around, but the clock is ticking. Some took steps to saving their seasons and others took steps back. So, lets see who were the biggest winners and losers of week 3.
Winner #1 AFC West (Minus KC)
For the last five years the Chiefs have ruled this division with an iron fist. But with the Chargers beating them 30-24 on Sunday, suddenly that could change. With everyone else in the division winning, the Chiefs find themselves in last place. Now I think just about everyone believes it won’t stay that way. But there is a glimmer of hope that someone else can finally take the division. With the Chiefs slow start the time is now for the other teams to build a lead. Denver and Vegas are both 3-0 with some impressive performances. The Chargers are right behind them at 2-1 and you get the sense that one of these three teams will push the Chiefs to the brink.
Loser #1 Seattle Seahawks
The NFC West is arguably the best division in the league. All four teams have legitimate hopes of a championship, thus the margin for error is slim. Back-to-back defeats against teams that they should be beating is a blow for Seattle. Winning on the road is never easy, especially in Minnesota. That being said, the Vikings were without star RB Dalvin Cook and still dominated the game. The defense is starting to show signs of concern as they simply cannot stop the run. Oh, and this is the first time that Russell Wilson has ever lost to the Vikings. The loss leaves them 1-2 in a division that looks likely to send at least 3 teams to the playoffs. Seattle’s next two games are against the 49ers and Rams – not something you want to see on your schedule after these past performances.
Winner #2 Justin Tucker
Justin Tucker has been known as the best kicker in the league for a few years now. Throughout the years, whenever the Ravens have needed 3 points, he has delivered. That was the case yet again this past Sunday. With the Detroit Lions a few seconds away from pulling off an upset, the Ravens called on Tucker. Down by 1, the Ravens sent out Tucker to try a 66-yard FG for the win. Tucker used every last bit of strength he had to send the ball flying through the air and towards the goal. The ball bounced off the top of the crossbar and over, stunning the Detroit faithful and giving Baltimore an unlikely victory. The kick was Tucker’s 49th straight FG made in the 4th quarter, proving yet again he is the league’s premier kicker. Oh, and that 66-yarder was an NFL record.
Loser #2 Chicago Bears
This past Sunday was supposed to be the dawn of a new era in Bears football. Justin Fields would be making his first career start and the promise of better tomorrows would begin. Bears fans weren’t expecting a superstar performance, but some glimpses would’ve be nice. Instead, Bears fans were treated to one of the worst game plans that they have seen in some time. The offense only produced 47 yards the entire game. Justin Fields was left out to dry, constantly running for his life. When he wasn’t throwing incompletions, he was getting sacked – 9 times to be exact – and at no point did it look like Chicago made any adjustments. It was a woeful and inexcusably bad coaching job by Bears coach Matt Nagy and his coaching staff. If this continues, he might be out of a job, and that promising future might go to waste.
Winner #3 Matthew Stafford
Everyone expected Stafford to have a boost going from Detroit to LA, but few people expected this. Stafford has started this season on fire, and Sunday was no different. He absolutely torched the Tampa Bay defense time and time again. He connected on deep passes several times, including a 75-yard TD to Desean Jackson. Stafford would finish the game with 343 yards and 4 TDs in a 34-24 victory over Tampa. Performances like these have Stafford firmly in the MVP discussion, and if he can keep this up, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t win. Most importantly though, is that the team is winning. I’ve already mentioned how tough the NFC West is, and winning against Tampa is a statement. So far, life is good in LA, especially considering how Detroit lost their game.
Loser #3 New England Patriots
Last week’s win, albeit against the Jets, was seen as a sign that this team could surprise a few people. Alas, they came crashing back down to earth with a disappointing loss to the Saints. It’s not that the Saints are a bad team, but just how easily they dispatched the Patriots. Mac Jones had a bad game throwing 3 INTs, and it didn’t help that his receivers dropped several passes. The defense did a decent job keeping the Saints in check. Unfortunately, the lack of offense from New England meant that the Saints never really had to get out of second gear. The loss drops the Patriots to 1-2, just in time for Brady to make his return. Emotions will be high for that game, but a potential 1-3 start to the season can’t be what the team had in mind.