This has been the most bananas opening 3 weeks to a season. Who thought the Chiefs would have a losing record at ANY point this season? Well, after 3 weeks Kansas City are in last place in the AFC West. Bonkers.

The unfancied Sam Darnold & Teddy Bridgewater are a combined 6-0, but the much heralded Zach Wilson, Trevor Lawrence, & Justin Fields are 0-7, though a lot of that isn’t their individual fault… It’s been a crazy start. We’re down to just 5 unbeaten teams, and we’ve got 5 winless teams. Example of how weird this start to the season has been:

The Steelers (who aren’t good) beat the Bills (who are very good) but then lost to the Raiders (who also aren’t good but are somehow 3-0) and also lost to the Bengals (who are building but also aren’t very good). And then the aforementioned Raiders (who – again – aren’t good) beat the Ravens (who are good), but the Ravens needed a miracle Field Goal to beat the Lions (who really aren’t good) yesterday! And that… is where we begin.

Justin Tucker's Record-Breaking Moment

Credit: Binghampton

Justin. It’s a good name. Timberlake. Credible. Bieber. Trudeau. It’s a name we have to speak about after the events of Sunday’s early window of games. We’ll get to Mr. Herbert shortly… but… sue me – I don’t care – I’m starting this week’s review by talking about a KICKER.

I play in so many fantasy leagues where people want to eradicate kickers. Nope, no sir. In two leagues that I’m commissioner for this year, I added punters as a protest to this. Kicking the ball matters. And NEVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE NFL has that been shown more than on Sunday afternoon in Detroit as Justin Tucker helped the Ravens win with the longest ever made Field Goal in NFL history. It was AMAZING. So much cooler for the fact that it doinked off the crossbar… and through into the net. Cody Parkey was watching in disbelief but maybe you make your own luck? Tucker is just that damn good. Nobody could believe it when he missed from 49 yards in the first half, but he would more than make up for it with this history-making moment.

The Ravens did their best to throw this game away, only for the surprisingly subpar Lamar Jackson to find a way to convert on 4th and 19 and give Tucker a moment to shine. For the Ravens… this was a bit of a stumble, despite winning in the end. You don’t want to follow up beating the powerhouse chiefs, by stumbling over the lowly Lions, but that’s the hand they’ve been dealt. This is why questions remain about Lamar and the Ravens – they’re inconsistent. Beating the Chiefs as they did showed they can play with the best of them. Struggling with the Lions showed they have space to grow still.

For Detroit… oh Detroit. You have to feel for Dan Campbell, who I’m convinced was crying pure invisible testosterone out of his eyes when Tucker’s kick landed in that net. I’m cheering for Detroit to find success, but after losing a game like that… you have to wonder where on earth their first win is going to come from. Goff has done fairly well considering his complete lack of weapons around him, but the Lions are devoid of any real playmakers (I’m not buying D’Andre Swift, sorry), and therefore are hamstrung before they’ve even started. Credit to them, they’ve played hard every game, and certainly don’t look like “giving up” on this season. I can see Dan Campbell turning it around long term, but in the moment – Justin Tucker’s moment – the Ravens were just good enough, and just lucky enough, to send the Lions to 0-3.

Herbert Shocks the Chiefs

Credit: Jay Biggerstaff (USA Today Sports)

Brandon Staley just showed us what he’s made of. You wanna beat the Chiefs huh? You wanna win the AFC West huh? Then you gotta take a couple risks and be willing to live with the consequences.

I will say, I don’t understand why you ask Herbert to throw for a Touchdown to Mike Williams and leave Mahomes 34 seconds and a timeout, rather than just run the clock out and kick the field goal… but it worked out for them – so who am I to argue? The new Chargers head coach went all-in, and has been rewarded with a lead over their biggest rivals in the AFC West… and yet somehow they’re in third in their own division?! HUH!?

Don’t panic Chargers fans, the Broncos and Raiders are complete frauds and will fall away, but your team just put the league on notice. Austin Ekeler looks back to full pelt, catching passes from all angles and finding the endzone again. Mike Williams has suddenly decided to be the second-coming of Randy Moss, winning every jump ball, including the game-clinching touchdown inside the final minute. Keenan Allen continues to be ever-reliable and tenacious with the ball in his vicinity. It’s been a long time since the Chargers were truly a force, but this team has the IT factor to carry them to the playoffs again. The only fear? They’ve definitely just poked the bear…

The Chiefs… well. Firstly, fingers crossed everything is okay with Andy Reid. Everything this morning seems to suggest that him being taken to hospital was just a precaution, but still hoping everything is good. Thoughts with you, Andy. I just had a daydream about Andy Reid reading this column. Nonsense. Anyway, if by some miracle fluke Andy Reid DID read this column, I’d tell him that he has my sympathies as far as his team goes also.

Browns, Ravens, Chargers, is about as tough a 3 game span to start the season as you can imagine. Realistically, the Chiefs could well have been 3-0, but ALSO it’s not ridiculous to suggest they could have been 0-3 if the Browns hadn’t completely messed up a punt. You’d expect the Chiefs to get a few wins back to back now, but the Eagles, Bills & Washington before their bye week still isn’t straightforward.

The Chiefs are absolutely able to turn it back on and batter all 3 of those teams, but I’d be lying if I said there aren’t concerns about Mahomes’ boys right now. The Ravens took away Tyreek Hill, and the Chargers held him mainly in check too. Kelce did his thing as per usual, but the additional receivers didn’t give the Chiefs a spark, and Mahomes threw two (2!!) picks. Something isn’t quite right in KC, never more obvious than by the fact they’re in sole possession of LAST place in the AFC West. Strange times.

The Rams are Real... For Real

Credit: Katelyn Mulcahy (Getty Images)

Okay, I’m listening now. There’s been a lot of hype about the Stafford x McVay connection, but this was a REAL coming out party for the pride of St Louis. The Rams were fantastic; fearsome on defense, and slippery on offense. The Buccaneers were second best in every department. Stafford connected with his new favourite man Cooper Kupp for another two TDs – Kupp now has 25 catches, 367 yards & 5TDs in 3 weeks – showing clearly how the new QB has freshened up the Rams’ receivers too.

Also, welcome back Tyler Higbee! After just one target last week, T-Higz (it’ll catch on, trust me) had a nice game, with a 5-40-1 stat line. Nice to see TEs getting some love, as Gronk continues to be one of Brady’s favourite targets on the Buccaneers side. But the Rams defense created havoc for them throughout, and both Los Angeles teams now have offenses that will haunt opposing Defensive Coordinators in the week leading up to the game.

I will say, I do LOVE seeing Desean Jackson catching a long bomb. There’s not enough of that in the NFL right now. And yeah – sure – teams are passing deep at a higher rate than ever before… but I want MORE. Give me two play, 95 yard drives. I love it. The Rams have the ability to explode on you at any point, and the banged up Buccaneers defense couldn’t quite keep up.

For the Bucs, it wasn’t their day. Tom’s dream of the undefeated season dies, at least for this season. Bruce Arians won’t be – and shouldn’t be – too concerned about his squad, aside from the injury bug appearing to have started targeting them on the defensive side of the ball. Tampa Bay are still the overwhelming favourite to win the NFC South, despite Carolina’s surprise 3-0 start, and the Saints beating the Patriots this week to move to 2-1.

The Bucs have too much talent on the roster to not make a serious challenge for the Lombardi again this year. Of course, that all flows through Tom Brady. Interestingly, “the man who refuses to age” is now just 68 yards away from passing Drew Brees for the all-time record in passing yards. Brees & Brady are the only two Quarterbacks in NFL history that have thrown for more than 80,000 yards. Brees sits on 80,358. Brady will surpass that next Sunday and, when he does, that record may well stand for a long long long time to come. And who does Tom Brady face with the chance to beat this record? Oh… yeah… The New England Patriots, in Foxboro. Amazing. You couldn’t script it better in Hollywood.

Aaron Rodgers does it... Again

Credit: USA Today Sports

Shout out Mason Crosby! A big day for kickers – YoungHoe Koo and Daniel Carlson also. Game-winning Field Goals everywhere. But, as impressive as Crosby’s kick was, it doesn’t happen without the MVP doing his thing. After completing a ridiculous throw to MVS for a touchdown that it looked like might win them the game, and after failing to get two pass interference flags that should have been thrown (the no-call on the targeting-ish hit on Davante Adams was particularly egregious), Rodgers had to watch the 49ers drive down the field to eradicate the Packers 6 point advantage, and take a 1 point lead after the Juszczyk touchdown and Gould extra point.

But Mr. Rodgers had other plans. 37 seconds was too long. The Packers – having been humiliated by the Saints in Week 1 – have bounced back in style and handled their business to the point of now being 2-1, and back in sole possession of 1st place in the NFC North. They swatted Detroit aside, and now get a BIG win on the road in San Francisco. I loved seeing Rodgers’ reactions to both spiking the ball in field goal range with time left on the clock, AND from the sideline after seeing Crosby’s kick go through. All the nonsense about him being “disinterested” with the Packers… yeah, sure. Completely nonsensical. Rodgers KNOWS his legacy needs more than one SuperBowl. If he plays like this, and the Packers actually step up defensively – as they did at times last night! – then he’s got a chance of getting ‘Ship number 2 this season.

Now I’ve been loud and proud on the record saying that I think the 49ers are fraudulent, and they didn’t convince me otherwise last night, but let me say that they are not a BAD team. They are clearly a good team. Their defense is stout, the pass rush is dangerous, but I think the amount of people who predicted them to win the NFC West and potentially go deep in the playoffs was ridiculous. They are lacking offensive weapons, don’t have a true feature back, and are held down by their QB who is clearly a stop gap for the next guy.

Am I going to praise Jimmy G at all? … Ehhhh I guess. Fine. A nice two minute drive. He gave them a chance to win the game. That said… he still is – and will ALWAYS be – the ceiling of this 49ers team. He simply is not the Guy. Even San Francisco don’t believe he is – please see: Lance, Trey – and I think he will be the reason they ultimately don’t win the NFC West (the best division in football) this season.

The Niners ultimately scored too quickly, similarly to how the Cowboys did against Tampa Bay on opening night. You can’t give generational Quarterbacks a chance with the ball. Rodgers went to ol’ reliable Davante Adams and picked apart the Niners defense. All the Packers needed then was Crosby to put the icing on the cake. He duly obliged.

Quick Hits

  • The Broncos are the worst 3-0 team I’ve ever seen. Incredibly fortunate scheduling for them. It will not last. They will finish 8-9 at best. Frauds.
  • The Raiders are also a very very lucky 3-0 team. The AFC West is upside down right now. Things will soon revert to the norm. I don’t (and won’t) trust Derek Carr.
  • The Panthers WITHOUT Christian McCaffrey may end up being a very mediocre 3-0 team. I like their defense a lot, but we all need to hope CMC’s hamstring injury is a minor one.
  • I guess the Giants really wanna go 0-17 huh? Congrats to the Falcons – who themselves won’t win many more this year – but Joe Judge needs some help… and quick. 
  • Remember when Washington’s defense was the best in the league? Hilarious. And when Washington was going to win the NFC East? Yuuuuuh okay. Overrated. 
  • Bit of a weird one for the Seahawks. Two weeks in a row they’ve been electric in the first half and concrete in the second. Russ will get it going no doubt, but more than ever in this NFC West you really can’t afford to fall behind. Seattle NEED to bounce back this week vs… the 49ers.
  • Jacoby Brissett nearly had a moment for the Dolphins yesterday. Miami did everything to stay alive in that game (twice), but still managed to succumb to a last second Field Goal from the Raiders. With Tua sidelined for at least 2 more weeks, the Dolphins face the Colts (winnable) and the Buccaneers (yikes), before Tua’s presumptive return in London against the Jaguars. Probably the best Miami can hope for at that point is to be 3-3.
  • Chicago Fans… Be careful who you wish for… Ohio State QBs… Hmmmmmm.
  • Myles Garrett – unstoppable. Kareem Hunt – uncontainable. Odell Beckham Jr. – it’s good to have you back. The Browns are still my pick for the AFC North title.
  • It’s getting a little scary for the Colts. Everyone’s getting injured. Is the in-season Hard Knocks going to be the least interesting watch of all time? Probably…
  • RESPECT THE ARIZONA CARDINALS AND KLIFF KINGSBURY. I will bang this drum each and every week and I have already committed to dying on this hill. The Cardinals are 3-0. MASSIVE game vs the Rams next week. I refuse to bet against Kyler.
  • Okay… welcome BACK Josh Allen. The Bills are back.
  • Maybe Mac Jones isn’t Tom Brady 2.0… yet.
  • I like the look of this Ja’marr Chase kid. I think he has a future. Burrow and the Bengals are ROLLING.
  • Shoutout Alexander Mattison. He was brilliant for the Vikings. He’s in the group of RBs with Tony Pollard and AJ Dillon who are just too good to be backups. They all have talent and youth, and are surely going to be starting RBs in the league within the next two years.

MNF Prediction: (Season Record: 1-1)

Credit: Robert Martinez (Getty Images)

Thank you very much Mr Rodgers for getting us in the win column last week. There wasn’t really any doubt, was there? Sidenote: the Manning-cast on ESPN2? It’s absolutely brilliant. Such a good idea and very well executed. Eli & Peyton are a great double act, and the various guests bring a nice additional spark to the discussion. If you haven’t seen it already, absolutely check it out this week. The NFL also puts “highlights” of it on their YouTube channel which is a nice touch for us “time-zone handicapped” viewers in the UK.

Okay so THIS WEEK it’s the NFC East, as the Dallas Cowboys finally return home with fans and host the Philadelphia Eagles. Dallas have been mightily impressive in their opening two games – they should be 2-0 – and I think they will get their second win of the season tonight. Jalen Hurts has been fantastic so far, and is proving to be a real force in the NFL. He had his doubters, but the Alabama (and Oklahoma) product is tearing up defenses, including the 49ers last week, though somehow the Eagles managed to waste a completed 91 yard passing play and scored 0 points off it.

Hurts and Dak Prescott will likely trade A LOT of points tonight – the Dallas defense has played well but still has holes in it – but the Cowboys receivers (Cooper, Lamb, Gallup) outweigh the Philly options and will lead to Dallas being the winner.

Week 4 Preview

OH BOY. We got some games. Thursday kicks us off with Bengals vs Jaguars. Listen… The Cincinnati Bengals are going to be 3-1 by Friday morning. What a time to be alive for those living in Ohio. Browns and Bengals both taking it to the rest of the AFC North. Sorry T-Law and Jags fans, the win ain’t coming this week.

Sunday’s early slate is highlighted by the Chiefs against the Eagles, and the Vikings against the Browns. Got to think Mahomes comes out flying in that one, and Cousins will be high on confidence as he tries to escape Myles Garrett. Those aren’t THE MOST exciting games ever… but the LATE window gives us some gems. It’s an NFC West divisional week, as the Cardinals travel to LA to face the Rams, and the Seahawks travel to San Fran to face the 49ers. Those two will be absolute battles. But the headline grab will of course be the aforementioned Sunday night game. Brady and the Bucs head into Foxboro to face Big Mac and the Pats. I can’t wait for that one. Is Brady going to hang 50 on them? I wouldn’t rule it out.

And… lastly, on Monday night, Justin Herbert and the Chargers will finally put pay to the nonsense that is the Raiders undefeated start. It’s a very good slate. As ever, thanks for taking the time to read my ramblings. I’m @CallumJDSquires on Twitter and Instagram. Come and tell me why I’m wrong to believe in Kyler Murray and the Cardinals, and think the Raiders & Broncos are frauds. Have a great week.

Callum Squires