In these weekly previews, I’ll highlight the results that I found shocking from the previous week, as well as preview the game I am most looking forward to from the weekend ahead. As we get later into the season, I may add some other sections to this, including playoff positioning and a look forward to the upcoming draft.
Surprising Results from Week 3
Based on my personal preseason expectations, three game results stood out to me during the third week of the season:
Cleveland Browns 21 – New York Jets 17
Cleveland finally did it. After coming so tantalizing close in Week 1 against the Steelers, the Browns won their first game since a Week 16 win against the San Diego (now Los Angeles) Chargers during the 2016 season. It wasn’t a pretty game, and it took an injury to Tyrod Taylor and the entry of 1st overall pick Baker Mayfield into the game to turn the game around. Now, the Browns face off against an Oakland team that is still looking for a win on the season. They aren’t favored – it seems that the odds makers want the Browns to prove themselves a bit more before anointing them favorites – but the Browns seem like a team to be reckoned with, even if it is a bit early in the season.
Buffalo Bills 27 – Minnesota Vikings 6
Minnesota entered this game as a 16 1/2 point favorite, one of the largest spreads at such an early time in the season. Everyone was expecting that outcome. Instead, the Bills went into Minnesota and skunked the Vikings for most of the game, only allowing a meaningless late touchdown after the game was long decided. And they did it all in rookie quarterback Josh Allen‘s first start. Was this the start of better season ahead for the Bills? They head to Green Bay this week – only one point underdogs this time – so we’ll find out on Sunday morning which Bills team will show up. Will it be the team that was outscored 78-23 in the first two weeks? Or the one that dominated one of the participants in last season’s NFC Championship game?
Detroit Lions 26 – New England Patriots 10
I had the Patriots going 14-2 this year. But I didn’t think their second loss was going to be against Matt Patricia’s Lions. (Though it’s beginning to look like my pick of Pittsburgh handing the Pats a loss might have been premature as well). The GOAT Tom Brady threw for 133 yards, with only 43 yards of that going to receivers. Maybe that changes this week with recently acquired Josh Gordon potentially available, though the Patriots just don’t seem to have the tools this year. Nevertheless, they always tend to start the season slow, and always seem to eventually figure it out with Bill Belichick on the bench, but this week’s game against the surprisingly 3-0 Miami dolphins will be a test nonetheless, even if it is at home.
Week 4 Game of the Week
That Patriots versus the Dolphins will definitely be a game to keep an eye on, but I think the most fun game will be Tampa Bay at Chicago. Both teams enter the game 2-1, though they seem heading in opposite directions. Chicago lost during Week 1 to Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay but have won two straight games. The Buccaneers won their first two games behind the arm of Ryan Fitzpatrick, and came shockingly close to winning their third game Monday night against Pittsburgh. With Jameis Winston eligible to play after his three game suspension, the Bucs remain tight-lipped about who might be playing in the game. I’d personally stick with the guy that has averaged nearly 408 yards a game (with 11 TDs and 3 INTs) thus far versus the guy that was wildly inconsistent when he has played. Either way, Khalil Mack is sure to wreak his version of havoc all night and the improved Chicago Bears team are favored, albeit by only one point.
Other games worth keeping an eye on this weekend: the aforementioned Pats/Dolphins tilt from Foxboro, Minnesota at the Rams on Thursday Night Football, Baltimore at Pittsburgh Sunday night, and the Chiefs at the Broncos on Monday night. Stinker of the week looks to be… Cleveland at Oakland, though I could probably be convinced that the Cardinals at Seahawks will probably be uglier.
Week 4 Bye Teams
To make sure you get your fantasy lineups adjusted as necessary, the following teams are on byes this week:
Carolina Panthers and Washington.
Until next time…
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