The Check-down Check-up (2020): Week Three

NFC NORTH

Green Bay Packers

Seemingly no one is talking about the Green Bay Packers, and it’s difficult to understand why. The Packers are 3-0 so far in Matt LaFleur’s second year as head coach. Aaron Rodgers looks great at 36. They have been lighting up the scoreboard week in and week out to the tune of over 40 points per game and a 9-0 TD-INT ratio from Rodgers. Not to mention, they take on an absolutely inept Falcons team this week. The Pack should roll.

Verdict: 9/10, Check Up

Chicago Bears

The Bears are also 3-0 this year, and yet, it’s hard for me to be confident in them. Not only have their wins all been pretty close, but an undefeated team benching their starting quarterback makes me raise an eyebrow. Nick Foles is usually pretty good for some entertainment, and they take on a 2-1 Colts team. As far as confidence goes, this could be one of the must-watch matchups of week four. I don’t really know what to make of either of these teams.

Verdict: 6/10, Check Back Next Week

Detroit Lions

The Lions finally snapped their eleven-game losing streak in week three against an impressive-looking Arizona squad. A close win is still a win, and quarterback Matt Stafford looked good doing it, finishing with two touchdowns, no picks, and a 119 quarterback rating. That being said, I still do not believe in Matt Patricia as this team’s head coach. Detroit hosts the Saints this week, and it’s hard to believe a 1-2 Saints team won’t be desperate to get back on track.

Verdict: 4/10, Check Down

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings are 0-3 to start out this season, and it seems to be largely because of their horrendous defense. In three games, the Vikings have allowed an average of 34 points per game, and nearly 150 rushing yards per game. They now have the misfortune of taking on a very talented Texans team, followed by the undefeated Seahawks in week five. Vikings fans should be very afraid of what Deshaun Watson might do to them this Sunday.

Verdict: 2/10, Check Down

NFC EAST

Dallas Cowboys

God, this division is awful. The Cowboys are probably the closest thing the NFC East has to a playoff contender, since Dak Prescott and the offense can really light up the scoreboard. Even so, the Cowboys are 1-2, and take on a very talented Browns offense this week. If Dallas isn’t careful, they could get run over by Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt for 60 minutes. Mike McCarthy better cook up an offensive feast if they want to keep their head above water.

Verdict: 5.5/10, Check Back Next Week

Philadelphia Eagles

God, this division is awful. Is Carson Wentz the most disappointing quarterback in football this season? It’s hard to think of anyone else who fits the role better. Something is wrong in Philadelphia, and Doug Pederson needs to fix it before it gets totally out of hand. The Eagles have a chance to get a win here against the 49ers, before they run into the undefeated Steelers. This team is a sinking ship, and it doesn’t look like any help is on the way right now.

Verdict: 1.5/10, Check Down

Washington Football Team

God, this division is awful. Washington looked promising in their week one victory over the Eagles, but that win is looking worse and worse as the weeks go by. Since then, Ron Rivera has presided over two double-digit losses, and now has to host Lamar Jackson and an angry Ravens squad. I don’t like this for Washington. I do not like this one bit.

Verdict: 3/10, Check Down

New York Giants

God, this division is awful. The Giants just lost by 25 to a San Francisco 49ers team that has been marred by injury this season. Nick Mullens pulverized this team, throwing for 343 yards and a touchdown, while completing nearly 70% of his passes. Things do not look good in the big apple. Joe Judge might already be coaching for his life, and if the rest of the season goes this poorly, Dave Gettleman should be on his way out before the year is up. The Rams are not an easy win for this team, and beyond them, that first win will be hard to come by.

Verdict: 2/10, Check Down

NFC SOUTH

New Orleans Saints

The Saints have the talent to be better than they are right now. Drew Brees is, of course, one of the best to ever do it. Alvin Kamara is one of the league’s most electrifying skill players. But, the defense needs to get ahold of itself. The Saints are 1-2, and need this win over the Detroit Lions before things begin spiraling out of control. The next few weeks should be very winnable games for Sean Payton and Co. They need to win those games.

Verdict: 6.5/10, Check Back Next Week

Atlanta Falcons

This team is a mess. Dan Quinn is a dead man walking. The Falcons can’t seem to stop collapsing in the fourth quarter, and have now given up two-score leads in back to back games. Not to mention, they have to face the red-hot Packers this week. If this one gets ugly, Arthur Blank should just give Dan Quinn his walking papers now, before the Falcons dig an even deeper hole for themselves.

Verdict: 2.5/10, Check Down

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers got their first win this week over Justin Herbert and the Chargers, but they still feel like one of the least impressive teams in the league this year. Teddy Bridgewater looks like a bridge quarterback, especially if the Panthers end up with a high pick in the draft. Carolina has to face the Cardinals this week, but should get some reprieve in week five when they take on the struggling Falcons.

Verdict: 5/10, Check Back Next Week

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

It looks like Brady and the Buccaneers might be starting to hit their stride, which is just terrible news for the rest of the NFL. Following an opening week loss to the Saints, the Bucs have comfortably beat their last two opponents in Carolina and Denver. Now, they’ll face rookie Justin Herbert and the Chargers, followed by the Bears, before a premier matchup with the Packers. I expect the Buccaneers to roll for at least the next two weeks.

Verdict: 8/10, Check Up

NFC WEST

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks are rolling, despite a mediocre defense this season. Russell Wilson looks like the early MVP this season, throwing 14 touchdowns in three games with just one interception. The Seahawks now get to feast on two bad defenses in consecutive weeks in Miami and Minnesota. Wilson should keep building his MVP resume, and the Seahawks could go into week six undefeated.

Verdict: 9/10, Check Up

Los Angeles Rams

The Rams clawed all the way back to a lead in week three against Buffalo, before ultimately losing after a valiant effort. Sean McVay’s tricky coaching schemes don’t seem to be working like they used to, and Jared Goff putting up solid numbers hasn’t been translating to wins over anyone but the Eagles. However, the Rams get two NFC East opponents in the next two weeks. This should be a nice confidence booster.

Verdict: 6.5/10, Check Back Next Week

San Francisco 49ers

How the 49ers have managed to keep their head above water despite all their injuries, I have no idea. Either Kyle Shanahan is a coaching wizard, or the 49ers are just that deep talent-wise. Honestly, it might be a little bit of both. The 49ers have two easy games ahead of them, even with an injured roster. Nick Mullens against the Dolphins and Eagles could get his confidence high enough to coast until Jimmy G gets back under center.

Verdict: 7.5/10, Check Up

Arizona Cardinals

This year’s NFL darling, the Arizona Cardinals, have been balling out this season, with the exception of the closing moments of week three against the Lions. The Cards had multiple opportunities to put the game away, but they couldn’t pull it off. Kyler Murray looks to have taken that next step, and the Cardinals have all the talent to break out. Despite the close loss to Detroit, Arizona have two big opportunities for wins against Carolina and the Jets. Expect Arizona to get back to their winning ways shortly.

Verdict: 8/10, Check Up

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