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

NFC North

Green Bay Packers

A perfect first month of the season looks good for the Pack, and it’s hard to think they won’t keep it rolling throughout this season. Aaron Rodgers is lighting it up, the defense has made some plays, and Matt LaFleur has proved time and time again that he was the right pick as head coach. The Packers now get rewarded with a bye week, followed by a trip to Tampa Bay for a tough one Brady and the Bucs.

Verdict: 9/10, Check Up

Chicago Bears

Maybe the Bears shouldn’t have benched Mitchell Trubisky. I am not the biggest Trubisky fan out there, but benching the starting quarterback of an undefeated team feels scummy. In terms of Karma, the Bears got what was coming to them this week against the Colts. Now, they’ll face Brady and the sizzling hot Buccaneers on Thursday night. It’s hard to have confidence in Da Bears for this one.

Verdict: 4/10, Check Down

Detroit Lions

Watching the Lions implode after leading through the first quarter just feels right for Matt Patricia. It is Patricia’s time to go, and the perfect time to get rid of him could be the bye week Detroit is heading into right now. Install a new coach, regroup, and take on the Jaguars on October 18th. It’s time. Despite the loss, the Lions kept it close with the Saints and, again, could regroup before the bye week. I’m weirdly confident in their ability to do that.

Verdict: 4.5/10, Check Back Next Week

Minnesota Vikings

All my calculations led me to believe that the Vikings would fail to take down the Texans last week. But as it turns out, Bill O’Brien never was very good at math. Instead, the Vikings secured a win last week and looked great doing it, especially in the first half. Now, they’ll have to visit an undefeated Seahawks team on Sunday night. I get the weird feeling they could upset Russell Wilson, though, and hand Seattle their first loss.

Verdict: 6/10, Check Back Next Week

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys

Remember what I said last week, about the NFC East being awful? Yeah. The Dallas Cowboys got smacked around this week by a Cleveland Browns team that almost literally ran them over, before staging their signature fourth-quarter comeback which came up short once again. Dak Prescott is a prolific passer this year, but big numbers does not a winning season make. Fortunately, the Cowboys get an easy one against the Giants this week.

Verdict: 5/10, Check Back Next Week

Philadelphia Eagles

A team from the NFC East finally won this week, and even more surprisingly, it was the Philadelphia Eagles. Sunday night saw Philly’s defense rack up three turnovers and five sacks on Nick Mullens and the 49ers. I’d like to be happy for the Eagles, but it was against Nick Mullens. Now, Philadelphia has to go to Pittsburgh to face the undefeated Steelers who are coming off a bye week. It’s hard to be confident here.

Verdict: 3.75/10, Check Down

Washington Football Team

Washington showed a lot of potential on the defensive line so far this season. An outing against the Baltimore Ravens, however, still proved to be a tough task for such a young group. Washington only got to Lamar Jackson once, and allowed a 50-yard rushing touchdown to the reigning MVP in a 31-17 loss. Now, they have to host the 3-1 Los Angeles Rams, but I think the Football Team could actually pull this one off.

Verdict: 4.25/10, Check Back Next Week

New York Giants

The Giants are in deep trouble right now. Under rookie head coach Joe Judge, Big Blue look completely inept through the first quarter of the season. Daniel Jones is a turnover machine right now, to the tune of two fumbles lost and five interceptions. New York hasn’t scored a touchdown since week two. And now they have to face an offensively-potent Dallas Cowboys team. I don’t like the looks of this.

Verdict: 0.75/10

NFC South

New Orleans Saints

The Saints were able to hold off the Detroit Lions this past week, and now they’ll get to face rookie quarterback Justin Herbert and the Chargers. I mentioned last week that the Saints have the talent to be better than their record shows, and I still do believe that. Alvin Kamara is a top-flight skill player, and Drew Brees is one of the best ever. The sooner Michael Thomas gets back, the easier Brees’s life will be.

Verdict: 7/10, Check Up

Atlanta Falcons

This team feels…pathetic, quite honestly. At least on defense. I actually feel bad for the Falcons. An injury to Damontae Kazee adds to an already banged-up defensive secondary which is nothing short of horrifically unlucky. Dan Quinn’s seat is red-hot, and he has got to go. The Falcons host the Panthers this coming week, and I can’t help but think they might not get their first win for quite a while.

Verdict: 1.75/10, Check Down

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers have maybe the most controlled rebuild of a team I have ever seen. There is no reason that this team should be 2-2 given the circumstances, especially on offense. However, they continue to tread water and look like they are a piece or two away from having the start of a good, young core. Teddy Bridgewater probably isn’t the answer, but either way, Carolina gets to visit the struggling Falcons this week.

Verdict: 6.5/10, Check Back Next Week

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Brady and the Buccaneers are heating up, hitting their stride, and every other cliche in the book. No one wants to play this team right now, especially not a team like the Bears, who seem to be coming back to the pack of mediocre teams under Nick Foles. I think the Bucs roll on Thursday night.

Verdict: 8.5/10, Check Up

NFC West

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks took care of business this week in Miami, but I was honestly expecting them to completely bulldoze the Dolphins. The fact that they didn’t, in my opinion, speaks more to the Dolphins than it does the Seahawks. Russell Wilson still had two touchdowns and 360 yards, and is cruising towards MVP. I get the weirdest feeling that the ‘Hawks could get upset by Minnesota, but it doesn’t shake my overall confidence in them.

Verdict: 8.75/10, Check Up

Los Angeles Rams

They might be 3-1, but it’s hard to believe these Rams are on the same level as that Super Bowl team from a couple of years ago. If the Rams were clicking on all cylinders, they would have completely pummeled the Giants this past week, rather than leaving it a one-score game. Washington isn’t all that bad when they don’t make mistakes, and their fearsome defensive line could put Jared Goff in the ground if he isn’t careful. This one could get interesting.

Verdict: 5.5/10, Check Back Next Week

San Francisco 49ers

I think the injuries are finally starting to get to this team. Maybe they just had a bad night against Philadelphia on Sunday Night Football, or maybe head coach Kyle Shanahan is just out of managerial magic. Nick Mullens will get the start once again this week, as the 49ers take on Miami inside Levi’s Stadium. This could go either way, so I’m on hold for San Francisco right now.

Verdict: 6/10, Check Back Next Week

Arizona Cardinals

Uh oh. Did we hype up the Cardinals too early? Just a couple of weeks ago, Kyler Murray looked like a possible MVP or OPOY candidate, and now the Cardinals are treading water at 2-2. Fortunately for Kliff Kingsbury, the Cardinals get to see the worst team in the league this week in the New York Jets. For that reason alone, I can’t let my confidence in the Cards slip all that much.

Verdict: 7.25/10, Check Up

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