By Stephen Juza
September 28th, 2023
The third week of the NFL season saw countless great games across the league, the highest-scoring game in decades, and top teams in the league continued their trek towards a Super Bowl championship.
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So, what were the top takeaways from a packed Week 3?
The Dolphins Will Be Scary
Before the season, we wrote about how quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has posted incredibly strong advanced metrics, but his struggle has been staying on the field. Through three games, he’s second in the league in passing yards, with the highest average per completion, and the second most touchdowns. But the offense isn’t just Tagovailoa - last week their speedsters shined en route to 726 yards, an NFL record for the Super Bowl era, and the first 70 point game since 1966.
Even more remarkable, this offensive output was without Jaylen Waddle due to injury. Despite the injury, the Dolphins excelled at spreading the ball around. Five different players had more than fifty yards of offense while running backs De’Von Achane and Raheem Mostert combined for eight touchdowns.
They won’t always be able to go up against a hapless team like the Broncos, but with so many offensive weapons, there are few teams that will be able to slow down this team.
Eagles and 49ers continue their march toward an NFC Championship Rematch
The Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers are now the only remaining undefeated teams in the NFC. The 49ers have been very consistent en route to the top scoring team in the NFC, scoring exactly 30 points in each game. Meanwhile, the Eagles are only a shade behind them with the fourth-highest scoring offense in the conference at 84 points.
While it’s early in the season, both teams are putting themselves in early position for a deep playoff run, sitting atop their conference, using the same successful formula that put them in the NFC Championship Game last season.
Without Aaron Rodgers, the Jets are atrocious
I’ve never seen a swing-for-the-fences move backfire so spectacularly, so early in a season. All offseason long, the Jets were dark-horse contenders. There were some questions if Aaron Rodgers had started to decline or if his 2022 season was an anomaly. The Jets offensive line was also considered a weak point. All of that came to a screeching halt after only four plays when Rodgers went down with his Achilles injury. In comes Zach Wilson, a quarterback who time and time again has shown he’s not an NFL caliber quarterback. While the team managed an overtime victory over the Buffalo Bills in Week 1, there were questions on what the Jets should do to proceed.
Unfortunately, the team’s hands were tied - now that the season had started, all the capable veteran quarterbacks were on a roster. Beyond that, experienced backups, such as Gardner Minshew or Andy Dalton, were virtually untouchable because their respective teams also valued an experienced backup for their young quarterback. That’s even before you get into the discussion of what the Jets have at their trade disposal (spoiler, not much).
Head coach Robert Saleh and GM Joe Douglas will likely be fired after yet another bad season behind a very talented team. Their only hope is that Wilson turns things around and shows talent that made him a second overall pick in the draft just a few short years ago.
Games to Watch This Week:
There are two excellent divisional matchups that fans need to watch this upcoming week.
The first is tonight, when the Lions take on the Packers. With both teams sitting at 2-1, it will offer a great chance to take early control of the division with the other two teams floundering at 0-3. The Packers have been far more secure with the football, only turning the ball over once all season, and this could be the deciding factor in the divisional matchup. Expect the Packers to secure the home victory.
The second divisional matchup kicks off Sunday afternoon when the Dolphins take on the Bills. As the two highest scoring offenses match up, with the Dolphins coming off one of the most dominating performances ever seen, everyone is eager to watch how they respond. The team hopes to have Waddle back in the lineup to help fuel the offense, and that should be enough to topple the Bills for control of the AFC East.
Coaches on the Hot Seat:
Matt Eberflus, Chicago Bears (81% Chance of being fired)
On top of our coaching hot seat report is Eberflus again. After yet another loss, his likelihood of being fired has crept up to 81%. This week could be their best shot at a win for a little while when they play at home against the Denver Broncos. Eberflus needs to right the ship quickly for his team, otherwise it may be an early offseason for him.
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