With three weeks off the grid we officially start to find ourselves in the thick of the NFL season. Teams have now shaken off the rust and are on the verge of finding out what playmakers they will rely on to come up big this season. Week 3 gave us our first taste of some of the most prolific rookies in this year’s draft class.
The week started off down south with a Thursday night Falcons embarrassment of the Buccaneers as Atlanta defeated Tampa Bay by over 40 points. Safety Antrelle Rolle called the New York Giants third game a “must-win” and that’s exactly what the Big Blue did in a romping of J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans. The Cowboys dug themselves a big hole in the first half of their game against the Rams, but DeMarco Murray hit the century mark on the ground for the third game in a row en route to a Dallas comeback victory. In DeSean Jackson’s heavy-tempered return to the City of Brotherly Love he connected with new quarterback Kirk Cousins for an 81-yard touchdown despite a three-point loss to the Eagles. Vikings fans got to see rookie sensation Teddy Bridgewater under center for the first time but his performance wasn’t enough to take down a New Orleans team starving for their first win. A low scoring affair in the Motor City gave Detroit a 19-7 edge over a struggling Green Bay Packers squad and on the west coast the Arizona Cardinals improved to 3-0 with a statement win against the 49ers. The Seattle Seahawks survived a Peyton Manning comeback and scored first in overtime to seal a victory in a Super Bowl rematch and the Jay Cutler led Bears took down the New York Jets despite a breakout performance by second year quarterback Geno Smith.
In the AFC, the Dolphins dropped their second in a row with a double-digit loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. San Diego emerged as an early sleeper pick to represent the AFC West in the playoffs as they routed a talented Buffalo Bills team 22-10. Quarterback Andy Dalton didn’t throw a touchdown, but caught one instead in a 33-7 Bengals win over Tennessee and the Baltimore Ravens edged the Browns with a last second score in a divisional matchup in Cleveland. After the Indianapolis Colts jumped out to a commanding 30-0 first half lead, Jacksonville turned to quarterback of the future Blake Bortles to see his first regular season snaps. Bortles found pay dirt twice but the Jaguars still were crushed by the Colts 44-17. New England escaped a scare from the Oakland Raiders with a seven point victory and the Pittsburgh Steelers pulled a big upset with a dominating win against Carolina on Sunday Night Football.
Week 4 features one of the oldest rivalries in the game with a match-up between the Chicago Bears versus the Green Bay Packers, along with a matchup between two NFC favorites, the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers. In addition to these two heated rivalries, the competition is really heating up as it gets deeper into the season, determining the contenders from the pretenders.