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One thing we learned about each NFL team in Week 3: Lamar Jackson is early MVP; Cooper Rush should start again

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There is no dominant team in the NFL after Week 3, as evidenced by the Philadelphia Eagles and Miami Dolphins, the only undefeated left at 3-0. Both Philadelphia and Miami are good teams, but there are many 2-1 teams that remain Super Bowl contenders.

At the moment, there is parity in the league, but we are starting to lag behind the rivals, even if this is not reflected in the protocols of the standings. Some teams are starting to show the same issues every week and that’s the reason why they struggle to win games in the league wide open. Challengers demonstrate why they will be in the mix in December and January.

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What challenges – or strengths – did each team have after Week 3? These are the conclusions of the third week, made by each team.

Arizona Cardinals

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The best recipients should return: It’s easy to focus on slow starts here, but the Cardinals are suffering badly without DeAndre Hopkins (suspended), Rondale Moore (hamstring) and Antoine Wesley (groin). AJ Green suffered a hip injury in the first half of Sunday’s loss, leaving four of the top five wide receivers out.

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Marquise Brown is the only significant outside playmaker to hurt Arizona in the red zone when the Cardinals had 19, 16 and 17 games and field goals. Zak Ertz made two passes – one to the end zone – also did not help.

Arizona needs playmakers to help Kyler Murray. Fortunately, they will appear soon.

Atlanta Falcons

Marcus Mariota will not be sent to the bench in the near future: Credit should be given to Arthur Smith for trusting his starting quarterback to throw the ball when the Seahawks surrounded the Falcons and forced Mariota to throw. Smith increased his passing in the first half, with Mariota throwing the ball 14 times for 183 yards, averaging 13.1 yards per try.

The Falcons set their sights on Kyle Pitts early and allowed Mariota to get into the rhythm with some big plays down the field. Mariota finished 13 of 20 for 229 yards with a touchdown and an interception, setting the stage for Cordarrell Patterson’s big day on the ground.

Atlanta trusts Mariota. He is a quarterback for 2022.

Baltimore Ravens

Lamar Jackson dominates behind the left tackle of the fourth line: What Jackson is doing is incredible for three games, but Sunday’s game may have been the best game he’s had this year. Jackson threw four touchdowns, ran one and ran for 100 yards, becoming only the second player to ever achieve the feat – Randall Cunningham was another in 1990.

So why is what Jackson does so impressive? He has a fourth left tackle protecting his blind side in Daniel Faalele, but he can still put up the numbers every week in video games. Ronnie Stanley is still recovering from his ankle injury, Ja’Vuan James suffered an Achilles injury in the first week and Patrick Mekari left on Sunday with a sprained ankle.

In place came Faalele, selected by the team in the fourth round for the position. That’s how weak Baltimore is in the left tackle and Jackson is still posting incredible numbers as the Ravens average 33 points per game to lead the NFL.

Buffalo Bills

Small bugs need to be fixed if Buffalo really wants to make it to the Super Bowl: The scores have been 0-7 in one-point games since the start of last season for a reason — and Sunday’s loss to the Dolphins showed why Buffalo can’t win those close games.

Josh Allen fumbled his own 10-yard line to set up a goal in Miami and mishandled a cleat flick that robbed him of a potential field goal attempt. He also conceded a pass on goal four to the wide-open Isaiah McKenzie, who would have won the game for the Bills. Allen wasn’t the only one to make a minor mistake: Tyler Bass missed a 38-yard field goal, McKenzie failed to get out of bounds to stop the clock on the final play, and Matt Milano made an interception that should have been returned for a point.

Bills have to clean up these little things in closed games or they’ll be known for not being able to finish the job.

Carolina Panthers

Where is the deep walkthrough game?: The Carolinas have had three games for 50-plus yards this season, the best record in the NFL. This is incredible, given that there are no deep passes or intermediate routes that constantly pass. Baker Mayfield has no receivers on the crossovers and is unable to connect to midfield passes.

Mayfield throws 8.6% of his passes for 20-plus yards (21st in the NFL), but only six times in a year. The Panthers have Robbie Anderson and DJ Moore and they abuse them terribly.

Chicago bears

Harming the development of Justin Fields harming the development of Darnell Mooney: At this rate, Mooney might as well have ended up on a milk carton because he disappeared after three games. His two catches for 23 yards on Sunday were a season high as he only has four catches for 27 yards in a season.

Mooney only had two catches for four yards at the start of week three and has just 11 goals. This is the result of the Bears only throwing 45 passes in three games, hurting Fields’ development, but also his top pass catcher in Mooney.

During the first two seasons, he was a weak threat, and now Mooney is not at all like that. This falls on the shoulders of the Bears’ coaching staff.

Cincinnati Bengals

The running game is the problem: The upgraded offensive line protected Joe Burrow in Sunday’s victory over the Jets, but the running game is significantly worse than the team that helped Cincinnati to the Super Bowl last year. The Bengals had just 28 carries for 69 yards (2.5 yards per carry) against the Jets’ defense, which had allowed the Browns to gain 184 yards the previous week.

Cincinnati’s quick totals dropped with every game and forced Joe Burrow to handball. In the short week this week, it would be helpful to get Joe Mixon and the ground game up and running. Mixon has only 163 yards and averages 2.8 yards per carry in three games, while the Bengals average 3.3 yards per carry as a team (30th in the NFL).

Cleveland Browns

Jacoby Brisset, following the plan developed for him: Give credit to Brissette. He handles the game exactly the way Cleveland intended it to, making the necessary shots and not flipping the ball. He completed 21 of 31 passes for 220 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions in Thursday’s win over the Steelers.

Brisset targets his top playmakers in Amari Cooper and David Njoku and finds them within 190 yards of Brisset’s passing. The Browns quarterback knows his role until the return of Deshawn Watson, who has only one hand in three games.

No matter what lies ahead for the Browns, they will be in games with their fast-paced offense and defense with the way Brisset takes care of football.

Dallas Cowboys

Cooper Rush has one more week to play: If Duck Prescott needs another week to get back, so be it. Rush has shown over the past two weeks that he is more than capable of doing the work of the last two starts. In Monday’s win over the Giants, Rush went 21-of-31 for 215 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions with a 98.2 passer rating to lead Dallas to 17 unanswered points in the second half.

Dallas’ offense under Rush wasn’t very good, but he was good enough to do his job and win matches. Rush was effective and didn’t turn football upside down. The offensive line even improved, giving up just one sack in the two games Rush started because he gets rid of the football faster.

Prescott is in no hurry. Dallas is fine now with Rush in the middle.

Denver Broncos

Penalties have improved, but the attack is still sloppy: The Broncos only missed five 30-yard passes in Sunday’s win over the Photoniners, a massive improvement from Denver’s 25 misses in the first two weeks. At least Denver has solved this problem, because the offense is still not scoring.

The division looks underperforming, averaging only 14.3 points and not scoring more than 16 points in any of the three games. Denver is averaging 348 yards per game, with total yards declining in each of the three games. The Broncos need Russell Wilson to freelance and run offense in order to score points, which shows just how badly Nathaniel Hackett has done his job so far.

If the Broncos can’t score 20 against the Raiders, they’re in serious trouble.

Detroit Lions

Time to end games and collect winnings: The Lions will play hard for Dan Campbell and give teams chances in the process, but Sunday’s loss to the Vikings was a game Detroit had to win. Going into the fourth quarter, Detroit led 24–14 and then allowed 14 unanswered points in the final frame to allow Minnesota to steal the win at home.

Dan Campbell didn’t spend enough time on the running clock trying to build a three-point lead as Detroit snapped the ball with 10 seconds left on the running game clock. In this situation, the “Lions” even controlled the ball. Detroit were 4 of 6 on fourth down, but Campbell opted for a 54-yard field goal that was conceded (Austin Seibert missed a 48-yard hit earlier in the game) and Minnesota earned a short field when Kirk Cousins ​​led the Vikings to an easy loss by field against a gassed defense and take the lead with 45 seconds left.

The Lions are 8-10-1 over the past four seasons in double-digit games, so it’s not just Campbell’s business. They averaged 3.4 yards…


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