NFL contenders and pretenders after Week 3

NFL News

Seven NFL teams will head into Week 4 with 3-0 records. Which franchises are going to see their bubble burst and which should be making Super Bowl plans?

Three weeks of NFL football isn’t what anyone would classify as a large sample size to evaluate individual teams, but it does paint a pretty good picture of what each franchise has to offer for the 2019 season. After three weeks of action, there are seven teams with perfect, 3-0 records. Some of them, however, are frauds.

This piece will split up the seven teams into two, distinct groups. The majority of the 3-0 squads are legitimate Super Bowl contenders. A few, however, will slip into the pretender category. Read on to discover which fans should be clearing their playoff schedules and which supporters need to celebrate their team’s success now while they still can.

The Contenders

New England Patriots

There can’t be any rational debate here. Tom Brady and company have absolutely destroyed the competition through three games. Sunday’s 30-14 win over the Jets was actually New England’s closest game of the season. That required Jarrett Stidham to throw a pick-six to make the final score closer than the game really was.

Bill Belichick will find out more about his squad next week as they travel to Buffalo. The Bills are also 3-0 and Josh Allen could cause the New England defense some problems. Even if they drop that game, there’s little doubt that the Patriots are primed for a deep playoff run.

Dallas Cowboys

Jason Garrett might deservedly be the target of a lot of jokes online, but his decision to install Kellen Moore as the team’s new offensive coordinator looks like a stroke of genius in the early going. Dak Prescott is playing like an MVP candidate and Amari Cooper looks to be firmly entrenched as a Pro Bowl wideout in this new look offense.

Their trip to New Orleans next weekend loses a little bit of its intrigue without Drew Brees on the field, but it’s still going to be Dallas’ most difficult test of the season by a wide margin. Cowboys fans shouldn’t get overly excited about reeling off three straight wins over the Giants, Redskins and Dolphins. Their easy schedule doesn’t make them less of a contender though. They might be the early favorite to win the NFC.

Kansas City Chiefs

There was a lot of talk emanating from Baltimore about how the Ravens had the goods to stop the Kansas City offense on Sunday. Instead, Patrick Mahomes shredded the Baltimore defense en route to a 33-28 win. Last year’s MVP candidate has quieted any talk about statistical regression with his hot start under center.

There still are valid concerns about the Chiefs’ defense. Giving up 26 points to Jacksonville in the opener wasn’t great. Neither was allowing the Ravens to put up 28 in Kansas City on Sunday. Fortunately for Chiefs fans, their defense still has untapped potential. Look for the group to improve as they get more reps playing together. They aren’t going to be elite, but if they can play average football it makes Kansas City almost impossible to stop in the regular season.

Los Angeles Rams

Sean McVay’s team hasn’t really hid its stride this season, but they’ve already banked three important victories. Winning at Carolina could look like a much better victory late in the season than it does right now. Sunday night’s victory over the Browns also was a nice feather in the Rams’ cap.

Most of the talk about Los Angeles revolves around Goff and the team’s star-studded offense. That group hasn’t been elite this season, but it’s gotten enough chunk plays to win games. Skeptics about the Rams should, instead, but spending more time watching their defense on film. Everyone knows how good Aaron Donald is up front, but this secondary is wildly underrated. That group could be the unit that gets the Rams’ hands on the Lombardi Trophy this year.

Green Bay Packers

The Packers were the toughest call on this list. Their offense clearly isn’t hitting on all cylinders yet. Aaron Rodgers and new head coach Matt LaFleur don’t seem to be on the same page. However, the fact that Green Bay is winning games without Rodgers playing at an elite level says a lot about the rest of the roster.

This season has been all about the Packers defense. The combination of clever free agent additions and some young guys coming of age has transformed this unit into a legitimate top-10 unit in the NFL. Rodgers is going to get hot at some point this season. If this defense continues its stellar play and that happens, the Packers could easily find themselves sitting atop the NFC when the regular season concludes.

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