What we know about this NFL season after three weeks
Three weeks into the NFL season, only two teams are undefeated after the Giants lost on Monday night, and only one started the year 0-3.
It would be the incredibly disappointing Raiders, especially after their offseason acquisition of Aaron Rodgers’ longtime favorite target, stud receiver Davante Adams.
Week 3 featured a confusing upset (Colts over Chiefs), a potential divisional power shift (Dolphins over Bills) and an ugly setback game for the Jets after their stunning comeback the previous week.
But these are the five takeaways that jumped out at me as we gear up for the next round of games starting Thursday night with an intriguing AFC clash between the soaring Dolphins and the defending champions. of the conference, the Bengals.
All is not lost for the Giants
The Giants, surprisingly, were undefeated in two games, but their revamped offensive line was completely overwhelmed in pass protection throughout Monday night’s deserved 23-16 loss to the Cowboys.
Daniel Jones was under heavy pressure throughout, with rookie right tackle and first-round pick Evan Neal enduring a particularly tough night against Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, who recorded three of their five sacks.
Jones actually took care of the ball and made several positive plays under duress, running for 79 yards and throwing for 196. His late-game interception was also the result of David Sills falling on a timed drive.
The Giants can at least take another encouraging offensive performance from Saquon Barkley (126 total yards and a touchdown) in Sunday’s winnable home game against the Bears, although Sterling Shepard doesn’t appear to be playing after having to be hauled off. with what appeared to be a serious non-contact leg injury on the Giants’ last offensive play.
Dolphins are real, but…
Admit it, you cringed watching Tua Tagovailoa get his head smashed on the turf Sunday and then fall back to the ground after getting up late in the second quarter of the Dolphins’ 21-19 win at Buffalo to go undefeated.
The third-year QB was almost immediately cleared to continue starting the second half, but the NFLPA is absolutely right to open an investigation into whether head injury protocols were followed correctly.
Tagovailoa finished the game and helped the Fish to the impressive win, but the former Alabama star is also struggling with ankle and back issues. He might not be ready with a short week of preparation for Thursday’s visit to Cincinnati. (Veteran backup Teddy Bridgewater was on the court for three snaps on Sunday in Tua’s absence).
Either way, the newly assembled receiver duo of Jaylen Waddle and rally pick-up Tyreek Hill remains largely unstoppable, combining for 40 catches for 659 yards (16.5 par) and five touchdowns already.
Even Sunday’s viral ‘butt punt’ – which rightly caught the eye of former Jets QB Mark Sanchez — couldn’t stop the Dolphins from toppling the Bills, who many considered Super Bowl favorites out of the AFC.
He also bet on himself
Aaron Judge has posted a historic season after turning down the Yankees’ spring contract offer, and Lamar Jackson seems determined to show he’s worth the guaranteed money he’s been after all offseason by pushing himself back. in the MVP conversation after three games. (Probably alongside Allen and Jalen Hurts).
Jackson scored five touchdowns (four assists) in Sunday’s rout of the Patriots, giving him the NFL’s top 10 touchdowns through the air. He’s also topped 100 yards rushing in each of the last two games, and he ranks third in the AFC on rush behind star running backs Nick Chubb and Jonathan Taylor with a home matchup against Allen and the Bills 2. -1 on tap during the week. 4.
Chargers are in trouble
Justin Herbert was able to play on Sunday despite a broken rib cartilage, but injuries to five other stalwarts threaten to torpedo the Chargers’ early AFC West chances.
Pro Bowl left tackle Rashawn Slater is done for the year after tearing his left bicep tendon in Sunday’s blowout loss to the improved Jaguars. And on Monday, it was revealed that receiver Jalen Guyton was also out for the season after tearing his ACL on Sunday. Those punches came after LA was already without its other Pro Bowler on the offensive line — center Corey Linsley, who missed the game with a knee problem — and No. 1 receiver Keenan Allen (hamstring) . On the other side of the ball, the Chargers could also be without rusher Joey Bosa and $83 million cornerback JC Jackson (ankle) this week in Houston.
The Chiefs’ shock loss at Indy kept the Chargers 1-2 a game off the division lead, with the Broncos also winning their second game with a great performance from their defense in what turned out to be more of a slog- fest than a slugfest in a 12-11 win over Jimmy Garoppolo and the Niners.
It hurts so much
With his apologies to John Mellencamp (née Cougar), Hurts was much better than good in three games as he led the Eagles to a 3-0 start for the first time since 2016 with a 24-8 victory over the Commanders.
Hurts threw for over 300 yards for the second straight game, as the Eagles’ receiving tandem of DeVonta Smith and imported AJ Brown were the NFC’s version of the powerful Hill-Waddle combo in Miami.
The Giants (2-1) won’t face Philadelphia until Week 14 (home Dec. 11) and Week 18 (road Jan. 8), but so far the Eagles have appeared to be l most complete team in the NFC East and arguably in the conference under sophomore coach Nick Sirianni.
Today’s last page
(Intentionally) walk in this direction
The Blue Jays’ strategy of intentionally walking Aaron Judge with an open base in the 10th inning paid off Monday night, leading to a 3-2 victory in the bottom half to rob the Yankees of the first shot at the AL East title. .
The judge’s quest to tie Roger Maris’ league and franchise record of 61 homers will move to Tuesday night after going 1 for 3 with two walks and two strikeouts – the sixth straight game in which he did not failed to get far.
Toronto threw at Judge throughout the game, but Jays manager John Schneider made the right decision choosing to walk the Triple Crown contender with runners at first and second to load the bases in the 10th forward. Anthony Rizzo retires to end the inning.
Judge, who said he plans to stay in the lineup until the Yankees clinch the division title, will face Jose Berrios on Tuesday night. He’s 6 for 18 with one homer in his career against the right-hander.
The Nets and Knicks held their respective media days on Monday, with the start of training camp for the former notable for who was there and the opening for the latter notable for who wasn’t.
One of the craziest soap operas in New York basketball history ended with Kevin Durant (trade request overturned) and Kyrie Irving (opt-in) staying in Brooklyn, though I maintain still that Ben Simmons is absolutely key to the Nets’ return to contender status.
Kyrie, especially now that there are no more COVID-19 vaccination restrictions, and KD are known products as long as they can stay healthy. Simmons didn’t play at all last year with a delay and mental health issues to start the season in Philadelphia and a back injury (which eventually required surgery) after midseason blockbuster James Harden .
As for the Knicks, they obviously weren’t able to complete their targeted trade for hometown All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell, who instead traded from the Jazz to the Cavaliers. It’s certainly not a lock that the return of most basemen from last year – RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson, etc. last year’s 37-win campaign.
We’d also be remiss if we didn’t notice the absence of longtime Post Beat writer Marc Berman, who has publicly announced his departure on Monday after 23 relentless seasons of coverage, most of which took place in a circus atmosphere within the Knicks organization.