Week 3 of the NFL season featured a slew of entertaining contests, and we were able to glean a significant amount of knowledge about the teams.
A number of the NFL's historic franchise have fallen on hard times (the New York Giants, Washington Redskins and Pittsburgh Steelers are all 0-3), while other teams continue to dazzle (e.g. the Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Chicago Bears, New Orleans Saints, Seattle Seahawks).
As always, the goal for each of the 32 NFL teams (officially, at least) remains the same: to hoist the Lombardi Trophy this February at MetLife Stadium.
Here are the updated Super Bowl odds for every NFL team heading into Week 4, via Bovada.
Note: This slideshow was modified from its original version to reflect the results of the 49ers-Rams game on Thursday.
With another week came another double-digit loss for the Jacksonville Jaguars, the worst team in the NFL. In fact, the Jaguars are so bad that their odds of winning the Super Bowl are 10 times worse than the next team on this list (the Oakland Raiders, at 500/1). As Ron Burgundy once said, "I'm not even mad; that's amazing!"
This past Sunday, the Jaguars were crushed by the Seahawks, 45-17. And the final score would have been more lopsided if Seattle hadn't pulled starting quarterback Russell Wilson in the third quarter.
Through three games, Jacksonville is ranked dead last in total offense. Things won't get any easier this Sunday when the team hosts the 2-1 Colts, who are coming off a dominant 27-7 win over the 49ers.
Quarterback Blaine Gabbert will return to the starting lineup for the Jags, but it remains to be seen if that's actually a positive.
Say this much for the 1-2 Oakland Raiders: They've played with a lot of heart, grit and determination under head coach Dennis Allen.
Unfortunately, heart, grit and determination don't win football games alone, as the Raiders were completely outclassed by Peyton Manning and the Broncos on Monday night, 37-21.
Quarterback Terrelle Pryor has been a major bright spot for the team, but his supporting cast won't evoke memories of the '99 Rams. And unfortunately, Pryor suffered a concussion late in Monday night's loss, and his status for Sunday's game against the Redskins is currently unknown, per ESPN's Paul Gutierrez.
While the Raiders are a bad football team, they've managed to be respectable with Pryor as the signal-caller. Pryor provides hope to a franchise and fanbase in dire need of it, and his health should be of paramount importance.
If backup quarterback Matt Flynn is forced to start, you can throw "respectability" out the window, and things will get very ugly, very quickly in Oakland.
Coming into the season, the St. Louis Rams were a trendy, under-the-radar pick as a postseason contender. Through four games, they look more like pretenders, with their latest setback coming in the form of a 35-11 home thrashing at the hands of the 49ers.
The game was a complete and utter debacle, and served as a microcosm for the current woes of the franchise. Quarterback Sam Bradford was awful against San Francisco, and he has yet to flash the potential that made him the No. 1 overall pick in 2010's draft. His lack of improvement has to be disconcerting for the franchise.
Plus, the defense, thought to be the strength of the team, was sliced and diced by San Francisco, promoting end Chris Long to call the performance "disgusting," per Robert Klemko of Sports Illustrated. This was the third straight game in which the unit has allowed 30-plus points.
The Rams are now 1-3 and look light-years behind both Seattle and San Francisco in the NFC West. They need to turn it around soon if they're to have any hope of contending in 2013.
The good news? The worst team in the NFL, Jacksonville, pays a visit to the Edward Jones Dome in Week 5.
It's gotten late very early for coach Greg Schiano and the hapless 0-3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The team appears to be a rudderless ship, floating helplessly toward increasingly choppy waters.
The latest debacle for the Bucs was Sunday's 23-3 loss in New England. It was an absolutely horrific team effort that has many wondering how a roster chock full of talent can look so atrocious on game day. Freeman was awful yet again, completing only 19 of his 41 passes for 236 yards and an interception. He's completing less than 50 percent of his passes on the season and appears to be regressing.
Schiano and general manager Mark Dominik have apparently seen enough of Freeman, as they will reportedly bench the former first-rounder in favor of rookie third-round pick Mike Glennon.
I've been writing in this space for weeks that Freeman's days as Bucs starting quarterback are numbered. He's in the final year of his contract and couldn't have authored a more disappointing opening chapter to the season. While Glennon might not be the answer, Freeman was an albatross preventing the team from reaching their potential.
Bottom line: Tampa Bay's roster is too good for the team to be 0-3. Things must turn around, and fast, or Schiano could find himself walking the same plank as Freeman.
The Minnesota Vikings laid a dinosaur-sized egg on Sunday in the Metrodome, falling 31-27 to the Trent Richardson-less Cleveland Browns. It was an embarrassing loss that dropped coach Leslie Frazier's team to 0-3, a far cry from its 10-6 effort in 2012.
Quarterback Christian Ponder had another subpar game, and the defense made Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer look like the second coming of Otto Graham. Running back Adrian Peterson never really got going, finishing with 88 yards on 25 carries, and the offensive line allowed Ponder to be sacked six times.
If Minnesota is to keep its fading playoff hopes alive, beating the Steelers on Sunday at Wembley Stadium in London is an absolute must.
Last week, when the Browns traded running back Trent Richardson to the Colts for a first-round pick, many wrote the epitaph on their 2013 campaign. It turns out that Cleveland's season is still very much alive, though, as the Browns beat the Vikings in Minnesota, 31-27.
Third-string quarterback Brian Hoyer, starting in place of the injured Brandon Weeden, dazzled, completing 30 out of 54 passes for 321 yards and three touchdown passes. He also threw three interceptions, but don't let that fool you—Hoyer played very well.
Tight end Jordan Cameron, who's been a breakout star thus far this season, hauled in all three of Hoyer's touchdown passes. Meanwhile, receiver Josh Gordon was beastly in his return from suspension, catching 10 balls for 146 yards and a touchdown.
But the biggest development for Cleveland is the play of its defense, ranked sixth overall in the league and third overall in sacks with 12. Coordinator Ray Horton has done a phenomenal job with the unit.
The Browns have no shot of winning the Super Bowl and likely aren't a playoff team, but their great fans should be holding their heads up higher this week.
This Sunday, the Browns host the 2-1 Bengals.
The Buffalo Bills couldn't sustain the momentum from their last-second comeback victory over the Panthers in Week 2, falling to the Jets, 27-20.
Adding insult to injury for coach Doug Marrone's squad was that it lost despite the Jets committing an outrageous 20 penalties, which would be like a guy showing up to the bar and stealing your girl even though he looks like George Costanza.
Rookie quarterback EJ Manuel played the worst game of his young career, completing only 19 of his 42 passes for 243 yards and a touchdown. His play was erratic and looked skittish in the pocket all game.
And for the second time in three games, running back C.J. Spiller, whom many expected to be the linchpin of the Buffalo offense, failed to get going. He rushed 10 times for nine yards and only has 153 yards rushing on the campaign. He left the game in the second half with a knee injury, but is expected to play on Sunday.
This week, the Bills host the 2-1 Baltimore Ravens. It's hard to imagine Buffalo mounting a serious postseason run with such a young team and a 1-3 start, so the onus will be on them to pull off the upset.
The Arizona Cardinals had a dismal Week 3, getting blown out in the Superdome by the Saints, 31-7, dropping their record to 1-2. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees shredded their defense, and the offense never got going in the defeat.
It was a puzzling effort for an Arizona team that looked competitive in the season's first two games. Making matters worse, the team has been badly bitten by the injury bug. In the past few days, the Cardinals have placed three outside linebackers on season-ending injured reserve: Sam Acho, Lorenzo Alexander and rookie Alex Okafor.
It's also worth mentioning that safety Rashad Johnson lost the top of one of his fingers in Sunday's action. Click here for details and pictures (not for the squeamish).
The Cardinals travel to Tampa to take on the winless Bucs for Week 4. A win would even their record at 2-2 and leave them feeling good about themselves after the season's opening quarter.
If you've been reading this space since the start of the season, you know that I don't think the Steelers are a very good football team. They proved me right once again this past week, losing a 40-23 home decision to the Bears on Sunday Night Football, dropping their record to 0-3.
Where do I start with the awful Steelers? They committed a ghastly five turnovers, couldn't protect quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and the defense once again failed to force a turnover.
You read that last point correctly. Through three games, the Steelers defense has yet to force a single turnover. It's a staggering statistic for what many still (incorrectly) believe to be an elite unit.
One positive for the team is the impending return of rookie running back Le'Veon Bell, who has missed the entire season with a foot injury. He'll try and inject some life into a moribund rushing attack that ranks 31st in the league.
If the Steelers are to save their season and ultimately contend for a wild-card berth, beating the Vikings on Sunday is an absolute must.
All the good feelings that surrounded the Redskins following their 10-6 NFC East championship season have dissipated, as they dropped to a miserable 0-3 with their 27-20 home loss to the Detroit Lions.
While the vast majority of the blame has been placed on quarterback Robert Griffin III (more on him in a bit), it's the defense that has truly let the team down. The unit has been absolutely horrific, ranking dead last in the league in total defense. Even if Griffin were playing majestic football, it'd be difficult to win with a defense doing its best imitation of a sieve each and every week.
As for Griffin? He played his best game of the season against Detroit, completing 32 of his 50 passes for 326 yards and an interception. But it still wasn't good enough to win, and he committed a major late gaffe when he fumbled on a head-first slide.
The Redskins will look to save their season this upcoming week, and the good news is that they're facing the Oakland Raiders. If they're to return to the postseason, beating the Raiders is a nonnegotiable point.
A ton of credit needs to be heaped on Jets coach Rex Ryan for the way his team has played thus far, as New York improved to 2-1 with their win over Buffalo on Sunday. Many prognosticators (including yours truly) left the Jets for dead before the season, but Gang Green has been very competitive.
Rookie quarterback Geno Smith has flashed a big-time arm and outstanding poise in the pocket. He's looking like a franchise signal-caller. Plus, Ryan has the defense playing very well, with the unit ranked third overall in total yards allowed.
The Jets now travel to Tennessee to take on the Titans, where, unbelievably, the winner of the game will improve to 3-1. If the Jets can pull out a victory, expectations will really begin to rise.
To be fair, this Gang Green iteration looks a lot closer to the teams in 2009 and 2010 that went to the AFC title game than the dumpster fires of 2011 and 2012.
The San Diego Chargers suffered their second heartbreaking loss in three weeks, falling 20-17 to the Titans on a last-minute touchdown pass.
While San Diego's record now sits at 1-2, the team could easily be 3-0, despite possessing one of the league's most shallow rosters. It's a credit to coach Mike McCoy and quarterback Philip Rivers that the Chargers have been so competitive given that fact.
The defense must play better, as the unit is ranked 31st overall in yards allowed and has collapsed late in the team's two losses. The Chargers now host the Cowboys and will attempt to avoid dropping to 1-3.
Remember how excited everyone was about the Philadelphia Eagles after their electric season-opening performance on Monday Night Football against the Redskins? Anyone? Bueller?
While coach Chip Kelly's offense made its mark in Week 1, the bloom has fallen off the rose a bit in the two weeks since. Philadelphia's record now sits at 1-2 after the team's 26-16 loss last Thursday to old coach Andy Reid and the Chiefs.
Quarterback Michael Vick played his worst game of the season, completing only 13 of his 30 passes for 201 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. It was a sloppy game overall for the Eagles, who turned the ball over five times.
And then there was Kelly's decision to go for a two-point conversion in the first quarter with his team down 10-6. They tried the ridiculous "swinging gate" play, which, predictably, failed.
Earth to Kelly: This isn't the Pac-12. You aren't playing Washington State. This is the NFL, where your athletes aren't that better than anyone else's. It was a bush league move, and Kelly is better than that. He should have left that one in Eugene along with the neon jerseys.
It doesn't get any easier for the Eagles this Sunday, as they'll travel to Denver to take on Peyton Manning and the Broncos.
Disaster. Debacle. Disgrace.
All words that are applicable to the New York Giants' hideous beginning to the 2013 season.
The Giants have arguably been the most disappointing team in football, with their blowout defeat in Carolina serving as the rotten cherry on top of an already disgusting sundae. Big Blue somehow managed to lose 38-0 to the Panthers. Not the Seahawks, not the 49ers, not the Broncos...but the Panthers. It nearly defies logic.
The Giants can't run the ball (ranked dead last in rushing), can't protect quarterback Eli Manning (11 sacks allowed), and can't rush the passer (tied for last with three sacks). Other than that, though, things are just peachy.
Plus, Manning is turning the ball over like he's the lovechild of Mark Sanchez and Ryan Fitzpatrick, having thrown a preposterous eight interceptions already. The 0-3 Giants travel to Arrowhead to take on the 3-0 Chiefs this weekend. A win temporarily saves the season. A loss most certainly ends it.
Through three weeks, Titans coach Mike Munchak is one of the front-runners for NFL Coach of the Year. He's done a fantastic job with a team not many expected to contend, as the Titans are now 2-1 following a comeback victory over the Chargers.
Quarterback Jake Locker played the best game of his career on Sunday, completing 23 of 37 passes for 299 yards and the game-winning touchdown. He showed tremendous poise in the game's final moments, leading Tennessee down the field for the winning score with 15 seconds left.
The Titans could easily be 3-0 if not for a collapse in Houston in Week 2. That's a major credit to Munchak.
The Titans host the Jets this Sunday, and if Locker can continue to improve, Tennessee could end up making noise in the AFC playoff hunt.
If there was ever a coach/quarterback combination that needed to be on the right side of a 38-0 blowout, it would be Ron Rivera and Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers. The team dismantled the Giants and heads into its bye week feeling very good about itself.
The Panthers dominated every phase of the game, sacking Eli Manning seven times and moving the ball at will. Newton was efficient and the offense finally started to click under new coordinator Mike Shula.
The win should cool down Rivera's hot seat, with reports now stating that he is safe through the 2013 season.
Carolina next plays at Arizona in Week 5.
The Lions improved to 2-1 with its road win over the Redskins, and have exceeded expectations thus far in the young season.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford threw for 385 yards in Sunday's victory, and star receiver Calvin Johnson caught seven passes for 116 yards and a touchdown.
Unfortunately, the team was hit with some bad news on Tuesday, as, per Michael Rothstein of ESPN, receiver Nate Burleson broke his arm in a car crash while adjusting a pizza box that had fallen off his seat. Burleson went over 100 yards in the win over Washington and was providing a terrific complement to Johnson in the passing attack. It's a big loss for the Lions.
But even with the Burleson injury, Lions fans should feel good about their team.
Detroit hosts the 3-0 Bears in Week 4, and would make a major statement with a victory. A win would tie the Lions with Chicago atop the NFC North at 3-1, with the Packers sitting at 1-2 on their bye week.
Perhaps no team has had as impressive a start as the Miami Dolphins, who won a thriller on Sunday over the Falcons, 27-23, to remain undefeated.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill is a budding superstar and calmly led the Dolphins on a game-winning touchdown drive in the game's final minutes.
Coach Joe Philbin has done an outstanding job, and general manager Jeff Ireland looks to be in pole position to win Executive of the Year after his slew of offseason signings are panning out on the field.
Miami takes on the similarly undefeated Saints in New Orleans in this week's Monday night showcase. Even if the Dolphins lose, it's been an incredible first quarter of the season in South Beach that should have fans thinking playoffs.
Just a few days after swinging the blockbuster trade to bring Trent Richardson to Indianapolis, the Colts went out and bludgeoned the 49ers, 27-7.
It was a dominant defensive effort by the Colts, who limited the 49ers' high-powered attack to under 260 yards of total offense.
Richardson scored on his first carry as a Colt, and fellow running back Ahmad Bradshaw appeared revitalized, rushing 19 times for 95 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, quarterback Andrew Luck outplayed his San Francisco counterpart, Colin Kaepernick, rushing for a touchdown and playing turnover-free football.
At Jacksonville, the Colts should improve to 3-1 this week. They're very much in the AFC playoff hunt, both division and wild card.
The Ravens defense was absolutely eviscerated by Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning in the season opener, leading many to question if the unit could thrive with some key losses from the Super Bowl-winning squad.
The unit has stepped up to the challenge of late, however, suffocating the Browns in Week 2 and the Texans in Week 3. Baltimore beat down Houston 30-9 with a dominant defensive effort. Beating one of the AFC's elite teams in such a fashion has to give coach John Harbaugh's team a lot of confidence.
The Ravens now travel to Buffalo to take on the Bills, and running back Ray Rice might suit up after missing the Houston game with a hip injury. Baltimore will contend for the AFC North title and will definitely be in the playoff hunt throughout the season.
For the Atlanta Falcons, 2013 is Super Bowl or bust.
Right now, it's "bust," as a loss to the Dolphins dropped them to 1-2. While the team's two losses have come on the road to undefeated teams (the 3-0 Saints being the other loss in Week 1), a 1-2 start was not what Falcons fans envisioned.
The Falcons have dealt with a rash of injuries on both sides of the ball, and the team desperately needs to get wide receiver Roddy White healthy, as his ankle injury has limited him to only seven catches for 56 yards this season.
The Falcons host the Patriots in a critical game this Sunday Night Football. Atlanta cannot afford to drop to 1-3 and potentially fall three games behind the Saints in the NFC South. Still, even if Atlanta does lose, its roster is just too talented for the team not to make a postseason run. But it'd likely be relegated to the wild-card chase.
What a difference a year, a new coach and a new quarterback has made in Kansas City.
The Chiefs have already surpassed their win total from all of 2012, improving to 3-0 with a 26-16 win over the Eagles last Thursday. Coach Andy Reid and quarterback Alex Smith have already changed the culture in Kansas City (for the time being), and the team is playing excellent football.
Linebacker Justin Houston has been a beast, collecting 4.5 sacks against the Eagles, giving him 7.5 sacks on the young season.
This week, the Chiefs host the struggling Giants, with the very real opportunity to move to 4-0.
While Kansas City likely won't be able to keep up with the Broncos in the AFC West, they should remain in serious contention for a wild-card spot as the season chugs along.
Despite an offseason of drama and turmoil, the Dallas Cowboys look like the team to beat in the NFC East. Dallas just throttled the Rams, 31-7, to improve to 2-1 and take sole possession of first place in the division.
The running game got going in a major way, with back DeMarco Murray rushing for 175 yards and a touchdown, and the defense sacked Sam Bradford six times, including two from pass-rusher DeMarcus Ware.
On Sunday, Dallas travels to San Diego for a very winnable game against the Chargers. With the Giants and Redskins both looking hapless and the Eagles staring down the barrel of 1-3, the game is a huge one for the Cowboys as they seek to put themselves in pole position in the NFC East.
After winning their first two games of the season in come-from-behind fashion, the Houston Texans were annihilated by the Ravens on Sunday in a 21-point defeat.
Quarterback Matt Schaub never got the passing attack in rhythm, and the team allowed an interception return and punt return for touchdowns. It was a miserable day for coach Gary Kubiak's club.
But still, the Texans are 2-1, and there's no real shame in losing on the road to the defending Super Bowl champions. Houston is still an excellent team and it will absolutely contend for a playoff berth in the AFC.
Things don't get easier, as the Texans host the Seahawks this week, who are arguably playing the best brand of football in the NFL.
This past Sunday, the Bengals had one of the most impressive wins of the coach Marvin Lewis era, coming from 16 points down to beat the Green Bay Packers, 34-30.
With his team down 16 in the third quarter, quarterback Andy Dalton engineered two scoring drives, throwing touchdown strikes to receivers A.J. Green and Marvin Jones to cut the lead to 30-27. Then, cornerback Terence Newman returned a critical Packers fumble 58 yards for the go-ahead score, and the defense held quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Co. in check to hold on for victory.
It was the kind of victory that can propel a team to bigger and better things.
Cincinnati entered 2013 knowing it possessed one of the league's best and deepest rosters, but the team went out and proved it on Sunday. They play the rival Browns (1-2) this weekend.
So far, the Marc Trestman era in Chicago has been a rousing success: three games, three victories.
The latest win was a 40-23 triumph in Pittsburgh on Sunday Night Football, and the team is now a full two games ahead of the 1-2 Packers in the NFC North.
Plus, the defense, under the direction of new coordinator Mel Tucker, hasn't missed a beat, forcing five turnovers in the win over Pittsburgh. The unit has forced a league-high 11 turnovers on the campaign.
Chicago next travels to Detroit for a division showdown with the Lions. A win would move the Bears to 4-0, two games ahead of Detroit and 2.5 games ahead of the idle Packers.
The Packers suffered a tough loss in Cincinnati, falling despite holding a 16-point third-quarter lead.
While naysayers will point to their 1-2 record and scream underachievement, it's important to note that Green Bay's two losses have come on the road against the 49ers and Bengals, two of the better teams in football. It's not like Green Bay has lost to the league's bottom-feeders in heinous fashion.
Still, the Packers are used to winning games in bulk under coach Mike McCarthy and QB Aaron Rodgers, and the team cannot afford to fall any further behind the Bears in the NFC North.
The Packers have their bye this week and next host the Lions in Week 5.
It's almost as if the Bountygate scandal never happened. Good times are back on Bourbon Street, with coach Sean Payton and the Saints sitting atop the NFC South at 3-0 following their 31-7 demolition of the Cardinals.
New Orleans is getting it done on both sides of the ball, with quarterback Drew Brees conducting the offensive symphony and new coordinator Rob Ryan leading a defensive renaissance.
In 2012, the Saints possessed, statistically, the worst defense in the history of the NFL. Through three games in 2013, though, they are ranked fourth in total yards allowed per contest, and are allowing only 12.7 points per game (fifth). Ryan deserves a ton of credit.
New Orleans next hosts the Dolphins on Monday Night Football.
Despite an offseason of turmoil and the team possessing one of the most inexperienced wide receiving corps in recent memory, the Patriots have reached 3-0. While the team certainly hasn't played dazzling football thus far, the bottom line is that it's undefeated.
Yes, the wins haven't come versus elite competition (Buffalo, NY Jets and Tampa Bay), but you can only beat the teams on your schedule. The offense will improve once tight end Rob Gronkowski returns, and the defense has played fairly well.
And yeah, the Pats still have coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady. As long as those two men are employed in Foxborough, the Patriots will be legitimate Super Bowl contenders.
The team next plays on Sunday night in Atlanta in what's sure to be an entertaining affair against the Falcons.
On Thursday night, the 49ers got back on track in a major way, crushing the Rams 35-11 in St. Louis.
The offense leaned on running back Frank Gore, who pulverized the Rams defense to the tune of 153 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick played an efficient game, and receiver Anquan Boldin caught five passes for 90 yards and a touchdown. The defense held St. Louis to under 200 yards of total offense and had the crowd at the Edward Jones Dome booing profusely.
All in all, it was a successful night at the office for coach Jim Harbaugh's team, and one that was sorely needed after the squad suffered back-to-back blowout defeats.
In Week 5, the 49ers welcome the Texans to Candlestick Park for a titanic showdown.
Through three weeks, the Seattle Seahawks have been the best team in the NFC.
The team followed a 29-3 clubbing of the 49ers in Week 2 with a 45-17 beatdown of the Jaguars that improved its record to 3-0. Quarterback Russell Wilson threw four touchdowns in the win over Jacksonville, and the defense played smothering football.
Seattle currently possesses the top-ranked defense in total yards allowed, and the eighth-ranked offense in the league. That's a formula for significant success.
Vegas has installed the Seahawks as three-point favorites in Houston this Sunday, which shows just how good the team is. As of now, the Seahawks are the favorites to represent the NFC in Super Bowl XLVIII.
There's no question that the Denver Broncos have been the class of the AFC thus far in the young season. Denver improved to 3-0 with a 37-21 domination of the Raiders on Monday Night Football.
There aren't enough adjectives to describe just how well quarterback Peyton Manning has played. He set the NFL record for most touchdown passes in the first three weeks of a season with 12, and the 37-year-old Manning looks better than ever—a scary proposition for the rest of the league. The Broncos possess the league's top offense in yards and are averaging over 42 points per game.
The Broncos host the Eagles in Week 4, who are allowing nearly 29 points per game. Manning is likely licking his chops. The red-hot Broncos are the current favorites to come out of the AFC for Super Bowl XLVIII in the Meadowlands.