The Tennessee Titans will struggle without Jake Locker.
After the first quarter of the 2013 NFL season, we can look back and evaluate what we've seen so far. There have been a number of teams that have surprised and outperformed our expectations. Some of them are for real, but some of them have been overachieving. Here are three of the teams that will come back down to Earth in Week 5.
The Titans are 3-1, tied for first place in the division and their only loss came on the road in overtime against the Houston Texans.
Their start to the season has been better than anticipated, but they have a murderer’s row of games coming up on the schedule, starting with the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs in Week 5.
The Chiefs have the best defense in the league according to ProFootballFocus (subscription required) and they are giving up the fewest points per game.
In addition, they have been excellent at pressuring opposing quarterbacks and lead the league with 18 sacks.
Titans confirm Jake Locker has sprained hip. QB might miss just three games: http://t.co/Arb91zJ1CE— NFL: AroundTheLeague (@NFL_ATL) October 1, 2013
Going against the best defense in the league without your starting quarterback is a near-impossible task, and the Titans will lose at home.
In the following weeks, they have to play the Seattle Seahawks on the road and then the San Francisco 49ers. The promising start to the season can turn ugly very quickly with a three-game stretch like that.
The Browns have been one of the feel-good stories of the last two weeks. After the Trent Richardson trade, many expected them to be terrible.
Instead, Brian Hoyer has played well, the Browns have won their last two games and they’re tied for the division lead in the AFC North.
Unfortunately, that optimism will come to an end in Week 5 against the Buffalo Bills. The Bills have dynamic players at every offensive skill position, and they will be able to put points on the board.
Hoyer is playing well, but the team has been winning on emotion for the past two weeks. Outside of Jordan Cameron and Josh Gordon, they don’t have any playmakers on offense and that will be their downfall against a Buffalo team that is loaded with offensive talent.
It will be a close game, but the Bills will be able to make more plays through the air and they’ll come out on top as a result.
For the Browns, things could get ugly very quickly after that.
If they come up short against the Bills, the optimism will evaporate and they will probably find themselves at the bottom of the AFC North by Week 11.
The Dolphins have been one of the surprise teams in the NFL, sitting at 3-1 but they have some problems that are showing no signs of improvement.
They can’t run the ball, which is forcing Ryan Tannehill to drop back and pass far too much. As a result, he’s been sacked 18 times—the highest number in the league—and fumbled six times.
These offensive deficiencies are going to catch up with the Dolphins, and they don’t have a defense that will be able to compensate for it.
In Week 5, the Dolphins host the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens who are facing similar offensive issues. In this matchup, the Ravens defense will be the difference, and Miami will come back to Earth.
Baltimore is giving up only 3.5 yards per rushing attempt, so the Dolphins should once again be unable to move the ball on the ground. When that forces Tannehill into passing situations, the Ravens pass rush will be able to get to him, and they’ve already racked up 13 sacks on the season.
Both teams could struggle on offense, but the defense will be able to give Baltimore a victory.
Miami is still a good football team and Tannehill has been excellent, but they won’t be able to keep performing at the high levels they had achieved through the first three weeks of the season.