NFL Week 4 Questions: 25 Most Important Things To Consider
NFL Week 3 is done and dusted, and with it comes a boatload of new and exciting storylines to focus on heading toward Week 4.
So far this season we've seen just about everything. Jay Cutler is playing well, the Chiefs are 3-0, Brett Favre looks a little confused, and it seems that even the NFL officials can't make the right calls when it comes to penalties.
However, as funny and dramatic as some of these moments have been, Week 4 promises to top Week 3 in every way imaginable, especially when it comes to action on and off the field.
But what are the biggest storylines to consider looking toward this upcoming weekend?
Unfortunately there are a lot of them, and some are quite disappointing, but the following Top 25 Most Important Things To Consider should highlight them nicely, as we baton down the hatches for another storm of controversy in the NFL.
25. Which Team Will Sign Trent Edwards?
For those that are unaware, Trent Edwards has been officially released by the Buffalo Bills, as newly appointed starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has been backed 100 percent by head coach Chan Gailey.
To some, this may come as quite a surprise. Not only was Trent Edwards an experience player on the Buffalo Bills roster, he was perhaps one of the few decent quarterbacks that the team possessed, even though he struggled at times to keep the ball away from defenders.
Yet as surprising as this all is, the question now remains open in regards to who will sign Trent Edwards, or if any willing participant will stand up in the near future.
So far there are a select number of teams interested. As it stands, Edwards will more than likely occupy the back up role if he is to be signed by anybody right now, and even though there are teams that could do with a quarterback, it isn't likely that he will see action straight away.
As for the teams that are taking some interest in Trent Edwards, the usual suspects pop up. Oakland is experiencing a little quarterback controversy, along with Carolina and many other teams. It's tough to say that it will be an all out duel for Edwards' resume, but this is a story to follow heading toward Sunday.
24. Will The Jacksonville Jaguars Be Able To Ground Austin Collie?
It's no hidden secret that Austin Collie is a highly talented receiver, but what he managed to do against the Denver Broncos this past week was nothing short of amazing.
At the end of Collie's efforts, he finished the day with 171 yards and 2 touchdowns. Although, perhaps the more important storyline to unfold was the fact that Austin Collie was not only the most impressive young star of Week 2, he was also one of the sole reasons the Colts held on to the victory.
Unfortunately for the Jacksonville Jaguars—this isn't the news they wished to hear. As good as Jacksonville looked in Week 1, their defense has notably struggled lately, and was exposed severely by Michael Vick's brilliance on Sunday.
Can Jack Del Rio muster up a strategy to maintain this highly explosive guy?
To be perfectly honest, no strategy or game plan right now can ground this guy. Sure, he does have games where he fades out a little, but it appears that this is Austin Collie's year, and Peyton Manning is making sure of it.
This is battle to keep an eye on this Sunday, as the Colts will look to utilize Collie in short down situations. The Jacksonville defense has looked wobbly lately, so you can't help but worry for them a little.
23. How Does Ray Rice's Injury Affect The Baltimore Ravens Offense?
During the Ravens successful win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, Ray Rice went down with what appeared to be a very painful knee injury with 10 minutes left in the forth quarter.
For the record, head coach John Harbaugh has stated that Ray Rice has suffered significant knee damage over the course of the weekend, and as a result is highly questionable to play against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Ravens AFC North rivalry game.
For the most part, as unfortunate as this is for the fans, the Baltimore Ravens offense is also set to struggle immensely if Rice is absent. Not only does No. 27 successfully provide a great ground game for Joe Flacco, he also helps establish dominance on the field, which can be particularly important when taking on an AFC heavyweight team.
Before we all go and push the panic button here, let's take it easy. Ray Rice has reportedly only suffered a bruised knee, even though it has been labeled a "significant contusion".
It would be unfair to say that this injury will set up the structure for a Ravens loss, but it certainly disadvantages them immensely. Hopefully for the former Rutgers star makes a miraculous recovery over the next few days, as he is a massive asset to have for the Ravens offense.
22. Is Mike Singletary Officially On a Hot Seat In San Francisco?
Not even a fortune teller could have predicted that the San Francisco would be facing an 0-3 hole at this point in the season, but here we are three weeks in, and head coach Mike Singletary is yet to rally his troops toward what some had deemed instant victory this season.
When thinking of Mike Singletary, most people think of dominance. He was always a very outspoken player on the field, and in his coaching days, he has kept the loud trend going both on the sidelines and on the practice field.
But surely the question must be asked—why are the 49ers 0-3 right now?
Well to start off at the very top, the 49ers have simply struggled against weaker opponents. Sure they rallied against New Orleans a week ago, but aside from that, Alex Smith and his offense have been surprisingly flat this season.
Away from the team themselves though, another question must be asked of Mike Singletary, and whether or not the hot seat is awaiting him at the present time.
I guess the best way to answer this question, is to say that we'll wait and see. It is only early days in the year, and to hang a great leader like Mike Singletary out to try would certainly be unfair. Still, at the same time Jon Gruden suffered the same fate, so perhaps Mike Singletary is looking at his final days in San Francisco.
For the time being we'll play the waiting game and see if the 49ers can start to win a few games. San Francisco take on the Atlanta Falcons this weekend in what is shaping up to be a classic game in the Georgia Dome.
If Mike Singletary fails and is looking at 0-4, bring forward the seat, as it is time to worry for the bay side team.
21. What Does The Miami Dolphins Loss To The New York Jets Mean For Week 4?
For all of Miami's issues this past week against the New York Jets, the Dolphins came fairly close to pulling off the win purely due to the fact that Chad Henne and Brandon Marshall were simply brilliant.
What went on to happen though for Tony Sparano's crew though wasn't according to plan, and as a result the Miami Dolphins now face a 2-1 record in the AFC East.
Realistically, this is not at all bad. The East is now tightly locked up if you discount the Buffalo Bills, and with big time match ups due to occur this upcoming weekend, everything may fall into place for Tunatown at the drop of a hat.
Still, what does a loss to the New York Jets mean for Miami going forward?
To be perfectly honest, not a whole lot. Maybe some lack of confidence will occur in the coming weeks, but the Dolphins have every right to feel pleased about the way they played down in South Beach, even though they didn't walk away with a W.
Other than that, the Dolphins are still in the hunt. As dominant as New York now seem, New England is still a guess following their issues with the Buffalo Bills, and the Dolphins are certainly not out of contention.
With Chad Henne leading the way and Brandon Marshall lighting it up early, the Dolphins are still very favorable for the postseason. It's now vital that they move forward from their loss to the Jets, and tackle the Patriots this week with a strong mindset.
20. Is Leon Washington Back to His Old Ways In Seattle?
From a devastating injury last season in his time with the New York Jets, Leon Washington headed to Seattle with hopes of rejuvenating his career this season, only to struggle a little in the early going.
As a running back, Leon Washington has been almost non existent for the Seahawks. So far Washington has rushed for only 29 yards on 11 carries, and although he isn't the number one back, he has played a very minor role in the Seahawks' 2-1 record this year.
But before we all went ahead and wrote Leon Washington off, he gave us all a taste of what he is capable of this past weekend, rushing for a 99 yard kick return in the Seahawks win over the San Diego Chargers.
What was impressive about this effort from Leon Washington. For a back that is in his 5th season in the league, the way he bounced off of early tackles in the run was similar to his younger days.
Luckily for the Seahawks and Pete Carroll, it appears that Leon Washington is back for the better. The only thing left to do is to rejuvenate his rush game, and try and get his experienced feet moving in the back field behind Matt Hasselbeck.
If Seattle utilizes Leon Washington wisely he has the potential to really pay dividends for the team. He is an old school style rusher, who has a rare combination of power and speed. If all things go right, Leon Washington is on the right track to resorting back to his old ways.
19. Can Darren McFadden Finally Lead Oakland to a Win?
As dismal as the Oakland Raiders have seemed the past three weeks, one shining factor has come from The Black Hole, and his name is Darren McFadden.
Looking back six months ago, it almost seems unimaginable as to why people considered McFadden to be a possible draft bust. Not only has McFadden exploded on the playing field recently, his 105 yards and one touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals last week was nearly enough to give the Raiders a last minute win.
But unfortunately for the Raiders, they, like many teams have been unable to jump that final hurdle. It seems that just when the Raiders look like winning, they slip a little, and allow the opposing team to open up the game even more.
Yet as unfortunate as this is, how long is it before we see Darren McFadden lead Oakland to their first win this season?
For the most part, it seems that the Raiders may not get the win they are looking for in Week 4 over the Houston Texans, but in the future Oakland are looking likely to steal a few victories.
To be perfectly honest, it's taken the Raiders a long time to establish a running game, yet here we are three weeks into the season, and Darren McFadden is looking great. If this keeps up for Oakland and the Raiders sort out their quarterback issues, sooner or later they should jump that last hurdle and record their first victory.
18. Was Devin Hester's Kick Return Against Green Bay Enough To Re-Fuel The Fire?
The Chicago Bears' old school uniforms weren't the only good looking factor to come from Monday Night's game, as speedy kick returner Devin Hester finally broke his touchdown drought, and returned a long punt return for a touchdown against Green Bay.
For Devin Hester himself, this touchdown couldn't have come at a better time. Not only were people starting to criticize him a little, the stench of becoming a one hit wonder was looming around No. 23, as the only real memories of his brilliance came from 2006.
Yet as great as Devin Hester's kick return at a Lambeau Leap truly was, it still remains to be seen as to whether or not this is enough to fuel him back to his old ways.
Last season we saw Devin Hester develop into a solid starting wide receiver for Jay Cutler and Lovie Smith's offense, but at the same time his attention to detail on the receiving game seemed to stray a little, even though the threat was always there for opposing teams.
Whether or not Devin Hester goes back to scoring a kick return in every second or third game remains to be seen. However, it does appear that he will become the top kick returned in league history in no time, seeing as though there is no stopping him.
For now we'll credit Hester for a great effort, but until he returns back to his 2006 ways and really makes a big time impact, the question will always remain the same.
The Bears take on the New York Giants at New Meadowlands Stadium on Sunday Night. Let's all keep in mind that the Giants are one of many teams that occupy Hester's highlight return reel, so maybe if Tom Coughlin is game enough to kick it to him, Hester may return it to the house.
17. How Will Steven Jackson's Injury Affect The Rams In Week 4?
Given that Steven Jackson is still rather young, he has had quite a slow start to the season this year.
With 214 yards and one touchdown to his name, Steven Jackson has struggled a little to hit the ground running in St. Louis. But to make matters even worse, Jackson now faces a strained groin, that has reported to be day to day at this point in time.
To answer the above question, Steven Jackson's injury will affect the Rams in every way possible. Even though St. Louis pulled off the upset win over the determined Washington Redskins at home this past Sunday, losing their reliable running back will surely affect Sam Bradford and Steve Spagnuolo's offense.
What is perhaps more concerning though, is the extent of Jackson's injury. Even though it only appears to be minor, a groin injury can often become a reoccurring event, especially considering the hard hits that Jackson endures on a weekly basis.
There isn't much more to say here other than that Jackson's possible loss this week will be felt. The Rams take on the Seattle Seahawks at home once again, and this is a game St. Louis could easily win if all things go to plan.
If Jackson is out though, the odds are stacked against them, even moreso considering that the Seattle Seahawks are oozing with confidence right now.
16. Can Peyton Hillis Continue His Dominance In Cleveland?
Similar to Darren McFadden, Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis has been one of the few encouraging signs to come out of the Dawg Pound recently.
When Peyton Hillis first began his third season in the NFL, he got off to a rather slow start. In Week 1 he only managed to rush for 41 yards, and the very next week stumbled toward a dismal 31.
But what has gone unnoticed a little in regards to Hillis, is the fact that he did manage to score a touchdown in both of those games, and therefore it became no major surprise to see him rush for a career high 144 yards and one more touchdown this past week against Baltimore.
Yet as promising as all of this seems for Eric Mangini and Mike Holmgren, some concern does arise in terms of whether or not Peyton Hillis will fizzle out.
For the most part, Hillis' effort was great against Baltimore, but looking over his total league history, some issues do arise when consistency comes into play.
So will Peyton Hillis continue to be dominant this year for the Browns?
Firstly, this is a question that we will see pan out over the entire season. However, secondly, we will get an indication of how Hillis will turn out by watching him closely this upcoming weekend when the Browns take on the 2-1 Cincinnati Bengals.
It's great to see the Browns with a run game, and I assure you no one is complaining. At the same time though, Hillis' great performance and exposure of Baltimore's defense may turn out to be nothing more than a fluke in a few weeks time.
15. Were The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Simply a Fluke?
Take nothing away from the question at hand, seeing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 2-0 was certainly something prior to their loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.
But impressive or not though, a few factors come into play when looking at Tampa Bay on paper, particularly considering their undefeated streak that was alive and well before Charlie Batch and Mike Tomlin's surprising offense came to town last week.
On paper, the Buccaneer's don't look all that good. As nice as it was to see Tampa Bay at 2-0, realistically they only defeated a struggling Cleveland Browns team, and a mediocre at best Carolina Panthers outfit.
Of course, it could be said that these wins were hard fought for the Bucs, yet at the same time it could also be said that they were simply to easy, and that Tampa Bay really were riding the fluke wave a little ahead of Week 3.
While on the topic of paper though, give credit where credit is due, they are talented. We all saw Josh Freeman's impressive throwing display to Kellen Winslow this past week, and although highlights were hard to come by, Ronde Barber also has two picks this season.
And are the Bucs a fluke?
It's tough to say right now, considering that they haven't beaten anyway all that tough. Still, a win is a win, so for now we can take the Bucs as who they are—a winning team who can continue to surprise people if all things go right this season.
Tampa Bay have the week off in Week 4 to regroup from their loss and look ahead at the schedule. With a young team at hand, Tampa Bay still aren't to be written off in the NFC South.
14. Are The New York Giants The Weakest Team In The NFC East?
For all of the Giants talent, so far this season they have looked mediocre against some of the league's weaker teams.
Anyone that saw the Giants take on the Tennessee Titans this past weekend, would know that the run game notably struggled. Not only that, the Giant defense also struggled to maintain Vince Young and Chris Johnson, as both were allowed fairly easy field position all day long.
Aside from what happened on the field though, a bigger story has been developing off the field.
Firstly following the Dallas Cowboys' 0-2 start, Jerry Jones' men now have a win heading into the bye week. Secondly, the Philadelphia Eagles sit atop the division, and last but not least the Washington Redskins still have some confidence after two consecutive losses to Houston and St. Louis.
So where do the New York Giants fit in with this picture?
I hate to say it, but perhaps the Giants fit in at the very bottom of the division, if not the third spot. For you see, New York have had their chances, and have failed to capitalize. Given that they did take on Indianapolis last week, the Giants have struggled at times on both side of the ball, and thus they sit at 1-2.
Yes, it very early in the season, but it is also the type of division that can leave a team for dead if they totally collapse. Dallas now have confidence, and Philadelphia's Michael Vick continues to light it up.
Tough times may be ahead for New York, and they may soon be exposed as one of the weaker teams in the division.
13. Will Adrian Peterson Topple Arian Foster to Becomes The Leagues Top Rusher?
Gone are the days of Adrian Peterson's fumbling issues, and now we arrive in a time that sees Adrian Peterson continuing along his dominant path in the NFL.
I guess when Brett Favre references your whole team running game as "Our Adrian Peterson", you know your doing pretty well. But even more impressive is his offseason elbow grease worked wonders, so far this season No. 28 hasn't fumbled.
Yet as good as Adrian Peterson has been in the past three weeks, one man still stands above him statistically. And who is that man? None other than the Houston Texans new star running back Arian Foster, who has lit it up on every opportunity he has been granted.
To be a little realistic here, Adrian Peterson probably doesn't mind sitting in second place. After all, this is the guy that has led the league in rushing numerous times. However, when a rookie sits atop the standings during Peterson's most dominant year, maybe All Day Peterson will push himself that much harder.
For Arian Foster, his Houston Texans take on the Oakland Raiders at the Oakland Coliseum. As for Adrian Peterson, the Minnesota Vikings have the week off, which puts this question to rest for a little while.
With that in mind though, make sure to focus on this question in Week 5, especially if Foster is still a top the standings. In the mean time, Foster can add to his lead, and make it all that much harder for Peterson to catch him.
12. Has Matt Cassel Returned Back to His 2008 Ways?
As already mentioned, the Kansas City Chiefs are 3-0 at this point in the season. But aside from this ground breaking surprise, Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel has toppled over some milestones himself, as he now looks more and more like the quarterback we saw during his New England days.
On paper, Matt Cassel doesn't look all that flash. Right now he sits at 494 yards, 4 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, but away from what he has or hasn't accomplished, Cassel has been the main reason for the Chiefs' winning ways lately, as his accuracy and confidence is sky high.
To give a perfect example, Matt Cassel showed his true colors against the San Francisco 49ers this past Sunday. With a 250 yards, 3 touchdown and 1 interception performance, Matt Cassel single handily blew the 49ers out of the water, with a little help from his receivers and running backs of course.
So the question is simple, has Matt Cassel returned back to his 2008 ways?
Right now, the answer is no. In 2008 Matt Cassel didn't suffer all that much on the stat sheet. However, this isn't to say that Cassel can't turn his recent ways around, and go back to his brilliant past.
As for being on the right track, Matt Cassel already is following the San Francisco 49ers match up. Finally the Chiefs are winning, and nobody else in the league loves it more than number 7. Talk about confidence, Cassel is ready and able to return back to his 2008 form if he keeps this up.
11. Can The Lions Cope With Jahvid Best's Turf Toe Injury?
Anyone that has ever played football would know how painful turf toe really is. Not only is the pain intense, it is also the type of injury that can hang around for an extended period of time if not properly healed.
Unfortunately for the star Detroit Lions rusher, Jahvid Best has been the latest victim of this injury.
To be quite frank, Detroit have been bitten by the injury bug a lot recently. Ever since starting quarterback Matt Stafford went down, the Lions have slowly been toppling over.
But like a tall building, when the main structure is damaged, the rest of the architecture of course falls. Therefore, the Detroit Lions are now facing a serious implosion, that many fans may not have predicted this early on.
As of now Jahvid Best is listed as questionable for the Lions. According to head coach JIm Schwartz, Best has been suffering with this injury since Week 2, and since playing against the Minnesota Vikings this past Sunday, he caused more damage than good.
The Lions will miss Best, because his reliability running, but also receiving tallying 183 yards in the air already this season.
Hopefully the Lions building doesn't topple over like years past, but right now that looks likely.
Detroit takes on the Green Bay Packers this Sunday, in what is shaping up to be a blockbuster at Lambeau Field. Should the Lions win, great. Should they lose though, this team will have some serious concerns to look at on the injury front.
10. Will Anquan Boldin Continue To Excel In Week 4?
Flying under the radar recently, Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin has been the epitome of a successful signing so far this season.
From the very beginning in Week 1, Boldin has hit the ground running. Following the Ravens win over the Jets two weeks ago, Boldin then went on to accomplished 142 yards and three touchdowns this past week against a weak Cleveland Browns defense.
To relate Boldin's stats to other wide receivers, he matches up nicely. Sure, he may not lead the league in receiving just yet, but in terms of reliability and results, Boldin has been good for every cent the Ravens are paying him right now.
When it comes to whether or not Boldin can excel in Week 4, it may be easier said than done. The Ravens take on the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on Sunday afternoon, in a game that is always good for a hard hit or two.
The Steelers defense isn't as great as it once was, but if Boldin is to post another big game, he will have to get around Troy Polamalu in the back field. This is doable for the recent standout receiver, but it will be no cakewalk.
9. The Michael Vick Show: Can He Lead The Eagles To Victory Over The Redskins?
If there has been a greater story in the league other than Michael Vick's return to football, I haven't found it.
Forget Kevin Kolb, forget what Andy Reid says, Michael Vick is the starter in Philadelphia, and no amount of reasoning can make anyone change their minds.
Last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Michael Vick was superb. He threw for 291 yards and three touchdowns, yet at the same time hasn't thrown an interception all year under the starting role in Philadelphia.
But with all this in mind, what can we expect from the former Falcon star against the Redskins this week?
To be brutally honest here, it will be hard to draw the focus away from Donovan McNabb's return to Philadelphia. However, if Michael Vick does his job well once again, he can easily steal the show and win the game for the Eagles.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember here is that Michael Vick is loving football. Similar to ice cream and chocolate, when you get the two together, the combination is simply amazing.
Michael Vick is firmly the man of the minute, and any lingering thought of Kevin Kolb for Eagles fans has certainly evaporated.
As for his performance, against Washington, expect Vick to target DeSean Jackson, along with trying his hand at rushing the ball frequently, considering the Washington defense isn't all that strong.
A good game is on tap, between two solid quarterbacks of late. One may steal the headlines, but it looks like Michael Vick will steal the show.
8. Is Ryan Fitzpatrick the Real Deal In Buffalo?
For all of the Bills' issues, give them credit, they hung in there with the New England Patriots this past week in Foxoboro.
More importantly howerver, newly appointed Buffalo Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick looked reasonably solid as the starter, even though he did manage to throw two interceptions at crucial times in the Bills 38-30 loss.
Much like Michael Vick, replacing a quarterback is never easy. Although Trent Edwards was far from Donovan McNabb's status in Buffalo, he was at least reliable at times, as much as he liked to give the ball away.
Still, Chan Gailey has made his decision, and he is now sticking with it following Trent Edwards release. But is Ryan Fitzpatrick the real deal for the Bills?
To go ahead and call Ryan Fitzpatrick the real deal would be a little hasty. He has only played one full game this season, and even though he rallied against the Patriots, he does have a mammoth task ahead of him with the Buffalo Bills.
In terms of potential though, it is lingering somewhere between the Bills lack of wide receivers, and their promising run game with C.J Spiller. In due time it should all come together, but the "real deal" status is still far from meeting up with Ryan Fitzpatrick just yet this season.
7. Can Brett Favre Shake Off His Wobbly Passing Ways?
God bless Brett Favre, he is a true legend of the game. But aside from that, something seems different about the old timer this season, and whether or not his love for the game has died a little, Brett Favre no longer seems like the agile and quick witted quarterback he once was.
This past Sunday against the Detroit Lions, Brett Favre did the very minimal, and got the Vikings their first win in 2010. Other than that though, he struggled significantly to hit targets, and almost missed a wide open Percy Harvin strolling toward the end zone.
So is this really the Brett Favre that we all admired this time last year, or has some old man from a retirement village suited up and stitched a fake name on a Vikings jersey?
I'm not sure, but that story seems likely.
Brett Favre threw two more interceptions in the Vikings win over the Lions, and even this type of play is making it hard for his admirers to say much in his defense. In all likelihood Favre will shake this issue off, even if it is only temporarily, but right now he has a bye week to get his head straight.
Expect to see a new looking Favre following the break, especially if he gets to hit the lake and do a little fishing. Some question why he returned, but lets keep in mind he came back for a reason, so he obviously feels like he can still play the game.
Maybe it would be wise to just forget the past three weeks, or perhaps not. Either way, Favre should be able to shake his wobbly ways over the weeks break.
6. Are Kyle Orton and Brandon Lloyd The Next Best Thing On Offense?
One of the better performances in Week 3 came from Denver Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton, and his talented and forgotten about wide receiver Brandon Lloyd.
For the record, even though the Broncos lost to the Indianapolis Colts, this duo was impressive. Brandon Lloyd himself caught for 169 yards and one touchdown, and Kyle Orton continued to trot along at a steady pace under center.
When we all think of dominant wide receiver duo's, we of course think of the likes of Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings, Brett Favre and Sidney Rice and Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald.
So can Brandon Lloyd and Kyle Orton join these ranks?
Right now, no they can't, as the two haven't accomplished a whole lot just yet. However, in regards to them being the "next best thing", this is a duo to keep an eye on, considering that the experience of Brandon Lloyd and the ability of Kyle Orton makes for a deadly combination.
The Broncos take on the Tennessee Titans in Week 4, which looks to be a duel between AFC heavyweights. Whoever wins this game will look great, therefore Brandon Lloyd and Kyle Orton need to be on the same page.
Rest assured if they are, even more people will notice these two, as their play against the Colts is what Josh McDaniel's would like to see from his team right now.
5. Will The San Francisco 49ers Fall To 0-4 Following Their Trip To Atlanta?
One of the bigger stories to come out of this season so far comes from the bay area—the San Francisco 49ers have looked anything but impressive following their offseason expectations.
To tell the truth here, there are many problems in San Francisco. Firstly, Alex Smith is still struggling with pressure by opposing defenses, and secondly it seems as if the 49ers defense is struggling even with mediocre passing games right now.
But aside from the problems on the field, the 49ers now face a coaching issue, as people are beginning to question Mike Singletary's coaching strategy following such a lousy start.
Now, normally I'm no good at predictions, but are the 49ers destined to slip to 0-4 following their trip to the Georgia Dome?
Considering how hot the Atlanta Falcons are, that fate appears to be on the cards for the 49ers. Quarterback Matt Ryan has been in sync with wide receiver Roddy White, and finally Michael Turner is rushing the ball well.
This may not be what Niners' fans want to hear, but it is the truth. San Francisco's defense has struggled mightily and is 27th in rush defense. This isn't a good combination heading in, and it certainly favors the Falcons.
4. How Will Eagle Fans Treat Donovan McNabb Upon His Return to Philadelphia?
If you thought Brett Favre's return to Lambeau Field last year was big, expect an even bigger reception this Sunday, as Donovan McNabb returns home. Philadelphia witnessed him become the greatest quarterback in Eagles history.
All game stats aside, Eagles fans expect the very best, and unfortunately Donovan McNabb only came close to delivering them a ring.
More to the point though, Donovan McNabb now suits up for the rival opposition in the Washington Redskins, and following his comments about the team this past week, may not be the most favored guy in Philadelphia right now.
So how is Donovan McNabb going to be received upon his return?
Some say he will be booed, while others say he will be applauded. Perhaps it will be a mixture similar to Favre's return to Green Bay, but it is good to see some appreciation shown toward a quarterback that was booed from the day he was drafted.
This is a storyline every fan must witness, as it's one of those moments that you'll remember forever. Booed or cheered, McNabb did great things in Philadelphia, and although no championship was accomplished, he deserves a proper reception.
3. Can The Kansas City Chiefs Continue To Ride Momentum?
As previously mentioned, the Chiefs are 3-0, and everybody is celebrating. As quoted on Monday Night Football, "There are certain teams that are just good for football", and the Chiefs are one of them.
In terms of momentum, Kansas City has well and truly surfed the wave well. We don't hear too much from Todd Haley at the present time, but it's great to see the Chiefs young talent prospering in every way right now.
Similar to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers prior to their loss to the Steelers, some may say the Chiefs haven't beaten any worthy opponents. Still, the Chargers are one of the toughest teams in the AFC, and San Francisco were no easy task.
The Chiefs have put up a fight to remember, so let's hope it doesn't all fade out early. Right now it seems like they can ride momentum, and luckily they have a bye week that allows them to reflect on their record, and prepare for the Indianapolis Colts a week later.
2. Are The Chicago Bears Really The Best Team In The NFC?
In the early goings of the Bears clash with the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night, Chicago looked destined for another loss to a strong Dom Capers defense.
Jay Cutler had thrown an early pick, and was being rattled from pillar to post by the Packers cornerbacks and linebackers.
Yet somehow, Chicago managed to withstand Green Bay, and rallied late in the first half to maintain momentum heading into the second, that would see the Bears win with a last minute field goal from the foot of Robbie Gould.
Sure, this is impressive in it's own right. The Bears beat the Packers fair and square, and are now the only undefeated team in the NFC.
But are the Bears necessarily the best in the conference?
On paper they are, but a lot remains to be seen. As stated by Steve Young following the game on Monday Night, "Jay Cutler looks great when the Bears are winning, but struggles when Chicago is losing." Therefore, Chicago have some issues to iron out right now.
For all of the Packers' issues, they exposed Lovie Smith's defense nicely. Aaron Rodgers was almost perfect on every drive, and picked a part the Bears safeties and corners.
Chicago take on the New York Giants in Week 4—that could see the Bears reach 4-0.
Give credit where credit is due, Chicago have really surprised everybody, but it is still not enough to totally win everyone over when it comes to who the best in the NFC is.
1. Are The Green Bay Packers Any Different From 2009?
It’s been well documented that the Packers were squished by constant penalties against the Chicago Bears on Monday Night. Green Bay’s offense looked superb, but silly holding calls and defensive pass interference flags plagued the Packers, and it ultimately caught up with them.
Not only is this unfortunate for Green Bay, it makes them simply look bad. Here is a team that has been deemed a Super Bowl contender—yet the same issues as last season still plague them.
The other issue away from penalties involves special teams, as Green Bay struggled to withhold Devin Hester allowing a punt return touchdown, along with numerous poor kick offs that also resulted in yet another penalty.
So are the Packers any different from 2009?
Sure, on paper they are, but mentally they are still the very same team.
Firstly the offensive line struggled against Julius Peppers, and the most penalized team in football last season showed everybody why they struggled to keep the yellow flag in the official’s pocket.
Talent wise the Packers have changed immensely, but the same problems are still existent. Mike McCarthy has some work to do ahead of the Packers NFC North clash with the Detroit Lions next week, and he needs to iron these kinks out quickly, if Green Bay are ever to make any head way in postseason football.