The first three weeks of the 2011 NFL season has brought a mix of pleasant surprises, like the Buffalo Bills, to disappointments like the Indianapolis Colts. A truncated preseason has effected quality of play for some of the younger teams, like the Saint Louis Rams.
Week 4 will separate some pretenders from contenders, but it will also help determine the strength of teams perceived to be of championship material. The defending champion Green Bay Packers have seemingly already shown they are a viable option to repeat.
There will be upwards to at least three games that will be big battles. The upstart Houston Texans will try to rebound from losing last week, but face a Pittsburgh Steelers team that has been on a mission the past few weeks. The New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens will most likely have a defensive struggle, while the New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders may have a track meet this Sunday.
It may be too early to get a true grasp on who is going to be strong this season, but the fourth week is a better indication of what weaknesses each franchise has to work on. This is crucial because bye weeks will begin to start for teams next week.