NFC Week 3 Hot Takes

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys are in the middle of a fairly pedestrian stretch of opponents and are cleaning up pretty nicely. Dallas heads out west in Week 4 to play the not so good 49ers which is kind of a must win for them as they have Cincinnati and Green Bay on the schedule the following two weeks. Despite his limitations as a downfield passer, Dak Prescott is for the most part making all the right plays, unlike past seasons the Cowboys will be competitive when Tony Romo is on the sidelines. – Randy Haines

New York Giants: Oh, not quite this week Giants’ fans. That stings. Just when I thought New York would run away with the division, bad Eli came to town and decided to throw not one but two devastating interceptions. A loss to Washington of all teams is bad enough but it’s all compounded by the fact that the Eagles do not appear to be slowing down. Basically, I would not be having a good week if I rooted for Big Blue. And wait, there’s more. Vereen is out, Jennings is banged up (and not great to begin with), and the defense let up 29 points. Oh and your star wideout lost a fight to a kicking net. Words escape me at this point. – Jordan Curet

Philadelphia Eagles: Holy Mother of Wentz! This team is for real, as great as Carson Wentz has looked and as impressive as Doug Pederson has been as a head coach, the biggest acquisition this offseason might just be defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. The Eagles defense just held one of the best offenses in football to 3 points, that’s right I said 3 points. The Eagles also currently have the biggest point differential in the league at +65. I cannot wait to see how this season unfolds as the Kool-aid intake is at an all time high for me right now. Maybe, just maybe Eagles fans are allowed to have nice things after all. – RH

Washington Redskins: The ‘Skins finally showed up for the season. While you can probably argue that the Giants gave away that game more than the Redskins won the game, you have to give them some credit for coming back on the road against a division opponent. The ODB vs Norman battle didn’t decide the game, but the defense made the biggest plays when it mattered, including a game ending interception of Eli Manning. Washington has a really good chance to get back to .500 this week against the 0-3 Browns. – Nick Bair

NFC North

Chicago Bears: The Bears stink. There really isn’t that much more to say about them. Their defense has so many injuries, that it’s not really fair to overly criticize them at this point. I am not sure even the biggest Bears’ fan could name more than 5 healthy defenders right now. This team should just keep giving young guys more playing time and pack it in for 2016 to make sure they get a top draft pick this offseason.  – NB

Detroit Lions: The Lions had a rough start against the Packers, but they made a valiant comeback effort in the second half when they could have packed it in. The defense had a lot of injuries and Aaron Rodgers really took advantage of their depleted linebacking corp in the loss. One big bright spot is that the Marvin Jones signing looks really great so far after a 200+ yard performance. Jones is currently leading the entire NFL in receiving yards and will look to continue to feast when the Lions take on the lowly Bears this week. – NB

Green Bay Packers: Defense optional here folks! After Rodgers went scorched earth (finally) on the Lions in the first half, the Pack did just enough to stay ahead down the stretch without covering the spread. Golf clap. This ought to quiet the “what’s wrong with the Packers’ offense?” people, at least for the short term (I swear I wasn’t one of them…) and now Green Bay can enjoy a nice freakout-free bye week. P.S. The defense still sucks without Shields. – JC

Minnesota Vikings: This may have been the most impressive win by any team in Week 3. For Minnesota to go into Carolina after a tough win against top division rival Green Bay and win in that fashion is unbelieveable. The Vikings sacked Cam Newton 8 times on Sunday seemingly in his face on every play and had a crucial punt return for a touchdown late in the first half that really seemed to swing the momentum of the game. Sam Bradford continues to look competent and with the struggles of some of the other NFC powerhouses in the first three weeks, you have to love the Vikings chances in 2016. – RH

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons: That was a satisfying shootout, plus both Falcons’ running backs had themselves a day. The best part was probably this non-block by Matty Ice who basically said “no thanks”. Atlanta should enjoy this brief moment atop the division because they have a grueling slate the rest of the season, including the Packers, Panthers (x2), Broncos, Seahawks, and Cardinals all on the slate. I respectfully submit at least three of those teams are better than HotLanta. – JC

Carolina Panthers: The Panthers got a taste of the new and improved Vikings’ defense and Cam took the brunt of it, enduring eight sacks and generally just being chased around. In a complete reversal for what many predicted (ahem, me), the Panthers are looking at a down year after their Super Bowl appearance and the Broncos are thriving. Somehow, even with the return of Kelvin Benjamin (zero catches!!), this offense looks as though they may not have enough to compete. – JC

New Orleans Saints: Different week, same story. The Saints offense continues to play well, but the defense remains atrocious. The Falcons ran all over the the Saints and I am still absolutely livid that they couldn’t stop Tevin Coleman once all night from getting into the end zone (costing me in fantasy of course). Things are probably going to keep going poorly in New Orleans, but at least Drew Brees is still fun to watch. – NB

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Oh my, where do I start with this one? Tampa just gave up 30 points on offense to a Los Angeles team that had zero touchdowns in its first two games, their second round kicker missed two kicks that forced them to play catch up and go for two twice. To top it all off, head coach Dirk Koetter failed to call a timeout on the final two minute drive in a situation that any 14 year old who plays Madden would have known to call one costing his team two or three additional plays. Having said all that, I still believe this team can contend for a wild card spot this season, but if they fail to win one of their next two against Denver and Carolina this could be a waste of what appears to be a brilliant season from quarterback Jameis Winston. – RH

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals: As predicted by yours truly, bad Carson Palmer is back baby! What was that? 4 INTs! How does a team that wants to compete for a Super Bowl get shown up by Rex Ryan and the Bills? Outside of David Johnson, nothing was working on offense and Palmer had one of his worst games as a Cardinal. Also, why couldn’t the big bad Arizona defense stop the Bills offense that JUST fired their coordinator this week? So many questions for this squad. At least Patrick Peterson made a near impossible interception. So I guess not all is bad. – NB

Los Angeles Rams: I crushed the Rams in this piece last week and although they proved me wrong against Tampa Bay I am still not buying into this team whatsoever. It’s good that they finally scored a touchdown and appear to have entered the 21st century in terms of how to play offense, but this game could actually be a thing for Los Angeles. What is the over/under on when we finally see Jared Goff now? Thanksgiving? Throw the kid out there let’s see what he’s got, this team is not making the playoffs either way. – RH

San Francisco 49ers: Basically, that was one half of great field goal kicking and then I guess they remembered Carlos Hyde is pretty good. SanFran looks like they may just need to give him the ball every snap, otherwise the offense looks pretty ineffective. The 49ers should keep in mind the ultimate objective is to lose games this year and pat themselves on the back for a job well done. – JC

Seattle Seahawks: I am not buying it. Watch the highlights again and it will boil down to literally four players going above and beyond. 1) Christine Michael had an out-of-body experience and made due with some shoddy blocking. 2) Russell Wilson continued to be an escape artist, still took a couple bad hits, and really suffered from bad blocking. 3) Doug Baldwin roasted some inexperienced corners and had to make a couple unreal catches. And 4) the Seahawks got a little bit of their money’s worth from Jimmy Graham finally. That’s why they suddenly put up some points but I’m not sure all four of those things happen in the same week again. – JC

-Nick Bair, Jordan Curet, and Randy Haines

Photo Credit: Thomas Johnson/The Washington Post

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