DeAndre Hopkins is starting to heat up. It’s only a matter of time before he challenges Julio Jones for the most receiving yards in the league:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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It seems like every year DeAndre Hopkins is one of the top wide receivers in the National Football League and this season has been no different. Hopkins is really starting to get it going and his numbers tell the true story. The 26 year old pass catcher has recorded 443 yards and 2 touchdowns through the first four contests. There’s a direct correlation between Hopkins success and the rise of Deshaun Watson. Houston’s quarterback is starting to bounce back from the torn ACL he had and that’s helping Hopkins take his game to the next level. Those two guys have such great chemistry that it allows them to adjust on the fly during games. Some quarterbacks and receivers take years to develop that kind of rapport but Watson and Hopkins are making it happen in just their second year together. What makes that whole situation tick is Hopkins ability to catch anything that comes near him. His hands are some of the best in the league and it doesn’t matter if it’s a high pass or or a one handed grab. DeAndre Hopkins always finds a way to reel in the football and that’s resulted in so many points for the Houston Texans. Don’t expect that to stop anytime soon and now we’ll see if Hopkins can make a run at the league’s leading receiver Julio Jones? Atlanta’s offense is very productive with Matt Ryan but if Watson can recapture his top form then DeAndre Hopkins will have a chance at the receiving title. More importantly though the Texans will start winning games again if their offense is clicking. That’s every one’s goal in Houston and they’re currently 1-3 so they have some ground to make up. During times of adversity you have to lean on your best players and make sure they’re involved even more than they normally would be. Therefore Bill O’Brien will be targeting Hopkins early and often to make sure his team is at their best. This is an exciting football player and he’s proven year in and year out he’s one of the best around.

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DeAndre Hopkins is starting to heat up and that’s great news for the Texans.

Alvin Kamara is an offensive juggernaut. It’s hard to believe that Mark Ingram should be the number one running back for the Saints:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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With Mark Ingram’s return from a four game suspension everyone is waiting to see how New Orleans is going to handle their running back rotation? Ingram was the starter last year but the Saints have to seriously consider making Alvin Kamara their top guy from here on out. There’s two main reason why that should happen. The first is the obvious fact that Kamara has been too dynamic to put in a back up role. If Patrick Mahomes wasn’t leading the M.V.P race Alvin Kamara would definitely be an ideal candidate. The second year running back out of Tennessee has rushed for 275 yards and 5 touchdowns. While also adding 336 yards and 1 touchdown as a receiver out of the backfield. Those totals are insane considering there’s only been 4 games so far. The Saints should reward Kamara by making him the focal point of their offense. It would also be smart to punish Ingram for being unavailable for the first quarter of the season. Eventually Mark Ingram deserves a chance at reclaiming the number one role but that should come somewhere down the line. If Kamara is better though than that’s who the Saints have to roll with. When you have two talented ball carriers like New Orleans does then it should be a constant competition. At the moment Alvin Kamara has been so impressive he’s earned the right to carry the load. There’s no sense in diminishing his impact by making Ingram the bell cow. Kamara is one of the most electrifying players in the entire league and he should get to keep this good momentum going. Sean Payton is a smart coach and he’ll probably end up doing the right thing. It’s definitely something to keep an eye on though and we’ll see how things actually play out?

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Offensive juggernaut: Alvin Kamara is one of the most dynamic players in the entire NFL.

The Tennessee Titans are doing a great job of keeping their opponents out of the end zone and that’s why they’re able to beat top tier teams like the Philadelphia Eagles:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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When Mike Vrabel took over the Tennessee Titans is was obvious that he wanted put most of his focus on improving the defense. Vrabel completely disregarded the fact that the Titans offense needed to be revamped but that gamble is paying off for the first year head coach. Tennessee has only surrendered 73 points throughout their first four games and that’s helped them clamp down on most of their opponents. Wesley Woodyard and Jurrell Casey have been the two players who’ve led the charge for the Titans. Woodyard is the top defender with 33 tackles so far. Even though the 32 year old linebacker (Woodyard) is in his 11th season. He’s been outstanding at reading plays and locating the football. Tennessee would be in trouble without Woodyard’s instincts. Although Casey has been solid as well. The Titans best defensive lineman has recorded 19 tackles, 3 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles up to this point. Those efforts have been disruptive and keep offenses grounded. Then there’s been a strong supporting cast that’s really made an impact as well. Malcolm Butler, Harold Landry, and Kenny Vaccaro have all contributed a little bit. With all this talent on that side of the ball Mike Vrabel can draw up some really creative schemes and takeaway team’s strengths. So far those have been winning methods for an emerging contender. It’s very possible that Tennessee is better than they were a season ago. They’re deeper than they were in 2017 and that allows the Titans to get a nice rotation going. Not only that but the secondary has improved with a couple of big acquisitions. The two quality wins over the Jacksonville Jaguars and Philadelphia Eagles also stick out. Don’t surprised if this franchise wins a couple of playoff games this year because they have so many good things going for them right now.

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The Titans have a knack for keeping their opponents out of the end zone and that’s been so key to their success.

Mitchell Trubisky is making strides at the perfect time for Chicago. The Bears will be a top 5 team if they can rely on their quarterback:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Mitchell Trubisky had struggled throughout the Chicago Bears first three games but the second year quarterback finally came alive. Trusbisky thew for 6 touchdowns against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and that’s a huge step for Chicago’s offense. The defense is the main reason that the Bears are 3-1 and the top team in the NFC North. Which is exactly why Trusbisky needs to keep progressing and strengthen the weakest link for this organization. If Chicago is serious about winning a Super Bowl they can’t do it with just 16 points on the offensive side of the ball. We all know how important the quarterback position is and Trusbisky is so key to the Bears hopes and dreams. When he’s throwing for over 300 yards and 6 touchdowns in one game then this ball club can compete with anyone. Chicago has some decent weapons out wide but they need Trubisky to make those throws and against the Bucs he did. Now in these next 12 games Trubisky is going to think back about the time he completely dominated Tampa Bay. Ultimately that’s going to give him the confidence to come out and do it again. An athlete’s psyche is all about taking another step and achieving your next goal. Mentally Mitchell Trubisky has to be feeling better than ever and that’s dangerous for the other 31 teams in the National Football League. Very few people anticipated that the Bears would rise so quickly. First Ryan Pace landed three offensive free agents (Allen Robinson, Trey Burton, and Taylor Gabriel) then he traded for Khalil Mack. Mitchell Trubisky’s growth couldn’t come at a better time because there’s already so many positive things happening for this team. The state of Illinois is going to enjoy some really good pro football for at least the next five years and they’ve been waiting a long time for that to happen. You have to go all the way back to Jim McMahon to find a Chicago quarterback that’s as talented as Mitchell Trubisky. Therefore the future is bright for the Windy City.

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Mitchell Trubisky is making strides and that is turning Chicago into a serious contender.

All around athlete. After four games it’s apparent that Derwin James can do just about anything on a football field:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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It seemed like every scout and analyst was raving about Derwin James during the combine and draft. Sometimes those high expectations come crashing down but everyone was right about James. The Los Angeles Chargers hit a home run when they selected Derwin James with the 17th overall pick this past April. Usually it’s better to add a defender that’s closer to the line of scrimmage but James is truly special. It doesn’t matter if the 22 year old is playing deep or lining up as blitzer off the edge. James is one of the best all around athletes in the league right now and he excels in every phase of the game. Just having a defender on the field that is better than everyone else helps Los Angeles makes something happen when they need it the most. A good example would be the play he had against the 49ers. C.J Beathard was dropping back to pass for San Francisco when James hammered him and that allowed Chargers defensive end Isaac Rochell to intercept the throw. It’s Derwin James tremendous football IQ which enables him to anticipate what the offense is trying to do. That awareness is far beyond the years of most rookie players and that’s why this guy will have a shot at being the best safety in the league someday. We’re just four weeks into the season and James has already tallied up 26 tackles, 3 sacks, and 1 interception. There’s a lot of teams who are feeling very foolish for passing on the former Florida State standout and it’s only the beginning for James. LA’s opponents will fear number 33 for years to come. To be honest this story line almost feels like Sean Taylor’s when he entered the league back in 2004. Both defenders had the ability to completely takeover games and that has all the fans in Southern California upbeat.

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Kansas City’s big fourth quarter helped them overcome the Denver Broncos. Patrick Mahomes rallied the Chiefs to a 27-23 come from behind win:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Denver Broncos played three solid quarters of football but they couldn’t put together a complete game and that cost them the win. It was 20-13 heading into the fourth quarter but that’s when Patrick Mahomes came alive. The Chiefs quarterback showed some incredible poise by handling some very high pressure moments. On the final drive of the game Mahomes led the Chiefs all the way downfield for a score and if he hadn’t Denver would’ve ended up winning the contest. This was a perfect example of how much of a natural Patrick Mahomes is because he made it look easy. Most QBs are going to be nervous in those circumstances but Mahomes has ice water in his veins. At the end of the night the second year signal caller (Mahomes) had 304 yards, 1 touchdown, and no interceptions. Out dueling Case Keenum and willing his team to victory. Kareem Hunt also starred for the Chiefs. Hunt rushed for 121 yards and 1 touchdown. It’s the power that makes this guy such an effective ball carrier and Denver had their hands full trying to tackle the NFL’s reigning rushing leader. Travis Kelce caught a touchdown and also added 78 receiving yards. This wasn’t the best offensive night for Kansas City but give them credit for responding to adversity and remaining undefeated. Denver wasn’t as fortunate. Their offense was lackluster and that’s been a common theme for this organization the past couple of years. Keenum threw for 245 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 1 interception. Since signing a 2 year $36M dollar contract Keenum has 3 touchdowns and 5 interceptions as the Broncos starting quarterback. If there was one bright spot this group it was definitely the two running backs. Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay ran hard and they each scored a touchdown. The rushing attack seems like Vance Joseph’s best option offensively and they have to take a ground and pound philosophy moving forward. On the other side of the ball both defenses played pretty well. The Chiefs have really struggled to get stops this season but they kept the Broncos offense in check. Dee Ford was sharp the pass rusher had 3 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 TFL. Justin Houston was also his usual self he put up 2 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 TFL. Todd Davis was the Broncos’ top defender. Davis registered 7 tackles and 1 sack. Adam Jones was also tough in the secondary he had 4 tackles and 1 TFL. Mahomes hasn’t lost a game as a starter and Kansas City is rolling. That has been the biggest story line in the NFL so far.

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Kansas City’s big fourth quarter helped them beat the Denver Broncos 27-23.

The Cowboys have hope after escaping from the Lions clutches on a last second field goal. Ezekiel Elliott ran wild in Dallas’ 26-24 win:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Dallas Cowboys are trying to iron out all of the wrinkles when it comes to their offensive progress. After a string of lackluster performances Dak Prescott finally stepped up and put together a solid game for the Boys. Prescott threw for 255 yards, 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions helping his team barely edge out Detroit. The biggest star though was hands down Ezekiel Elliott. Elliott did a little bit of everything for Dallas proving he is much more versatile than people give him credit for. When it was all said and done Elliott had racked up 152 yards on the ground plus 88 receiving yards and 1 touchdown through the air. Nobody else took over the game like the Cowboys’ best offensive weapon did and Elliott could honestly be the best running back in all of football. Jason Garrett has to stick with him the rest of the way because that’s Dallas’ best shot at a winning season. The other standout in this game was clearly Demarcus Lawrence. Lawrence had 8 tackles, 3 sacks, and 3 TFLs causing havoc on just about every snap. Detroit didn’t do a good enough job adjusting to Lawrence’s pressure and that ultimately kept them from putting up more points than they did. Despite that Matthew Stafford played pretty well throwing for 307 yards and 2 touchdowns. Kerryon Johnson also showed some more promise for the Lions he rushed for 55 yards and 1 touchdown. Golden Tate was really good catching the ball with 132 yards and 2 touchdowns. Tate didn’t get enough help from his supporting cast though. Defensively Jarrad Davis was the top player for for Matt Patricia’s group. Davis ended up having 10 tackles in a game that would ultimately slip away from Detroit. Da’Shawn Hand was also very impressive the rookie had 3 tackles, 1 sack, and 2 TFLs. There just wasn’t enough plays for the Lions to overcome Ezekiel Elliott’s big day. The Cowboys improve to 2-2 and have plenty of motivation heading into next week’s match up against the Houston Texans. While they’ll likely win that contest there’s a lot of doubts about their offensive talent as a whole. Outside of their rushing attack Dallas lacks playmakers.

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The Cowboys escaped the Lions clutches thanks to a last second field goal. Dallas has hope after improving 2-2.

The Bengals are the biggest surprise up to this point. A.J Green’s late fourth quarter touchdown catch helped Cincinnati knock off the Falcons 37-36:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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It seems like A.J Green and Andy Dalton have been a staple of the Bengals offense for forever and they didn’t disappoint in a 37-36 win over the Atlanta Falcons. In the final seconds Dalton threw up a touchdown pass to Green to pull ahead. Make no mistake about it this is a quality win and Cincinnati is a team who is defying all of the expectations. Very few analysts would’ve predicted that the Bengals would be 3-1 over the first four games. They’re the top team in the AFC North and the main reason why is because of their offense. Andy Dalton threw for 337 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception for Marvin Lewis’ team. Giovani Bernard was also reliable for Cincinnati he recorded 69 yards and 2 touchdowns. Three different receivers caught a touchdown in this game. Those players were A.J Green, John Ross, and Tyler Eifert. So it’s clear that the Falcons struggled to defend the Bengals and it’s much easier to win when you score 30+ points in three out of your last four games. Atlanta played well too but they couldn’t hold on down the stretch. Matt Ryan threw for 419 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 0 interception. Most nights that’s going to be good enough to come out on top. However this game didn’t work out for Ryan and company. Meanwhile Ito Smith found the end zone for the Falcons rushing attack. Then of course there was the receivers and boy did Julio Jones have a big night. Jones hauled in 173 receiving yards and really turned in a solid performance. Calvin Ridley also continued his hot streak with 54 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns. Defensively Geno Atkins was tough upfront for the Bengals. Atkins put up 5 tackles, 1 sack, and 2 forced fumbles. Carlos Dunlap was another notable contributor he added 3 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 forced fumble. Takkarist McKinley was probably the top defender for either team. Mckinley went for 3 tackles, 3 sacks, and 3 tackles for loss. Damontae Kazee played well too he had 7 tackles and 1 interception for the dirty birds. Cincinnati is off to a great start and that’s going to significantly improving their chances of making the playoffs. They will have to overcome the loss of Tyler Eifert though. The standout tight end broke his ankle and will be done for the year.

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The Cincinnati Bengals are hands down the biggest surprise. They just pulled out a hug win over the Atlanta Falcons.

Elite Player: We’re just two years into JuJu Smith-Schuster’s career and he’s already dominant

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Everyone knows Antonio Brown is the best receiver in the National Football League but JuJu Smith-Schuster is actually leading the Steelers in receiving yards right now. Smith-Schuster has recorded 356 yards over Pittsburgh’s first three games and that’s huge because Mike Tomlin’s team has actually struggled out of the gate. Without Smith-Schuster this franchise would be in a lot of trouble but they’re lucky the second year wide out is progressing at such a fast rate. Everything that made Smith-Schuster a standout at USC is on display for the Steelers offense every Sunday. Maybe the most important trait Smith-Schuster has is the fact that he’s rises to occasion during the most crucial moments of the game. The stage is never too big for this guy and it’s amazing how good he is after the catch. Most scouts coveted Smith-Schuster for his size but he has a knack for making some magic happen when the ball is in his hands. He’s also a very good possession receiver and can use his body to box out cornerbacks who are trying to break on the route. Pittsburgh has two home run hitters in Antonio Brown and Smith-Schuster which is very tough to contain. No matter what one of those receivers is breaking loose and Ben Roethlisberger has options when he’s under pressure. Lately the 6x Pro Bowl quarterback has been targeting Smith-Schuster and that’s because a lot of times the coverage is rolling towards Brown. Roethlisberger knows his emerging pass catcher (Smith-Schuster) can win in those one on one match ups. This hot start is no fluke and you can expect to see number 19 for the black and yellow doing his thing from here on out. It’s getting to the point where JuJu Smith-Schuster has been so good that he’s starting take a little bit of Brown’s shine away.

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Elite Player: The Steelers can count on JuJu Smith-Schuster when the game is on the on the line. Pittburgh’s young receiver is making a huge impact.

Star Player: The Bills have life when Josh Allen is under center

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Buffalo Bills knew they had to get better at the quarterback position and that’s why they drafted former Wyoming signal caller Josh Allen. Some people questioned whether Allen would be able to make the transition from Mountain West Conference football to the NFL? We know now that Allen is the real deal and the Bills 27-6 win over the Minnesota Vikings really proved that. Obviously that was only one game but Allen made a huge impression on the other players in Buffalo’s locker room and that’s a great start for the rookie. Everyone knows that the Bills have a quarterback who is willing to lay it all on the line and we saw that when Allen jumped over Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr. While normally you don’t want your franchise player making moves like that. With Allen it works because Buffalo got hammered in their first game against the Ravens and someone had to bring a little excitement to Western New York. Clearly LeSean McCoy has taken notice because he said ‘Allen is a gamer and never stops competing.” When the best player on the team gives such a young guy a vote of confidence that’s huge because this kid is trying to grow into an NFL talent. Luckily for Allen McCoy will be in the lineup this week against the Green Bay Packers. If those two guys can get it going early then the Bills will have a shot at another upset. Aaron Rodgers is going to put up some points for Green Bay so Buffalo needs to bring their “A game.” We all know they’re capable of it after that beat down they put on Minnesota. Josh Allen has to lead the way again and get those other 52 players on that roster to believe in the team. Optimism is definitely high right now and Sean McDermott’s ball club can’t afford to squander it.

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Star Player: The Bills might have something special going on with Josh Allen.

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