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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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.

It took a little bit but Tyler Boyd is emerging as a reliable receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals. Boyd is starting to reach his full potential:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Bengals took a chance on former Pittsburgh wide receiver Tyler Boyd in the 2nd round of the 2016 NFL Draft. The idea was Boyd will come in and be another reliable target for Andy Dalton but it’s taken a little bit of time for that to happen. Tyler Boyd is in his third professional season but now things are definitely clicking for the 23 year old. Maybe Boyd just needed to develop a little awareness but there’s no questioning his confidence these days. Dalton knows he has a reliable number two receiver and that’s huge opposite of A.J Green. Green is going to command so much attention and Boyd has a real opportunity to win against one on one coverage. Three weeks into the season and that’s exactly what the Pennsylvania native (Boyd) has done. Cincinnati has been much better because of that production and now the Bengals have a winning record. Tyler Boyd has hauled in 249 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns throughout that span of time and it’s clear he’s exceeding expectations. It would be nice to see Boyd crack the 1,000 yards receiving mark and he’ll definitely have a shot at it. There’s no doubt A.J Green is going to get there but Boyd should be awfully close as well. That’s a sign of the modern era and people aren’t lying when they say the NFL is a passing league. The Bengals are hoping this offensive group continues to click over the course of the next fourteen games. Believe it or not Boyd is the piece of the puzzle that can help Cincinnati get back in the playoffs because they’ve been missing that additional playmaker. Dalton has improved tremendously with all these weapons around him and Marvin Lewis finally has this squad trending in the right direction again. A win against the Falcons this weekend would really set them up for success.

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The Oakland Raiders still haven’t won a game but Marshawn Lynch has been doing everything he can to hold the team together. Lynch continues to run hard week in and week out:

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Last year when Marshawn Lynch returned to football there was a little bit of rust at the beginning of the season. Then in the final half of 2017 Lynch turned things around and was running like we were used to seeing him in the past. All of that set Marshawn Lynch up for what would be a successful first three weeks of the 2018 season. Lynch has rushed for 170 yards and 3 touchdowns up to this point and that’s been one of the lone bright spots for Oakland. The Jon Gruden era hasn’t got off to a great start but give Lynch credit for proving that he’ll still do his job no matter what the circumstances are. Gruden and Lynch’s styles seem like they would clash but so far there hasn’t been any public spats or anything like. Instead it seems like Derek Carr is growing frustrated with his coach and that means Lynch is even more valuable. Marshawn Lynch has a chance to be the one constant for this football team and everyone already looks at this guy like an “A list celebrity” because of his impressive track record. The Raiders might tank but Marshawn Lynch is only adding to his legacy by racking up stats and proving that he’s still a beast on the field. We’re at the point where Lynch could honestly extend his career for three or four more years because he still has a lot of gas left in the tank. Therefore Lynch might have another shot at a big pay day. The 5x Pro Bowler’s contract is over at the end of this year. Right now Marshawn Lynch has been so good that Oakland has no choice but to re-sign him. Letting Lynch go would be the nail in the coffin for Gruden and the black hole would tear down the Oakland Alameda Coliseum if that were to happen. The truth is it doesn’t really matter someone will sign Marshawn Lynch and there will probably be another $5M dollars coming his way.

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Marshawn Lynch is holding the Raiders team together. If you take him out of the equation Oakland is done for.

The Los Angeles Rams have a legitimate chance at going undefeated. They’re 4-0 after beating the Minnesota Vikings 38-31:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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If you like high scoring games and not a lot of defense then the Rams and Vikings Thursday Night Football match up was a must-see. Both quarterbacks in this contest combined for 8 touchdown passes and there was 69 total points when it was all said and done. Jared Goff had his best night as a pro throwing for 465 yards, 5 touchdowns, and no interceptions. Two things really stood out about Goff and that was his throw power and his accuracy. On one play Goff threw a deep ball strike to Cooper Kupp which was just out of the reach of two defenders. Then Goff aired out a 47 yard bomb to Brandin Cooks. Truthfully that pass was over 60 yards downfield because Goff was at least 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage and Cooks was five yards in the end zone. When the former number 1 overall pick plays like this the Rams are almost unbeatable. Kirk Cousins didn’t play bad for the Vikings but he did have a costly fumble late in the 4th quarter. John Franklin-Meyers strip sacked Cousins and Los Angeles was able to recover the football then close out of the game. Cousins finished his night with 422 yards, 3 touchdowns, 0 interceptions. Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs were outstanding for Minnesota’s offense as well. Thielen recorded 135 yards and 1 touchdown. Stefon Diggs was consistent too he hauled in 11 receptions for 123 yards. It seems like every receiver caught a touchdown for Los Angeles. Four different wide outs got in on the scoring action and three different players went over the 100 yards receiving mark. Cooper Kupp led the way with 162 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns. Brandin Cooks was explosive like he always is with 116 yards and 1 touchdown. Then there was Robert Woods who contributed 101 yards and 1 touchdown. Most teams would like to have just one of those players on their roster but LA is lucky to have all of them. Aaron Donald set the pace for the Rams defense. Donald had 5 tackles, 2 sacks, and 2 TFLs. Ramik Wilson was also tough he chipped in 7 tackles and 2 TFLs. Minnesota’s best defender was Danielle Hunter who put up 6 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 TFL. Eric Kendricks was the other standout for Mike Zimmer’s defense. Kendricks contributed 7 tackles and 1 TFL. It’s very possible the Rams end up winning their next twelve games and become the fifth team to finish the regular season undefeated. However only one of those ball clubs would go on to win the Super Bowl and that was the 1972 Miami Dolphins.

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The Rams are a well oiled machine and there’s a chance that nobody can stop them.

It’s getting harder to defend Mike McCarthy. The Packers head coach has Bill Belichick’s cynical attitude without nearly as much success:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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When you watch Bill Belichick and see him conduct his team with a little bit of an attitude it’s very rarely questioned. Belichick is a 5x Super Bowl winning head coach and his methods have achieved more than most people can dream of. That’s why it’s so hard to watch Packers head coach Mike McCarthy try to emulate Belichick. McCarthy has won a Super Bowl but it’s the lack of originality and the fact that Belichick is so much more successful. First off McCarthy needs to develop his own style and prove that’s he not just riding Aaron Rodgers’ coattails. It takes a level of creativity to be the artist of your own image and brand but McCarthy just stole everything Belichick had already done. The other concern is McCarthy doesn’t carry enough weight to act like that. When Tom Brady went down Belichick put together a winning season with Matt Cassel. McCarthy is dead in the water if Rodgers can’t suit up and lately Green Bay’s commander has been losing his cool on the sidelines too. Last game Mike McCarthy almost fought a referee and that doesn’t send a good message to the guys in that locker room. When the highest ranking coach is losing control the team is going to end up following suit. Things are getting to the point where the Packers need to win this season or a change could end up happening. This organization already fired their offensive and defensive coordinators this past off-season (Which was probably requested by the board of directors). Obviously that’s a clear indication of what’s to come next if they don’t produce some results quickly. So if you read between the lines it’s apparent that Mike McCarthy has a ton of pressure on his shoulders right now. Maybe that’s why we see him so frustrated all the time because he’s starting to realize everything is slipping away.

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Mike McCarthy always has a bad attitude and it’s getting harder to defend him.

The Panthers head into the bye week with a ton of optimism and it’s because Cam Newton has returned to MVP form:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Through the first three weeks we’ve seen some pretty notable performances from Patrick Mahomes, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Todd Gurley but Cam Newton’s impact for the Carolina Panthers can’t be overlooked. Newton has quietly returned to his MVP caliber form and that’s helped his team improve to 2-1 over the first three games. Just take a look at the former number 1 overall pick’s numbers and you’ll see that Newton has already scored 8 total touchdowns. By producing so much offense by himself it lessens the burden on all the other offensive’s player’s shoulders. Therefore Cam Newton is going above and beyond his call of duty and that’s exactly what you want from your leader. We always talk about leading from the front and that means the best players have to produce the most. Not only that but Cam Newton is the face of this franchise. There’s a lot of pressure that comes with those expectations but Newton has proved time and time again that he can handle the responsibility. People always knew Cam was a threat on the ground running the ball but he’s come a long way as a passer too. Most of those 8 TDs have come through the air and even last year in the playoffs Newton was delivering strikes with better accuracy than we’ve seen from him in the past. Newton actually reached out to Tom Brady and asked the future Hall of Famer to mentor him a little bit. It’s very possible that Brady gave the dual-threat signal caller some tips when it comes to approaching the game and reading coverages. All we know is Cam Newton has made some tremendous strides and the results are being displayed on the field. Carolina is right in the thick of things and they look like they’re a true contender after the first quarter of the season.

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The Panthers have to be optimistic after heading into the bye week with a winning record. Cam Newton have been great over the first three games.

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