1. The Lion King: The Detroit Lions have control of the NFL North until further notice. A rather comfortable win against the Packers on Thursday Night Football, in Lambeau, kicked off Week 4. The rest of the action just reinforced Detroit’s position. The Vikings got their first win of the season, scraping by the hapless Panthers, while the Bears blew a 21-point lead to a bad Broncos team. The Lions are playing confident football and have everything in place to coast to the division title.
I saw a lot of Bears fans say things like “they’ll find a way to lolion it up” but it’s time to put those jokes away. In fact, the joke is on us right now.
2. Clusterflus: This week’s FMIA column by Peter King teased a very simple thought about the Bears:
“The Bears. It’s amazing how embarrassing they are.”
King goes on to say he wouldn’t be surprised is Eberflus is let go this week if the Bears lose to the Commanders on Thursday Night Football. The Bears have never let a coach go in-season before but this has all unraveled in embarrassing fashion. We still don’t know the full story about Alan Williams or Chase Claypool, but neither situation seems to reflect well on ‘Flus. If those situations weren’t bad enough, the product on the field, the lack of identity on either side of the ball, and the lack of in-game decision making and savvy makes it crystal clear what Ryan Poles needs to do sooner or later.
3. Almost a Buffalo 50 Burger: The game of the week for many people was the Buffalo Bills trying to slow down the Miami Dolphins. Not only were they able to do that, they threw up an impressive offensive performance to boot. Make no mistake that the Bills continue to field one of the most talented rosters in all of football. Many carried over their impressions of this roster in last year’s playoffs, where they looked like they were limping after an emotionally draining season. This championship window is still open as long as Josh Allen can play within himself. This win against the Dolphins could be huge down the stretch to try and retain the AFC East crown.
4. Last Teams Standing: Only four weeks into this young NFL season and we’re down to two undefeated squads. The Eagles escaped in overtime against a surprisingly game Commanders squad while the 49ers pasted the Cardinals. The 49ers have played a rather uninspiring schedule so far but they’re doing what great teams do against bad teams in running away with them. They host the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football this week. Make time for that one.
As for the Eagles, a veteran team finds a way to win games like this. A couple of road trips coming up to the Rams and Jets before hosting the Dolphins on Sunday Night Football on October 22. Make time for that one too.
5. Last Teams Lying Down: The Bears and the Panthers remain as the only two teams to yet record a win. No doubt you know that the Bears own the Panthers’ first round pick in next year’s draft. That means that as of right now, Chicago would be projected to pick first and second in next year’s draft. Now, it is incredibly unlikely that those results stick, but it’s a noteworthy silver lining to keep our eye on as we move along in the season. A lot of football left, but a result like that could truly reshape a franchise stuck in the muck.
6. Wait, are these Guys Good? The Buccaneers improved to 3-1 while the Texans and Rams both evened up their records at 2-2. All three teams were on the shortlist of teams that many projected to be among the worst in the league. All three teams had an over/under win total of 6.5 wins, better only than the Cardinals projection of 4.5 wins.
The residual talent in Tampa Bay makes them able to put away bad teams, but I don’t think they’re a force in the conference. I think they’re just a decent team with a hard ceiling. The Rams and Texans are both pleasant surprises with young rosters stepping up. The Texans, in particular, should provide hope to Bears fans that teams can pull themselves out of a quagmire with smart decision making and some draft capital.
7. Wait, are these Guys Bad? The Cincinnati Bengals got run out of Nashville 27-3 this weekend to drop to 1-3. Joe Burrow’s calf injury certainly has something to do with the sluggish start, but there are some serious alarm bells going off in Cinci right now. Mess around a little longer and this quickly becomes a lost season.
The Bengals are currently 31st per game in scoring offense and dead last in yards per game. Their run game (31st) is equally as bad as their passing game (31st) and Burrow’s passing stats (728 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs) look like something you’d expect to see on a random 2000’s Bears QB, not a potential MVP candidate. Yikes.
8. Mack Attack: Our old friend Khalil Mack had himself a game against his former mates. Mack recorded 6 sacks on young Aidan O’Connell, which gives him 90.5 in his career. Mack actually has a pretty good Hall of Fame case with three First Team All Pro selections and seven Pro Bowls. The Defensive Player of the Year award early in his career really helps with that kind of thing. Mack has plenty of year’s left in his career before this talk needs to happen, but a signature game like this sure doesn’t hurt.
9. Remember the time...? Do you guys remember when the Giants beat the Vikings in a playoff game? They have a combined two wins this year. One over Carolina and one over Arizona. Life comes at you fast.
10. Is Belichick Toast? The New England Patriots fell to 1-3 on Sunday, suffering the worst loss in the Belichick era, 38-3 to the Cowboys. Now, Dallas has all the makings of a deep playoff contender, but the Patriots haven’t looked scary since Brady left town. You can only sell close losses to good teams for so long, but you can’t sell blowout losses.
Belichick has a shot to get back to .500 with games against the Saints and Raiders next on the schedule before playing the Bills and Dolphins. If the Patriots fall to either or both the Saints and Raiders, I think it’s fully time to speculate if the Pats might just want to reset. A lot of people speculate that Belichick wants to break the coaching wins record and will stick around for that to happen. If the Pats continue in this direction, he may have to go somewhere else to do it.
Those are my thoughts - what are yours? Hit up the comments below and let’s hear it.