Another NFL Sunday is in the books and now three weeks into the season, coming in to the end of September, we’re starting to see enough to form some thoughts on these teams. In the case of some of the contenders coming into the season, it might be time to start hitting the panic button. Before we dive into the Monday night matchup, I’m using this week’s takeaways to consider three teams I think are in trouble early.
We Should Worry About The Chiefs
The Chiefs have been to the last two Super Bowls and three straight AFC Championship games. Conventional wisdom coming into the season was that the team would cruise to another playoff berth and be a contender for the Super Bowl again. But as the great Chris Berman would say, “That’s why they play the games.” And for the Chiefs, the paper predictions have been better than reality. The team is 1-2 through three weeks and honestly could easily be 0-3. On opening week, the Browns were dominating Kansas City for a time before some mistakes opened the door for a narrow Chiefs victory. But Kansas City wasn’t able to be beat Baltimore on Sunday Night Football and lost at home Sunday to division foes the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chiefs don’t look to have the same pop on offense and defense and now three weeks into the season, in a tough division with a First-Place schedule, it’s time to wonder if the Chiefs are in for a down season. Even a down season could be 10 or 11 wins and a playoff berth, but so far this team doesn’t look like the Super Bowl favorites many thought they’d be.
We Should Worry About Ben Roethlisberger
The Steelers started 2020 11-0. They finished 1-4, then got bounced quickly in the playoffs by the Browns. It seemed like Ben and the passing game broke down at the end of the season. This off-season the Steelers brought in top rookie running back Najee Harris to take pressure off the passing game, but the offensive line is a work in progress. Through three weeks, the offense doesn’t look good, particularly the Steelers’ again quarterback. His fellow draft class QBs Eli Manning and Phillip Rivers are both retired and it certainly appears as if Big Ben might soon join them. Mistakes by the Bills led to a Steelers win on opening day, but the Raiders and Bengals dominated Pittsburgh in back-to-back weeks at home. The team is 1-2 and that’s not going to cut it in the competitive AFC North.
We Should Worry About the Colts
With a loss to the Titans Sunday the Colts are now 0-3. The team was 11-5 and in the playoffs in 2020. After acquiring Carson Wentz from the Eagles, the hope was the Colts would contend for an AFC South title. While the team has been competitive and close the past two weeks, they remain 0-3. The injuries have taken a toll and the Colts’ schedule doesn’t get much easier. The Colts are at the Dolphins and at the Ravens the next two weeks, then home for the Texans, at the 49ers and home for the Titans. There aren’t many easy wins there. It’s possible the Colts end up 1-7 coming out of that five-game stretch. That’s too big a hole for a team with playoff aspirations, even in the mediocre AFC South. Even if the South fails to produce any teams that hit double-digit wins, the Colts need to get better if they want to make a return to the playoffs.
And now, let’s look at tonight’s matchup between the Eagles and the Cowboys.
Monday Night Preview
The Eagles (1-1) and the Cowboys (1-1) renew rivalries again tonight. The Eagles got a big win on opening day against the Falcons before coming up short against the 49ers in Week 2. The Cowboys, meanwhile, put on a heck of a show on opening night, coming up just short against the Buccaneers. They made up for it with a win against the Chargers in Sofi Stadium in Week 2. Both would like to get a win because it would put them in the lead in the NFC East.
The Cowboys have a heck of an offense. Dak Prescott was held in check in Week 2 for fantasy purposes but was lights out in Week 1. With CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper, this passing game is on point. All three will likely be in your lineup, as will running back Ezekiel Elliott. With the way he’s been involved, Tony Pollard is a flex consideration for me, and Dalton Schultz is a consideration at tight end given the absence of Michael Gallup and a gimpy ankle for Cooper.
For the Eagles, Jalen Hurts came into the season looking to prove he’s the guy. So far he’s done well, especially for fantasy. The Cowboys’ defense is a work-in-progress, but they managed to turn over Justin Herbert a couple times in Week 2. Those starting Hurts should be weary of that, particularly since this figures to be quite the crowd back in Dallas full throat to start the season. For the Eagles, I think Dallas Goedert is a start at tight end and DeVonta Smith is the receiver I trust most.
I picked the Cowboys this week and I think there’s some potential they win this one comfortably. Despite their Week 1 performance I still don’t buy the Eagles and Hurts.
Enjoy the game!
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.