I’m completely in love with this NFL season to date. Via two weeks we’ve seen 10 video games be determined by a area objective or much less, with 18 groups sitting at a 1-1 report proper now. It’s been the best show of parity the NFL has seen in years, and it actually feels just like the league is large open proper now.
Each week all of us have a couple of issues on the schedule we circle and put together for, so right here’s what I’m waiting for in Week 3.
No. 1: Can Carolina preserve getting the job completed?
A lot about success within the NFL isn’t about profitable stunning assertion video games, and infrequently guaranteeing you may get the job completed once you’re anticipated to. The Carolina Panthers, broadly seen as one of many worst groups within the league previous to the beginning of the season, have so far crushed the Jets (a sport they had been presupposed to win) and adopted by dominating the Saints (one they weren’t). Now on Thursday Evening Soccer the Panthers face the Texans, one other sport they ought to win, and doing so on a brief week would propel Carolina additional into the dialogue this season.
Sam Darnold has been taking part in stable soccer, nevertheless it’s the Carolina protection that’s blowing folks away. A unit taking part in far past its expertise stage, the staff is excelling at speeding the passer, stopping the run, and shutting down balls within the air. Because it stands the Panthers are main the league in each defensive statistical space of significance, together with whole sacks, passer score allowed, and fewest common speeding yards within the league.
That stress is giving the offense freedom to get out to an early lead, then experience Christian McCaffery whereas opponents are compelled to throw to get again within the sport. It’ll be fascinating to see if this defensive dominance can proceed.
No. 2: Can Zach Wilson erase a number of the concern?
Jets followers had been proper to grit their enamel and get nervous throughout Wilson’s 4 interception outing towards the Patriots in Week 2. The staff is chalking it as much as the rookie “attempting to do an excessive amount of,” and issues won’t get simpler towards the Broncos in Week 3.
Denver is boasting the No. 5 rating passing protection within the NFL, and dominated No. 1 decide Trevor Lawrence towards the Jaguars. This makes the sport a stable barometer to see how Wilson is progressing.
I’m not anticipating to see a 300 yard, blemish-free passing sport from the rookie — however I do wish to see him taking extra of what the protection provides him, and power throws lots much less. If he can begin taking these strides we’ll see actual improvement.
No. 3: Can the Rams cement themselves as NFC contenders?
It was unquestionably a disappointing 2020 for the Los Angeles Rams, however so far the choice to commerce for Matthew Stafford is paying enormous dividends for the staff. Stafford’s deep passing is pairing nicely with the Rams violent protection and turning the staff into a possible powerhouse.
That stated, enormous questions linger. Los Angeles has actually lacked a press release sport following wins over the Bears and Colts, which are not any slouches, however in Week 3 the Buccaneers pose a severe menace.
This actually could possibly be an NFC Championship preview, and the way the Rams deal with a top-tier opponent will go an extended solution to deciding this.
No. 4: Can Aaron Rodgers preserve turning this round?
The distinction between Rodgers in Week 1 and Week 2 was one of the pronounced shifts within the league this season. In opposition to the Saints he regarded like he wished to be anyplace aside from an NFL area, and following per week of criticism, Rodgers fully flipped the script and dominated the Lions.
Week 3 marks a giant check towards the 2-0 49ers, who’re on the comeback path of their very own. This actually looks like an equal check for each groups, one proving they’re nonetheless pretty much as good as final yr, the opposite attempting to point out they are often within the dialog as an elite staff.
Rodgers is the distinction maker on this equation, and his capability to shine can be beneath the microscope.