THREE & OUT: WEEK THREE RISERS, FALLERS

September 25, 2018

 

 

"Three & Out" is a weekly feature where we highlight three teams that dropped as well as three teams that moved on up in the ScouTurf team rankings formula based on their performance from their previous game.

 

We watch every NFL game from the previous weekend before making an assessment, and these are this week's big winners and losers:

 

THREE UP

Cleveland Browns

The city of Cleveland went absolutely bonkers, and they deserve it. You have to crawl before you can walk, and the offense will be running soon enough under the leadership of number one overall pick Baker Mayfield. Sure, Mayfield will have his bumps in the road as a rookie, but you could just feel a breath of air inflated into the offense when he came in. Receivers began running routes with more vigor, the offensive line was holding blocks for just a half second more, and the running backs were running possessed. When every single element of your offense does juuuust a little bit more, it's amazing what they can accomplish. Congrats, Cleveland. It looks like your 30th QB is a charm. 

 

 

Buffalo Bills

For as much as I piled on the Bills so far this year, going into Wisconsin, er,  Minnesota and scoring 27 points on a top three defensive unit in the NFL and conquering a 17 point spread is an impressive feat. Similar to the Baker diatribe above, Josh Allen is going to have times where he struggles mightily, but he certainly produced a few "wow" moments on Sunday that very few, if any, quarterbacks in the league can do. Allen's mobility is the only band aid that could cover up an awful Bills offensive line, and they won't do this every week, but if he plays like he did this past week and the defense can take care of business, the Bills may not be picking first overall after all.

 

 

Kansas City Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes is playing like an alien and the Chiefs have morphed into the NFL's version of the Big 12, putting up 30+ points per game but also allowing close to 500 yards on defense. In fact, they are dead last in the NFL in yards allowed per game with 474, which is 30 yards more than the next-worst team. Mahomes has been able to get away with it from now, but you have to think his hot start will begin to tail off as teams get more tape this year. Conversely, the defense should improve when (if?) Eric Berry returns, and potential trade for Earl Thomas that was reported early on Sunday morning could give them the best safety tandem in the NFL. Next three games for the Chiefs? Broncos, Jaguars, Patriots. Let's see what you got, Mahomes.

 

 

THREE DOWN

New England Patriots

The Patriots don't look like themselves after rare back-to-back losing efforts to the Jaguars and winless Lions. Bill Belichick seems like he doesn't care anymore based on some of his in-game decision-making, and he is even more abrupt than usual in his postgame conversations with media. Tom Brady appears like he simply can't elevate his rag-tag supporting cast, and an injection of Josh Gordon and Julian Edelman over the next two weeks is just what they need to get back on track. Most importantly, however, is their lack of speed on defense, especially at the linebacker unit. Dont'a Hightower is still keying and diagnosing like the best of them but his lack of foot speed is glaring, and he's starting to approach "run like a dad" status. You never count out the Patriots, and common sense would say they straighten themselves out this week against the 3-0 Dolphins, but if they don't... that's a three game division lead with a head-to-head W for the Fins. Huge.

 

 

Oakland Raiders

Somewhere in his Las Vegas mansion, Mark Davis is tempestuously stroking his white Levi’s, muttering under his breath and gently placing a mahogany framed photo of Jon Gruden face down on his coffee table. The Gruden media sessions lamenting the lack of a pass rush is comical at this point, and Derek Carr has some of the most head-scratching numbers I've ever seen from an NFL quarterback. Carr is completing 77% of his passes on 111 attempts and has 2 TD, 5 INT, per Ian Kenyon (@IanKenyonNFL). 19 of his 27 completions happened within 4 yards of the LOS, per Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher). Add in the defensive woes and the reported internal divide among the personnel department, and this Raiders franchise seems like a ship sinking into the sands of Las Vegas.

 

 

San Francisco 49ers

I'm so sorry, 49ers fans. First it was Jerick McKinnon, now it's Jimmy Garoppolo, and Richard Sherman is going to miss a few weeks with a calf injury. Unfortunately, I think you all know what this means. CJ Beathard may not be roody-poo, but if they don't bring in an NFL veteran to take over, this is going to be a long, potential top three draft pick-worthy season. They silver lining? You could be in the Nick Bosa/Ed Oliver/Greedy Williams sweepstakes on defense.

 

 

Here are the ScouTurf roster rankings following week three:

 

 

 

 

 

 

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