THREE & OUT: WEEK NINE RISERS, FALLERS

November 6, 2018

 

 

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

 

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

New Orleans Saints

The Saints have come a long way since losing to the Bucs in the season opener and almost losing to the Cleveland Browns in overtime in week two. On offense, they are an unstoppable machine and Drew Brees at 39 years old is playing the best football of his career. Wide receiver Michael Thomas is proving to be a top five pass catcher in the NFL and will cost the team a pretty penny to extend once his contract is up. Defensively, the Saints got aggressive before the trade deadline to upgrade the cornerback spot opposite Marshon Lattimore with Eli Apple, and PJ Williams may have played his best game of the year against the undefeated Rams this week. Marcus Davenport is going to miss a couple weeks for injury, but he has flashed dominance and is looking like he may very well be worth the two first rounders the Saints gave up for him. All in all, the Saints are the top dog in the NFL right now and look extremely hard to slow down after back-to-back wins against outstanding Vikings and Rams teams.

 

 

Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta has really been snake-bitten by injuries early in the season, but credit to the front office and coaching staff to get replacements Damontae Kazee and rookie Foye Oluokun up to speed and playing at a solid level. The Falcons are now in a groove with a three game win streak and could extend it to five with the Browns and Cowboys on the docket the next two weeks. Matt Ryan has an embarrassment of riches at wide receiver with Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley and while the Falcons may not be able to challenge for a wild card spot this year thanks to the early hole they dug, they can be a fearsome squad in 2019. 

 

 

Chicago Bears

It may have been the Nathan Peterman-led Bills, but any time you can destroy an NFL team by 30+ points, you're doing something right. It looks like Mitchell Trubisky is getting more comfortable in Matt Nagy's offense each week and they should be getting better when Allen Robinson returns from a groin injury in the coming weeks. The most impressive thing is the defense has stepped up with Khalil Mack missing the last two games and they've been creating turnovers in droves.  Looking ahead, the Bears have a really good chance to go 3-1 in the next quarter of the season with two games against the Lions, Giants, and Vikings now flexed to Sunday Night Football.

 

 

 

THREE DOWN

Washington Redskins

Injuries to your two starting guards and most consistent wide receiver this season are going to set the Redskins back a lot. Washington may be on top of the NFC East at this point in time, but it's hard not to imagine the Eagles to overtake them at some point in the next quarter of the season. The Redskins needed to win at home this week against a banged-up Falcons defense and just couldn't move the ball on offense. Can they even beat a reeling Bucs team this week? A couple weeks ago, this looked like an easy win on paper. Now? Not so much.

 

 

Dallas Cowboys

Embarrassing showing at home on Monday Night Football and the more I watch Dak Prescott this year, the less I like what I'm seeing. Prescott looks like he has no internal clock when in the pocket and seems to be overthinking his progressions. Whether this is Dak-related or a byproduct of the play calling on offense, Dak needs to speed it up and Scott Linehan needs to remember he has a top-three running back when he gets into the red zone. On the bright side, Cowboys fans? Amari Cooper looked extremely crisp in his route running and the more chemistry he gets with Dak, the better you feel about spending a 2019 first round pick on Cooper.

 

 

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens aren't necessarily having a bad season, but it sounds like there is some internal strife in the building and it's possible that John Harbaugh's message to the team has gotten stale. Outside perception looks like the Joe Flacco/Lamar Jackson relationship isn't a healthy one, and Flacco missing a wide open Jackson in the end zone is microcosm of that. It's probably too early to move to Jackson as the full-time starter, but it does seem like the Ravens are wasting a top-five defense this year with an offense that is struggling to find its identity and being too cute to get their first round pick involved. They're at a weird crossroads, and I'm not sure what the prescription is right now.

 

 

Here are the ScouTurf roster rankings following Week Nine:

 

 

 

 

 

 

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