What We Learned: NFL Week 3

NFL Sep 27, 2021

Three games into the season – parity rules....only 5/32 teams remain undefeated

It's 3rd and 15.

Following NFL Week #3, here are 15 takeaways from the NFL's most recent slate of regular season games:

(1)  Only 5 teams remain unbeaten three games into the season.  The bigger surprise is exactly which teams are undefeated – Carolina, Denver, Las Vegas, Arizona, and LA Rams.  

(2)  Only 5 teams remain winless three games into the season.  It's not a surprise which teams haven't won a game yet – NY Jets, NY Giants, Jacksonville, Detroit, and Indianapolis.  Okay, maybe the Colts are a slight surprise, but all the other four winless teams are skunks which were expected to be bad.

(3)  Justin Tucker is a beast with a lead foot.  Prior to this Sunday, there was absolutely no doubt he's the best kicker in the NFL over the past decade.  Now, the Raven's placekicker is making a solid case he might be the greatest kicker of all time.  Tucker's 66-yard game winner for the Ravens on the final play of the game at Detroit was epic, right up there with Tom Dempsey's stunning caper in 1970 versus – the Lions.  Worth another look:

(4)  Buffalo is back in stride.  Their last two games, the Bills have outscored opponents 77-21.  Buffalo is unquestionably the best team in the AFC East by a wide margin and should be ranked in the top-five of NFL contenders (see comments at the conclusion of this column).

(5)  Justin Fields got a taste of what it's like to play in the NFL Sunday.  He was awful in his first road start at Cleveland.   Meanwhile, the Browns have bounced back nicely with two convincing wins after the disappointing road loss at Kansas City.

(6)  Speaking of Kansas City, they've now lost two straight games in the final minutes, which is very uncharacteristic of the Chiefs.  Right now, Kansas City looks very vulnerable.  They're already 2 games behind Denver and Las Vegas in the brutally-tough AFC West division race.

(7)  Lock up the AFC South for Tennessee.  The Titans and 2-1.  Meanwhile, the other three teams in the division are a woeful 1-8.  The Colts needed to win today in the game at Tennessee.  Instead, they lost and remain winless.  

(8)  Gutsy performance by the LA Chargers with and unexpected win as a touchdown underdog at Kansas City.  It appears the projections on the Chargers as a serious contender are accurate. Every AFC West divisional game will be critical this season.

(9)  New Orleans is a the Jekyll-Hyde team of the NFL, looking brilliant one week and horrible the next.  The Saints have destroyed the Packers and Patriots, but stank in an inexplicable loss at Carolina.  In the Saints' defense, they got through September with a 2-1 record despite no real home games at the Superdome (the first "home game" was moved due to a hurricane).  Now, New Orleans enjoys some advantages looking ahead at the schedule.

(10)  It's hard to measure what the Bengals upset of the Steelers means.  Is Cincinnati finally a decent team, or are the Steelers dead and destined for a last-place finish following a 12-4 record last year?  Maybe both are true.

(11)  The best offense in the NFL might belong to the Arizona Cardinals, who average 34 points-per-game.  But now, the real test begins.  Arizona's next three games:  Rams, 49ers, and Browns.  If they can go 2-1 against that trio of tough teams, mark the Cards down as a serious contender in the NFC West.

(12)  Credit Denver for a perfect 3-0 start, including a 26-0 victory on Sunday.  But is there a quality win in that bunch?  Opening up versus the Giants, Jaguars, and Jets (combined 0-9) is a perfect formula for looking better than they actually are. The game next week at Baltimore will be the Broncos' first real test.

(13)  So, Tom Brady is human.  Tampa Bay finally lost a game (actually the Bucs' defense lost the game), but it's hard to argue with the stat sheet by the G.O.A.T – 41 of 55 for 432 yards.  Despite the loss, Brady is still havin and MVP season, so far.

(14)  Are the LA Rams the NFL's best team?  Maybe.  They defeated the Super Bowl champions in the only meeting between previously unbeaten teams.  Let's give the 3-0 Rams their due as the top-ranked team on this week's power rankings.

(15)  Monday Night Football up next with the NFC East division lead on the line. Dallas is favoured by -3.5.  Prediction:  If the Cowboys win this game, the division race is over.  Neither the Eagles, Giants, or Washington has the talent to take on Dallas.  However, if the Cowboys stumble and lose, the NFC East will be in for a wild ride this season, similar to last year with Washington won it with a 7-9 record.

Finally, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers didn't win a game.  Well, they were off this week.  Note to CFL fans:  Lock it up – Winnipeg Blue Bombers, 2021 Grey Cup Champions!  


  1. LA Rams
  2. Las Vegas
  3. Arizona
  4. Buffalo
  5. Cleveland
  6. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (just for fun)