NFL Week 4 overreactions and reality checks: Packers best in NFC? Chiefs best in AFC? Saquon Barkley the best RB?

The NFL is still unpredictable through four weeks of the season. The Philadelphia Eagles are the only undefeated team at 4-0 and the Houston Texans are the only team without a win through their first four games. The Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks are 2-2, the same record as the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Chargers, two Super Bowl contenders heading into the season.

The White League is still trying to figure out who the contenders and contenders are, there’s been a lot of overreaction after Week 4 saw crazy finishes and five games decided by three points. These are the best reactions from every game in Week 4 and whether those storylines are overreactions or reality.

The Saints were twice within striking distance of saving their season

Overreaction or Reality: Reality

It’s hard to be positive about the Saints right now. Andy Dalton, Mark Ingram, Latavius ​​Murray and Tysum Hill are at quarterback and three running backs, while Jameis Winston, Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas are out. That’s an average age of 32.5 years at four key positions trusted to lead New Orleans to victory.

That group nearly did as New Orleans erased a 16-7 deficit to take a 22-19 lead in the fourth quarter. Will Lutz kicked a 60-yard field goal to tie the game at 25-25, only for the defense to allow six plays for 54 yards in just 27 seconds to give the Vikings the lead for good.

Lutz was inches short of forcing a 61-yarder, showing just how desperate the Saints are to win a game. New Orleans is now 1-3 and the win was a ridiculous comeback against the Falcons.

The Saints don’t have the makings of a good team. They desperately needed that field goal to go ahead.

Atlanta can make the playoffs behind their rushing attack

Overreaction or Reality: Overreaction

The Falcons have rushed for over 200 yards in two of their four games, but let’s not dig down the rabbit hole and make them a playoff team just yet. The Browns were without three of their starting four backs (including Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney), which allowed backup running backs Tyler Allgaier and Caleb Huntley to pound them for 140 yards on the ground.

Atlanta is .500 and much better than expected, but the Falcons will be tested against the Buccaneers next week. We’ll see if they can continue to run the ball at that explosive rate.

The Ravens are choking the AFC North

Overreaction or Reality: Reality

Baltimore could easily be 4-0 in four weeks. Instead, the Ravens sit at 2-2 and blew two huge leads in the fourth quarter — at home, no less.

Sunday was unforgivable as Lamar Jackson threw two interceptions in the fourth quarter and John Harbaugh made it a fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line in a tied game late in the fourth quarter. The result was Jackson’s second interception of the game, leading the Bills to use Josh Allen’s touchdown with 4:09 left to drive them down the field and lead them to victory.

These are games the Ravens must win. They are in a three-way tie for the AFC North lead when it comes to controlling the division.

Dallas could win the NFC East if the Cooper Rush gets going in the next two weeks

Overreaction or Reality: Overreaction

What Cooper Rush has done in his three starts is impressive, but the three teams the Cowboys have beaten in his starts are a combined 6-6. The Chiefs and Giants don’t look like powerhouses, even if the Bengals win looks better than the week.

Dallas has one of the best defensive lines in football, the real driving force behind the Cowboys’ success over the past three weeks. Rush will face his biggest test against the Rams and Eagles defenses over the next two weeks, a much tougher test than what he saw against Washington and New York.

Splitting the next two games keeps the Cowboys in business. That win has to be against Philadelphia.

Geno Smith has been the Seahawks’ starting QB for the entire year

Overreaction or Reality: Reality

Geno Smith has the highest completion percentage of any quarterback through four games in NFL history (minimum 125 attempts). He is the only player with a 75% completion percentage, 1,000 yards and five touchdowns this season and has better numbers than Russell Wilson.

Smith is third in the NFL in passer rating (108.8) and is the main reason the Seahawks are in the thick of the NFC West race at 2-2. He’s the guy in Seattle – potentially even past this season if he keeps playing like this.

Overreaction or Reality: Overreaction

We’ll have to see more of sixth-round pick Jamaree Salyer against better competition at left tackle (sorry Texans), but Justin Herbert looked much more comfortable in the pocket in his second game since breaking his rib cartilage 17 days ago . The Chargers’ offensive line allowed just one sack and two quarterback hits in the win, with Herbert throwing for 340 yards and two touchdowns.

Herbert will get better each week and the Chargers offensive line will get more continuity, but let’s see how this unit does against a better pass rush. Sunday was a strong start.

Overreaction or Reality: Reality

Indianapolis needs Jonathan Taylor to move the chains and control the game to win football games. Taylor had just 20 carries for 42 yards Sunday as the Indianapolis offense was held to just 17 points.

When Taylor rushes for less than 70 yards, the Colts are 0-2. Tennessee did an excellent job stuffing Taylor, forcing Indianapolis to look for other ways to move the ball. The result was three turnovers and a 1.7 yards per carry average despite 365 yards of offense.

The Colts need a strong performance from Taylor to win games, which doesn’t bode well for their playoff chances.

Saquon Barkley is the best running back in football

Overreaction or Reality: Reality

Through four games, yes. Barkley led the Giants to a tough win over the Bears, rushing 31 times for 146 yards, while New York finished with 262 yards rushing against a stout Bears defense. Barkley leads the NFL in rushing yards (463) and is second in the NFL in yards per carry (5.5) among running backs with at least 60 carries.

Arguably Nick Chubb is better, but Barkley is playing behind a much worse offensive line. Barkley gets the nod here.

Miles Sanders deserves to get paid this offseason

Overreaction or Reality: Reality

Sanders showed he is the No. 1 running back during Sunday’s rainy conditions, rushing 27 times for 134 yards and two touchdowns against the No. 1 run defense in football. The Eagles run with conviction, taking what they’re given instead of looking for the big play on every play.

Sanders is third in the NFL in rushing yards (356) and third in yards per carry (4.9) among running backs with at least 60 carries. A vital part of the Eagles’ rushing attack, the Eagles should pay Sanders as he enters the prime of his career. He’s perfect for what Philadelphia is running on offense.

Overreaction or Reality: Overreaction

Kenny Pickett’s debut did not go as expected. Pickett completed 10 of 13 passes for 127 yards and three interceptions when he stepped in for Mitchell Trubisky in the second half, calming a crowd that wanted him in the game. Pickett still moved the ball in the second half, as the Steelers had 171 yards and 14 points.

The three interceptions are what doomed Pickett, but he was able to get Pittsburgh into the end zone. Trubisky didn’t do that in his seven possessions Sunday against the Jets. Mike Tomlin should still go back to Pickett next week and give him a week of work with the starters.

Overreaction or Reality: Overreaction

That would be a reality, but who are the Panthers going to at this rate? There are no better options for Carolina, and Ben McAdoo’s offense just isn’t creative enough for either player to succeed.

The passing game is all over the place — and Baker Mayfield plays a huge part in that. Mayfield completed just 15 of 27 touchdown passes and two interceptions when facing four or fewer rushers, a terrible sign for a veteran quarterback.

Carolina should ride with Mayfield, but Matt Rhule will likely hit the panic button. His job is now on the line.

The Packers are the best team in the NFC

Overreaction or Reality: Overreaction

Green Bay will always be in the Super Bowl conversation with Aaron Rodgers as the Packers find ways to win despite their issues at wide receiver. Allen Lazard is making a big difference in the passing game, and Romeo Dubs is becoming a reliable target.

The defense makes key plays, especially keeping the Packers in the game when the offense sputters. Right now, Green Bay’s offense is too inconsistent to be the best in the NFC, especially when struggling for halftime against a bad Patriots team.

The Packers are a very good team, but there is work to be done.

Josh McDaniels needs to address his star players more

Overreaction or Reality: Reality

Funny how when Josh McDaniels gives the ball to Josh Jacobs and Davante Adams, the Raiders win. Jacobs had 28 carries for 144 yards and two touchdowns as he shredded a Broncos defense that had looked excellent through the first three weeks. Adams had nine catches for 101 yards on 13 targets.

Giving those two the ball led to first downs (the Raiders were 7-of-14 on third down) and a season-high number of points. Jacobs and Adams are the cash McDaniels needs to turn the Raiders’ season around.

This week the formula worked. The Raiders need to get back to it again.

The Chiefs are the best team in the AFC

Overreaction or Reality: Reality

No competition here. Kansas City dismantled a Tampa Bay defense that had shut down the competition all season, using Patrick Mahomes and his brilliance to score 41 points on the Buccaneers. The Chiefs think Tampa Bay has the best defense in the league, but they’re rushing for 189 yards and Mahomes has been hit just six times.

The Chiefs lost last week to the Colts due to mistakes uncharacteristic of an Andy Reid team. The Buffalo Bills are definitely in that conversation, but the Chiefs have Mahomes and Reid. That puts Kansas City on the brink.

It’s Kansas City, Buffalo — than everyone else.

Leave a Comment