SEEING the Dolphins, Cardinals and Redskins combine for zero wins through three weeks of the NFL season is far from a shock to the system. There are some stumbling teams who we didn’t expect to see in a negative position, even if it is still early in the year. Yes, I know there’s still plenty of football to be played and it may sound like an overreaction to declare a season dead just 25% of the way through. Unfortunately, though, that’s where these four teams find themselves and they only have themselves to blame.
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Pittsburgh Steelers (0-3)
THINGS have gone from bad to worse for the Steelers since their season began. Not only did they get embarrassed with everyone watching on the opening Sunday Night stage at the hands of the Patriots, but they’ve kept that winless streak alive and lost their franchise quarterback for the season in the process. No Ben Roethlisberger, plus the loss of Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell in the offseason means that Pittsburgh faces a strenuous task to move the chains each week.
AFTER breaking out a season ago, many expected James Conner to be leaned on and help soften that burden. However, through three games Conner hasn’t even brought up 100 rushing yards, with all his metrics trending downward. A do-or-die clash against the Bengals this weekend could be the perfect recipe for Conner and the Steelers to right the ship, but if they drop the Monday Night affair, their 2019 season is a lost cause.
Philadelphia Eagles (1-2)
EVEN though Philadelphia is off to an average 1-2 start, the Eagles aren’t panicking. They will be if they fall to Green Bay, with leaving Lambeau Field with a win one of the toughest tasks in all of football. However, facing the Packers does present Philly with the chance to recapture the winning vibe after losing their past two games by a combined seven points. Had Alshon Jeffery been available in that game, there’s a chance that they’d be sitting 2-1 or even 3-0, with his absence noteworthy for the Eagles.
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IT’S easy to blame injuries for a team’s shortcomings, but Philadelphia has had a rough trot to start 2019. Jeffery hasn’t been the only pass-catcher who’s gone MIA, with DeSean Jackson’s return to ‘The City of Brotherly Love” interrupted by an abdomen complaint. Losing two key weapons coupled with some key defensive personnel has hurt Philly’s start to the year, but they only have themselves to blame for a lot of their sloppy play. Only one team in the Super Bowl era has started 1-3 and gone on to win it all, but I don’t think the Eagles will be able to pull off such a feat, making their game against Green Bay must-watch television.
Cleveland Browns (1-2)
SO much for Super Bowl contenders, the Browns look like they’ll be fighting just to finish above .500 at this rate! If I had have told you heading into a Week 4 matchup with the Ravens that one quarterback would’ve been thriving and another was struggling, you wouldn’t have for a second thought that Baker Mayfield would be in the latter group. And yet, after 12 quarters of football, that’s exactly where he and a spluttering Cleveland offense find themselves.
OUT of all 25 quarterbacks to have started three games thus far, Mayfield ranks dead last for completion percentage (56.9%) and has thrown the second-most interceptions in the league (we’ll get to the INT leader soon). We expected this offense to reach new heights after the offseason addition of shiny new toy Odell Beckham Jr, however, that’s been far from the case, failing to score 50 combined points through three contests. Their offensive line was highlighted as a potential red flag in the preseason and if it continues to fail and put Baker under pressure, then the scepticism around he and first-year head coach Freddie Kitchens is only going to intensify.
Atlanta Falcons (1-2)
TURNING the ball over is never a good idea, just ask the Redskins who looked second-rate last Monday Night. Atlanta and Matt Ryan had better be careful to make sure they aren’t lumped in the same category, currently sitting second for giveaways fueled by six interceptions from Matt Ryan. The 2016 MVP threw just seven INT’s in the whole 2018 season, so for him to be turning the ball over at such a high clip is somewhat alarming.
THE sky is far from falling in Atlanta, but it might be if they fall to the Titans on the weekend. No offense to Tennessee, but I don’t expect them to make a ton of noise this year and taking care of business against teams like this in your own building is what good teams should do. In my opinion, Atlanta is still a good team and given the injury issues to other NFC South quarterbacks, I have faith in the Falcons regrouping and making 2019 a worthwhile campaign. Tightening the screws on offense (NO MORE BAD PICKS) will go a long way to restoring stability in ATL.
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