The NFL starts its second quarter this weekend with two of the league’s three unbeaten teams in prime time. The 4-0 Chiefs attempt to go to 5-0 against the Colts Sunday night while the 3-0 49ers are coming off a bye to face the Browns Monday night. The other unbeaten team, New England, is virtually guaranteed a 5-0 start when they go to Washington to meet the 0-4 Redskins.
Game of the Week
The Packers go to Dallas to meet the Cowboys in the latest game of a long-standing rivalry. The most famous game they played was the Ice Bowl. It’s also an important game since they are both 3-1 after both suffered their first losses last week.
Game of the Weak
The 0-4 Bengals face the 0-3-1 Cardinals in a game between two teams that aren’t going to the playoffs. Both have rookie coaches who have yet to post their first victory so barring a tie, one of them will get it.
Five Things to Watch
–Patrick Mahomes and Matt Ryan have passed for over 300 yards in their first four games this year. If they both do it Sunday, they will tie Peyton Manning for second place with five. Manning did it five times twice. He’s also tied for the record with Kurt Warner with six. The difference is that Mahomes has the Chiefs at 4-0 and Ryan’s Falcons are 1-3.
–Washington, going against New England, figures to fall to 0-5 and set up a battle next week with 0-4 Miami, which has a bye this week, with the loser figuring to have the inside track on the first pick in the draft. The difference is Washington is trying to win and doesn’t know how while Miami is content to get the first pick. Denver and Cincinnati also are 0-4 but seem to be playing better than the Redskins and Dolphins. The Jets are 0-3. Arizona is 0-3-1.
–The Steelers got their first win last week after an 0-3 start and think they still have a playoff shot. One of the reasons is that Mason Rudolph, who passed for 229 yards and two touchdowns against the Bengals, is just the third player to throw for two touchdowns in each of his first three career games. He goes for No. 4 against the Ravens. That would tie him with Jay Cutler and Mark Rypien, who did it in their first four career games.
–Lamar Jackson is tied for the league lead with 10 touchdown passes and leads all quarterbacks with 238 rushing yards. He now has 933 career rushing yards in 20 games. If he gets 67 at Pittsburgh, he will tie Robert Griffin’s record of reaching the thousand-yard rushing milestone in 21 games. Considering the way Griffin’s career later went south, it may not be a record Jackson wants to celebrate.
–Christian McCaffrey and Leonard Fournette, the eighth and fourth picks in the 2017 draft, will duel when the Jaguars go to Carolina. Although Fournette had a big game against the Broncos last week, McCaffrey has outplayed so far in his career. The game also features two young quarterbacks – Gardner Minshew and Kyle Allen, who have both won their last two games while filling in for injured starters. One of them will get his third in a row.