The 2021 NFL is beginning to take shape as we enter week 4. We are starting to know who we can trust as being good teams and who we know will be vying it out for the number 1 draft pick in 2022. Week 3 was an eventful week for a lot of the NFL, as for the AFC South it was very much a case of ‘as you were’ with the same winners and losers.
Indianapolis Colts (0-3) 16-25 Tennessee Titans (2-1)
Neither team came out of this game learning an awful lot about their team. Neither can they say they will have taken inspiration from what was a poor showing by both teams.
Takeaway 1: The biggest takeaway from this game is that Derrick Henry looks to be fully back into the groove. After a shaky week 1 display by Tennessee in general, Henry already looks to be in formidable form notching up 113 yards today and 353 through 3 weeks tying the franchise record in the first 3 games of a season. Can he keep it up? Nothing suggests otherwise and he seems to be frankly making a mockery of the pre-season buzz surrounding his amount of carries. Long may it continue.
Takeaway 2: Chalk off the Colts for the playoffs. Going 0-3 isn’t necessarily surprising given their early schedule, but I really did expect the Colts to come out and put on a performance knowing that even in a weakened AFC, even 8-9 seems improbable at this stage. Weeks 1 & 2 were good performances against 2 of the best of the NFC West, however this performance was just not good. Carson Wentz (18/37, 194yds) was constantly in no-win situations, throwing the ball away to avoid a sack or worse. The run game has also struggled to get going with Jonathan Taylor going a measly 64 yards off 10 carries. Frank Reich has some serious work to do on the offence because if they can’t get it going, they will lose the majority of their games as this defence is holding nobody back.
Takeaway 3: This was supposed to be the divisional game to watch between 2 of the better teams in the AFC. Frankly, every single AFC West team would blow the AFC South winner out of the water as it stands. Both of these teams have issues that look critical when it comes to actually making a playoff run. Having said that, with an offence around Derrick Henry, who would bet against it.
Arizona Cardinals (3-0) 31-19 Jacksonville Jaguars (0-3)
The Cardinals made very hard work of it and let’s face it, had Jacksonville come away with the dub then it would very much have been a case of Arizona losing it than Jacksonville winning it. The Jags were scoreless with 21 seconds remaining in the first half down 0-7, and with a lovely Trevor Lawrence throw and a questionable field goal attempt by the Cardinals run back for a TD by the Jags they found themselves going in ahead at the break. Normality was restored in the second half however and the Jaguars continue their losing run.
Hilarious Stat of the Day: Since tweeting “NOT SATISFIED WITH 1-0” the Jacksonville Jaguars have lost 19 straight games.
Takeaway 1: This was another very bad day for the Jaguars. After a good second and start to the third quarter, they found themselves 19-10 to the good with a 71% chance of winning. Unfortunately, the problems that have plagued their season so far came back, starting with a really poor Trevor Lawrence interception off a flea flicker. Thrown off his back foot and lobbed gently into the gratefully accepting Cardinal defensive back. Lawrence is probably learning that while you may be able to get away with those throws in college, plays like that lose games in the NFL. Not to put all the blame on Lawrence, the Jaguars abject defence continues despite holding the Cardinals well early, they simply folded allowing 24 points in the second half.
Takeaway 2: I suppose one positive for the Jags should be that it seems like Meyer is *beginning* to lessen the load on Lawrence. James Robinson was able to get some things going in the run game (15 carries, 88 yrds, 1TD) which should help take the pressure off Lawrence to an extent. However, on a more broad point, I’m not exactly sure what the plan is for this team going forward.
Carolina Panthers (3-0) 24-9 Houston Texans (1-2)
The Texans fell to the impressive Panthers on Thursday Night Football. Houston put up a good fight for the majority of the game, keeping the Panthers in single digits into the third quarter however ultimately came up short.
Takeaway 1: While Texans rookie Davis Mills, was admirable in his ability to take sacks and pressure for the majority of the night, this team missed Tyrod Taylors ability to make plays and scramble off a pretty non-existent pass protection.
Takeaway 2: Brandin Cooks, the Texans WR had a great night with 112 yrds. He is the big playmaker in this offence with Taylor off the field. Houston will have to rely heavily on him if they are to make anything happen on offence this season.
Week 4 Preview
Jacksonville Jaguars (0-3) @ Cincinnati Bengals (2-1)
The Jags are certainly capable of winning this game against a Bengals team that look frisky at times and downright awful the next. The real difference between these 2 teams is that the Bengals seem to have an identity on offence and can really move the ball. Jacksonville has neither an identity nor the players to overcome this lack of identity.
Prediction: Bengals 27-17
Tennessee Titans (2-1) @ New York Jets (0-4)
This is a classic banana skin game for the Titans. Now the Jets are 0-4 and look every bit like it, should the Titans enter the meadowlands on Sunday underestimating the Jets there’s every possibility that they could leave with the L. Having said that, I see no reason why this should happen, and the Titans should extend their lead atop the AFC South.
Prediction: Titans 27-10
Houston Texans (1-2) @ Buffalo Bills (2-1)
Despite having the extra 3 days to prepare for this matchup, the Bills look to be in formidable form having ruthlessly disposed of the Miami Dolphins in week 3. While the Texans may keep it close for a stage, I can’t see anything other than a substantial Bills victory in upstate New York.
Prediction: Bills 34-13
Indianapolis Colts (0-3) @ Miami Dolphins (1-2)
This is certainly the most closely contested of the four AFC South games occurring this week. Both teams were tipped as possible wildcard teams, and both have yet to fully perform as yet this season. Both will have marked this game down as a winnable one. For the Colts, this is absolute win or go home game. While I already said I think they’re chalked, if you’re going to even have a chance of playoff football, it needs to start here. However, the Dolphins defence against Wentz would concern me if I was a Colts fan.
Prediction: Colts 21-17