The Miami Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles remained undefeated through the NFL three weeks, the Tennessee Titans, Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons recorded their first wins of the season while the Las Vegas Raiders fell to the bottom of the league’s pile as the only outfit sporting a 0-3 straight up (SU) record.
Elsewhere, Cooper Rush extended his winning streak to 2-0 SU with the Dallas Cowboys this season, sparking a possible quarterback controversy. Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars look legit and the Baltimore Ravens might rue not penning a deal with Lamar Jackson before the start of the season as his value is increasing with each passing week.
As ever, we weigh in on the action and the takeaways from some of the key games, including their impact on the NFL odds.
NFL Week 3 Highlights & Lessons Learned
Dolphins, Eagles Undefeated
Three weeks into the season and only two teams are 0-3 SU on the season, both of which are led by former Alabama Crimson Tide teammates, Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts.
There was a lot of hype surrounding the Miami Dolphins at the start of the season. But after being dealt a brutal schedule, few would have predicted they would go 3-0 SU to start. And yet they have. They beat the New England Patriots, Ravens and Buffalo Bills to improve to 3-0 SU and against-the-spread (ATS), a run of form that includes a 6.3 winning margin on average.
The Eagles enjoyed their fair share of hype ahead of the season. But with questions hanging over Hurts, mainly whether he was the right quarterback to lead Philly’s upgraded offense, the Eagles consequently had their fair share of skeptics too. Tale told, the Eagles lead the NFC with a perfect 3-0 SU record after wins over the Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings and Washington Commanders.
As things currently stand, the Dolphins strike an attractive pose simply by virtue of the quality of their opponents. Whereas the Philadelphia Eagles have had a softer schedule in comparison and might be less convincing as a force to reckon with. That said, it’s safe to say that there is more parity early on than in previous seasons in the absence of a dominant powerhouse emerging after the first three weeks.
The Dolphins and Eagles are solid teams, but as yet they aren’t sellable as a so-called “powerhouse” – at least not at the sportsbook. So far, the markets aren’t totally sold, as evinced best by Super Bowl 57 markets where the 2-1 Bills are still the team to beat, closely followed by the 2-1 Kansas City Chiefs.
— Big Perm (@TheBigPerm) September 19, 2022
Raiders Splashed the Cash to be 0-3
The Raiders were one of the teams to dig into their pockets and splash the cash in the offseason, attracting premium talent such as wide receiver Davante Adams and defensive end Chandler Jones. Three weeks into their 2022 campaign and the sum total of their investment yields an 0-3 record.
As per established NFL betting trends, teams that start the season 0-3 have a minuscule chance of making the playoffs. Since 1990, only four teams (2.5%) have pulled off the feat to reach the playoffs, never mind none have gone on to win the Super Bowl.
The latest NFL odds have the Raiders as a longshot bet +7500 to win SBLVII. That’s telling.
Rush Keeps Dallas’ Hopes Alive
The Cowboys are winless with Dak Prescott (0-1) this season and a perfect 2-0 with Cooper Rush, prompting some to suggest a quarterback controversy might be brewing. But that’s quite the leap, to put it mildly.
One has to consider the defense’s role in Dallas’ positive run of form. They’ve stepped up in Prescott’s absence and kept the Cowboys in it over the last two weeks. In fact, they were the standout unit in the loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1.
Insofar as Rush has fulfilled his remit as a serviceable backup, it’s not as if he’s lit up the Cowboys offense. This is still Prescott’s offense and he’s more than likely to take over when he’s ready.
The quality of the opponent factors into the equation. The Cowboys faced a Bengals team that’s regressed since last year’s Cinderella run to Super Bowl 56, and a New York Giants team that is still an experiment in head coach Brian Daboll’s first season. Simply put, beating them is not world-beating stuff. They’re not beating powerhouses while Prescott is sat on the sidelines, clutching a clipboard and helplessly looking on as he’s being made redundant by each one of Rush’s drives.
So, if there’s something that we’ve learned after Week 3, it’s that writing off the Cowboys following Prescott’s injury might have been premature.
Broncos’ Offense Still Far Off
Russell Wilson would have everyone believe the Denver Broncos’ offense is close to clicking into place, but if Sunday Night Football’s display was anything to go by, that’s (respectfully) a pipe dream.
The offense is still sloppy and wholly off color and form. They’re averaging 14.33 points per game (ppg) after three weeks. They’ve yet to crack 20 points in a game and Wilson himself has only two passing touchdowns and an interception in that same period. Worse yet, Wilson’s passing game is on a decline since Week 1, going from 340 yards per game (vs Seattle Seahawks) to 219 (vs the Houston Texans) to 184 (vs the San Francisco 49ers).
If this is a harbinger of what’s to come, the Broncos will struggle to win games behind this offense.
Trubisky vs Pickett
Was Thursday Night Football’s 29-17 loss to the Cleveland Browns the last time the Pittsburgh Steelers started Mitch Trubisky? Certainly, the chants are getting louder for Kenny Pickett.
The case is growing for benching the veteran signal caller in favor of rookie Pickett after he deposited another eye-wateringly painful performance as the offensive pivot.
“If you want to take care of those chants, just play better. It’s very simple. To me, that goes back to reentering myself. Control what I can control & take it one play at a time”
Spoke to Mitch Trubisky about the Kenny Pickett chants, getting the ball downfield, & his home Ohio pic.twitter.com/d8mrpapP7S
— Taylor Rooks (@TaylorRooks) September 23, 2022
Through three games, the Steelers’ offense has accounted for no more than 17 points (they had a defensive touchdown in Week 1). Trubisky has two passing touchdowns and an interception through three games and he’s 29th in the league with a passer rating of 77.7.
As a result, the Steelers’ offense is amongst the worst in the league. They’re 31st in total offense, which includes the fourth worst passing offense with 182.7 yards per game and the 23rd rushing offense with 90 yards per game.
If there’s a positive for the Steelers, it’s the fact that the AFC North looks to be wide open this season and there’s still everything to play for yet.
The odds and predictions in the article are based on the time of writing and publication. They may differ as to when the actual event takes place.