Each week this season, OutKick will get you primed for an NFL Sunday on the couch by telling you which games deserve the most attention. For Week 3, here we go...
NFL Games Worth Watching From Opening Kick Until Final Whistle
For some reason, the only people who don't believe this is the Game of the Week are the executives at CBS who are sending their "C" NFL crew and only giving this game to 20% of the country. Lunacy.
For the rest of us, OutKick's Armando Salguero wrote a detailed piece on why this is obviously the Game of the Week, which you can read this morning.
Main storyline: There's not much that needs to be said, is there? While we say it every season, it feels like this legitimately could be the final showdown between Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady -- at least in the regular season. According to our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook, the Bucs are the favorites to win the NFC and the Packers have the third-shortest odds -- trailing only the Philadelphia Eagles.
So, yeah. We have two sure-fire Hall of Fame quarterbacks -- on two of the best teams in the NFC --battling it out on a Sunday afternoon for what could be the final time. Sign me up.
Main storyline: This is the ultimate battle between two quarterbacks who could not be more different. Why? Because one of them is beloved by his teammates who are so thankful that he's back. The other is completely insufferable and most likely hated in the locker room. I'll let you figure out which is which, and just submit these two examples.
Coming off a horrible and boring Sunday Night Football contest between the Packers and the Bears, NBC gets itself a much better matchup here. Jimmy G is back and that immediately makes the 49ers a better team. Russell Wilson is annoying, but after two anemic offensive performances to start his Broncos career, I have faith they'll come out slinging it in this one. This game should be fun. Let's Ride!
Games To Flip To During Commercials Of Better Games
Main Storyline: Fun is going to be a theme throughout this piece because that's what football is supposed to be, fun! Lamar Jackson is fun. Watching the Dolphins drop 28 on the Ravens defense in the fourth quarter to beat Lamar Jackson was also fun. Well, fun for us. I imagine it wasn't much fun for Lamar.
Either way, the Ravens are a fun team but unfortunately the Patriots are not. Mac Jones and the New England offense are vanilla and boring. They're averaging just 12 points/game. Jones is basically who we thought he was: a perfectly average NFL quarterback. So, we have a fun team against a boring team, which makes this a perfectly average NFL game.
Main Storyline: Speaking of offense, this game should be full of it. The Commanders have allowed 58 points in two games against the Jaguars and Lions. Neither team is exactly an offensive juggernaut. The Eagles, though, appear to be exactly that. Jalen Hurts is currently the third-favorite to win the NFL MVP at DraftKings, trailing only Josh Allen and the aforementioned Lamar Jackson.
The Eagles defense was dominant last week, but that was partially due to facing Primetime Kirk Cousins. The Eagles allowed the Lions to drop 35 points on them, one fewer than Washington allowed against the same Jared Goff-led offense. Points should be aplenty in this one. And that, my friends, is fun.
Main Storyline: This game nearly got the bump into the top tier because of Kyler Murray alone. What he did last week was pure lunacy, leading the Cardinals back from a certain 0-2 start to beat the Raiders in overtime. You want to talk about two teams heading in opposite directions based on their most recent half of football? The Cards trailed 20-0 at halftime last week and proceeded to outscore Las Vegas 29-3 the rest of the game.
The Rams, meanwhile, jumped out to a huge lead -- as expected -- over the bottom-dwelling Atlanta Falcons. But just when it seemed like the game was pretty much over, Atlanta came roaring back and had an opportunity to win the game. But a bad Marcus Mariota interception allowed LA to escape with a victory -- along with thousands of survivor pools. The Rams led 21-3 at the half and 28-10 after three quarters before barely squeaking by with a 31-27 victory.
So, which Rams team will we see? The defending Super Bowl champs who dominated three quarters of football? Or the one that nearly gave it away to one of the three worst teams in the NFL? How about on the other side: first half Cardinals with a terrible Kyler Murray who got shut out? Or the offense led by the Kyler Murray who did this:
I Guess It's OK If These Games Show Up On NFL RedZone
Main Storyline: You may be wondering why a game between two 0-2 teams is featured in a middle tier. I'm a sucker for a good desperation game. And this, folks, is the ultimate desperation bowl. Both teams were expected to be contenders in their respective divisions and one of them is leaving Week 3 at 0-3. And 0-3 teams almost never make the playoffs. Yes, there are now 17 games in the season, which makes it a little easier to do. But only six teams have made the playoffs in the modern NFL era after starting 0-3.
The Raiders face far more pressure than the Titans, though. Tennessee is in a division with Houston, Indianapolis and Jacksonville -- the entire AFC South has combined for one victory. So, it's conceivable that dropping to 0-3 wouldn't be a death knell. For Las Vegas though, the Chiefs are one of the NFL favorites, the Chargers are extremely good (as long as Justin Herbert is healthy) and even the Broncos are going to be better than they started. An 0-3 start practically eliminated the Raiders. Not mathematically, of course, only the New York Jets are capable of being mathematically eliminated by Week 3. And even they already have a win this season.
Main Storyline: According to CBS, this is the game of the week. They're sending Tony Romo and Jim Nantz and delivering this game to more than half the country. The likely reason is that this was decided well in advance, when Colts-Chiefs seemed like a marquee matchup. Right now, it's the opposite of that. The Colts have been one of -- if not the -- worst teams in the NFL through two weeks. The Chiefs have been one of the best. This is a mismatch of epic proportions.
If not for a 17-point fourth quarter against Houston in Week 1, the Colts would be 0-2. They were shutout last week by the Jacksonville Jaguars. It was the first shutout for the Jacksonville defense since 2018 when they pitched a Week 13 shutout against ... the Colts. This one could get ugly.
Main Storyline: Kirk Cousins is coming off a terrible performance on Monday night against the Eagles, but he always struggles in primetime. This is his sweet spot: Sunday afternoon against the Lions. Cousins is 7-2 against Detroit with a 19-2 TD-INT ratio. Expect a bounce back from him and star wide receiver Justin Jefferson.
The Lions have actually been pretty exciting this season. Amon-Ra St. Brown is emerging into a legitimate superstar and the Lions have scored at least 35 points in both games this season. While the teams in the matchup aren't sexiest squads on the slate, the over/under for this game is set at 53 at DraftKings, which is the highest total on the entire Week 3 schedule. Stop me if you've heard this before but scoring and touchdowns are fun. Actually, you can't really stop me. You could try, I suppose.
Main Storyline: This ranking depends entirely on the health of Chargers QB Justin Herbert. If he doesn't play and Los Angeles has to start career backup Chase Daniel, this game becomes a lot less interesting. Although, I still have it above the absolute worst games of the day simply because of Trevor Lawrence. He is proving that last year's performance was likely 90% Urban Meyer and a complete lack of weapons. Although the team certainly overpaid to lure wide receiver Christian Kirk in free agency, so far it seems to be working. And with Travis Etienne healthy now and James Robinson recovered from his own injury this offense is becoming kinda ... fun.
If You're A Fan Of These Teams, I Guess You Might Care. But I Don't (Except I Actually Do This Week)
Main Storyline: Full disclosure here: I picked the Bengals in my survivor pool and my dad is a big-time, lifelong Bengals fan. I know we're supposed to set our biases aside, but I just cannot put the Bengals in the bottom tier. Yes, they've been bad. Yes, they're playing Joe Flacco and the New York Jets.
So, yeah, on paper not the best matchup. But as I said earlier I am a sucker for desperation, and there is arguably no NFL team more desperate than Cincinnati. This game belongs in the second-to-last tier, which for me generally includes games I don't care about. But, admittedly, I care about this game. I am worried for my dad's mental health if the Bengals fall to 0-3 by losing to the Jets. Selfish, I know. I also would like to stay alive in my survivor pool. And Joe Burrow is my fantasy quarterback. I also have Michael Carter and Garrett Wilson.
Guys, I'm going to be honest: I might watch this entire game. It's only this far down for you all. I compromised: I put it way down the page but then explained why I care way too much about this mediocre game. But hey, who's even still reading about this game at this point? Probably only my dad. Who Dey!
If These NFL Games Show Up On My TV, I'm Punting It Off My Back Deck
Main Storyline: On paper, this is one of the worst conceivable NFL matchups across this entire season. I'm not exaggerating.
Passing is fun. Scoring is fun. The Chicago Bears are not fun. They have thrown just 28 passes THIS SEASON. Despite trailing for the entirety of the game last week against the Packers, they attempted just 11 passes. It's like they're actively trying to lose and be super boring while doing it. The Bears average 76.5 passing yards per game, which is less than HALF of the next-lowest team (the Giants average 159 pass yards/game). I get it, if Justin Fields were my quarterback, I'd throw as little as possible, too. But even this borders on the NFL's version of malpractice.
On the other side, you have an offense led by Davis Mills. I will say more, even though I probably don't have to. The Texans haven't scored a touchdown in their past six quarters (counting the full overtime period against the Colts). Their last TD was scored at the 7:16 mark of the third in Week 1. That means it's been over an hour-and-a-half of football since they last reached the endzone (92 minutes and 44 seconds, to be exact). Did I mention that scoring and touchdowns are fun? The Houston Texans are not fun.
I know my tiers are tongue-in-cheek, but I might literally punt my TV off the back deck if I were forced to watch this abomination.
Main Storyline: I buried this game at the bottom of the page for a reason. I can't find any redeeming qualities. Well, that's not true. I'm an NFL junkie and can find reasons to watch a game. Drake London is off to a good start in his NFL career and Kyle Pitts cannot continue to be ignored. So, there's some intrigue with the Atlanta offense. Seattle is legitimately the worst team in the NFL, despite what their head coach may believe. According to DraftKings, these two teams are tied for the worst odds to win the NFC. Yeah, it's that bad. And for those reasons, I'm out.