Dominant debuts, role reversals and historic upsets make up the third week of the 2018 NFL season
|Minnesota Vikings||6||27||Buffalo Bills|
The Bills, who were winless entering Sunday’s game in Minnesota, closed as consensus 17-point underdogs to the previously unbeaten Vikings. They are the 15th underdog of 17 or more points to win a game in the Super Bowl era and the largest underdog to pull off an upset since the Washington Redskins knocked off the Dallas Cowboys 24-17 as 17.5-point underdogs on Dec. 3, 1995.
|Houston Texans||22||27||New York Giants|
Eli Manning threw for 297 yards and two touchdowns and rookie Saquon Barkley added a score as the New York Giants got their first win with a 27-22 victory over the struggling Houston Texans on Sunday.
The Giants (1-2) were up by 14 at halftime but had trouble moving the ball in the second half and the Texans (0-3) had cut the lead to five before Manning threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Sterling Shepard with about two minutes left.
|Washington Redskins||31||17||Green Bay Packers|
On a rain-soaked field, the Green Bay Packers managed to somehow be worse than the weather in the nation’s capital Sunday.
Though they recovered some in the second half, there was no miraculous comeback this week. The Packers lost 31-17 at Washington, dropping to 1-1-1.
Similar to their opener, the Packers found themselves with a big halftime deficit (28-10) because of sloppy defence and listless offence. They gave up only three points in the second half, but no team — even a team with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback — can consistently come back from such significant holes.
|Kansas City Chiefs||38||27||San Francisco 49ers|
On Sunday, the Chiefs hosted the 49ers in their first home game of the season. They KO’d the 49ers in the first half, leaping out to a 28-point lead and eventually settling for a comfortable 38-27 win that pushed their record to 3-0 while dropping the 49ers to 1-2.
After leading the Chiefs to road wins over the Chargers and Steelers by throwing 10 touchdowns and zero interceptions, Mahomes lit up the 49ers for 314 yards, three touchdowns, no picks, and an 115.5 passer rating. Through three games, Mahomes has now thrown for 13 touchdowns. That’s an NFL record.
|Miami Dolphins||28||20||Oakland Raiders|
For the third time in as many games, the Oakland Raiders blew a second-half lead and lost with a fourth-quarter collapse after a strong offensive start.
The 28-20 defeat, a game in which the Raiders led 17-7 in the third quarter, dropped Oakland to 0-3, leaving coach Jon Gruden winless in his return to the sideline. Gruden has also lost his past seven games as a head coach, dating back to December 2008 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Raiders have also lost seven straight, dating to last season — all with a suddenly dangerous and motivated Hue Jackson-led Cleveland Browns coming to Oakland next week.
|Philadelphia Eagles||20||16||Indianapolis Colts|
Carson Wentz had his ups and downs in his first start since last season’s torn ACL, but the Eagles defence came up big in the red zone several times and the Eagles are 2-1 after a 20-16 home win on Sunday.
Andrew Luck had a chance for his first comeback win since returning from a serious shoulder injury of his own, but he fired a pair of incompletions into the end zone before a Derek Barnett sack on fourth down ended a drive on the 4-yard-line.
|Jacksonville Jaguars||6||9||Tennessee Titans|
The Jaguars had some missed opportunities combined with untimely turnovers on Sunday and it cost them as they fell to the Tennessee Titans 9-6 in an AFC South division showdown in Jacksonville. It was the Jaguars’ first loss at TIAA Bank Field since October 15, 2017, ending a streak of seven straight wins at the stadium.
The Jaguars couldn’t take advantage of playing at home and missed a chance to sit alone atop the AFC South division. Instead, they share the top spot tied with the Titans. Both teams have a 2-1 record.
|Carolina Panthers||31||21||Cincinnati Bengals|
The Panthers went into Sunday’s game without a lot of expectations. The Bengals were 2-0 coming into Sunday’s matchup and on paper had an advantage on both offence and defence. The Bengals front four were supposed to feast on the Panthers’ patchwork offensive line, and the Panthers defence wasn’t expected to do much against the duo of Andy Dalton and A.J. Green.
However, Christian McCaffrey was simply unstoppable as he carved up the Bengals defenders like a hot knife through butter all afternoon.
The Panthers head into the bye week with a 2-1 record and should be confident in their ability to compete with anyone after that performance.
|Baltimore Ravens||27||14||Denver Broncos|
Penalties may have killed the Broncos on Sunday, but a complete lack of leadership is the reason why the team committed those fouls.
When Denver’s loss was completed in Baltimore, there were 13 penalties, including a 12-men in the huddle call with the Broncos at the Ravens six-yard line, for 120 yards.
One massive penalty for the Broncos came on the field goal block and touchdown, calling that score back due to a block in the back call. Denver’s offence couldn’t move the ball down and into the end zone, having to punt, therefore meaning that penalty was a seven-point difference for Denver.
Then, the personal foul that ejected Phillip Lindsay from the game for throwing three punches — he said he was punching the ball — was yet another penalty showing a lack of leadership.
|Atlanta Falcons||37||43||New Orleans Saints|
The Saints beat the Falcons, 43-37, in overtime on Sunday. The Falcons entered the game as the favourites to win, but the Saints scored a touchdown with less than three minutes left in overtime.
Drew Brees had a huge game. Not only did he surpass Brett Favre to become the NFL career completions leader, but he also scored two rushing touchdowns, including the game winner, and threw for three others. Brees finished 39-of-49 for 396 yards.
Matt Ryan was impressive for the Falcons. He went 26-of-35 for 374 yards and five touchdowns. He surpassed Joe Montana for the most touchdowns scored against New Orleans in NFL history.
|Los Angeles Rams||35||23||Los Angeles Chargers|
For the first time in more than a decade, the Los Angeles Rams are off to a 3-0 start. They knocked off the Chargers by 12 points on Sunday at the Coliseum, winning what turned into a shootout of sorts, 35-23.
The game was much more lopsided than the score indicated with the Rams putting up 521 total yards of offence. Though injuries were suffered, it was a successful Sunday in L.A.
|Arizona Cardinals||14||16||Chicago Bears|
It took four years and virtually an entire turnover of front office, coaching staff and roster, but the Bears are back on top of the NFC North early in a season.
Coach Matt Nagy said last week that he’d seen how his team responded to a tough loss, shrugging off the collapse in Green Bay and rebounding to defeat Seattle. His next horizon was to see how his team responded to a victory, with an added mini-payoff of climbing ahead of the Packers and Minnesota Vikings.
The Bears (2-1) took the field against the Cardinals with a chance to move into first place in the NFC North, shook off early issues on both sides of the football and won for the second straight week with a 16-14 comeback win over the Arizona Cardinals (0-3).
|Seattle Seahawks||24||13||Dallas Cowboys|
The Cowboys came into Seattle in a matchup filled with emotion but ending in a dud. Dallas lost to the Seahawks 24-13 in a game where the Cowboys had countless mistakes that doomed their chances at getting their first road win of the season, falling to 1-2 on the season.
|Detroit Lions||26||10||New England Patriots|
To say Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was not impressed with his team’s effort against the Detroit Lions Sunday night would be an understatement.
“We’re not scoring a lot of points,” Brady said after New England’s 26-10 loss.
“We’re not executing well enough on a down-by-down basis, certainly not on a high level that we should have our expectations set at.”
After falling to both the Lions in Week 3 and the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2, the Patriots have lost back-to-back games by double-digits for the first time since December 2002. Sunday’s defeat also put the team two games out of first place in the AFC East for the first time since 2002.