The Check-down Check-up (2021): Week Three

NFC North

Green Bay Packers

The Pack got themselves back on track this week, even if the Lions did punch them in the mouth to begin with. Parts of their offense still feels disjointed, but with Aaron Jones as a reliable option in the run game, they’re able to keep themselves balanced. But that being said, I don’t see them beating the 49ers this week. It’ll be close, for sure, but I don’t love their chances.

Verdict: 6.75/10, Check Back Next Week

Chicago Bears

I’ll be honest, Justin Fields didn’t look great. That being said, he’s a rookie who was thrust into a game he was told he wouldn’t be playing in. Against the Browns next week, I’m interested to see if he gets his first start, and if he can improve even a little bit off of his week two performance. The Bears were gifted this win by Joe Burrow’s three straight interceptions, and I don’t feel great about their chances against the Browns in week three, but hey, they could always surprise me.

Verdict: 5.5/10, Check Back Next Week

Detroit Lions

The Lions feel like they’re on the verge of something, but I’m not exactly sure what that something is. In week one, they almost clawed all the way back to shock the 49ers but couldn’t get the job done. In week two, they punched the Packers in the mouth to start the game before fizzling out in the second half. If this team can put together a full football game, they can win a few here and there, despite not being all that talented. I don’t see a win coming soon for Detroit, but I almost have to believe they’ll pull one out somewhere.

Verdict: 4.5/10, Check Back Next Week

Minnesota Vikings

This always happens to the Vikings, and no one should be surprised. I know I’m not.

Verdict: 1.75/10, Check Down

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys featuring Tony Pollard is something that I didn’t know I needed. This team was every bit as impressive in this game, as the Chargers were disappointing. Dak Prescott can still sling it, but we knew that last week too. What I’m really impressed by is the versatility of Micah Parsons in this Dallas defense. The unit as a whole still needs a lot of work, but Parsons is clearly a lynchpin to build around as the Cowboys try to rebuild the defense. They’ll be hosting the Eagles in the home opener this week, and I’ll take them to win it.

Verdict: 6.75/10, Check Back Next Week

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles couldn’t answer my challenge on Sunday, but Jalen Hurts did impress. I really think Philly has something here, but a visit to Dallas under the bright lights of Jerryworld on Monday night will be a real test of Hurts and the entire Eagles squad. Despite my faith in their quarterback, I picked the Eagles to be dreadfully bad this year, and I think this game is where it starts to show.

Verdict: 4/10, Check Down

Washington Football Team

You guys had me so scared for a second there. Thank you for saving me from talking about the New York Giants. That being said, I don’t like your chances against Buffalo this week.

Verdict: 7/10, Check Up

New York Giants

“Boring 
Everything is boring 
And every day’s the same 
Every day’s exactly the same”

-“Boring,” by The Brobecks

Verdict: 1/10, Check Down

NFC South

New Orleans Saints

And to think, I said the Titans were a Jekyll and Hyde team. The Saints looked like total world-beaters last week, and then came out and laid an egg against the Panthers in an important divisional game. Jameis went back to being an interception-prone quarterback and the entire offense just looked messy and disjointed. Even Alvin Kamara struggled mightily to the tune of eight attempts, good for five yards. Not sure I love them against the Pats this week, but it’s a toss-up they should be able to handle.

Verdict: 8.75/10, Check Up

Atlanta Falcons

Arthur Smith is not the coaching fit for this team. Sure, I know they’ve only played two games under him, but something about the fit just feels wrong for Atlanta. Not to mention, they played a very opportunistic Bucs defense and got unlucky with tipped passes, which is a recipe for implosion when you’re the less talented team. That being said, I think I like them to take down the New York Giants in week three.

Verdict: 1/10, Check Down

Carolina Panthers

The Sam Darnold reclamation project is going great so far, and next week, he’ll be taking on the Texans defense. I like Carolina to win this one, although I don’t feel confident with locking it in. Every so often, they’ll have a hiccup or two and cost themselves a drive, which in turn, could cost them the game. More than anything, I’m interested to see how long Matt Rhule can keep Darnold’s turnover problems reined in.

Verdict: 6.25/10, Check Back Next Week

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tom Brady’s not getting any younger, but he might as well not be getting any older either. The GOAT still looks like the GOAT, and with reports coming out that he’d like to play until he’s 50 if it’s possible, he must love the way his body and mind feel right now. As a football fan, I’m really looking forward to the Buccaneers/Rams game this week, and I’m completely floored that it’s not a nationally televised game. I won’t even bother making a pick in this one, let’s all just enjoy it.

Verdict: 9.5/10, Check Up

NFC West

Seattle Seahawks

I’ll take the Seahawks as my lock this week. It’s a little risky, considering how their game ended against the Titans, but I think that Russell Wilson alone might be too much for the Vikings to handle. The NFC West is a bloodbath, and Seattle has to keep up. They’ll do anything to win this game, and I’m saying they get it done.

Verdict: 10/10, Check Up (LOCK)

Los Angeles Rams

We’re two weeks in, but I know it in my heart. I locked in the Packers as my Super Bowl pick, so I can’t make it official, but I think this team is going to the Super Bowl. And if they can handle the Bucs this week? Book it.

Verdict: 9.5/10, Check Up

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers got a scare this week as the Eagles gave them all they could handle, but Shanahan’s squad prevailed by a weird score of 17-11. It feels like the 49ers and the Packers play every year in a night game, and this season is no different. Against Green Bay, I think I like San Francisco to take home a win, but this one feels like it could swing either way on a single play. I’m watching this division very closely, and no team can afford to drop even a single game. I don’t think the 49ers blink this week, and they keep pace.

Verdict: 9/10, Check Down

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals look like one of the best teams in the NFC right now, and Kyler Murray is playing like an MVP candidate. This team might not be suited for a deep playoff run right now, especially not with the current coaching staff, but there’s definitely something here. They will almost certainly beat the Jaguars this week, and a 3-0 start is exactly what this team needs to have a shot at taking the crown in the best division in football. This Arizona team is so much fun, I hope it’s not a mirage.

Verdict: 9.25/10, Check Up

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