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

NFC North

Green Bay Packers

This was a classic Aaron Rodgers game, and a classic Aaron Rodgers final drive. Everyone in the stadium knew that Rodgers was going to strike with just :37 left on the clock, but it was still a masterclass to watch the Packers offense at work during that drive. My Super Bowl pick is back on track, and I like them to beat Pittsburgh pretty easily this week.

Verdict: 7.75/10, Check Back Next Week

Chicago Bears

I’m not mad that the Bears are bad. We always knew that the Bears could be bad, but Justin Fields could still be fun to watch. The problem with this coaching staff is that during his short number of appearances, they’ve made Justin Fields no longer fun to watch. There’s no creativity in this offense, and with that line protecting him, the beating will continue until Chicago’s scheming improves.

Verdict: 4.5/10, Check Back Next Week

Detroit Lions

Justin Tucker has made a habit of terrorizing the Lions, and this week, he hit an NFL record 66-yard field goal to put the Ravens over the top in a game that the Lions controlled throughout. Even still, the Lions can’t keep losing like this forever, and there’s so much potential in Detroit that feels like it’s waiting to break through. With Dan Campbell’s aggressiveness, I actually like them to beat the Bears this coming week.

Verdict: 4/10, Check Down

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings have a potent air attack, but their defense leaves so much to be desired. Minnesota managed to beat the Seahawks this past week, in a game where Kirk Cousins and the offense played extremely well. I’m interested to see if it’s replicable, but for this week, I don’t think they’re beating the Browns.

Verdict: 3/10, Check Down

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys meticulously dissected the Eagles on Monday Night Football in yet another installment of their primetime rivalry. Dallas has greatly impressed on offense this year, and while their defense isn’t perfectly, it has certainly improved since last season. The Panthers should be no match for them this week without Christian McCaffrey, but with the resurgence of Sam Darnold, I’m not confident enough to lock it in.

Verdict: 7.5/10, Check Up

Philadelphia Eagles

As I predicted, Philly’s lack of talent has started to show. Frequent readers of this column will know that I’m a big fan of Jalen Hurts, but the former Sooner can’t do it by himself. It also doesn’t help that they’ll be facing a very angry Chiefs team this week. I think this one could get ugly, and fast.

Verdict: 3/10, Check Down

Washington Football Team

Washington has had a rough schedule to start this season, and as the division winner from last year, this was to be expected. Fortunately, my dark horse playoff pick has games against the Falcons and Saints before their massive matchup with the Chiefs in week six. I almost picked this game as my lock, simply because the Falcons are really bad, but there’s some doubt in my mind about Washington’s offense.

Verdict: 6.25/10, Check Back Next Week

New York Giants

That about sums it up, folks.

Verdict: 0.75/10, Check Down

NFC South

New Orleans Saints

The Saints’ Jekyll and Hyde season continues as New Orleans dominated the Patriots this past weekend. They should be able to keep their composure against the Giants this week, and I don’t want to have to talk about that team, so I’ll be openly rooting for them to take down New York. Is that unfair? Maybe. But hey, I’m a fan too.

Verdict: 9/10, Check Up

Atlanta Falcons

This game was hilarious. A banged up Falcons team walked into MetLife Stadium, on Eli Manning Day, in front of a hostile crowd in New York City, and walked out with a win at the buzzer. I still have very little faith in the Falcons, and they didn’t show me much in this game outside of an ability to beat the Giants of all teams, but this was definitely the funniest win of the week.

Verdict: 2.5/10, Check Down

Carolina Panthers

Sam Darnold’s looking great, the Panthers are 3-0, everything’s coming up silver and blue. I’m very proud of this team, and as a vocal Sam Darnold hater, I can no longer deny the work he’s doing with Carolina. But still, they have a tall task ahead of them this week in the form of stopping the Dallas offense. I don’t feel comfortable in saying there’s a huge chance for them to win here.

Verdict: 7/10, Check Up

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers getting blown out in this game was not the outcome I expected. And yes, at this point, any double-digit loss is a blowout for this team. Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp ripped Tampa to shreds in week three, and it seemed like every time the Bucs thought they had the answers, LA changes the questions. But still, it’s Brady and the Bucs. I can’t knock them too much.

Verdict: 8.75/10, Check Up

NFC West

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks let the Vikings break my lock this past week, and that simply cannot be forgiven. A loss this early in the season, in this tough of a division, is massive for Seattle. Next up, they’ve got the 49ers, and right now, I haven’t seen a lot from the ‘Hawks that tells me they can win this game, at least not easily. I think this game will tell us a lot about the Seahawks, and starting out 2-2 in the NFC West is already pretty damning.

Verdict: 7.25/10, Check Up

Los Angeles Rams

The Los Angeles Rams are going to win the Super Bowl.

Verdict: 10/10, Check Up

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers should have won this game, and against maybe 28 of the 31 teams in the NFL, they do win this game. The problem is that Aaron Rodgers exists, is good at football, and constantly has it out for the San Francisco 49ers. Ain’t no grave can hold the Packers down, and Kyle Shanahan made the critical mistake of leaving time left on the clock for Green Bay to go down and score.

Verdict: 8/10, Check Up

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona didn’t blink, and they took care of business in the fourth quarter against the Jags. Yes, it was closer than it needed to be, and Jacksonville even had a nine-point lead late in the third quarter, but a win is a win and the Cardinals just keep winning. And wouldn’t you know it, they’re on a collision course with the unbeaten Rams. Something’s gotta give, and while the Cardinals might be great, I like the Rams in this one.

Verdict: 9.5/10, Check Up

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