NFL risers and fallers week 3

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Atlanta Falcons running back Todd Gurley, left, and Damontae Kazee walk off the field after losing to the Chicago Bears in an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020 in Atlanta. Photo by Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP.

The Falcons did it again. I know. We don’t need to talk about it. I’m not even a Falcons fan, it’s just that I talked about them last week thinking it couldn’t get any worse but man, I was wrong. It’s getting embarrassing at this point. The only thing worse than being a Falcons fan in 2020 is probably being a Jets fan. I mean, IMAGINE being a Jets fan. *Laughs in sad Jets Fan* 

But anyway, here are the biggest storylines from Week 3. 

Riser: Buffalo Bills 

I really didn’t think the Bills were going to have a good Week 3. I thought the Rams were too good and the Bills’ success was a result of the quality of the opponent they played. Then they went out and threw up 35 on the Rams including a game-winning fourth-quarter drive where they took the lead with just 15 seconds left on the clock. Sure, they only had to have that drive because their defense collapsed and let the Rams come back down from 28-3 (hey Falcons!), but Josh Allen put on his big boy pants and got the job done. 

I still think the other shoe will drop sooner than later with Allen. He’s playing out of his mind right now and I just don’t think he’s really as good as he’s been showing recently, but for now, the Bills look like serious contenders. 

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (19) catches a two point conversion pass from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger with Houston Texans free safety Eric Murray (23) defending during the second half of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020. The Steelers won 28-21. Photo by Gene J. Puskar/AP Photo.

Faller: Houston Texans 

I had such high hopes for the Texans heading into the season. I had even written they could be possible Super Bowl contenders if things went right. Even after two weeks, I was willing to excuse their 0-2 record because they had the misfortune of getting the Chiefs and Ravens in the start of the season. But now, after losing to the Steelers, it’s officially time to hit the panic button in Houston. The defense has not been good. The offense has struggled to find consistency. But most of all, it’s become very clear that Bill O’Brien needs to go. 

After a solid Week 1, David Johnson hasn’t been very good at all, at least not nearly as good as DeAndre Hopkins has been in Arizona. Deshaun Watson has played fine, but he’s clearly struggled with the supporting cast surrounding him. There’s still time, but their schedule doesn’t necessarily get much easier, with games vs. the Packers and Titans coming up in the next four weeks. Of their other two opponents, even the Jaguars have shown signs of life and the Vikings had a solid bounce-back week despite the loss. The Texans are in trouble, and they need to figure out how to get out of it fast. 

Riser: Nick Foles 

I know I said I wasn’t going to talk about the Falcons, and I won’t. This is about Foles. The former Super Bowl MVP turned $22 million QB turned back up to Gardner Minshew and then Mitch Trubisky has found his way back into a starting role. After Trubisky struggled (shocking, I know), the Bears turned to Foles to lead a comeback, and he did just that. Sure, he threw that interception in the endzone on his first drive, but that was more a result of Allen Robinson getting manhandled by a man three inches shorter than him. From that point on, he would go on to lead three touchdown drives in five attempts and end his day with a line of 16/29 for 188 yards, three touchdowns and that one interception. 

Now a surprising 3-0, the Bears might actually be able to make some noise this season. With Trubisky officially no longer at the helm, their chances increase dramatically in my eyes. Sure, Foles isn’t a world-beater, but he proved on Sunday he still has what it takes to lead a team to wins. I’m very intrigued to see where this Chicago team goes now that Foles has the keys. 

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) runs off the field after losing to the Green Bay Packers in an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020. Green Bay won 37-30. Photo by Butch Dill/AP Photo.

Faller: Drew Brees 

You know it really is a crazy time when Nick Foles is on the rise and Drew Brees is on the fall, but I guess that’s 2020 for you. And you know what, I guess each of them have only won one Super Bowl, so who’s to say which one has the better career? (Brees. It’s Brees.) The Saints have a problem though, and it’s that Brees for the first time in his career looks to be seriously hindered by his age. We have seen signs for a bit now, but it was never enough to hold them back. They’ve still been perennial Super Bowl contenders the last couple of years. 

What we saw from Brees Sunday night was concerning though. Don’t let the stat line fool you — 29/36 for 288 yards, three touchdowns and no picks looks like a good line. And you know what, it was a good line. Brees didn’t play horribly. However, nearly half of his yards and two of the touchdowns came from Alvin Kamara making things happen after a pass one of the offensive linemen could have made. Most concerning of all — he apparently just can’t throw downfield anymore. Per Next Gen Stats, Brees was second-to-last in average intended air yards in Week 3, only behind Teddy Bridgewater. I just don’t know how the Saints can be contenders with a quarterback who can’t consistently throw more than 30-yards downfield. If they do win it all, the NFL will have no choice but to give  Kamara the MVP. 

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