The Colts are a Subpar Team on Both Sides of the Ball
Many people, including myself, thought the Colts were primed for a breakout season in 2021 with the addition of Carson Wentz to a roster stocked with talent. However, they’ve fallen flat on their faces so far in 2021 for a multitude of reasons. Wentz missed significant time in camp dealing with a foot injury and Covid issues, while All Pro LG Quenton Nelson missed significant time of his own due to a back injury. LT Eric Fisher is still recovering from an Achilles injury that ended his season late in 2020, and RT Braden Smith has missed the last two games with injuries of his own. All Pro LB Darius Leonard, the glue that holds Indy’s defense together, says he’s still fighting through pain following an ankle surgery in the offseason, and that pain is not likely to subside as the season progresses. Xavier Rhodes made his season debut in Week 3 against the Titans.
The Colts rank 25 in the league in yards per play, 28 in the league in yards per play allowed, 27 in offensive DVOA and 21 in defensive DVOA. They are scoring touchdowns in red zone trips at just a 37% clip (29th in the league) and are converting on 3rd downs at just a 36% clip (21st in the league).
Time is a Flat Circle and the Steelers Offense is Unexplosive and One-Dimensional
With a completely new offensive line, the Steelers continue to lack explosiveness on the offensive side of the ball. Ben Roethlisberger moves around the pocket like Mr. Potato Head – he tripped over a blade of grass and threw an interception to a defensive tackle 3 yards in front of him against the Bengals on Sunday. Ben targeted RB Najee Harris 19 times, while Harris has led a rushing attack that ranks dead last in the league with just 53 yards of rushing per game. TJ Watt missed the second half of the Steelers’ Week 3 matchup with the Raiders, and Derek Carr passed for 263 yards and a TD on 16-21 attempts as a result. If Watt’s groin injury continues to linger in October, the Steelers’ defense is going to struggle to serve as a deodorant that will cover up the train wreck that is their offense.
Zach Wilson is Doomed in Jets Offense
Zach Wilson has been sacked 15 times through three weeks and is under pressure on 12.5% of his dropbacks so far in 2021. He’s also been sacked on 33.6% of his dropbacks, worst in the NFL. Wilson has a 55% completion percentage thus far in his NFL career, and Mekhi Becton is out for another several weeks at left tackle. The Jets have zero run game to support Wilson and balance the offense, while Wilson has had a tendency to hold the ball too long and has shown poor footwork in the pocket through three weeks. Considering the Jets have faced the Panthers, Broncos and Patriots in the first three weeks of the season and you may think that Wilson has room to grow as a rookie, but the Jets have looked completely overmatched in Brian Lafleur’s first season as an offensive coordinator with a rookie quarterback and miserable offensive line.
Washington’s Defense is not Elite
The Washington Football Team was heralded as a team that was going to compete for the NFC East title due to the tenacity of their front 7, but the defensive unit as a whole has done nothing to support the lofty expectations placed upon them in the offseason. They rank 29 in defensive DVOA through three weeks and have allowed 307 yards of passing per game, also good for 29th in the league. The front 7 has succeeded in generating pressure on opposing quarterbacks, but the team’s decision to reshuffle the secondary in the offseason has not paid dividends through three weeks. They released Justin Moreland, who played 518 snaps in 2020, in a surprise decision in an effort to move into a scheme more focused on man-to-man defense. They also signed William Jackson III and moved Kendall Fuller to the slot after he had a career year on the outside. Jackson has drawn several key penalties, while Fuller looks lost in his new role in the slot previously occupied by Moreland. Landon Collins has earned a 54.1 PFF grade through three games, while rookie third-round pick Benjamin St-Juste has played 70% of the team’s snaps.
The Eagles are not a Contender in the NFC East
With a new coach and a quarterback who’s started only seven games, the Eagles are squarely in the midst of a reset in offensive philosophy. Prior to the season opener against the Falcons, no one was bullish on the Eagles’ chances to contend in the NFC in 2021 with a rookie head coach and a quarterback who’s started only seven games. A 32-6 drumming of the Atlanta Falcons, who rank 32 in the league in defensive DVOA through three weeks, inflated expectations immensely for Philly. Those expectations came crashing down to earth after consecutive losses to legitimate NFC contenders in Weeks 2 and 3 at the hands of the 49ers and Cowboys. The Eagles looked severely outmatched on offense against Dallas on Monday Night Football and are now dealing with injuries to RG Brandon Brooks and LG Isaac Seumalo. Brooks is out for several weeks with a pectoral injury, while Seumalo’s season is over after suffering a Lisfranc injury on Monday night. Hurts has showed flashes of a player who can develop into an effective quarterback down the line, but he’s struggled to hit open receivers on routine routes and threw a pick 6 after staring down Devonta Smith on the opening drive of the second half against Dallas. The Eagles will compete, but do not have the offensive firepower to win a boat race against upcoming opponents Chiefs, Bucs, Raiders and Chargers over the next 6 weeks.