NFL Week 4 Overreactions and Reality Checks: Packer Best in NFC? Chiefs best in AFC? Saquon Barkley Best RB?

The NFL is still unpredictable going into the four weeks of the season. The Philadelphia Eagles are the only undefeated team, 4-0, and the Houston Texans are the only team without a win in their first four games. The Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks are 2-2, the same record as the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Chargers — two preseason Super Bowl contenders.

Although the league is still trying to figure out who the contenders and contenders are, there is plenty of overreaction after a Week 4 that saw insane finishes and five games decided by three points. These are the best reactions from each week 4 game and whether those storylines are overreactions or reality.

The Saints were just a stone’s throw away from salvaging their season

Overreaction or reality: reality

It’s hard to be positive about the Saints right now. Andy Dalton, Mark Ingram, Latavius ​​Murray and Taysom Hill occupy the quarterback and three running back spots, with Jameis Winston, Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas absent. That’s an average age of 32.5 across four key positions trusted to lead New Orleans to victory.

That group almost did it as New Orleans erased a 16-7 deficit in the fourth quarter to take a 22-19 lead. Wil Lutz hit a 60-yard field goal to level the game at 25-25, only for the defense to allow six plays for 54 yards in just 27 seconds to give the Vikings a definitive lead.

Lutz was just an inch to the right from forcing extra time from 61 yards out, showing just how desperate the Saints are to win a game. Now New Orleans sits at 1-3 and the win was a ridiculous comeback against the Falcons.

The Saints don’t have what it takes to be a good team. They badly needed this field gate to find their way.

Atlanta can reach the playoffs behind his fast attack

Overreaction or reality: overreaction

The Falcons have rushed for more than 200 yards in two of their four games, but let’s not dig the rabbit hole and make them a playoff team just yet. The Browns were without three of their four starting defensemen (including Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney), allowing backup running backs Tyler Allgeier and Caleb Huntley to ground them for 140 yards.

Atlanta is .500 and a lot better than expected, but the Falcons will be tested against the Buccaneers next week. We’ll see if they can keep the ball rolling with that explosive speed.

The Ravens choke away the AFC North

Overreaction or reality: reality

Baltimore could easily be 4-0 after four weeks. Instead, the Ravens are 2-2 and lost two big leads in the fourth quarter – no less at home.

Sunday was inexcusable as Lamar Jackson threw two interceptions in the fourth quarter and John Harbaugh decided to go fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line in a tie late in the fourth quarter. The result was Jackson’s second stoppage of the game, which saw the Bills use the final 4:09 for Josh Allen to propel them across the field and lead them to victory.

These are games the Ravens need to win. They are in a three-way tie for the AFC North lead despite being expected to control the division.

Dallas can win the NFC East if Cooper Rush starts in the next two weeks

Overreaction or reality: overreaction

What Cooper Rush has accomplished in his three starts is impressive, but the three teams that have beaten the Cowboys in his starts are 6-6 combined. The Commanders and Giants don’t seem to be powerhouses, although the Bengals’ win looks better by the week.

Dallas has one of the best defensive lines in football, the real driving force behind the Cowboys’ success over the past three weeks. Rush will face his biggest test against the Rams and Eagles defense over the next two weeks, a much tougher test than what he saw against Washington and New York.

Splitting up the next two games will keep the Cowboys in business. That win has to be against Philadelphia.

Geno Smith is the Seahawks’ QB for the year

Overreaction or reality: reality

Geno Smith has the highest completion rate of any quarterback (at least 125 attempts) in four games in NFL history. He’s the only player with a 75% completion rate, 1,000 yards and five touchdowns this season and has better stats than Russell Wilson.

Smith is third in the NFL in Passer Rating (108.8) and is one of the main reasons the Seahawks are 2-2 in the NFC West race. He’s the man in Seattle – possibly even after this season if he plays like that.

Overreaction or reality: overreaction

We need to see more of sixth-round rookie Jamaree Salyer against better competition in the left tackle (sorry Texans), but Justin Herbert looked much more comfortable in the bag in his second game since breaking his rib cartilage 17 days ago. The Chargers’ offensive line allowed only one sack and two quarterback hits in the win, as Herbert threw for 340 yards and two touchdowns.

Herbert is getting better every week and the Chargers offensive line will get more continuity, but let’s see how this unit fares against a better pass rush. Sunday was a strong start.

Overreaction or reality: reality

Indianapolis needs Jonathan Taylor to move the chains and control the game to win football games. Taylor had just 20 carries for 42 yards on Sunday as the Indianapolis offense was held to just 17 points.

If Taylor rushes for less than 70 yards, the Colts are 0-2. Tennessee did an excellent job of stuffing Taylor, forcing Indianapolis to look for other ways to move the ball. The result was three turnovers and an average of 1.7 yards per carry despite 365 yards of offense.

The Colts need a strong performance from Taylor to win games, which doesn’t bode well for their playoff chances.

Saquon Barkley is the best running back in football

Overreaction or reality: reality

Through four games, yes. Barkley led the Giants to a tough win over the Bears, rushing 31 times for 146 yards as New York finished with 262 rushing yards against a tough Bears defense. Barkley leads the NFL in rushing yards (463) and is second in the NFL in yards per carry (5.5) among running backs with at least 60 carries.

The argument could be made that Nick Chubb is better, but Barkley plays behind a much worse offensive line. Barkley gets the nod here.

Miles Sanders deserves to get paid this offseason

Overreaction or reality: reality

Sanders showed he was a No. 1 running back in Sunday’s rainy conditions, rushing 27 times for 134 yards and two touchdowns against football’s No. 1 run defense. The Eagles running back runs with conviction and takes what’s given rather than looking for the big game on every carry.

Sanders is third in the NFL in rushing yards (356) and third in yards per carry (4.9) among running backs with at least 60 carries. The Eagles are a key part of the Eagles attack and should pay Sanders as he enters the prime of his career. He fits in perfectly with what Philadelphia is doing on offense.

Overreaction or reality: overreaction

Kenny Pickett’s debut didn’t go as well as expected. Pickett completed 10 of 13 passes for 127 yards and three interceptions when he came on for Mitchell Trubisky in the second half, calming the crowd who wanted him in the game. Pickett was still moving the ball in the second half as the Steelers had 171 yards and 14 points.

The three interceptions doomed Pickett, but he was able to put Pittsburgh in the end zone. Trubisky didn’t do that in his seven possessions on Sunday — against the Jets. Mike Tomlin is scheduled to return to Pickett next week and give him a week’s work with the starters.

Overreaction or reality: overreaction

This would be a reality, but who are the Panthers going to at this rate? There are no better options for Carolina, and Ben McAdoo’s offense just isn’t creative enough to help every player succeed.

Passing stinks everywhere – and Baker Mayfield plays a big part in that. Mayfield completed just 15 of 27 passes for a touchdown and two interceptions when facing four or fewer rushers, a terrible sign for a seasoned quarterback.

Carolina has to ride with Mayfield, but Matt Rhule will likely hit the panic button. His job is already at stake.

The Packers are the best team in the NFC

Overreaction or reality: overreaction

Green Bay will always be in the Super Bowl conversation with Aaron Rodgers as the Packers find ways to win despite their struggles at wide receiver. Allen Lazard makes a big difference in passing and Romeo Doubs becomes a reliable target.

Defense makes key plays, especially keeping the Packers in the game when the offense stutters. Right now, Green Bay’s offense is too inconsistent to be the best in the NFC, especially when battling by a half against a poor Patriots team.

The Packers are a very good team, but there’s still work to be done.

Josh McDaniels needs to go to his star players more

Overreaction or reality: reality

Funny how the Raiders win when Josh McDaniels gives the ball to Josh Jacobs and Davante Adams. Jacobs had 28 carries for 144 yards and two touchdowns when he hit a Broncos defense that looked terrific for the first three weeks. Adams had nine catches for 101 yards on 13 goals.

Giving those two the ball brought first downs (the Raiders were 7 of 14 in third place) and a high-scoring season. Jacobs and Adams are the cash players McDaniels needs to turn the Raiders season around.

The formula worked this week. The Raiders should come back to this.

The Chiefs are the best team in the AFC

Overreaction or reality: reality

No competition here. Kansas City dismantled a Tampa Bay defense that had ended their competition all season and used Patrick Mahomes and his brilliance to take a 41-point lead over the Buccaneers. The Chiefs thought Tampa Bay had the best defense in the league, but they rushed for 189 yards and Mahomes was hit only six times.

The Chiefs lost to the Colts last week through errors, which is uncharacteristic for an Andy Reid team. The Buffalo Bills are definitely in this conversation, but the Chiefs have Mahomes and Reid. That puts Kansas City over the edge.

It’s Kansas City, Buffalo – than any other. NFL Week 4 Overreactions and Reality Checks: Packer Best in NFC? Chiefs best in AFC? Saquon Barkley Best RB?

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