With Cleveland’s running back helping get the franchise back on track with a win over Baltimore and the Bears picking up a big divisional win thanks to the league’s best defense, we cast our eye of the best bits of gameweek 4 in the NFL.
Running the Browns
The preseason hype surrounding the Cleveland Browns was all about its stars. Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham Jnr and Jarvis Landry were going to rip the league up, but in truth it hasn’t worked out that way. That’s partly down to the form of Mayfield, who’s looked a shell of the impressive rookie he was last year, but in Nick Chubb they have a run game to rival most as his three touchdowns at the weekend proved.
.@NickChubb21's 88-yd TD is his second rush TD of 85+ yards in his last 11 games.— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) September 29, 2019
No other player in the NFL has multiple rush TD of 85+ yards going back to 2016 (2 years before Chubb entered the league).
The offense has spluttered thus far, but thanks to a ferocious defense, they’ve managed to stay in games even if they’ve fallen short. Once Mayfield’s passing clicks into gear, assuming that it will, it should present Chubb withe even more openings than he had this weekend. With Saquon Barkely injured, and Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliot failing to recreate last season’s form, Chubb is as good as anything out there right now.
Blossoming in Buffalo
Mayfield’s struggles in Cleveland are completely at odds with Josh Allen’s blossoming career in Buffalo. If you asked anyone who the best rookie QB was last season it would be a no brainer – Mayfield helped revitalise the Browns, while Allen and Sam Darnold struggled, Lamar Jackson only saw game time towards the end of the season and Josh Rosen did what he could in a horrible Cardinals team.
This season, however, Allen has grown significantly and is leading a Bills side that could well be play-off bound if they can grab a wildcard spot. They matched the Patriots yesterday over a game and only just lost, there’s every chance they could repeat that over the course of a full season and and sneak through.
The Jaguars’ plan to ditch Blake Bortles was a sensible one. Flashes of ability occasionally flickered but he could never quite do enough, even with the defense keeping the franchise in each game. The plan was obviously to let Nick Foles lead the offense but his injury in gameweek one put that plan on hold. Enter Gardner Flint Minshew II.
Minshew MAGIC!— NFL UK (@NFLUK) September 29, 2019
Bringing out the dancing feet! pic.twitter.com/yljcorZu5X
Drafted 178th overall, in the sixth round, the moustachioed-Mississippi man out of Washington State has excelled since his introduction. He completed 22 of 25 passes for 275 yards in his first game against the Chiefs, with a pass completion percentage of 88% – higher than any player making his debut in NFL history – and has since passed for over 200 yards in every game since. Foles might struggle to make the starting back his own, the exact situation he left in Philadelphia.
The NFC North looks about the most competitive division in the league, probably just sneaking ahead of the AFC South. Without a Miami or Washington providing the fodder, and with all teams showing clear weaknesses, it should make for nail-biting stuff all the way until January.
The @ChicagoBears are now 5-1 when scoring fewer than 20 points since 2018.— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) September 30, 2019
The rest of the NFL is 28-186 in such games in that span entering Sunday night.
The Bears, Lions and Vikings all boast great defense, as expected, but the Packers have finally discovered one that’s not far off, if not quite the same, while boasting a quarterback far superior than their rivals. It may be a division with very little flashiness or pizzazzz, but all four are proving tough to beat. This week proved two things: Khalil Mack is worth ever penny of his $141 million contract and the NFC North is wide open.
Gameweek 4 Results:
Baltimore Ravens 25-40 Cleveland Browns
Atlanta Falcons 10-24 Tennessee Titans
Miami Dolphins 10-30 LA Chargers
Indianapolis Colts 24-31 Oakland Raiders
Houston Texans 10-16 Carolina Panthers
Detroit Lions 30-34 Kansas City Chiefs
New York Giants 24-3 Washington Redskins
Buffalo Bills 10-16 New England Patriots
Arizona Cardinals 10-27 Seattle Seahawks
LA Rams 40-55 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Denver Broncos 24-26 Jacksonville Jaguars
Chicago Bears 16-6 Minnesota Vikings
New Orleans Saints v Dallas Cowboys (01:20 BST)
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