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Overreaction Tuesday - It's All About Puka

From House Enterprise, and inspired by Rich Eisen, I’m introducing “Overreaction Tuesday.” Every Tuesday throughout the NFL season, I will overreact to what I deem the biggest storyline to come from the prior weekend’s games across the league, that includes Thursday, Sunday, and Monday.

In the NFL, the stories and narratives change every single week. The bottom line is that it’s a long season (five months from Week 1 to the Super Bowl to be exact) and we don’t know how it’s going to end. All we can do is overreact to the most recent data, so let’s do that.


Week 4 - September 28-October 2, 2023

Detroit Lions 34 (3-1) @ Green Bay Packers 20 (2-2)

Overreaction: The Detroit Lions hype train is real and they are well on their way to winning the NFC North. The Lions blew the brakes off the Packers on Thursday Night Football, winning 34-20 and it wasn’t nearly that close. Detroit QB Jared Goff threw an interception on the third play of the game which resulted in a Packers field goal. From there, it was 27 unanswered points from the Lions en route to a 27-3 halftime lead. From there, Green Bay never got closer than 10. Detroit is 7th in the NFL in total points scored and 13th in points allowed. Last season, the Lions were efficient on offense and among the worst on defense. With second-year Defensive End Aiden Hutchinson leading the way, the Lions defense is significantly more formidable early this season. If they keep it going, there’s a changing of the guard coming in the NFC North.


Atlanta Falcons 7 (2-2) @ Jacksonville Jaguars 23 (2-2) - London

Overreaction: By the end of the season, maybe sooner, both Arthur Smith and Desmond Ridder will be out of Atlanta. The Falcons have some of the best offensive weapons in the NFL, at least on paper. Rookie Running Back Bijan Robinson was selected 8th overall in this year’s draft. Tight End Kyle Pitts is the highest selected tight end of all time, taken 4th overall in 2021. In 2022, Receiver Drake London was the first receiver selected. Yet, despite three straight years of spending a top ten pick on an offensive skill position, the offense cannot get going. For the second straight week, the Falcons failed to score more than 7 points, getting just 160 passing yards from their starting quarterback, Desmond Ridder. Through four weeks, the first-year starter is 25th in the league in passing yards, 26th in completion percentage and has thrown as many touchdowns as interceptions (3). Last year, Head Coach Arthur Smith pivoted at quarterback from Marcus Mariota to Ridder. If Smith goes 0/2 in back-to-back season’s at the games most important position, that could easily be enough to end up on the chopping block.


Miami Dolphins 20 (3-1) @ Buffalo Bills 48 (3-1)

Overreaction: The Buffalo Bills are the class of the AFC and through the first month there’s nobody close. Bills Quarterback Josh Allen went ballistic on Sunday against Miami, throwing for as many touchdowns as incompletions (4) while putting up 320 yards passing and another score on the ground. Since Allen turned the ball over 4 times in the Week 1 overtime loss to the Jets, Buffalo has outscored opponents by 28, 34, and 28, respectively. Early returns suggest that when Allen doesn’t turn it over 4 times, the Bills are unbeatable. Defensively, Buffalo has been terrific, but suffered a huge blow on Sunday, losing star Cornerback Tre’Davious White to a season-ending torn Achilles. The good news is that star pass rusher Von Miller should be making his return in the coming weeks. The other good news? If the offense keeps putting up 34.8 PPG like they have through four weeks, it won’t matter what’s happening on defense.


Denver Broncos 31 (1-3) @ Chicago Bears 28 (0-4)

Overreaction: It’s going to be the Bears, not the Cardinals as many thought, that will end up with the top two picks of the 2024 NFL Draft. With less than one minute to go in the 3rd quarter, the Bears were in control over the Broncos, leading 28-7. Then they fell apart. Over the final 15:20 of the game, Denver scored 24 unanswered points to come back to win, sending the Bears off to a 0-4 start. This fate awaited Chicago despite Justin Fields eclipsing 300 passing yards in a game for the first time of his career, finishing with 335 yards and 4 touchdowns through the air. He also critically turned the ball over twice in the 4th quarter to seal the win for Denver. When the dust eventually settles on the 2023 season, there is a chance the Bears will own the top two picks in the 2024 NFL Draft. Chicago traded the top pick last year and acquired this year's Panthers pick. Guess who the only other winless team in the NFL is?


Baltimore Ravens 28 (3-1) @ Cleveland Browns 3 (2-2)

Overreaction: Lamar Jackson is going to be the MVP. Going into Week 4, the Cleveland Browns defense was the only in the league averaging under 200 yards allowed per game. So, Lamar Jackson and the Ravens, without receivers Odell Beckham and Rashod Bateman, put up 296 yards, 28 points, and scored 4 touchdowns, 2 rushing and 2 passing. The Ravens are off to a 3-1 start and own road wins over divisional rivals Cincinnati and now Cleveland, while Lamar Jackson is doing more with less than any quarterback in the NFL. As the season goes, that’ll only become more apparent as the Ravens continue to find success.


Cincinnati Bengals 3 (1-3) @ Tennessee Titans 27 (2-2)

Overreaction: The Cincinnati Bengals Super Bowl window is shut. Since signing his record-breaking contract worth an average of $55 million per year over five years, Quarterback Joe Burrow has been abysmal. Through the first four games, Burrow is 26th in passing, sandwiched between Desmond Ridder and Zach Wilson, despite being 3rd in the league in total passing attempts. He has as many touchdowns as interceptions (2), has been held without a touchdown in two of the first four games, and is 30th in completion percentage among starting quarterbacks (57.6%). The Bengals QB strained his right calf in training camp and has not looked like the Burrow of the past since. At this point, it makes the most sense to hold him out for a few weeks and see if he can get healthy. By the time he’s back, Cincy will be out of playoff contention (if they aren’t already.


Los Angeles Rams 29 (2-2) @ Indianapolis Colts 23 (2-2) OT

Overreaction: Puka Nacua is the Offensive Rookie of the Year. Yes, there are other offensive rookies shining early in 2023, but none compare to what the fifth round pick out of BYU is doing. Nacua has more receptions than any player in NFL history through the first four games of his career (39), which by the way leads the NFL and is four more than the next highest, Kennan Allen. He is 1st in the league in targets, is 2nd in yards with 501, only behind Justin Jefferson, and his lone touchdown of the year was the walk-off winner in overtime to defeat the Colts this past Sunday. As the Rams continue to surprise and Puka continues to put up record-breaking numbers, his case for Offensive Rookie of the Year will only continue to solidify.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers 26 (3-1) @ New Orleans Saints 9 (2-2)

Overreaction: Brady gone? No problem. The NFC South runs through Tampa Bay. QB Baker Mayfield has his Buc’s at 3-1 and nobody saw it coming. Tampa Bay has defeated Minnesota, Chicago, and now New Orleans to take control of perhaps the most unknown division entering 2023, the NFC South. Tampa Bay has won the division each of the past two seasons under Tom Brady, but many thought the team would regress this year with a new quarterback at the helm. Well, thus far, Mayfield has been efficient, sitting at 8th in the league in completion percentage (69.6%), 7th in touchdowns (7), and has taken the 2nd fewest sacks among starting quarterbacks, trailing only Patrick Mahomes in the category. Meanwhile, the ageless receiver Mike Evans continues to rack up yards, already bringing in 337 on the year, the 9th best mark in the league, as he goes for his tenth consecutive 1,000 yard season. With what is happening to Atlanta, the Saints dealing with injuries and already a game behind the Buc’s, and with Carolina sitting at 0-4, Tampa Bay may be running away with the division once again before we know it.


Washington Commanders 31 (2-2) @ Philadelphia Eagles 34 (4-0) OT

Overreaction: The Eagles are the least-convincing 4-0 team in recent memory. A five point win over the Patriots after leading 16-0 in the opening minutes, a six point win over the Vikings in a game Minnesota turned it over four times, their best performance by far over Tampa Bay where they still turned it over twice, and an overtime victory at home against a first-year starting quarterback and the Commanders. Look, 4-0 is 4-0 and nobody in Philadelphia should be panicking…yet. However, this team does not feel the same as it did last season and I don’t believe they are ready to go toe-to-toe with the likes of the 49ers right now. The good news is that it’s October and they don’t see San Francisco until December. The Eagles have back-to-back road games @ the Rams and @ the Jets before returning home to face Miami. If they’re 7-0 for the second straight season, it’ll be much harder to question their legitimacy.


Minnesota Vikings 21 (1-3) @ Carolina Panthers 13 (0-4)

Overreaction: Panthers Head Coach Frank Reich will join a recent list of head coaches who fail to finish a single season in the role. Carolina has the 2023 1st overall pick in Bryce Young playing quarterback and is 24th in the league in points scored and 25th in yards-per-game. Both Indianapolis and Houston, teams that have been starting rookie quarterbacks, are remarkably better in both categories. Frank Reich came over after a stint as the head coach of the Colts, where he coached Andrew Luck in his final NFL season. Since Luck’s retirement, Reich is 30-31 as a head coach, with one playoff appearance and zero postseason wins. If he keeps his job into the next year, he’ll inherit monumental pressure heading into 2024.


Pittsburgh Steelers 6 (2-2) @ Houston Texans 30 (2-2)

Overreaction: The Houston Texans are the favorites to win the AFC South. Since the back-to-back losses to open the season, Houston has won its last two games by a combined 44 points, including a 20 point road win over the AFC South favorites, Jacksonville. 2023 first round pick C.J. Stroud has been terrific at quarterback for the Texans. He is currently 4th in the NFL in passing yards, 10th in touchdowns, and has yet to throw an interception. Perhaps more importantly, Houston is figuring things out on defense. First year Head Coach DeMeco Ryans was a linebacker in his playing days and the former defensive coordinator of the 49ers, and he’s brought that same energy and attitude back to Houston. The Texans are 13th in total defense after ranking 30th a season ago. As long as the offense is taking care of the football, all Houston needs is a middle of the pack defense to continue to win games and potentially come out of nowhere to win the division.


Las Vegas Raiders 17 (1-3) @ Los Angeles Chargers 24 (2-2)

Overreaction: Both of these head coaches will not be back in 2024. In Week 3, Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley inexplicably went for a 4th and 1 from their own 24 with 1:51 to go and his team LEADING 28-24. They didn’t convert, but luckily Staley’s defense bailed him out for a win over the Vikings. The next night, on Monday Night Football, Raiders coach Josh McDaniels kicked a 26 yard field goal while trailing by 8 with 2:22 to go in the game. Guess what? The Raiders lost by 5! Fast forward to Sunday, with these two going head-to-head. For the second straight week, Staley left his offense on the field for a 4th and 1 from their own 34, leading by a touchdown with 3:34 to go. Again, the Chargers failed to convert and again the defense bailed out their head coach with a turnover to ice the game and win it for LA. The Raiders are 1-3 with the lone win coming over Denver in comeback fashion, losing three straight games since. The Chargers have won back-to-back weeks despite major coaching gaffs from Brandon Staley. It won’t be long before both teams have new coaches who will try to close the gap in a division that’s been dominated by Kansas City over the past several seasons.


New England Patriots 3 (1-3) @ Dallas Cowboys 38 (3-1)

Overreaction: The Mac Jones era (if we can call it that) in New England is over and Bill Bilichick is in real trouble. The Patriots have scored the 3rd fewest points (55) of any team in the league this season and are coming off a game in which they failed to score a touchdown and the quarterback, Mac Jones, had both a fumble and interception returned for a touchdown in the first half. At the break, Cowboys 28, Patriots 3, game over. In the second half, Jones threw another interception on the Pats opening drive and went three-and-out on the second before being replaced by Bailey Zappe at quarterback. If they Patriots end up being a 4-5 win team, is there any chance that Jones survives at QB? Perhaps more importantly, will there be a coaching change in New England for the first time since 2000?


Arizona Cardinals 16 (1-3) @ San Francisco 49ers 35 (4-0)

Overreaction: Christian McCaffrey is going to run away with the Offensive Player of the Year award. Just like Puka Nacua is the OROY, McCaffrey is going to be the OPOY and even has a legitimate case for MVP. The star RB is the focal point of a 49ers offense that has put up 30+ in each game, while leading the league in rushing with 459 yards (95 more than anyone else) and is tied for 1st in the league with 6 rushing touchdowns. On Sunday, he had his most impressive performance yet, putting up 177 total yards on 20 carries and 7 receptions along with 4 touchdowns. If McCaffrey stays healthy, along with the other main weapons on offense, it’s going to be difficult for any team in the league to take down San Francisco.


Kansas City Chiefs 23 (3-1) @ New York Jets 20 (1-3)

Overreaction: Time’s running out on both Jets Quarterback Zach Wilson and Head Coach Robert Saleh. Zach Wilson may have played the best game he’s ever played in a Jets uniform on Sunday night against KC. Wilson threw for 245 yards and 2 touchdowns but had a crucial turnover late that ended up being the difference in a strange game at MetLife. Jets Head Coach Robert Saleh completely lost his cool on a late penalty call against cornerback Sauce Gardner that gave the Chiefs a critical first down, even though it appeared to be the correct call. Yes, Wilson played well and even if you think Saleh had a cause with the officiating, nobody remembers good performances in losses. When the dust settles on the regular season in January, people remember wins and losses, and right now it’s hard to see a path forward for the Jets where they get enough wins to maintain continuity in both personnel and coaching staff into 2024. However, if Wilson can miraculously turn things around and finally become the player the Jets thought they were drafting 2nd overall in 2021, they’ll have a chance to be a playoff team after all.


Seattle Seahawks 24 (1-1) @ New York Giants 3 (1-3)

Overreaction: The New York Giants are going to take the biggest step back of any playoff team from last year. In Monday night’s 24-3 embarrassing loss to the Seahawks, Giants Quarterback Daniel Jones was sacked 10 times, becoming the first QB to be sacked double-digit times in a game since Marcus Mariota in 2018. On the year, Jones has already been sacked 22 times. An offensive line that can’t block a breeze, paired with no Saquon Barkley in the backfield due to injury, makes for a very tall task for Jones at QB. This past Summer, Jones signed a four-year extension with the Giants worth $160 million. Today, he is 24th in the league in passing and has thrown 2 touchdowns compared to 6 interceptions. For a quarterback who led his team to the Divisional Round of the playoffs last year that’s unacceptable.


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