Jacksonville Jaguars… 2017 AFC South Champions?
This headline would have been only possible in a video game a few months ago but, before you start laughing, just hear me out. For starters, the Jaguars find themselves at 2-1 and tied with Tennessee for the first place in the division. While this is surprising in itself, even more surprising has been the play of Blake Bortles, who somehow went from the joke of the preseason/training camp to a competent quarterback seemingly over night. Bortles had one of the best games of his career on Sunday against the Ravens, throwing for 244 yards, 4 TDs and surprisingly, no interceptions.
It helps that some of the pressure has been taken off of Bortles with the addition of rookie Leonard Fournette to the offense. Three games into his career, Fournette has rushed for 199 yards and 3 touchdowns. Not only does he immediately improve the Jaguars running game, but he’s also able to help out in the passing game with 66 yards on 8 catches. The defense is stronger now than it has been in a long time. Myles Jack and Jalen Ramsey now have a year of experience in the NFL, and the additions of Calais Campbell and A.J. Bouye have given the Jaguars a chance to compete for a playoff spot.
I know it’s still early, but the Jaguars might actually have a chance because this division is so weak. The Texans were the favourites early on, but with J.J. Watt already dealing with injuries and Deshaun Watson still adjusting to the NFL, the AFC South looks wide open.
Speaking of the Texans, they gave Tom Brady and the Patriots about all they could handle on Sunday. It took a 5 touchdown performance from Brady and some late game heroics to knock off Houston.
Cooks had his best game of the season, finishing with 131 yards and 2 touchdowns, including the game winner. Cooks has been able to fill in perfectly for Julian Edelman while the Super Bowl 51 hero is recovering from a torn ACL.
Gronk also played well against the Texans, after an injury scare the week before had every New England fan panicking. Finishing with 89 yards and a touchdown, Gronk was also a key part of the win against the Texans.
After a Week 1 performance that had people questioning if Brady had finally reached the end of his career, he responded with 825 yards and 8 TDs over the next two games. Age apparently means nothing to Brady, which has Patriots fans everywhere dreaming of Super Bowl win number six.
On the topic of late game heroics, how about the Eagles win over the Giants? Tied at 24, the Eagles were faced with a tough decision with only 1 second left in the game. Hail Mary or send a rookie kicker out to attempt a 61 yard field goal?
Jake Elliott just became a hero in Philly, and got his name in the record books while he was at it. This kick set the record for longest ever by an Eagles kicker, and longest by a rookie in NFL history. To top it off, Carson Wentz said that he would give his game check to the kicker if he made the kick.
While the Eagles came out with a late win this weekend, the Bengals were not so lucky. After taking a 21-7 lead into halftime, the Bengals seemed to be on the verge of pulling away from the Packers and finally getting their first win of the season. But Aaron Rodgers had other ideas, leading the Packers to a 17 point second half including a touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson with only 21 seconds left in the game.
In overtime, Andy Dalton had the first chance to end the game, but couldn’t get any momentum building. In steps Aaron Rodgers, who then does this.
Good news for Bengals fans is that the team showed some signs of life for the first time all season. Bad news? They’re now 0-3, and over the last 37 years only 5 of the 168 teams to start 0-3 have gone on to make the playoffs that year. It seems like it’s only a matter of time until AJ McCarron gets a chance to prove he can play and win games in the NFL.
Week 4 kicks off on Thursday night, as the Packers play host to the Bears, who are coming off their own overtime win in Week 3 against the Steelers.
In case you missed it, check out the Week 2 recap here.