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NFL Week 4 overreactions and reality checks: Are the Packers the best in the NFC? Are the Chiefs the best in the AFC? Saquon Barkley best RB?

The NFL remains unpredictable for four weeks of the season. The Philadelphia Eagles are the only undefeated team going 4-0 and the Houston Texans are the only team without a win in the 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.

White, the league is still trying to figure out who the contenders and pretenders are, there is a lot of overreaction after a Week 4 that saw crazy finishes and five games decided by three points. These are the best reactions to each game in Week 4, and whether these stories are overreactions or reality.

The Saints were two steps away from saving 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 are in charge of the quarterback and three running back spots with Jameis Winston, Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas out. That’s an average age of 32.5 years in four key positions trusted to lead New Orleans to victory.

This group nearly made it when New Orleans erased a 16-7 deficit to take a 22-19 lead in the fourth quarter. Wil Lutz kicked a 60-yard field goal to tie the game at 25-25, only for the defense to allow six plays for 54 yards in just 27 seconds as the Vikings took the lead for good.

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

The Saints don’t have the material to be a good team. They desperately needed that field goal to bounce their way.

Atlanta can make the playoffs thanks to its running game

Overreaction or reality: overreaction

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

Atlanta is hitting .500 and much better than expected, but the Falcons will be tested against the Buccaneers next week. We’ll see if they can keep running the ball at this explosive pace.

The Ravens are suffocating the AFC North

Overreaction or reality: reality

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

Sunday was inexcusable as Lamar Jackson threw two interceptions in the fourth quarter and John Harbaugh decided to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line in a tied game late in the fourth quarter. The result was Jackson’s second interception of the game, prompting the Bills to use the final 4:09 for Josh Allen to push them down the field and lead them to victory.

These are games the Ravens have to win. They are in a three-way tie for the lead in the AFC North when they should be controlling the division.

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

Overreaction or reality: overreaction

What Cooper Rush has done in his three starts is impressive, but the three teams the Cowboys have beaten in his starts are a combined 6-6. The Commanders and Giants don’t appear to be powerhouses, even if the Bengals’ win looks better on a week-to-week basis.

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 Rams and Eagles defenses over the next two weeks, a much tougher test than he has seen against Washington and New York.

A split of the next two games keeps the Cowboys in business. That victory has to be against Philadelphia.

Geno Smith is the Seahawks’ starting QB all year.

Overreaction or reality: reality

Geno Smith has the highest completion percentage of any quarterback through four games in NFL history (minimum 125 attempts). He is the only player with a 75% completion rate, 1,000 yards and five touchdowns this season and he has better numbers than Russell Wilson.

Smith is third in the NFL in passer rating (108.8) and is one of the main reasons the Seahawks are in the thick of the NFC West race at 2-2. He’s the man in Seattle, potentially even beyond this season if he continues this play.

Overreaction or reality: overreaction

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

Herbert will improve from week to week and the Chargers’ offensive line will have more continuity, but let’s see how this unit fares against 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.

When Taylor rushes for less than 70 yards, the Colts are 0-2. Tennessee did an excellent job filling out Taylor, forcing Indianapolis to find 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 big 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 victory 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 ranks second in the NFL in yards per carry (5.5) among running backs with at least 60 carries.

You could argue Nick Chubb is better, but Barkley is playing behind a much worse offensive line. Barkley gets north here.

Miles Sanders deserves to be paid this offseason

Overreaction or reality: reality

Sanders proved that he was a no. The No. 1 running back during Sunday’s rain-soaked conditions, rushing 27 times for 134 yards and two touchdowns against the No. 1 career defense in football. The Eagles running back is running with conviction, taking what he’s given instead of looking for the big play on every carry.

Sanders is third in the NFL in rushing yards (356) and third in rushing yards (4.9) among running backs with at least 60 carries. A vital part of the Eagles’ running game, the Eagles should pay Sanders when he enters the prime of his career. He’s a perfect fit for Philadelphia’s offense.

Overreaction or reality: overreaction

Kenny Pickett’s debut did not go as well as expected. Pickett completed 10 of 13 passes for 127 yards and three interceptions as he entered the game for Mitchell Trubisky in the second half, calming the crowd that wanted him in the game. Pickett still moved 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 get Pittsburgh into the end zone. Trubisky didn’t do that on all seven of his possessions Sunday against the Jets. Mike Tomlin should still return to Pickett next week and give him a week of starting work.

Overreaction or reality: overreaction

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

The passing game sucks all over the place, and Baker Mayfield plays a huge role in that. Mayfield completed just 15 of 27 touchdown passes and two interceptions when he was facing four or fewer running backs, a terrible sign for a veteran quarterback.

Carolina has to travel with Mayfield, but Matt Rhule is likely to hit the panic button. Her 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 are finding ways to win despite his struggles at wide receiver. Allen Lazard makes a huge difference in the passing game and Romeo Doubs is becoming a reliable target.

The defense is making key plays, especially keeping the Packers in the game when the offense is faltering. Right now, Green Bay’s offense is too inconsistent to be the best in the NFC, especially when struggling down the middle against a poor Patriots team.

The Packers are a very good team, but there is work to be done.

Josh McDaniels needs to go to his star players more

Overreaction or reality: reality

It’s funny how when Josh McDaniels gives the ball to Josh Jacobs and Davante Adams the Raiders win. Jacobs had 28 carries for 144 yards and two touchdowns while cutting through a Broncos defense that was excellent the first three weeks. Adams had nine catches for 101 yards on 13 targets.

Giving those two the ball produced first downs (the Raiders went 7-for-14 on third down) and a season-high in points. Jacobs and Adams are the money players McDaniels needs to turn the Raiders’ season around.

The formula worked this week. The Raiders should do it again.

The Chiefs are the best team in the AFC.

Overreaction or reality: reality

There is no competition here. Kansas City dismantled a Tampa Bay defense that shut down their competition all season, using Patrick Mahomes and his brilliance to score 41 points against the Buccaneers. The Chiefs thought Tampa Bay had the best defense in the league, but he rushed for 189 yards and Mahomes took just six hits.

The Chiefs lost last week to the Colts because of mistakes, uncharacteristic of an Andy Reid team. The Buffalo Bills are definitely in this conversation, but the Chiefs have Mahomes and Reid. That puts Kansas City on edge.

It’s Kansas City, Buffalo, everyone else.


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