Last week’s N.F.L. lineup took out a fair number of notable players with injuries, while some surprising teams — the Chicago Bears, Las Vegas Raiders and Arizona Cardinals — got out to 2-0 records that have bitten some bettors. Of course, Week 3 is about when play starts to level off and coaches who hadn’t had the luxury of a preseason settle into routine. Or not.
In any case, contenders should start to take shape this week before Monday night’s matchup between Patrick Mahomes’s Kansas City Chiefs and Lamar Jackson’s Baltimore Ravens shows everyone where the championship bar is set.
How real is that hot start?
Through two games, the Los Angeles Rams (2-0) appear to have exorcised last year’s demons and the Buffalo Bills (2-0) seem like a team on the verge of greatness. But how real is either start? We might get an idea when they face each other in Orchard Park, NY. It might have been the game of the week if not for Monday night’s game between Kansas City and Baltimore.
So far, the Rams grinded out a Week 1 win over Dallas and then won a laugher against Philadelphia in Week 2. Between health and defensive depth, neither of those teams can really compare to the Bills, who also come into this game looking red-hot on offense.
Is Buffalo’s offense, with the addition of wide receiver Stefon Diggs, really this good? Can the Bills defense get back to last season’s dominance? How much of the Rams’ success over the last two weeks was a function of poor competition? Can cornerback Jalen Ramsey erase Diggs, forcing Josh Allen to beat Los Angeles with John Brown and Cole Beasley?
This game may offer some clarity as to which of these teams we need to take seriously going forward.