Seven months on from Cooper Kupp’s last gasp touchdown which secured the Lombardi trophy for the LA Rams on home turf, the NFL is well and truly back. And there have been many talking points over the first two weeks of the new campaign. OddsChecker, which compares odds and provides free offers on the NFL, had made the Buffalo Bills the favorites to claim their first ever Superbowl victory this season, and they laid down a marker in week one, defeating the reigning champion Rams on the road. There were also a ton of narrow victories on the opening weekend, with the Seattle Seahawks, New York Giants, and New Orleans Saints all winning by just one point.
In week two, there were more hot topics waiting to be discussed. The Bills once again flexed their muscles, with quarterback Josh Allen throwing four touchdowns and 313 yards en route to a dominant 41-7 victory over the Tennessee Titans. The Rams finally got a first win under their belt, although it wasn’t easy. They led the Atlanta Falcons by 28 points to 10 as their clash entered the fourth quarter. However, a comeback from the visitors meant that last year’s Superbowl winners won by a score of 31-27.
There were more huge fixtures on the calendar in week three. The battle of the quarterback GOATs took place in Florida, as Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers took on Aaron Rodgers’ Green Bay Packers.
And if we’re talking about quarterbacks, how can one not mention Cam Newton? Back in 2015, he led the Carolina Panthers to a franchise-best 15-1 regular season record, taking his team all the way to Super Bowl 50, where they would run into Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos. Seven years on and his beloved Panthers found themselves 0-2 entering week three. They have managed to put things right, securing their first win of the campaign against the New Orleans Saints despite the Louisiana-based franchise gaining 133 more yards than their opponents.
But what other talking points were there on week three?
Cincinnati Bengals get their first win of the new season
The opening weeks of the new year have been somewhat of a reality check for the Bengals. Last season, they ended the regular season with a record of 10-7 before defeating the Las Vegas Raiders, Tennessee Titans, and Kansas City Chiefs en route to reaching their first Super Bowl in 34 years. And they were mere minutes away from winning that game until that last gasp touchdown deprived them of a first Lombardi trophy in franchise history.
And if the pain in Cincy was already at an all-time high after that defeat, matters only got worse on week one of the new season. They hosted their arch rivals the Pittsburgh Steelers in their season’s curtain raiser. The Bengals looked to be on course for victory when Ja’Marr Chase caught QB Joe Burrow’s pass for a last-minute touchdown, tying the game up at 20-20. Evan McPherson – whose boot is usually so reliable – missed the PAT, the first miss of his career with the Bengals. As such, the game went into overtime, where McPherson would miss another effort, this time a field goal. That opened the door for the Steelers to steal a result at the death and consign the Ohio-based outfit to defeat.
In week two, there was more yet pain to follow. Away at the Dallas Cowboys, the Bengals fell to a halftime deficit of 16 points to 3 before battling back to tie the game up at 17-17 in Arlington. More field goal pain would follow though, with Cowboys kicker Brett Maher sending his last attempt to secure victory for the hosts over.
In week three, however, it would all change for the Bengals. They traveled to the New York Jets, and quarterback ‘Jackpot Joey’ – as he’s affectionately known – was back to his best. He threw for 261 yards as his side recorded a 27-12 victory and finally got their new season up and running.
Aaron Rodgers’ Packers edge out Tom Brady’s Bucs in the battle of the QB GOATs
If you were asked who the greatest quarterback in NFL history was, both Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers would be up there. The pair have eight (Brady 7, Rodgers 1) Super Bowl rings and seven (Brady 3, Rodgers 4) NFL MVP awards between them. And, despite being a combined 83 years of age, they are still two of the sports’ finest.
In week three the pair went head-to-head, as the Green Bay Packers traveled to the Raymond James Stadium to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In a tight affair, it was the visitors who managed to pull out a 14-3 lead at the halfway mark, with Rodgers throwing two touchdowns, firstly to Romeo Doubs and then to Allen Lazard.
The hosts would battle back through a series of field goals in the second half. And with the Bucs within striking distance, they would pounce. Late in the fourth quarter, Brady found Russell Gage in the end zone to bring their side within two. They tried for a two-point conversion but came up wanting, allowing the visitors to head back to Wisconsin with the spoils.
Miami Dolphins’ perfect starts continue
Prior to the start of this season, you’d have been hard-pressed to find many fans or pundits tipping the Miami Dolphins for success. What a difference a few weeks can make. In the opening week of the new season, the Dolphins hosted the perennial winners that are the New England Patriots. The Massachusetts-based side has been to the Super Bowl a record 11 times, winning six of them. However, they came unstuck in Florida, falling to a 20-7 defeat courtesy of QB Tua Tagovailoa throwing for 242 yards.
In week two, it looked like they were headed for defeat on the road in Baltimore. However, an incredible 28-3 fourth-quarter comeback – in which Tagovailoa threw an incredible four touchdowns – meant that the visitors headed back to Miami with a 42-38 victory.
In week three a much sterner test was on the cards as the Super Bowl favorites Buffalo Bills came to town. They too were put to the sword, however, thanks to two touchdowns from running back Chase Edmonds, leaving the Bills licking their wounds following a 21-19 defeat. How far the Dolphins can go this season remains to be seen, but with a record of 3-0 so far, don’t be surprised to see them in the playoffs for only the third time in 21 years.