Five Trade Destinations that Make Sense for N’Keal Harry

Heading into his third year in the NFL, N’Keal Harry’s agent has requested that the New England Patriots find him a new home. Los Angeles-based lawyer and NFL Agent Jamal Tooson gave the following statement about the former first-round pick’s trade request, first reported by NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo:

For the record, I came up covering N’Keal Harry, first as a high school standout, and then later as a star receiver at Arizona State University. While Patriots fans are understandably upset at the idea that anyone would ask to be moved from their storied franchise, the trade request actually makes sense. Bill Belichick’s post-Tom Brady offense ranked tied for last in TD passes, 31st in completions, 30th in passing yards, and 27th in points per game. They return the same offensive coordinator in Josh McDaniels, and WR coach in Mick Lombardi, and in all likelihood, Cam Newton will take the majority of the snaps under center this year as 2021 first round draft pick Mac Jones develops.

In his first two years in New England, N’Keal Harry has battled injuries, and struggled to find a consistent role in the Patriots offense when he’s on the field. As his agent alluded to in his public comments about the trade request, Harry desires to be used as a downfield threat. To many Patriots fans, they see a receiver that struggles to create separation off the line of scrimmage, and so continuing to try and make use of him on shorter routes seems to be counterintuitive.

While Pats fans might be upset at Harry’s early production, and at the idea that he’s request a trade heading into his third season, if they don’t believe he’s going to ultimately fulfil their expectations, why wouldn’t they be behind the idea of attempting to get some compensation in return for finding a more fitting offense?

On N’Keal Harry’s end, it makes sense to attempt to position himself as a necessary offensive weapon on a team with a thriving (or at the very least, average) offense. It’s going to be increasingly difficult for N’Keal Harry to earn a second contract on a team whose wideouts from the 2020 season ranked 28th in total targets, and one of only three teams in the NFL without a single wide receiver on the roster to average over six targets per game (Eagles, Raiders).

Whether there’s a market for N’Keal Harry isn’t in question, what remains to be seen is just how motivated Bill Belichick is to finding a new home for Harry whilst seeking fair compensation in return. Assuming the Patriots do move N’Keal Harry, here are five trade destinations that make the most sense:

1. The Kansas City Chiefs

Any wideout would jump at the chance to play alongside Patrick Mahomes, as well as in an Andy Reid offense. What makes this a potentially great fit is that the Chiefs actually have a need for a bigger-bodied receiver after losing Sammy Watkins in free agency to the Baltimore Ravens. They have Marcus Kemp, Jody Fortson and Gehrig Dieter as developmental guys, so you know they have a desire to play a bigger wideout alongside speedy-but-diminutive threats Mecole Hardman and Tyreek Hill. N’Keal Harry could make an already unstoppable offense even more dangerous, but as Charles Goodman of Chiefs Wire pointed out, the $1.4 million and $3.2 million cap hits over the next two years might be a tough pill to swallow unless they believe Harry is going to pan out.

2. The Los Angeles Chargers

Justin Herbert likes big receivers, and isn’t afraid to take risks downfield. While adding N’keal Harry would likely be more of a depth play in 2021, as Mike Williams and Keenan Allen are firmly entrenched as the top two receivers on the Chargers roster, one has to wonder if the Chargers plan on breaking the bank to keep Williams and Allen paired together beyond 2021. The dynamic duo is scheduled to make a combined $31 millions this season, and with Williams on the cusp on unrestricted free agency, and Allen due another $66 million in 2022-2024. Harry could give the Chargers the option of spending their money elsewhere in the 2022 offseason, while giving him some of the more mild weather that he thrived in as a collegiate standout.

3. The Jacksonville Jaguars

Urban Meyer likes big athletes with five-star pedigrees, and N’Keal Harry certainly has that going for him. The Jaguars are putting their franchise in the hands of a rookie QB in Trevor Lawrence, and the best thing they can do for him is surround him with as much talent as possible right out of the gate. The Jaguars have the resources and the cap room to make this happen without even breaking a sweat, and the capital with the fans to mark any risk that doesn’t pan out in the early going as a well intentioned experiment (for reference, see Tim Tebow).

4. The Green Bay Packers

Could one man’s trade request be the cure for another? Aaron Rodgers’ much-chronicled battle with the Green Bay front office has dragged on far longer than any Packers fan is comfortable with, but it looks like they’re ready to hang on to Rodgers no matter how hard the future hall of famer makes the lives of every single suit in that organization. Certainly adding one former first round pick at wide receiver isn’t going to cure all of the internal ills they have going on over there, but even if adding N’Keal Harry doesn’t tempt Aaron Rodgers to squash his many beefs and attempt to put together another MVP season in 2021, Jordan Love is going to need more weapons on the outside anyway.

5. The Denver Broncos

You might be looking at the Denver Broncos being included on this list and saying to yourself “why would N’Keal Harry want to go to a team that’s equally unsettled at the quarterback position?” Well, fellow class of 2016 5-star wideout Jerry Jeudy is a Denver Bronco, and one thing the Denver Broncos made sure to do was give him tons of opportunities to succeed. Jeudy was second in targets among rookies in 2020 despite being eighth in receptions. Through their growing pains, the Broncos at least made sure to take plenty of shots. The other thing I find appealing about this Broncos offense is the way Vic Fangio makes use of 6-4, 212 WR Tim Patrick. After two forgettable years in Denver, Patrick had 51 receptions and 6 touchdowns in 2021. That’s exactly the type of development and career rehabilitation N’Keal Harry needs.

Best Pac-12 NFL Players: Week 8 Offensive Standouts

Best Pac-12 NFL Players: Week 7 Offensive Standouts

It’s a Good Day to Be a Pac-12 NFL Fan

This weekend, Pac-12 football fans got it all. Oregon and Washington State certainly lit up the field offensively. The Ducks are currently ranked 6th in Unafraidshow’s College Football Rankings. Likewise, many Pac-12 NFL players gave us memorable performances in week 8. Here they are!

Best Quarterback Performance

Gardner Minshew II – Washington State – Jacksonville Jaguars

Minshew magic is back! Let’s go!

Unlike the rest of football fans, Pac-12 NFL fans knew that Minshew was for real. We knew a long time ago. It’s just great to see everyone else accept it.

Against a competent New York Jets defense, Minshew didn’t flinch. He compiled 279 passing yards and 3 touchdowns. He also let the Jets sack him twice. But, for those who watched the game, his pocket-presence is next level. Minshew’s movement in the pocket and ability to extend plays is incredible.

Last, and definitely important, Minshew threw zero interceptions. Again. Overall, he has just 2 interceptions and 13 touchdowns this season. The sixth-round rookie is playing far above any expectation.

Gardner Minshew for Rookie of the Year!

Best Running Back Performance

Christian McCaffrey – Stanford – Carolina Panthers

Against the league’s second-best defense (New England Patriots are clear first), the Carolina Panthers flopped. They only scored 13 points, while the 49ers rolled through 51 points. However, that didn’t stop all-star, Pac-12 NFL running back Christian McCaffrey from creating highlights.

This season, McCaffrey’s durability and production is incredible. His 2019 stats include:

Keep rolling RUN-CMC.

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Best Wide Receiver Performance

Juju Smith-Schuster – USC – Pittsburgh Steelers

To say that this season has been rough for the Pittsburgh Steelers is to say the least. After a promising 2017 season and a breakout 2018 season, everyone was ready for Juju Smith-Schuster to keep the hype train going. With the departure of Antonio Brown (to mental illness?), Smith-Schuster was primed for an elite 2019 campaign.

But, all hope went down with Ben Roethlisberger. However, Smith-Schuster still has the ability to pop on the field. In week 8, he cleared the 100-yard mark for the first time this season. Granted, this week he played the Miami Dolphins (#tankfortua), but he’s a good wide receiver.

https://twitter.com/JimmyClarke/status/1189005033653882882

His plus-16.5 (No. 20) Production Premium and plus-39.2-percent Target Premium (No. 10) show that he still has talent, but he’s just trapped on an anemic offense.

Best Tight End Performance

Austin Hooper – Stanford – Atlanta Falcons

Even with Matt Schaub under center, Austin Hooper was a baller. He reeled in 6 of 7 targets for 65 yards and a touchdown. He was one reason why the Pac-12 NFL fans didn’t switch channels. Hooper’s late score helped the Falcons attempt a last-minute comeback (or at least cover the a plus-7.5 spread).

Honestly, look at those stats. Among tight ends, Hooper is:

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More Impressive Run: Derrick Henry Or Marshawn Lynch?

Derrick Henry 99 yard TD Jacksonville Jaguars Tennessee Titans

Nothing Gets The Blood Going Like a Huge Stiff Arm.

Last night, in a game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tennessee Titans, running back Derrick Henry made NFL history with a 99-yard rushing touchdown, joining Tony Dorsett as the only two players in NFL history to ever accomplish that feat. Henry’s run showcased his speed, size, and most importantly, strength, as he stiff-armed a few Jaguar defenders on his way to the end zone. If you haven’t seen the run, check it out below.

Pretty impressive, right? Since society never takes a moment to appreciate greatness and always looks for comparisons (guilty), fans are now comparing Henry’s run to another famous rushing touchdown from Marshawn Lynch, which is known as the “Beast Quake.”

Here’s the question: Who had the more impressive run, Henry or Lynch?

Let’s break it down!

Derrick Henry vs. Marshawn Lynch

*Note: Each category has a points scale from 1-5. Highest combined total after 4 categories wins.*

Degree of Difficulty (Before The Run)

To set the scene, Henry’s run started at the 1-yard line in a one-possession game in the 2nd quarter against a Jaguars defense that was ranked in the top 10 in multiple defensive categories. Lynch’s run occurred on the 33-yard line in a one-possession game in the 4th quarter of a playoff game. There is no doubt that Lynch’s run was a bigger pressure moment because of the nature of the playing in the playoffs. However, if we’re looking at the runs for where they are on the field without taking into account the time and score, Henry’s play gets the edge over Lynch.

Henry – 4.9

Lynch – 4.3

Degree of Difficulty (During The Run)

The hole was clogged up when Henry first touched the ball, but the former Heisman trophy winner was patient. Once a block developed, Henry powered through the trenches and gained some breathing room in the open field. Then, Henry annihilated A.J. Bouye with a stiff arm that sent the Jags defender to the ground. After a burst of speed, Henry then stiff-armed Leon Jacobs to the ground before a cutback, another tackle break via stiff arm, and a final sprint before reaching the end zone. All in all, Henry had 81 yards after contact on the play.

On Lynch’s run, the question is not if he broke a tackle. The question is: How many tackles did Lynch end up breaking? On the Beastquake, Marshawn Lynch broke 9 (!) tackles. NINE. When Lynch started his run, he was met head-on at the line. Lynch broke the two tackles, gained some speed, broke a billion (not quite, but close to it) more tackles, and then somehow, Lynch gained more speed. How?

Lynch followed that up with a lethal stiff arm, two more broken tackles, and a dive into the end zone. Henry used three stiff arms to break a few tackles. Lynch seemingly broke a tackle from every member of the defense. Lynch has the edge here.

Henry – 4.5

Lynch – 4.9

Better Stiff Arm(s)

This category comes down to personal preference.

This…

and this…

OR this…

Two might be better than one in most cases, but I’m calling this a tie.

Henry – 4.8

Lynch – 4.8

“The Moment”

If we’re breaking down the runs without any context, both are very impressive. However, and this is not Henry’s fault, you have to take into account, “The Moment.” Henry’s run was amazing and will be a well-remembered highlight for years to come, but it came during the second quarter of a Thursday Night Football matchup in Week 14. On the other hand, Lynch’s run came in the fourth quarter of a one-possession game against the Saints in the Wildcard Round of the NFL playoffs. The Saints were heavily favored in the game as 10 point favorites while the Seahawks made the playoffs with a record below .500. If Lynch doesn’t break this run or at least get a first down, the Saints would have called timeout. They stop the Seahawks on third down, force a punt, and then Drew Brees gets a chance to take the Saints down the field for the win. I understand that I’m using “what ifs,” but that has to be taken into account. Lynch put the team on his back during the biggest spot of the game.

Henry – 4.2

Lynch – 5.0

Final Score

Henry – 18.4 / 20

Lynch – 19.0 / 20

Lynch’s run was more impressive, but that does not take away from Henry’s jaw-dropping touchdown. I hope both highlights are shown back-to-back when describing the greatest runs in NFL history.

Five Up Five Down The 5 Best and 5 Worst NFL teams week 13

NFL Week 13 Rankings

Five Up Five Down The 5 Best and 5 Worst NFL teams week 13 is where we rank the five best and five worst teams in the NFL. Anybody can list the best teams. It takes real skill to sort through the mess that is the bottom of the league. Week 13 has already kicked off with the Cowboys getting a huge win over the Saints! What did we learn from Week 12? We missed the Chiefs and Rams in action, Vikings gots a must win over the Packers, Colts are good but do we believe in them just yet and the Texans keep winning! Do you like that? Does your team sadly qualify for worst teams for Week 13?

Leave a comment, share, and email us: ImMad@UnafraidShow.com.

5 UP: The 5 Best NFL Teams Week 13 

1. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (10-2) Last Week: 1st

The Saints lost a close one to the Cowboys 13-10 in Dallas. Drew Brees had a bad game, and the offense was put to sleep by an inspired Cowboys defense.  I am going to leave New Orleans in the first position for two reasons.  One, they beat the Rams and two the defense continues to get better every week.  This is what puts them ahead of the Rams and Chiefs no matter if they have two loses. I have said this all along of New Orleans starts playing defense like they did last year then the rest of the league is in trouble.  New Orleans gets a nice bounce-back team in the Bucs next week in Tampa. Call me out all you want the Saints are a better football team then the Chiefs and Rams because the defense is starting to put it together.

2. LOS ANGELES RAMS (10-1) Last Week: 2nd

The high powered Rams are back in action after enjoying a week off. The Rams were fun to watch in a 54-51 win over the Chiefs, but that defense is still a concern. Good news for the Rams they will get veteran CB Aquib Talib back which should help the porous secondary out immensely.  Jared Goff (3,547 yards 26 TD’s) and Todd Gurley (1,043 Yards 13 TDs) are the kingpins of what has become an unstoppable machine. The Rams will face the struggling Detroit Lions (4-7) in the Motor City and lead the all-time history between the two teams, 43-41-1. LA is a strong 10 point favorite versus the Detroit but this could be one of those trap games we shall see.

3. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (9-2) Last Week: 3rd

The Chiefs created history!  First team to lose a game scoring over 50 points. It was a fun game to watch but also a reminder that the defense still is swiss cheese. Patrick Mahomes II had six touchdown passes and over 400 yards passing, but it was those three costly interceptions that cost them the most. He will learn from it and is on his way to being the league’s MVP.  The Chiefs barely lost to the Patriots and Rams on the road, which makes them a trendy choice to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. It’s sort of sad that they won’t be playing this Sunday enjoying the Bye Week. This week Kansas City will be in Oakland (2-9) and should exploit the Raiders horrible defense.  The Chiefs are 14.5 point favorites and have an all-time advantage between the two AFC West rivals, 63-53-2.

4. CHICAGO BEARS (8-3) Last Week: 4th

Chase Daniels will get his 2nd straight start this week as the Bears are in New York to battle the mystery that is the Giants (3-8).   This team has yet to be behind at halftime all year. The defense ranked 4th overall is superior creating points on turnovers which they would like to do for the 3rd straight week. Khalil Mack should get serious consideration for defensive player of the year.  Jordan Howard (536 yards rushing) could have his first big week against a Giants team struggling to stop the run. Bears are 3.5 favorites to get another road win over the New York Giants. Chicago has a huge advantage between the two teams in head to head, 33-23-2.

5. HOUSTON TEXANS (8-3) Last Week: Unranked

Eight straight wins!   Remember when we all had Bill O’Brien on the firing block?  Now the Texans have taken advantage of a weak schedule, but the play of Deshaun Watson (2,807 Yards 20 TD’s 101.8 QB Rating) has people excited and worthy of this team in the #5 spot.   Lamar Miller has put up two straight stellar weekends which had added to the weapons the Texans have offensively.  The defense is getting better now ranked #7 overall in the league.  This could be a very dangerous team with all the high priced talent moving in the right direction. The Texans will look to make it nine straight as the Cleveland Browns  (4-6-1) come to H-town.  Texans lead the all-time series (6-3) and are 5.5 point favorites to beat Baker Mayfield and the Browns (Last played last year a 33-17 win by the Texans with Watson throwing 3 TD passes).

Closing in on the top 5 this week:

New England Patriots (8-3), LA Chargers (8-3), Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3-1)

5 DOWN: The 5 Worst NFL Teams Week 13 

28. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (3-8) Last Week: Unranked

What a disaster!  This was my Super Bowl pick in the AFC and the season has gone straight in the garbage can with seven straight loses.  Blake Bortles has proven he is not a franchise QB and why the team did not go out and get an Eli Manning or someone at the trading deadline is inexcusable.  Hey Jalen Ramsey what are you saying right now?  This is not the defenses fault, ranked 5th overall but the offense has been brutal since the loss of   OT Cam Robinson (Torn ACL) and losing Marqise Lee before the season really has shown.  The Jags will look to avoid an 8th straight loss in a row vs. the red-hot Colts (6-5) at home with Cody Kessler as the starter.  Vegas likes the Colts on the road as 4 point favorites. Indy will be after the clean sweep this year after winning the first affair 29-26 and have a 23-12 lead in the series between the two AFC South teams.

29. N.Y. JETS (3-8) Last Week: Unranked

The season started with promise, and now we can hear the clock ticking on Todd Bowles and his coaching life. Sam Darnold looks like he will play against the Tennessee Titans this Sunday but why put him in harm’s way. He has shown enough now the franchise needs to build around him with a new Head Coach. Not everything has been horrible for gang green, as the play of Jamal Adams has stood out.  The Jets will be in Tennessee this Sunday to battle the Titans (5-6).  Currently, Vegas has the Titans as eight-point favorites and Tennessee leads the all-time series 24-19-1.

30 SAN FRANCISCO 49ers (2-9) Last Week: 30th

Its been a lost season for San Francisco.  Coach Shanahan has done an excellent job of keeping this team fighting. Unfortunately for the 49ers, they play in Seattle this week a place of horrors for them 4-13 at Century Link Field. The fun part of the week has been Richard Sherman taking shots at Russell Wilson all week.  This game could get ugly in a must win for Seattle (6-5). The Seahawks are 10 point favorites and are 24-15 all-time versus  San Francisco which includes a nine-game winning streak between the NFC West combatants.  The 49ers last beat Seattle in 2013 (19-17) and have won only once in the last 12 match-ups (1-11).  The best thing for the 49ers is to keep losing and get the first pick in the NFL Draft.

31 OAKLAND RAIDERS (2-9) Last Week: 31st

One of the worst seasons in Oakland Raiders history continues to roll on in its shambolic state. All the excitement of Jon Gruden being back working with Derek Carr.  Before the season kicked off, Khalil Mack was moved and from that moment on, the year spiraled out control.   They lost to a rookie QB Lamar Jackson in an uninspired effort. This week the Raiders woeful 25th ranked defense will have to figure out how to stop the 3rd ranked offense and leading MVP Candidate Patrick Mahomes.  I am guessing a brutal double-digit loss and the Chiefs could score 50 points on the Silver Black sieve-like defense.

32. ARIZONA CARDINALS (2-9) Last Week: 32nd

They got schooled by the Chargers, and the worst offense in the NFL has no hope of getting better this year.  Josh Rosen will continue to take his lumps, and this week it will be in Green Bay (4-6-1) to take on the Packers.  One has to wonder what the Cardinals are going to do this off-season with the front office and coaching staff.  Packers lead the all-time series 45-25-4 and are 14 point favorites to knock off Arizona with an angry Aaron Rodgers. One of the best games between the two franchises was in 2016, the NFC Divisional Playoffs which the Cards won in OT 26-20.

Teams that are knocking on futilities door:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7),  Detroit Lions (4-7), N.Y. Giants 3-8

Come back next Thursday for Five Up Five Down: The five best NFL Teams and the five worst NFL Teams for Week 14.

Jalen Ramsey Finally Has Nothing To Say About Anything

Jalen Ramsey

For the first time in a while, Jalen Ramsey is silent.

After the Jaguars suffered an embarrassing 40-7 defeat at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys, Ramsey was silent at his locker, mumbling short phrases and one-word answers to reporters. This is a far cry from the trash talking loudmouth that fans have come to love and hate.

The loss to the Cowboys marked the second straight game where the vaunted Jaguars defense allowed more than 30 points (70 points in 2 games). Once thought of as an AFC contender, the Jaguars have now lost 3 out of 4 games to fall to 3-3. Both the offense and defense have hit a standstill. Ramsey had another chance to speak Thursday in front of the media, and once again, Ramsey deflected most of the questions while giving short, simple answers.

Remember that this is the same Jalen Ramsey who put the rest of the NFL on notice with his famous GQ interview where he called Josh Allen “trash” and called Matt Ryan, “overrated.” It seems that the losing streak has taken a hit on the confidence level of the Jaguars including Ramsey.

Silence is Not Golden

I am not going to sit here and start an “Old man yells at cloud” debate. I don’t mind Ramsey’s trash-talking whatsoever. In fact, I believe it’s great for the game and creates an exciting narrative for the NFL. If a player has to chirp to get an edge and it leads to success on the field, I’m all for it. In a time where we beg athletes to be more open and more forthcoming, Ramsey’s brutal honesty is somewhat refreshing. His answers in that article were not staged or planned. They were off the cuff, which is something I appreciate even if I don’t agree with all of his beliefs.

That being said, if you are going to talk when times are good, you must be able to face the music when times are bad. If you are going to chirp and take shots at other players, you can’t go quiet when your team is struggling. I’m not suggesting that Ramsey has to continue to chirp when losing because if he did that, then it would be a case of sour grapes. However, giving one-word answers and acting standoffish when the media asks fair questions after losses is unacceptable. This is the time to face the music. There is no definitive “right way” to handle a loss. You can be pissed off after a loss. You can be upset and angry with yourself. However, I can tell you that what Ramsey has done is not an acceptable way to handle the media as a professional.

Let’s see if a win on Sunday marks the return of the talkative Ramsey.

Check out the NFL 5 Best and 5 Worst Teams for Week 7.

Five up Five Down: 5 Best and 5 Worst NFL Teams Week 4

5 Worst NFL Teams

Five up Five Down: 5 Best and 5 Worst NFL Teams Week.  There are some significant changes in the rankings. What did we learn in Week 3? The refs hate Clay Matthews and the new roughing the passer rule is a joke.  Many teams have not invested in an offensive line properly. Baker Mayfield might be the answer in Cleveland. We also learned that being heavy favorites doesn’t guarantee anything in the NFL, costing some of us some money in Vegas.  Just ask the Vikings, Jaguars, and Patriots fans about that.  Minnesota was a 16.5 point favorite on Sunday and lost by 21 points at home, a historic upset indeed.

5 UP: 5 Best NFL Teams

1.  LOS ANGELES RAMS (3-0)  Last Week: 2nd 

The Los Angeles Rams are the most complete team in the NFL. The Rams are number one in our 5 Up due to an NFL best, plus 66 point differential. They dominated the Chargers in winning the Battle of Los Angeles.  Todd Gurley broke out for 156 total yards including 105 on the ground, and Jared Goff continues to get better (80 % completion level vs. Chargers 354 yards and 3 TD’s), which is scary for opposing teams.  The Rams did suffer some devastating injuries losing both stud Cornerbacks Marcus Peters (might miss 1-2 weeks currently a game-time decision vs. Vikings)  and Aquib Talib (for 4-6 weeks).  If the team has a weakness right now, it’s stopping the run (giving up 5 yards a carry).  Next up: a battle with the Minnesota Vikings (1-1-1) on Thursday night, who come into L.A. with all kinds of red flags.  Some viewed this game as a possible NFC Championship preview.  The Rams want revenge for a 24-7 loss last year in Minnesota.   L.A. is currently 6.5 point favorites with an 80% probability win rate against the Vikings even though Minnesota leads the all-time series 27-16-2 with five straight wins against the Rams.

2.  KANSAS CITY CHIEFS  (3-0) Last Week: 4th

Patrick Mahomes II (896 Yards, 13 Touchdowns, 137.4 QBR, with zero INT’s) is just awesome!  If you have him on your fantasy team, you are winning a lot. After three weeks he is not only the best QB in the NFL, he is the league’s best player. Check out this TD pass by Mahomes against the 49ers, which is utterly ridiculous.  I still think after three weeks the Chiefs defense is soft (allowing 472 yards per game). How long can this last?  Lots of pressure on the 7th ranked offense to make-up for the 32nd ranked defense.  The Chiefs need more out of RB Kareem Hunt and his 3.2 yards average, but then again Andy Reid is not a running back guy (runningbacks under Reid are not in the top 20 in looks since 2013).  Chiefs are 4.5 point road favorites against AFC West Divison rivals the Denver Broncos (2-1) on Monday Night.  Kansas City leads the all-time series 61-54.

3. MIAMI DOLPHINS (3-0)  Last Week: Unranked

Indeed one of the best surprises this year has been the Miami Dolphins.  Some experts did think that Adam Gase was going to get this team headed in the right direction, but 3-0 no way! Well, the fins are a perfect 3-0 and leading the AFC East.   Let’s check it a bit.  They have beaten the Titans, Jets, and Raiders (teams with a combined 3-6 record), but they are doing the little things right and are having fun as witnessed by this TD vs. the Raiders.

The loss of DE William Hayes is going to hurt.  Hayes tore his ACL on this play trying to avoid getting a penalty for roughing the passer.  Ryan Tannehill is playing within the system, and it’s paying off (73% completion ratio, 7 TD’s only 2 INT’s with a 121.8 QBR).  Miami can make a believer out of all of us with a win in Foxboro on Sunday afternoon against the suddenly desperate (1-2) New England Patriots.  This game is at Gillette Stadium, where Tom Brady is 14-1 vs. Miami and the Dolphins and despite being unbeaten, will be heavy underdogs by getting 7 points.  Vegas wants a show me win as well, but hey, maybe Tom’s daughter, Vivian will be pulling for Miami!  The Patriots lead the all-time series 54-51.

4. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (2-1) Last Week: 3rd 

Well, the Jaguars were ranked number one by many in the power ranking, but not mine.  I still think the Jaguars will be representing the AFC in the Super Bowl, but some red flags have developed.  The loss of LT Cam Robinson could be huge, and the lack of depth at the WR position is very concerning.  After a huge week against the Patriots, Blake Bortles came back to earth vs. the Titans (155 yards, zero TD’s).  The Franchise is fully invested in #5, who they feel is a “champion.”  Look, Jacksonville’s defense will continue to be strong, but the offense needs to pick up the pace. If they can put up 17 points, the defense will win most games by themselves.  The Jags only move down one spot in our Five Up, but they better take care of a rookie QB and the (1-2) N.Y. Jets on Sunday at home.  Vegas has the Jags as 7.5 point favorites but the Jets hold a 7-6 series lead, including last years dramatic 23-20 win in overtime.

5.) PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (2-1) Last Week: Unranked

Carson Wentz is back!  The future NFL MVP makes all the difference in the team’s chances at repeating.  The Eagles defense is still excellent and can cause nightmares for opposing teams offensive lines.  The running game has room for improvement, but RB Wendell Smallwood might become a new Philly favorite (17 carries 84 yards 1 TD 4.9 avg). What makes the Eagles so tough is that the offensive line has been so strong and underrated.  The offense is going to get a lot better, and that defense is just incredible!  Philly will be in Tennessee to battle the stingy Titans on Sunday as 3 point favorites.  The Eagles are 0-2 in Nashville but are 7-4 vs. Titans/Oilers all-time.

Closing in on the top 5:  Honorable Mention

Baltimore Ravens (2-1), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1), Cincinnati Bengals (2-1)

5 DOWN: 5 worst NFL teams

28.  BUFFALO BILLS (1-2)  Last Week: 32nd

Oh my, how one week can change everything!  The Bills were the NFL’s worst team last week.  It looked hopeless.  I bought into an on-air host from a big network saying the Vikings were going to cover easily. Buffalo, not only beat the heavily favored Vikings (-16.5), they embarrassed them 27-6.  Josh Allen (196 yards, 1 TD, no interceptions, numerous big runs) showed some serious athletic prowess and bravery with this effort on Anthony Barr that sparked the Bills to a big win.

The Bills defensive line lead by Jerry Hughes terrorized the Vikings offensive line all day, creating three critical turnovers. The Bills will try to make it two for two over the NFC North as they battle the Green Bay Packers (1-1-1) at Lambeau.  Vegas isn’t buying the Bills colossal upset over the Vikings.  The Packers are 10-point favorites, but the Bills hold an impressive 8-4 advantage in the all-time match-up vs. Green Bay.

29.  SAN FRANCISCO 49ers (1-2) Last Week: Unranked 

This has been a disastrous stretch for the San Francisco 49ers.  Fans must be in a deep depression. They have played okay, but losing your starting RB before the season starts and now losing Jimmy Garoppolo to a torn ACL is a nightmare no team can recover from.  This ranking is more about the future of this season than it is reflective of how they have performed so far.  When your season is in the hands of C.J. Beathard or someone from off the streets (Tom Savage gulp!), it’s a recipe for failure.  They will travel down the coast to play the (1-2) Los Angeles Chargers.  Vegas sees this as a blowout and have made the Chargers 10.5 point favorites.  The series is tied at seven games apiece.  The Chargers have won 4 in a row, but the 49ers have the biggest win in the series with a 49-26 win in Super Bowl XXIX.

31. HOUSTON TEXANS (0-3)  Last Week: Unranked

What is going on with The Houston Texans?  I thought this team would be ready for a significant turnaround.  Unfortunately for Houston fans, losing has been very prevalent with the team now holding an ominous streak of 9 straight loses dating back to last year.  Many are getting restless and tired of Head Coach Bill O’Brien (31-36) and his generic play calling.  Will he become the latest Patriots assistant to fail as a Head Coach?

The key to this team’s issues has been the play of the offensive line and defensive secondary.  DeShaun Watson, who is back after devastating injury, has been sacked ten times already and has run away from pressure on numerous occasions.  He is not at the level he played at last year (871 yards 5 TD’s  3 Int’s 89.9 QBR) but is getting closer.  A tough match-up against the Colts (1-2) in Indy is up next on Sunday.  The Texans will be 1.5 point underdogs and, unfortunately, historically are woeful vs. the Indianapolis Colts (7-25).  They lost both contests to Indy last year.

32.  ARIZONA CARDINALS (0-3) Last Week: 31st 

Awful!  At one point, the Cardinals were beating the Chicago Bears 14-0.  It appeared that the Cards were going to get out of the Five Down list.  Nope!  They scored no points in the 2nd half.  Sam Bradford continued to look awful (3 turnovers), which lead to the Josh Rosen era beginning.  With a talented roster, Arizona should be better than this.  I feel the Cardinals are making a huge mistake putting Rosen behind this weak offensive line (6 sacks numerous pressures).  Somehow, RB David Johnson, the Cardinals best player, is averaging just 3.4 yards and the team needs more from him in the running game.  The Cardinals rank dead last in every offensive category with a date against a very aggressive defense looming.  The Cardinals are an NFL worst, minus 54, which makes new Head Coach Steve Wilks cringe.  The Cards have another home game coming up against the Seattle Seahawks, and it will mark the 39th meeting between the two clubs. The Cardinals have a slight 19-18 lead in the series.  Seattle is favored by 3 points on Sunday afternoon.

Knocking on futilities door: 

N.Y. Jets (1-2), Seattle Seahawks (1-2), New England Patriots (1-2)

Come back next Wednesday for Five Up Five Down, The 5 best NFL Teams and the 5 worst NFL Teams Week 5.