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NFL Week 4: Notes and observations

The NFL season is starting to shake out a bit, letting us know which teams are going to be playing meaningful December football, and which teams will be studying the college tape very early in the campaign.

There are four teams still looking for their first wins of the season, including the Oakland Raiders. In January, Oakland was one of the teams pegged to have a bounce-back year after firing Jack Del Rio in favor of Jon Gruden and his gaudy 10-year, $100 million deal. Gruden has since proven to be a complete disaster on the west coast, with the Raiders bringing in older players, trading Khalil Mack and losing badly in each second half thus far.

Conversely, the undefeated teams are down to three, and the Kansas City Chiefs are among the surprises here. Kansas City opened the season with the Los Angeles Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers away from home and racked up an absurd 80 points over the two contests, with Patrick Mahomes throwing an absurd 10 touchdowns. Mahomes continued his brilliance with a win in Week 3 at Arrowhead Stadium against the San Francisco 49ers, throwing three more touchdowns while the Chiefs rolled to 35 points in the first half.

However, the biggest shocker of the unbeatens is unquestionably the Miami Dolphins, who have jumped out to a two-game lead over all the competition in the AFC East. On Sunday, the Dolphins travels Foxboro to take on the New England Patriots. If Miami somehow finds a way to win, it would be three games up with the tiebreaker (for now) on the Patriots, who suddenly would look like a team in real trouble for the first time in two decades.

On the NFC side of things, it’s now or never for the Dallas Cowboys. Opinions have been split on what to expect from the ‘Boys, and thus far, it’s been an ugly 1-2. Dak Prescott has no talent on the perimeter and it has showed with him failing to throw for even 200 yards in each of the first three weeks. Prescott will need to raise his game today with the Detroit Lions coming into town. Detroit has its warts but it showed up in a big way against New England a week ago, winning 26-10.

Finally, how hurt is Aaron Rodgers? Rodgers sustained a knee injury in Week 1 against the Chicago Bears and hasn’t looked right since, hobbling around in and outside the pocket. If Rodgers’ leg is only going to get worse, Green Bay needs to bite the proverbial bullet, sit its All-Pro for a few weeks and allow the body to heal. After that, make your run, Packers.

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