6 NFL Teams Who Need a Win in Week 4

Every NFL team has played three games to this point of the season, but some teams need a win more than others in Week 4.

After three weeks, you start wondering if what we’re seeing is “for real.” Are Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott really this good as rookies? Is Randall Cobb no longer a top wide receiver? Is Matthew Stafford finally one of the top-10 quarterbacks in the NFL?

After three weeks, coaches start getting in the hot seat. When will Gus Bradley’s time with the Jacksonville Jaguars be up? Are the Los Angeles Rams latest wins enough to net Jeff Fisher that reported three-year extension?

The teams that are having issues early in the season are in desperate need of a win, because three weeks is enough for some fans to start voicing their concerns. Here are six NFL teams that need to get a “W” here in Week 4.

Sep 25, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) throws a pass under pressure by Buffalo Bills linebacker Lerentee McCray (56) as tackle Jared Veldheer (68) blocks during the second half at New Era Field. Bills beat the Cardinals 31-18. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

6. Arizona Cardinals

Before the season, I had the Arizona Cardinals losing to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. Well, the Cardinals did lose to New England in Week 1—and Tom Brady didn’t even have to take the field for that to happen. That loss wasn’t a big deal for the Cardinals. Not only did it come in Week 1, but the Cardinals were awfully close to winning that one. More importantly, the Patriots are an amazing football team, so there’s no shame in losing to Bill Belichick, Josh McDaniels and Co.

There is, however, shame in losing to a Buffalo Bills team that scapegoated their offensive coordinator, who was doing a decent enough job, in the previous week. The Bills lost to the New York Jets on Thursday Night Football, and this is the same Jets team that just laid an egg in Week 3 against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Carson Palmer threw four interceptions against Buffalo, and the only player on the Cardinals offense who looked dangerous was David Johnson. Arizona finally tried to get their most explosive wide receiver, John Brown, involved, but it didn’t really matter. The 1-2 Cardinals have one of the most talented rosters in the NFL, but they have to show up in Week 4 against the Los Angeles Rams. This game carries a lot of weight, and the Rams are somehow 2-1 after recovering from their embarrassing showing in Week 1 against the San Francisco 49ers.

There isn’t really such a thing as a must-win game in Week 3, but this feels pretty close. Losing to Buffalo is one thing, but Bruce Arians should be mortified—and not simply just fuming—if his team loses to Los Angeles.

Sep 25, 2016; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) throws a pass that would be intercepted during the second half of a football game against the Baltimore Ravens at EverBank FieldThe Baltimore Ravens won 19-17. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

5. Jacksonville Jaguars

David Caldwell earned widespread acclaim in the offseason for the moves the Jacksonville Jaguars made. Signing Chris Ivory, Tashaun Gipson, and Malik Jackson aided this team, and Caldwell also managed to draft Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack, Yannick Ngakoue, and Sheldon Day.

Gus Bradley, however, hasn’t received praise in a long time, and more people are starting to clamor for his firing. It isn’t just about the struggles of Blake Bortles, the running game, and the god-awful offensive line; the defense looked poorly-coached and unresponsive against the San Diego Chargers. Last week’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens has more to do with Bortles than anything, because the defense stepped up to frustrate Joe Flacco.

However, fans care about results, and the Jaguars just aren’t getting any. Hyped as a sleeper team before the season (by people like me), the Jaguars sit at 0-3, squarely in the AFC South’s basement. Yes, even the Tennessee Titans have a win to this point.

Jacksonville will face the Indianapolis Colts in London this week, and they have to be better. The Colts just won their first game of the season against the Chargers—a team the Jaguars could not handle in Week 2.

Sep 25, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton on the sideline during the second half against the Denver Broncos at Paul Brown Stadium. The Broncos won 29-17. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

4. Cincinnati Bengals

There’s no shame in losing to the Denver Broncos, but the Cincinnati Bengals have high aspirations. At 1-2, they aren’t fulfilling them, and I don’t know how much that Week 1 win over the New York Jets means to them right now. The Baltimore Ravens are flukily in the division lead, but the Bengals are still behind the Pittsburgh Steelers. While Pittsburgh’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles was shameful, they did beat Cincinnati just one week ago.

In Week 4, the Bengals will defend their home turf against a Miami Dolphins team that finally picked up their first win of the season. Miami played valiantly in close losses to the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots, but they didn’t exactly put on a convincing display against the Cleveland Browns.

After getting torn to shreds by Trevor Siemian (of all quarterbacks), the Bengals defense needs to prove that it can buckle down and stop Ryan Tannehill, Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker, and Jordan Cameron.

Maybe more importantly, Andy Dalton needs to get back on form.

Sep 22, 2016; Foxborough, MA, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler (17) makes a pass during the third quarter against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

3. Houston Texans

Though Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts are always lurking, the Houston Texans remain the cream of the AFC South. There’s no shame in losing to the New England Patriots, but there is something a little upsetting about losing to a third-string quarterback and scoring no points of your own.

Brock Osweiler is most definitely an upgrade over the quarterback carousel Houston put on the field in 2015, but Osweiler’s mistakes have hurt Houston. He averaged just 4.8 yards per attempt, threw no touchdowns, tossed one interception, and was forced under 200 passing yards by the Patriots defense.

I know the Texans want to keep riding Lamar Miller, but you can’t actually use a running back as a workhorse if your passing attack doesn’t actually threaten defenses. The Texans passing game is better than this and they have a chance to prove that against the Tennessee Titans in Week 4.

This is a divisional battle Houston has to win if they want to keep up their status as favorites in the AFC South. Tennessee did pretty well against the Detroit Lions and Oakland Raiders in back-to-back weeks, so they won’t wither and die at NRG Stadium.

Sep 18, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (13) catches a pass during the third quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

2. Carolina Panthers

It’s almost unbelievable how inept the Carolina Panthers offense looked in Sunday’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings, and it reenforces my belief that Jonathan Stewart is the most underrated player in that offense. That said, the Panthers have more than enough talent to survive without Stewart, even when the offensive line isn’t carrying Fozzy Whittaker and Cameron Artis-Payne to yardage.

A Week 4 date with the Atlanta Falcons could be just what the doctor prescribed for the Panthers offense, but Atlanta’s defense is as suspect as ever. The Panthers can stretch the Falcons deep, they can hit them up underneath with Greg Olsen, and they can get Kelvin Benjamin involved again after Minnesota goose-egged him in Week 3.

Carolina has one of the NFL’s best rosters, and they are undoubtedly Super Bowl contenders. However, they are also 1-2, and the NFC South is not a joke of a division. The Panthers are by far the best team of the four, so they need to improve it by imposing their will on Atlanta.

Sep 18, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers cornerback Jason Verrett (22) reacts after defending a pass during the third quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

1. San Diego Chargers

Right now, the San Diego Chargers only win of the 2016 season came against an 0-3 Jacksonville Jaguars team, and while the New Orleans Saints don’t have the best 2016 resume, this would be a more impressive win for San Diego.

More to the point, the Chargers need all the wins they can get, and they need to prove they can belong in the playoff discussion by beating teams like the Saints. No, the Chargers probably aren’t a playoff team, but I have to think that Mike McCoy and the coaching staff will keep feeling the heat. The fan base has beat the drum for McCoy‘s firing, and they will continue to do so if this team doesn’t keep improving.

At 1-2, the Chargers are in last place in the AFC West, and this looks like the most cutthroat division in football. The Denver Broncos just beat the Bengals, the Kansas City Chiefs made a mockery of Ryan Fitzpatrick and the New York Jets, and the Oakland Raiders survived what could have been another epic comeback by Marcus Mariota.

Every game matters, and that’s especially true in this division. Philip Rivers and the Chargers must take advantage of the weaknesses in the Saints secondary, and they must also prove that they have a defense that can stop talented wide receivers. T.Y. Hilton is phenomenal and under-appreciated by some fans, but what he did to the Chargers was simply unacceptable. At times, it seemed like the Chargers were being dismantled by one man.

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