Week three of the 2021-22 NFL season is upon us and some important matchups should be on the viewing schedule
Weeks one and two of the NFL season provided some fun must watch matchups, but week three is going to be even better. A rookie quarterback is making his first start, a possible NFC championship matchup, and an AFC West matchup that could have division winning implications.
Pull up to a local bar or grab a spot on the couch for these week three games
No. 3: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Los Angeles Rams
3:25pm CT on FOX
This matchup between Tom Brady and Matthew Stafford very well could be the matchup NFL fans are watching for the NFC title. Brady looks even better than last year with nine touchdowns through two games, and Stafford has found a new love for the game playing on the Rams. Both teams are 2-0 to start the season and that is no surprise given their roster talent.
Bucs receiver Antonio Brown has been placed on the COVID-19 list and is unlikely to play this weekend. A key offensive weapon not being available against the stingy Rams defense is not a desirable situation for Tom Brady. Look for Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald to try and disrupt the Bucs offensive rhythm and force Brady into some difficult throws.
Stafford and the Rams have played the Bears and Colts this season, but the Bucs defense is a taller task than their weeks one and two opponents. The Bucs line is stacked with Vita Vea and Jason Pierre-Paul to list a few, and the backend is headlined by linebacker Lavonte David and Antoine Winfield Jr. at strong safety. This will be a good test for receiver Cooper Kupp who has been lighting up the stat sheet this season with 271 receiving yards so far.
No. 2: Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns
12:00pm CT on FOX
Justin Fields is getting his first start as an NFL quarterback and it comes after a knee injury sustained by Andy Dalton last week against the Cincinnati Bengals. Fields was taken with the 11th pick in the first round of the NFL Draft and had Chicago fans buzzing. However, Matt Nagy declared Andy Dalton the starter and claimed Justin Fields was not ready yet. An unfortunate injury for Dalton has now thrust Fields into the starting role and his play this weekend could determine playing time once Andy is fully healthy.
For the Browns, they suffered a tough loss at the hands of Patrick Mahomes week one, but then bounced back and beat the Houston Texans in week two. Baker Mayfield is having a solid start to the season and gets his star receiver back on Sunday. Odell Beckham Jr. is making his 2021-22 NFL season debut coming off of his ACL injury last year. There have been question marks in the past about whether or not Baker Mayfield is a better quarterback when OBJ is not on the field. Anytime an impact player like Odell is on the field, there is the opportunity for big offensive plays.
The biggest question mark for this matchup is if the Bears offensive line can keep Fields realtively clean in the pocket. Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney are disruptors on the Browns defensive line and will make their way into the backfield at some point. Watch for how Justin Fields plays after a few hits from some of the league’s best pass rushers.
No. 1: Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs
12:00pm CT on CBS
The Kansas City Chiefs are starting divisional play against the LA Chargers following a stunning Sunday Night Football loss to Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. The Chiefs defense has a lot to prove this week after being torched by the Ravens running game for 251 yards rushing. LA could watch some film on how to contain Tyreek Hill like the Ravens secondary did in week two. Hill was held to 14 yards receiving in that primetime game. Look for the Clyde Edwards-Helaire to try and turn his season around and whether or not the defense steps up and plays with some attitude.
LA comes into this week three matchup 1-1 with a win over the Washington Football Team and a week two loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Justin Herbert has looked good with 675 passing yards, but has three interceptions and only two touchdowns to start the season.
Herbert is a young talented player that is part of the next legendary group of quarterbacks in the NFL. The defense led by Joey Bosa and Derwin James has been solid this season, and it’s a good sign for Chargers fans that James has not picked up an injury yet given his track record of health concerns.
Look for Keenan Allen to have a good game against the inconsistent Chiefs secondary and what kind of impact running back Austin Ekeler will have facing the below average Kansas City run defense.