Taking a spin around the NFL to get you ready for Week 4:
The big questions
They're 2-1 atop the wide-open AFC South, but coach Bill O'Brien has to figure out a way for his team to move forward without its best player.
With Watt playing at less than 100 percent, the defense ranked eighth in the NFL through three games. But the Texans need much more from the other side of the ball -- specifically, from quarterback Brock Osweiler.
Given the state of the division, it would be silly to write the Texans off because of Watt's injury, but they need the offense to start making progress.
The Texans are 4.5-point favorites at home against the Tennessee Titans.
Can the Minnesota Vikings remain undefeated?
Coach Mike Zimmer has done a tremendous job getting his players to battle through adversity. With a win over the New York Giants on Monday night, Minnesota will be the only 4-0 team in the conference.
The Vikings have scored three touchdowns on defense and special teams; that’s the same number they’ve scored on offense.
The blitz-heavy scheme has looked dominant at times as the Vikings have produced sacks on 11.3 percent of their opponents’ dropbacks, the top mark in the league. Last week, they sacked Cam Newton eight times, and overall the Vikings rank third in defensive efficiency.
But offensively, their run game ranks last in the NFL. Finding ways to be productive on offense will be the Vikings' biggest challenge going forward.
Wilson is expected to play against the New York Jets, but he’ll be limited with a sprained MCL in his left knee. It’s Wilson’s second injury this season. In Week 1, he suffered a right high-ankle sprain.
Wilson's personal physical therapist was on a plane to Seattle from Southern California on Sunday after Wilson got injured. Their focus was on the first 48 hours of rehab, which involved Wilson waking up in the middle of the night for icing and a range of motion exercises.
The Seahawks have been inconsistent offensively through the first three games. They’d be thrilled to get to the bye with a 3-1 record, with hopes of a healthy Wilson returning in Week 6.
Take a look
The next time someone brings up the perils of social media, be sure to remind them of the truly great moments it can provide:
Hang on. Did John Elway really just @ this dude who questioned him a year and a half ago? Hahahaha pic.twitter.com/Q6ab2XO4C2
— West Coast Shane (@shanehall31) September 25, 2016
Numbers that matter
12: The number of interceptions for Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters since the start of last season. That’s three more than any other player. And according to ESPN Stats & Information, it's more than six teams have produced during that span. Peters and the Chiefs take on Antonio Brown and the Pittsburgh Steelers in what is probably the week’s best matchup.
4.88: The number of plays per offensive drive for the San Francisco 49ers. That’s 31st in the NFL. They’ve gone three-and-out on 36.6 percent of their possessions. That also ranks 31st. Chip Kelly doesn’t believe in time of possession. He more commonly points to number of plays. When Kelly’s offenses can’t string together first downs and move the ball, the team has very little chance of winning because the defense is on the field for so long and wears down. That’s especially true later in the year. If the 49ers can’t find ways to move the chains more consistently and run more plays, it's going to be a long season.
10.65: Trevor Siemian's average yards per dropback against the blitz this season. That ranks third in the NFL. Overall, Siemian has a 126.3 passer rating against the blitz. Last week, against the Cincinnati Bengals, he went 10-for-11 for 168 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in the second half. The Denver Broncos will look to improve to 4-0 this week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
What we’ll be talking about Monday
The Oakland Raiders handing the Baltimore Ravens their first loss: The Ravens have won their first three games by a total of 13 points. The Raiders have had the most efficient offense in football. And one key has been the way they've protected Derek Carr. According to ESPN Stats & Information, he has been hit on just 4.4 percent of his dropbacks, the lowest number of any quarterback in the NFL. Oakland, a 3.5-point underdog, pulls off the upset on the road.
Ezekiel Elliott's big day: The Dallas Cowboys running back is coming off his best game, a 30-carry, 140-yard performance against the Chicago Bears. Dez Bryant is not expected to play, and the 49ers looked vulnerable against the run last week. Expect big production from Elliott.
Tom Brady returns to the 4-0 New England Patriots: It's unclear who will start at quarterback, and the Patriots are still 7.5-point favorites against the Buffalo Bills. In 15 games without Brady in 2008, the offense averaged 25.73 points per game, second in the NFL. In three games this season, the offense is averaging 27 points per game, tied for third. And in 18 games since 2002 without Brady as the starter, the Patriots have gone 13-5.