Thursday night brought a scary scene in Cincinnati when Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was stretchered off the field after exhibiting clear signs of a head injury.
The incident brings up serious questions about whether Tagovailoa should have even been allowed to suit up for this game at all. Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, he went through concussion protocol mid-game and was allowed to resume play in the second half after appearing unsteady on his feet following a hit during which his head made contact with the ground.
As we await further information about Tagovailoa’s health – the QB himself released a statement Friday – and the actions taken by the NFLPA as it investigates the Dolphins’ handling of the incident, many more questions will undoubtedly arise about how we can ensure players’ health and safety comes first.
For now, we shift our attention back to the field and a slate of games to come.
The Dolphins’ loss leaves just one undefeated team standing: the Philadelphia Eagles, who host a familiar face in former head coach Doug Pederson, whose Jacksonville Jaguars are fresh off an upset victory over the Los Angeles Chargers and looking to prove they’re the real deal.
This weekend also brings morning football, live from London as the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints kick off the action across the pond.
Here’s a storyline we’re watching in each game as we look ahead to Week 4.
Vikings (2-1) @ Saints (1-2) | Sunday 9:30 a.m. (in London)
London has been kind to the Vikings and the Saints – both are 2-0 in games across the pond – but that doesn’t extend to New Orleans’ new head coach, Dennis Allen, who left London in 2014 with an 0-4 record at the helm of the Raiders and was fired not long after landing. While that’s ancient history by now, his present situation isn’t exactly promising as Jameis Winston is dealing with a back injury that has backup Andy Dalton the likely starter.
Seahawks (1-2) @ Lions (1-2) | Sunday 1 p.m.
Detroit’s top pick in 2020, Jeff Okudah, is showing great signs of a breakout year – but his next opponent, Seahawks receiver D.K. Metcalf, isn’t buying it.
"There's a safety over the top of him, so he's not really locking people down. But he's a good corner," Metcalf told reporters this week.
Jets (1-2) @ Steelers (1-2) | Sunday 1 p.m.
Zach Wilson is back, just in time to face one of the toughest defences in the league. Pittsburgh has five interceptions so far this season and has registered the sixth-most sacks (nine).
Bears (2-1) @ Giants (2-1) | Sunday 1 p.m.
The Bears’ passing problems have been front and centre this season – they’ve tallied just 297 yards through the air in three games combined – and considering the Giants just lost top target Sterling Shepard, their outlook doesn’t look much better. Prepare for a run-heavy matchup. Chicago’s ground game is full speed ahead and New York’s Saquon Barkley is starting to look like his old self.
Titans (1-2) @ Colts (1-1-1) | Sunday 1 p.m.
Derrick Henry won back-to-back rushing titles before Jonathan Taylor ran away with the crown last season following Henry’s injury. We haven’t seen the best of either running back yet this season.
Chargers (1-2) @ Texans (0-2-1) | Sunday 1 p.m.
Death, taxes, and never truly knowing how good the Chargers can be.
Browns (2-1) @ Falcons (1-2) | Sunday 1 p.m.
Get ready to run.
The Browns, like the Falcons, make no mystery of their offensive strategy: They’re going to run the ball. A lot. Cleveland leads the league in total rushing yards so far this season with 572 while the Falcons are fifth with 470. Meanwhile, they rank 26th (Falcons, with 640 yards) and 27th (Browns, 596) in total passing yards through three games so far.
Cleveland’s outlook on defence will largely depend on the status of game-breaker Myles Garrett, who suffered a shoulder sprain and a series of cuts and bruises in a frightening single-car crash on Monday.
Commanders (1-2) @ Cowboys (2-1) | Sunday 1 p.m.
Carson Wentz was sacked eight times by his old team last week when the Eagles came to town, and the odds of him staying on his feet Sunday in Dallas look pretty bleak considering the state of his offensive line in front of him and the strength of the defence coming after him. Led by Micah Parsons, the Cowboys lead the league in sacks with 13.
In two straight losses, Washington has been shut out in the first half (the Commanders didn’t score until the fourth quarter against Philly).
Jaguars (2-1) @ Eagles (3-0) | Sunday 1 p.m.
"You're seeing the growth, not only in the quarterback, but also in the team. Some of the pieces around him. He's going to defy all odds. That's just the way his career has been built."
That’s Jaguars head Pederson talking to reporters this week about Jalen Hurts. He should know – Hurts was drafted and given his first starts during Pederson’s tenure in Philly.
Those words – ‘growth,’ ‘defy all odds’ – could easily be applied to Pederson’s new team in Jacksonville and his work with second-year QB Trevor Lawrence. The Jaguars are 2-1 under Pederson’s leadership and fresh off a dominant win over the Chargers. They now take aim at the league’s lone remaining undefeated club.
Bills (2-1) @ Ravens (2-1) | Sunday 1 p.m.
Lamar Jackson’s Ravens are this year’s highest-scoring offence so far. They have to be – Baltimore’s pass defence is ranked worst in the league. The only way to stop Buffalo’s league-topping passing offence is to keep up with it, and considering how last week’s loss to Miami ended, the Bills are out for redemption. Josh Allen and Jackson are playing must-watch football every week. This game has all the makings of an MVP shootout.
Cardinals (1-2) @ Panthers (1-2) | Sunday 4:05 p.m.
Carolina has won its last six matchups against Arizona, but Panthers head coach Matt Rhule and his quarterback, Baker Mayfield, both know all too well what Kyler Murray can do when he’s at his best.
Broncos (2-1) @ Raiders (0-3) | 4:25 p.m.
The AFC West was supposed to hit the season fast and furious, but instead we’ve got a 2-1 team that feels winless and a winless team that’s we’re convinced is better than its record indicates. An 0-4 start for Vegas would essentially be a season-ender.
Patriots (1-2) @ Packers (2-1) | Sunday 4:25 p.m.
Mac Jones won't play after being helped off the field last week. Meanwhile, Bill Belichick is in mid-season form:
Chiefs (2-1) @ Buccaneers (2-1) | Sunday 8:20 p.m.
Tampa Bay’s defence dominated Kansas City in Super Bowl LV, and if they’re to emerge victorious in this championship rematch it’ll come down to defence once again. Tom Brady has his best weapon back in Mike Evans, but this offence – one that has scored just three total touchdowns this season so far – has yet to really connect.
Of course, football is far from the most important thing in Tampa Bay right now as recovery efforts are underway in the area following Hurricane Ian.
Rams (2-1) @ 49ers (1-2) | Monday 8:15 p.m.
This could be a rough outing for both quarterbacks – 49ers edge rusher Nick Bosa has registered a sack in all four of San Francisco’s games this season and now sets his sights on Matthew Stafford while Jimmy Garoppolo’s staring down Aaron Donald without top bodyguard Trent Williams to keep him safe.