Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images
It was only a matter of time before COVID-19 started impacting the NFL schedule and Week 4 saw two games being moved due to positive cases from the New England Patriots and especially the Tennessee Titans. We saw another Monday night doubleheader as the Chiefs/Patriots game was played at 7:00 p.m. EST on CBS, called by Jim Nantz and Tony Romo before the actual Monday Night Football game between the Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers. After a weird Week 4, here are my takeaways as we get ready for Week 5.
- The New York Giants have a solid defensive foundation
The Giants may be one of the worst teams in the NFL to start the season as they sit at 0-4 already. Their offense has been completely ineffective to start the season as they sit in the bottom five in every major team offensive category, including being last in total offense and points scored per game.
However, that is not the case for their defense. Their defense has done a good job holding teams in check, keeping the team competitive while the offense consistently falters. They are fifth in total defense and sixth in passing defense. Against the Los Angeles Rams, they held them to 17 points and kept within one score the entire game.
The Giants’ franchise has found their success on defense, the main reason they won their four Lombardi Trophies. They will have more high-round draft picks this upcoming draft and they have a chance to build a fearsome defense, which could anchor the team for years. The foundation is already there to build on.
2. Tom Brady has still got it
Yes, Tom Brady has thrown two pick-sixes this season at 43 years of age. However, this Sunday, he proved he can still produce at a high level in the NFL. Trailing 24-7 to the Los Angeles Chargers, Brady led the Bucs back, throwing five touchdown passes in the game along with 369 yards passing.
He looked comfortable against a decent Chargers’ defense and has started to click with his receivers. While he lost tight end O.J. Howard for the season, he still has tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Cameron Brate to rely on. As the Bucs head into a crucial showdown Thursday night at Chicago, they come in with plenty of momentum as Brady is starting to roll.
3. Cam Newton is irreplaceable on New England
The Patriots faced the Chiefs Monday evening and their defense performed well, holding the Chiefs to two first half field goals. The referees missed a Patrick Mahomes’ fumble and safety Devin McCourty dropped and easy interception but the defense frustrated Mahomes for the majority of the game, preventing scores on five drives (not including the end of game kneel downs).
However, the offense, led by Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham was ineffective at scoring. The Patriots turned the ball over three times in Kansas City territory, Stidham threw a pick-six which came off the hands of Julian Edelman and Hoyer took a sack to end the first half while down 6-3 with no timeouts left.
This game shows how valuable Cam Newton, who caused the game to be delayed with a positive COVID-19 case, is to the Patriots with his dual-threat skills. He was sorely missed and the Patriots most likely win that game if he had played.
4. Jaire Alexander is an elite cornerback who needs to be respected
Ever since he was drafted in the first round by the Packers in 2018, Jaire Alexander has stood out on the Packer defense, quickly evolving into a shutdown corner, which is rare in the modern NFL. In 2020, he has been instrumental in the Packers’ 4-0 start.
In Week 1 at Minnesota, he sacked Vikings’ quarterback Kirk Cousins for a safety, a huge play in a 43-34 shootout. On Monday night against the Atlanta Falcons, he turned in possibly his best performance in the NFL, holding Falcons’ wide receiver Calvin Ridley to zero catches on five passes thrown at him. He single-handedly took Ridley out of the game, an impressive feat in the modern NFL.
He is quickly becoming a top cornerback in the NFL and is a vital part of a Packers’ defense which looks to support QB Aaron Rodgers, who has been fantastic to start the season. The Super Bowl aspirations are high in Green Bay, in part thanks to Alexander.