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The league
Posted at 03:08 PM ET, 09/27/2011

Through three weeks, Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals are teams to watch

While the first three NFL games aren’t likely to define the season for any team, it does give us all a good look, a preview, at what to expect over the next 13 games. Right now there are four types of teams, depending on how many games they’ve won or lost. It’s easy to pick on the ‘Dream Team’ Eagles, who have struggled to maintain altitude in the face of soaring exceptions, but I’m going to stay optimistic and take a look at the best teams in the NFL that have won three, two, one and no games.

The 3-0 Bills. They haven’t outscored their opponents by the widest margin in the league, and they padded their point differential with a blowout victory over the hapless Chiefs, but they also have two quality wins against two of the better teams in the AFC: the Patriots and the Raiders. Their offense behind QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is playing great with kudos to a surprising offensive line and a relatively unknown collection of receivers. The concern is that they haven’t played any tough team on the road, and opposing quarterbacks have an 85.7 rating against their secondary even though they intercepted Tom Brady four times last week.

The 2-1 Ravens. They started off with one dominant victory at home. They followed it up with a loss and a win in two road games that they should have won, but every team with one loss has a game they’d rather forget. Joe Flacco and Ray Rice lead a competent offense to complement a dominant defense that’s only allowed 40 points in their first three games. They’ve got two big tests coming up at home: first the Jets and then the Texans.

The 1-2 Bengals. While it’s very tempting to go with either the Eagles or Bears, both teams have allowed a quarterback rating of over 100 against their defense. The injury to Michael Vick is one problem for the Eagles, but their pass defense was supposed to be unbeatable. The Falcons are another option, but they’ve got two tough games upcoming against the Packers and Lions, and appear to have problems with their offensive line. The Bengals, on the other hand, have gotten competent play from rookie Andy Dalton and their secondary. After a tough game next week against the Bills, they play four winnable games against the Jaguars, Colts, Seahawks, and Titans.

The 0-3 Vikings. There is no lead too big for the Vikings to squander this season, but the point is that they were leading late into games against three quality teams (Chargers, Buccaneers, and Lions). They couldn’t close out the win in any of those games, but they’re competitive. Adrian Peterson is still a great running back, and they’re getting after the quarterback with Jared Allen and Brian Robison. However, quarterbacks are completing nearly 70 percent of their passes against them. They’ll break their early season losing streak soon with a win against either the Chiefs next week, or the Cardinals the next.

By Brandon Benson  |  03:08 PM ET, 09/27/2011

Tags:  Brandon Benson

 
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