Week three of the NFL season is in the books, as well as week four for college football! In this week’s edition of our 5 for 5 we will highlight some of the biggest sleepers in the 2023 NFL Draft, a handful of favorites for the NFL MVP award, and more. Without further ado, let’s get the ball rolling!
Headline #1: Biggest Surprises of the Week
•No. 1: Another Crazy Week in CFB
If the first few weeks of the college football season are any indication, this could be the craziest year in recent memory. Week four continued the trend with some shocking upsets and individual performances.
After getting brought back down to Earth last week in College Station, No. 25 ranked Miami suffered one of the most embarrassing losses in their program’s illustrious history Saturday. Middle Tennessee State traveled to South Beach and left with a stunning 45-31 victory.
Speaking of Texas A&M, they defeated the No. 10 ranked Arkansas Razorbacks, marking a second straight top 15 win following their own embarrassing loss versus Appalachian State a couple of weeks back.
The biggest upset of the weekend, all things considered, came when Adrian Martinez led his Kansas State Wildcats into Norman, Oklahoma, and helped propel them past the No. 6 ranked Oklahoma Sooners.
This made for the third time in the first four weeks of the season that multiple top 10 teams were beaten on the same day. In total, there have been 11 occurrences of a team ranked 12th or better losing in 2022. It is absurd.
•No. 2: Trevor Lawrence & the Jacksonville Jaguars Look Legit
A few things have become clear as day with the Jacksonville Jaguars. First and foremost, it cannot be said enough how much of a disaster the Urban Meyer fiasco was. It is in the running for the worst coaching tenure in the history of sports.
We all knew Meyer sank any chance the franchise had at improving in 2021, but seeing how much progress Doug Pederson has made in a fraction of the time hammers home just how bad Meyer was. Pederson is respected in the locker room and already has Trevor Lawrence looking like a new man behind center.
While Pederson gets the credit for designing a winning game plan, the Jaguars second-year quarterback deserves an equal amount of credit for executing it to such a high degree. Lawrence tied for the league lead in interceptions as a rookie, but through three games in 2022, he’s only thrown one.
The defense is perhaps just as promising. Josh Allen and 2022 No. 1 overall pick Travon Walker create pressure off the edge all game, with their “other” first-round pick from 2022, linebacker Devin Lloyd, cleaning up plays over the middle. They’ve allowed 10 points as a unit over their past two games versus IND & LAC.
The Jaguars currently sit at 2-1 and lay claim to first place in the AFC South. After winning only three games under Urban Meyer, Jacksonville could realistically triple their win total from 2021 en route to a potential division title. Keep an eye on these youngsters.
•No. 3: The Miami Dolphins are 3-0
Some expected the Miami Dolphins to be a playoff team this season, myself included. The addition of Terron Armstead, Tyreek Hill, and Mike McDaniel was enough to convince me that a 10-win campaign was on the horizon.
One thing that nobody expected is that the Dolphins would sit as the final remaining undefeated AFC team. Miami hasn’t blown anyone out of the water to this point, but with wins over the Patriots, Ravens, and Bills… they’ve got a serious contender in South Beach.
The offense is leaps and bounds ahead of what the unit put up last season, proving that the entire locker room has bought into what Mike McDaniel is selling. Forget about the Dolphins being contenders for a division title, it’s time to start talking about them as a Super Bowl threat.
•No. 4: USC’s High-Powered Offense Stymied
The USC Trojans escaped with a hard-fought 17-14 victory against their Pac-12 rivals, the Oregon State Beavers. While a win is a win, this one came in a vastly different manner than the prior three for Lincoln Riley’s crew.
Jonathan Smith deserves credit for the defensive game plan that he and his coaching staff threw at the Trojans. In rewatching the game, the Beavers constantly asserted their physicality, especially in coverage. They did a great job of limiting Jordan Addison’s impact throughout the game, even though the gifted wideout hauled in the game-winner later on.
If USC truly wants to compete for a National Championship, they must remain locked in and continue winning games that don’t go exactly to plan. A true mark of a great team is winning these contests in uncharacteristic ways.
•No. 5: The Undefeated Kansas City Chiefs Fall to the Winless Indianapolis Colts
Speaking as a resident of the state of Indiana, the Colts fandom had their pitchforks ready following the team’s demoralizing 24-0 loss in week two versus the Jacksonville Jaguars. After another slow start, things started getting shaky in the Hoosier State.
In a turn of events that perfectly encapsulates the Frank Reich era, the Colts rebounded from their 0-1-1 start by beating the powerhouse Kansas City Chiefs 20-17. A lot of things went Indy’s way, but to their credit, they never once wavered during the game or the hostile week leading up to it.
Reich’s single best trait is keeping an even keel demeanor no matter the outcome. It’s something that helps the team when things are bad but can also hurt them when a sense of urgency is needed. I still have my reservations about Reich as a head coach, but Sunday helped quell the storm — for now.