Is it time to panic about the Broncos, Colts, Saints and Cardinals? Barnwell rates each team’s issues

    Bill Barnwell is a staff writer for ESPN.com.

Three weeks might as well be an eternity in the NFL. If you’re a fan of a struggling team such as the Patriots or Raiders, think about how optimistic you were before Week 1 and contrast that to how you feel right now. Things aren’t even quite as bad as they are normally, given that Las Vegas is the only team to hit Week 4 without a win or a tie.

Of course, teams still can be raising anxious eyebrows with a win or two to their name. Let’s leave aside the Raiders, allow the Patriots to worry about what they’ll do on offense without quarterback Mac Jones and focus on four teams whose fans might rightfully be panicking after three weeks.

Three of these teams managed to pick up a victory, although all three have only one and needed fourth-quarter comebacks to take home those W’s. One of the teams below has two wins, although I’ve now needed to write about what a mess it is after each of its first three games.

I’ll break down what’s going on with four of the league’s most disappointing teams on their worst side of the ball. I’ll also raise the panic alarm to tell you whether you should be worried or whether their problems should get better in the weeks to come. Let’s start with one of the teams in London in Week 4, as New Orleans might be facing the end of an era on offense.


The Saints’ offense is out of sync

New Orleans is one dramatic comeback away from catastrophe. The only thing keeping the Saints from an 0-3 start in the NFC South is a 16-point fourth-quarter comeback against the rival Falcons, aided by a moment of madness in the red zone from quarterback Marcus Mariota and a terrible decision to punt by Atlanta coach Arthur Smith. Losing to the Bucs is one thing on paper, but the Saints were pushed aside by arguably the league’s most injury-riddled roster before being shut out for three quarters by the Panthers in Week 3.

The Saints have scored 51 points in three games, and 38 have come in the fourth quarter. You can tell yourself they are saving their best work for the key moments of the game, but it would be more realistic to say Pete Carmichael’s offense hasn’t been able to do anything until teams get in prevent defenses and let them move the ball downfield. By DVOA, which adjusts for game situation, the Saints rank a lowly 26th in offensive DVOA and 28th in passing DVOA.

Jameis Winston played the best football of his career a year ago under former New Orleans coach Sean Payton before tearing his left ACL, but with Payton gone, it’s worrisome to see Winston looking more like the quarterback who alternately thrilled and terrified Buccaneers fans in Tampa. He already has thrown five interceptions this season, two more than he threw across seven starts in 2021. Mike Edwards’s pick-six in Week 2 was the worst of the bunch, a throw in which Winston stared down that side of the field and led the Bucs safety directly to the football.

Source: Read Full Article