Here are three non-Seahawks things to watch around the NFL this weekend.
Are the 49ers really, truly for real?
The 49ers are off to a 4-0 start, which is surprising to everyone but apparently themselves. And they have compiled some impressive numbers along the way, ranking second in the NFL in points scored and fourth in points allowed. But the 49eres also have yet to beat a team that currently has a winning record, leading to the inevitable question of how real the 49ers really are. That will change Sunday, as the 49ers play at the Rams, the two-time defending NFC West champs, and will have to do so on a short week, having blasted Cleveland at home Monday. The Vegas line, though, is showing faith in the 49ers, having shifted from the Rams by 5 to Rams by 3½ at mid-week.
Minshew Mania vs. Teddy Two Gloves
It’s simply impossible to ignore the feel-good story that is former WSU quarterback Gardner Minshew, whose weekly exploits lead to increased speculation about what will happen when Nick Foles returns — he is reportedly targeting a game on Nov. 17 against the Colts. But if Minshew continues to play as he has — a 9-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio — then he may be impossible to dislodge from the lineup. After a close loss last week at Carolina, Minshew and the Jaguars get another tough test with a home game against the Saints (the Jaguars were actually favored by a point at mid week). New Orleans has won three in a row under backup Teddy Bridgewater, whose confidence seems to be re-emerging with each week.
The ‘Somebody-Has-To-Win-Don’t-They?’ Bowl
Remember when the Miami Dolphins played Washington in not just one Super Bowl, but two (following the 1972 and 1982 seasons)? Yeah, those days are long gone for each, as the two teams get set to meet again Sunday in Miami. Washington and Miami are now two of the only four teams left without a win (the others are the Bengals and the Jets). Washington just fired head coach Jay Gruden, and maybe that will give it the momentary momentum bump to finally get a win. For the Dolphins, we’d say this game might represent their best chance at avoiding an 0-16 season. But Miami also still has two games left with the Jets as well as one with the Bengals.