We've got some interesting (if a bit one-sided) match-ups in this weekend's slate of 3 o'clock games.
The Jacksonville Jaguars (0-3) and San Diego Chargers (2-1) will kick off at 3:05. QB Blake Bortles, the Jacksonville Jaguars first round pick (third overall), will be making his first NFL start in the game. Bortles made his debut in last week's loss against the Indianapolis Colts, and turned in a solid performance as he completed 58% of his passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns. He also showed some mobility, as he carried the ball twice for a total of 30 yards. This week he faces a much tougher match-up, however, as the Chargers boast one of the better defenses in the league. They currently rank 10th in the league in yards per game allowed at 327.7, and tied for fourth in points per game allowed at 16.3. It'll be a tough challenge for the rookie.
At 4:25 the Minnesota Vikings (1-2) and Atlanta Falcons (2-1) will kick-off in a game featuring another rookie quarterback making his first career start. The Vikings landed Teddy Bridgewater with the last pick of the first round (leapfrogging your Houston Texans to do so), and with Matt Cassel now on IR they'll look to him to get their season turned around. He's fortunate enough to be going up against an Atlanta defense that I would generously describe as soft, but that's where his good fortune ends. He'll be without star playmakers Adrian Peterson and Kyle Rudolph, and he'll be playing behind a line that has been inconsistent at best. The Minnesota defense has been decent so far, but they'll have their hands full with the Falcons offense, which currently ranks first in the NFL in yards per game and points per game. If this turns into a shootout, which I expect it will, look for Atlanta to come out on top.
Also starting at 4:25 will be the Philadelphia Eagles (3-0) vs. the San Francisco 49ers (1-2). These two teams are almost the antithesis of each other. The Eagles have struggled in the first half of games, but pulled out wins by finishing hot, while the 49ers have come out of the gate strong, but collapsed as the game went on due to lack of discipline and turnovers. It'll be interesting to see how that dynamic plays out. Regardless, expect this game to be much closer than the other two late-afternoon games.
Take to the comments to talk about whichever game you're watching, and as always enjoy the games!