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Five questions at the NFL's quarter mark

Taking a look at the Lions, the Eagles' issues and more. Matt Bowen

Print This October 04, 2011, 11:00 AM EST

NFL coaches want to break down the season into four quarters. Win three of four (or at least get a split) and you will be playing for something come December in this league. And after four weeks of football, I have five questions about what we have seen on the field. Let’s check them out…

1. Did we overhype the Eagles?

Michael Vick No one predicted a 1-3 start for Vick and the Eagles back in August. And I see some real concerns for Andy Reid's ball club.

The problem with Philly isn’t the skill set of Michael Vick, the talent they have outside of the numbers (on both sides of the ball) or the play of LeSean McCoy. Instead—when we look beyond the big names—it is obvious the Eagles have some issues. The O-Line is suspect, they aren’t strong at the LB position and in the secondary the safety play is below average. At 1-3, the Eagles will have to string some wins together, start tackling on defense and keep Vick off the ground if they want to get back into the NFC East discussion.

2. Can we call the Packers and Saints the class of the league?

That’s what I’m thinking after four weeks of football. Both clubs can move the ball on offense, have multiple weapons at the skill positions and when we break down their defenses, it is about pressure and taking the football away. I love what you get from both Dom Capers and Gregg Williams in their weekly game plans: pressure, man-coverage and unique looks that cause confussion. However, the key in Green Bay and New Orelans? The QB play. Rodgers and Brees and can put up numbers vs. any secondary in the NFL.

3. What do we make of the Steelers?

Sitting at 2-2, this isn’t time to panic in Pittsburgh—but there are some serious questions about this football team. In two losses (Ravens and Texans), the Steelers were physically outplayed up front. We don’t see that often, and on defense, where are the turnovers? Pittsburgh still doesn’t have an interception and when combined with the sloppy play on offense, the Steelers are minus-10 in turnover ratio after four weeks. Can’t survive (and beat the Ravens) playing like that. I still like this squad because I trust the scheme of Dick LeBeau and Ben Roethlisberger is a QB I want to give the ball to when I need a play. However, it is tough to look past the style of football we are seeing in Pittsburgh this season.

4. Are the Lions a legit 4-0 squad?

Don’t blame the schedule for the 4-0 start, because the Lions have shown us the ability to come back, score points and make plays in crucial situations of the game. Plus, it is hard to win on Sundays in the NFL. I do have some questions about their running game and if this secondary can compete on a consistent basis with Green Bay, but there is no denying the production of Stafford and Calvin Johnson. And I want to see someone line up and run the ball on that D-Line in Detroit. This team plays hard and they should compete in the NFC North all season.

5. Which team is the biggest disappointment?

Could make a case for the Vikings (or even the Eagles) but I am going to look at the Rams here. Sam Bradford isn’t playing good football, the offense isn't executing under new coordinator Josh McDaniels and they aren’t making any big plays on defense. But I want to go back to Bradford. The 2010 Rookie of the Year doesn’t look comfortable in McDaniels’ scheme. The Rams have scored only 46 points (ranks 31st in the NFL) and that starts with the QB position. No question St. Louis has a serious lack of options in the passing game, but Bradford isn’t developing at the rate we should expect after his production last season.

Follow me on Twitter: MattBowen41

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