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Everlasting Joy - Gruden not looking so great now

The 17-week saga we know and love as the NFL season has developed a playbook of intriguing storylines. Here are a few to watch heading into Week 4:

Gruden’s gloom

For a guy who was mentioned every time the UT Vols had a coaching vacancy, Jon Gruden’s return to the sideline in Oakland could not have started any worse.

The Raiders are off to a 0-3 start and their game this Sunday against Cleveland has been dubbed a pick ’em by Vegas oddsmakers. You know your program has plunged off a cliff when you’re a pick ’em at home against a team that has lost 22 straight road games.

Miami a mirage

The Dolphins could quite possibly be the worst 3-0 team in NFL history with wins over the Titans, Jets and Raiders. I’ll start believing if Miami can beat the Patriots this Sunday in New England where the Dolphins are 0-11 against Tom Brady.

Patriot problems

New England is coming off a 26-10 thumping at the hands of the Detroit Lions. The loss has started the annual symphony of questions about Brady and the Patriots.

Is Brady finally too old? Has Bill Belichick lost his magic? Is this the year the Patriots collapse?

Those questions are typically answered by a Super Bowl run as the Pats find a way to dance with their stars down the stretch. It’s my guess that will happen again.

Rams rolling

The Rams have scored at least 33 points in every game and haven’t been seriously challenged in sailing to a 3-0 start. The Vegas oddsmakers have already established them as the clear-cut favorite to win the Super Bowl, well ahead of Kansas City and surprisingly Baltimore tied for second.

The Rams are early favorites, but there’s much football to be played in a stacked NFC and anything can happen in a playoff game against teams like New Orleans, Philadelphia, Atlanta, or Green Bay.

Tightening up

It doesn’t have to be a 30-27 shootout to be thrilling football. There were a few too many drops, but the Titans 9-6 win over the Jags on Sunday was a hard-hitting slugfest.

The Titans are off to a 2-1 start after overcoming as much adversity as any team in the league, losing their starting QB in two of their three games. The Titans managed to beat the Texans with their top three offensive tackles on the sideline.

Now comes the Super Bowl champion Eagles, who are 0-2 all time in Nashville. If the Titans can score 23, I like their chances.