3 NFL Storylines to Watch in Week 4

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Joe Is Finally in the Mix

In last week's 3 NFL Storylines to Watch, we speculated on the Cincinnati Bengals offense benefiting from the change at offensive coordinator from Ken Zampese to Bill Lazor.

Well, the Bengals not only scored their first touchdown of the season in Week 3, but even managed to find the paint a second time. Andy Dalton was certainly not at the top of his game on the road against the Green Bay Packers, but did complete nearly 78 percent of his passes. That was a far cry from the train wreck we saw through the season's first two weeks.

The real development came from the backfield, though, as second-round rookie Joe Mixon played on a season-high 55.7 percent of the offensive snaps. After seeing a total of 17 carries through the first two games, Mixon ran the ball 18 times for 62 yards against the Packers, while also adding 3 receptions for 39 yards.

Despite being only 25th in running back carries, Mixon now ranks fourth in PlayerProfile's version of Yards Created -- which is simply all the yards a running back accrued after an evaded tackle. He was credited with seven such evaded tackles in Week 3.

Assuming the Bengals now want to keep riding their best running back, this week sets up perfectly for a Mixon breakout. The Cleveland Browns currently rank as the sixth-best rush defense per our numbers, but it's just a three-game sample.

Sure, the Browns did successfully bottled up Le'Veon Bell in the opener, but in Week 2, they had issues containing another running back with an all-around skill set in Javorius Allen. In addition to gaining 66 yards on 14 carries, Allen caught 5 passes for 35 yards and a touchdown.