WE have officially made it to the quarter mark of the NFL season. With the Redskins and Chiefs just wrapping up Week 4 we now have a pretty good sample size to analyse those teams and players who have fans dancing in the streets or those who have left them pulling their hair out. Let’s not overreact and remember that we are in October and how teams play in December/January is what really matters, but let’s rule the Patriots out of SuperBowl LII right now!
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Buffalo Bills Division Title Chances
IF you are new to the NFL, then let me give you a quick history lesson. Buffalo has only won more than half of their games twice since the start of the 21st century. In that time the New England Patriots have won 14 of a possible 17 AFC East titles, with the Bills last division title coming in 1995. Through four games though Buffalo leads the division and has only allowed their opponents to score 54 points (fewest in the league) with impressive wins at home over Denver and on the road in Atlanta. At 3-1 the Bills are looking more and more like the real deal each week.
The Vikings Wideout’s
REGARDLESS of who’s slinging the passes, the Vikings receivers are catching them. With Sam Bradford battling knee issues Case Keenum has stepped into QB with Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen making him look like Tom Brady. Diggs (391 receiving yards) and Thielen (358 receiving yards) are first and third in the NFL for receiving yards at the moment and with a suspect Bears defense coming up, expect plenty more big numbers.
Cam Newton’s Confidence
WE will see how true this is next week when the Panthers visit the Lions, but SuperCam made his return on the weekend. After throwing just two touchdowns and four picks in the first three games, Cam came alive with three passing TD’s, one rushing and over 300 yards passing for the first time since Week 6 last year against the Saints. If Carolina is going to keep Cam’s confidence sky high, they will need to cut down on the number of times they let him get sacked, with Newton going down 12 times (tied for 10th most) through four games.
Los Angeles Rams
MAN this makes Jeff Fisher look like garbage. All of sudden Todd Gurley looks like Marshall Faulk, Jared Goff is the second coming of Kurt Warner and ‘The Greatest Show On Turf 2.0’ is alive! The Rams are averaging the most PPG in the league at the moment at over 35 a game and are one of four teams to chalk up over 1,500 yards on offense so far. I was slightly sceptical due to the opponents they had faced, but they showed against Dallas they are no joke. This weekend a matchup with the Seahawks will be their biggest test to date though.
Image from profootballfocus.com
Alex Smith’s MVP Case
THAT is a sentence I never thought I would find myself writing. Yet, after four weeks of the NFL season, it’s hard to not have Alex Smith in the mix for the league’s highest individual honour. He has the highest completion percentage in the league at 76%, has the highest passer rating at 124.2 and has thrown a perfect eight touchdowns without an interception. The addition of Kareem Hunt to the Chiefs gameplan certainly makes life easier for Smith, but take nothing away from the 13th year pro, he’s killing it.
New England’s Defense
LET’S get one thing clear, the Patriots will be fine. Their defense however, needs a LOT of work first. They currently have given up the most yardage and the highest points per game in the entire league, with their defensive unit looking slow and allowing quarterbacks to throw on them at will. Again, don’t tear your SuperBowl 52 tickets up just yet Pats fans, but you have a right to feel worried.
Image from bostonherald.com
The Giants Ummmm Everything
A lot of people were very wrong about the New York Giants. Myself included. At 0-4 the Giants are virtually unable to make the playoffs and it might be the end of the road for Eli Manning too. A questionable O-line, a struggling offense, a defense that looks overpaid and overrated and a tough NFC East division. The road ahead is bleak for New York fans. Fingers crossed that the Giants shortcomings this season don’t cost them the potential of signing Odell Beckham long term….
REMEMBER when the New York Jets were deemed certainties to go 0-16? Well at 2-2 they have the same record as the Tennessee Titans, Seattle Seahawks and yes, the reigning SuperBowl champion New England Patriots. Throw in the fact that the Bears stunned the Steelers in OT, the Reskins waxed the Raiders in Week 3 and New England lost on Opening Night and gamblers everywhere are deleting betting apps with the upmost rage. Then again what more should we expect from a sport where anyone can win on ‘any given Sunday’.
Los Angeles Chargers
CLOSE losses hurt. A lot. For Chargers fans the past few seasons have been especially torturess. Two missed field goals at the end of the game robbed them of wins in the first two weeks of the year and dating back to the start of the 2015 season 20 of their 27 losses have been by a touchdown or less. It’s no wonder that the LA fans aren’t out in force packing the new stadium in support of the team and at 0-4 the Chargers may have reached rock bottom right now.
Chuck Pagano’s Job Security
THE Colts 1-3 start isn’t entirely Chuck Pagano’s fault. He has had to try and compete with a second string quarterback all season so far with Andrew Luck sidelined with a shoulder injury. Their only win came against the lowly Browns and at times they have looked downright awful. Despite Luck returning to practice this week, there is no timetable set for his return yet and he can’t be blamed for all of Indianapolis’ problems. If Luck stays sidelined and the Colts keep losing then Pagano is likely to be the first coach let go.