Are the Cardinals the Real Deal? Can the Ravens and Dolphins save their seasons?
After six weeks in the NFL there has been plenty to talk about and everything we thought we knew during the preseason seems to be wrong. There are five undefeated teams so far, which is the most in 40 years, which surprisingly includes the Bengals. Also teams that were thought to be playoff worthy have dug themselves a hole, such as the Ravens, Seahawks, Dolphins, and Eagles. It’s hard to tell who will be the best by the end of the season, but here’s my two cents.
It’s no surprise that the Patriots, Packers, and Broncos haven’t lost a game at this point, they have been the powerhouses of the NFL, who are led by a MVP QB and a solid defense. However, the Broncos offense has been struggling and weren’t able to score an offensive touchdown in two of their games this year. Manning’s age has been a factor and it has shown through inaccurate throws his league leading interceptions. I wouldn’t expect this to get any better as the weather starts to get colder and the reps start to pile up. That being said, the Patriots and Packers are easy locks for the number one seed while the Broncos will manage a two seed because of their All-Star defense and unpredictable AFC West opponents.
Right behind them we have the Bengals, Panthers, the one loss Falcons and two loss Cardinals. Out of these four teams I think the Bengals and the Cardinals are the teams to beat. Andy Dalton is having an outstanding year so far and the Cards are putting up some major points with the help of one of the best defenses in the league and a healthy Carson Palmer. With all other AFC North teams struggling, it’s easy to have the Bengals as a lock for that division. As for the Cardinals, it will be interesting to see how they play against the Seahawks since they’ve already struggled against the Rams. Nevertheless, I still think they will win the NFC West. As for the Falcons and Panthers, they still have much to prove. The Falcons have a beast Devonta Freeman and Julio Jones as weapons, but when Matt Ryan is in any game he is either a superstar or a disaster, there is no in-between. It’s hard to tell if they will beat out the Panthers in the division because the Panthers haven’t played any good teams yet. Sure they beat the Saints and the Falcons but the 2-4 Saints are as unpredictable as a team gets in terms of how they will play. Case and point it took them overtime to beat Brandon Weeden and the Cowboys! If you think the Panthers will stay undefeated for much longer you are clearly mistaken. Their next four games are against the Seahawks, Eagles, Colts, and Packers. Good Luck!
The NFC East is always a fun division to talk about because of the competitiveness and the meltdowns that can occur. But this year the division has finally descended into chaos. The Eagles were suppose to be a top five football team before the season started and now they will be lucky to have a winning season. I suppose they could turn things around, but my opinion is the Eagles worst mistake was trading Nick Foles and getting Sam Bradford in return. Sure Foles isn’t the best QB in the league, I bet he’s not even in the top 20, but he still has proven himself ten times more than Bradford has on the football field, not to mention Bradford has had as many injuries as leaves on a tree. Then there is the Redskins and Cowboys, both pulling for a miracle that their second string QB’s won’t be intercepted all game. So far Weeden hasn’t had the best games, but what do you expect, it’s Brandon Weeden. Maybe the Cowboys will compete a little more with now starting QB Matt Cassel, but I wouldn’t expect much since his record the last four years is 9-17. This division is like the NFC South last year, where the winner will barely have a winning record, and that team will be the Giants because they are the only ones that can actually play somewhat consistently.
Then there is the teams who are on the hot seat right now. These teams are the Ravens, Lions, Seahawks and the Dolphins. To me the team that is the most surprising is the Miami Dolphins. They were thought to be the team that could finally bring down the Patriots empire in the AFC East, but instead they are 2-3 and have already fired their head coach. Not to mention the egos of Ryan Tannehill and Ndamukong Suh are bigger than any of their performances this year. The way I see it, their year is done, all they can do now is try and repair their team’s play style and chemistry for next year. This goes for the Ravens and Lions too. The Ravens last straw was when they lost to Josh McCown and the Browns, like seriously? For the Lions, to bench Stafford and have Calvin Johnson/Megatron/the best receiver in the league and just get their first win in week 6 is unbelievable. The only team here that will make the playoffs is the 2-4 Seahawks. Although they’ve been struggling their schedule has been difficult and with Kam Chancellor back and Beast mode healthy they will earn a playoff spot.
Just some other observations I’ve had about the league so far is that, first of all, the Colts have looked really soft so far. I know Andrew Luck has been hurt recently but they started 0-2 with him and he had the most turnovers out of any of the QB’s. Also, I think the Jets, Bills, Raiders, and Steelers are all Wild Card teams for the AFC. The Jets defense and Le’Veon Bell are really good, Tyrod Taylor is one of the more exciting QB’s to watch, and I love the Derek Carr to Amari Cooper connection. In the NFC, the Seahawks, Panthers, and maybe the Cowboys are Wild Card contenders. Lastly, for rookies both Marcus Mariota and Jamies Winston have looked alright. I think Mariota has been playing a little better but they both are still adjusting to the NFL, so don’t expect them to turn two win teams into playoff contenders in just one season.