We’re officially 1/4 into the season. Everyone’s played four games (besides Miami and Tampa Bay), and the Bye Weeks are officially starting this week. I want to talk about some of the biggest surprises so far.
Two Surprising 3-1 Teams
The Rams and Bills have taken everyone by surprise this season. Both teams are headed by first-year head coaches.
The Rams’ offense has been a pleasure to watch, thanks in large part to Head Coach Sean McVay. He made a name for himself as the Redskins offensive coordinator in recent years, and now it’s translating to LA — Jared Goff looks like a completely different player than last year, as does Todd Gurley.
The Bills, in my opinion, are the biggest 3-1 surprise. They made moves that suggested they’d be “tanking” this season, but somehow hold the lead in the Patriots-owned AFC East. Of course it’s so early in the year, but their early success is still worth noting and praising. They beat the 2-0 Broncos in Week 3, and then beat the 3-0 Falcons in Atlanta.
Underachievers: The 0-4 New York Giants and Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers are the less-surprising 0-4 team here. While there was a ton of hype (by myself included), it’s not shocking that they’ve failed to come close to expectations this season. The move to LA has been a mess so far, and so have they.
The Giants starting 0-4 is more surprising. People had this team penciled in as Super Bowl contenders! What happened to having the best receiving core in the league?
Ultimately, both teams had major flaws last year and didn’t do much to improve them in the offseason. They play each other Sunday, so something’s gotta give. But it’s tough to imagine either one of these teams digging out of the massive hole they dug themselves into.
Elite Teams in Trouble
The Patriots were headed for 19-0 before the season started. They had what looked like a great offseason and were primed for another Super Bowl run. Four weeks into the season, they’re tied for 2nd in the AFC East with the New York Jets (!!!) and have massive problems on the defensive side of the ball. Everyone assumes they’ll snap out of it, but it’s fair to question whether this team can overcome such a poor defense.
The Cowboys took the league by storm last year, but their offensive line has taken a step back so far this season. Losses to LG Ronald Leary and RT Doug Free seems to have diminished their elite productivity, and it’s clearly hurt the team as a whole, especially the quarterback and running back. I think they will figure it out, but will it be too late?
It’s Still Early…
Things change from week to week in the NFL like no other league. It’s really unbelievable how unpredictable it is. The Vikings were 5-0 last year and didn’t sniff the playoffs; the Eagles were 3-0 and didn’t either. There’s still a ton of football to be played and you can’t crown any team four weeks in. On to week 5…