The NFL has been quite the mystery so far this season. We’ve seen teams such as the Redskins that dominated week 1, get torn apart week 2. We’ve seen teams that looked terrible through the first two weeks, that played like potential Superbowl contenders week 3 such as the Chiefs. We’ve seen teams like the Lions that were impressive week 1, unimpressive week 2 and barely limp away with a victory week 3. So who are legit, who are not and who could be a surprise team to watch in the upcoming weeks? Well, let me tell you!
Pittsburgh Steelers: 2-1
The Steelers have an atrocious 1 point differential between Points For and Points Against which is a league worst amongst teams with winning records. They are second in the league in penalties with 31 and have a -2 in turnovers. Big Ben has been efficient with a QB rating of 91 but has only thrown 3 TD’s through three games while throwing 2 INT’s. The same could be said for Le’Veon Bell who has rushed for 315 yards, averaging 5.9 yards but only 1 TD. They have a tough schedule in the upcoming weeks with teams like the Colts, Ravens, Saints, Bengals (2), Falcons and Chiefs. Look for the Steel City to finish 8-8 again this year.
Houston Texans: 2-1
The Texans looked good the first two weeks of the season, defeating the Redskins 17-6 and Raiders 30-14 but were quickly dismantled week 3 against the New york Football Giants 30-17. How embarrassing, Eli Manning has been historically bad the last two seasons throwing more INT’s than TD’s and Manning picked the Texans defence apart completing 21/28 for 234 yards and 2 TD’s. The defence is half defence with guys like J.J. Watt and a healthy Jadeveon Clowney but the offence is not up to snuff. Ryan Fitzpatrick should be a career back-up and a reliable one at that but it amazes me how he continues to get jobs as a starter in the NFL. Arian Foster is one of the league best RB’s but continues to deal with injuries and is constantly off the field. Andre Johnson has been and will continue to be their best offensive weapon but early in the off-season, he was trying to get out of his contract and get out of Houston. Their schedule doesn’t favour the team either as they play the Bills, Cowboys, Colts (2), Eagles, Browns (who are keeping games close), Bengals and Ravens. Look for the Texans to finish 6-10 or 7-9.
Carolina Panthers: 2-1
This is tough for me because I thought the Panthers would be a contender in the NFC this season but with no run game and a shaky QB (due to injury), I think the season will be tough running for Carolina. Not a single RB has over 90 yards and only Jonathon Stewart has a single TD. Derek Anderson actually looked like the better the option at QB in his one start, as he’s thrown more TD’s than Cam Newton and almost as many yards. The Panthers have a tough schedule with the Ravens, Bears, Bengals, Packers, Seahawks, Saints (2), Eagles and Falcons (2). Look for the Panthers to finish 5-11.
Cincinnati Bengals: 3-0
The Bengals are legit this season and one of my favourites to go deep into the playoffs this season. Andy Dalton has been exceptional completing 65.5% of his passes for 722 yards. He’s had a lot of help from his receiving core with AJ Green catching for more than 200 yards, while Mohamed Sanu and Giovani Bernard have over 140 yards. The running game has been impressive with Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill combining for 317 yards and 5 TD’s. The defence has been on top of their game allowing only 4 TD’s over three games and have a league high point differential of 47. The Bengals also have a favourable schedule playing the Panthers, Jaguars, Browns (2), Texans, Buccaneers and Steelers (2). Look for the Bengals to finish at least 11-5 but mostly likely 14-2.
San Diego Chargers: 2-1
Phillip Rivers in undoubtedly the heart and soul of this team and has played at a Pro Bowl level this season completing 67/98 for 778 yards and 6 TD’s to only 1 INT. The Chargers have been the only team to figure out the Seahawks defence, beating the Superbowl Champions 30-21, even completing passes against all-pro CB Richard Sherman. San Diego‘s offence has controlled the time of possession battle with an average 34:00 mins per game and defensively have kept opposing QB’s on their backs with 7 sacks. The Chargers schedule bolds well as they play the Jaguars, Jets, Raiders (2), Chiefs (2), Dolphins, Rams and 49ers. Look for the Bolts to finish the season 12-4.
Atlanta Falcons: 2-1
Despite a running game that could be stopped by most college football teams the Falcons are in good hands. Matt Ryan has been (as Johnny Manziel would say) money, completing 76/111 for 965 yards and 7 TD’s with only 3 INT’s. The defence has been average at best but with a offence that can put up the numbers the Falcons can, your always in the ball game. The Falcons have a light load in the schedule department facing the Vikings, Giants, Lions, Buccaneers, Panthers (2), Browns and Steelers. Look for Atlanta to finish 12-4 this season.
Indianapolis Colts: 1-2
Despite poor defensive performances this season, the Colts have continued to comeback in games and almost pull off a win late in the 4th quarter of games this season. The two teams that they lost too were also the Denver Broncos and Philadelphia Eagles, two of the most potent offences last season, so I’m going to give them a pass on those first two. The offence has one of the great young QB’s in the league in Andrew Luck who has completed 86/126 for 912 yards and 9 TD’s to only 3 INT’s. The offensive line is weak which in turn has hurt the rushing performance of Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw but Luck is mobile enough to escape out of the pocket and get the ball downfield. The Colts also have the luxury of a weak schedule as they face the Titans (2), Texans (2), Steelers, Giants, Jaguars, Browns and Cowboys. Look for the Colts to finish 10-6 this season and get in the playoffs with a division title.
So those are my thoughts, as always tweet me @D_ScHramER34 for your thoughts with the #ELITESPORTSBLOG or comment below. Be sure to check out Elite Sports Tours on Facebook to follow all our Buffalo Bills Bus Tours and you can follow us and myself on Instagram as well @elitesportstours & @schram34 as we post our favourite pics. What did you do this weekend?