Growing pains are abundant for the Cleveland Browns and it starts at quarterback. Rookie DeShone Kizer has thrown an NFL-high eight interceptions through four games. But keep in mind, Peyton Manning holds the NFL interception record for a rookie. The New York Giants are 0-4 and pressing. Every negative play magnifies from this point on. Even if they go 8-4 the rest of the way, that gets them just 8-8.
The Los Angeles Chargers are in an unenviable position of being a bad team with little to no fanfare. Just as expected, Jay Cutler appears to single-handily ruin the Miami Dolphins‘ season. By the looks of things, he could care less. The San Francisco 49ers are the league’s best 0-4 team. Trust me on that statement. But sometimes you’re only as good as your quarterback, and we know Brian Hoyer isn’t any good.
The Indianapolis Colts have a load of issues, and I’m not sure Andrew Luck could fix them. The Cincinnati Bengals got a much needed win. A jolt in the offense could go a long way for them moving forward. The Chicago Bears played a daunting schedule the first four weeks (Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, and Green Bay) and benching Mike Glennon may have been premature. That said, we all know Mitch Trubisky was eventually going to get the nod at some point this season. However, he may not feel it’s a reward having to face the vaunted Vikings defense.
What’s wrong with the Baltimore Ravens? The answer is in the picture above.
The Arizona Cardinals have wins against the woeful Colts and Browns. Now can their offense complement their defense enough to show how much better than can be?
The New Orleans Saints may finally have a defense brewing that can support its offense. With a new voice and leadership in A.J. Klein, the Saints have a chance to be better than expected along with its top-rated cornerback Ken Crawley. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers shouldn’t struggle to win by two against the lowly Giants. Injuries to its defensive core has hurt them living up to expectations.
Remember when the New York Jets were not supposed to win a game? Now they have two wins, and the credit can start with their head coach Todd Bowles. Along with his staff, Bowles has his team which lacks true talent well prepared each and every week. The Dallas Cowboys aren’t this bad. It just that they are not that good to be higher. Defensively they have a lot to correct. But, when will Dak Prescott show he can get the ball outside the numbers to his top receiver?
The Minnesota Vikings losing Dalvin Cook put more unwanted pressure on its quarterback position that is currently being manned by Case Keenum.
For the second straight year, the Oakland Raiders‘ season hinges on the health of its quarterback Derek Carr. Houston Texans rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson is making teams like the Browns and 49ers regret passing on him in last spring’s draft. His emergence has made the AFC South the three-team race I expected preseason.
The Los Angeles Rams may have got the best off-season addition this year, head coach Sean McVay. His presence and knowledge along with his stacked coaching staff has made a world of a difference for them. Now they face an all-important showdown Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks, who are coming off a blowout win against the Colts. A Seattle win shows the Rams still have some ground to make up. But, a Rams win could change the guards in the NFC West.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are a quarterback away from being Super Bowl contenders. Blake Bortles fell back to Earth in Week 4 against the Jets. His play will be the Jaguars’ biggest storyline all season and could be the difference between 8-8 or 10-6.
The Tennessee Titans are very much still a heavyweight-to-be in the AFC. The long-term health of their young quarterback, Marcus Mariota, may be the determining factor if they succeed or fail that expectation. Antonio Brown gave the Pittsburgh Steelers an unwanted distraction with his sideline tirade. But the fact of the matter remains, Pittsburgh will sit on the throne of the AFC North for at least one more season.
The Carolina Panthers bounced back big time after their dreaded loss to the Saints by clipping the New England Patriots. Now hopefully Cam Newton’s latest controversy does not set them back. LeGarrette Blount has saved the Philadelphia Eagles season. They were an accident waiting to happen much like last year until Doug Pederson realized how good Blount can be.
The Green Bay Packers are 3-1 but they have their fair share of issues. Health at the running back position starting with Ty Montgomery, their offensive line, and consistency out of their defense. They still have Aaron Rodgers and that so far has been enough to get them through their early pains.
The Washington Redskins are set up to be a good football team this season. Concern and focus will be on their overall health, especially at defense after getting banged up in a physical clash with the Kansas City Chiefs last Monday night. Their bye could not come at a better time for them. The Detroit Lions can beat you many ways thanks in large to their stout defense. Moving forward, the Lions appear to be a lock as one of the best teams in the NFC.
The New England Patriots have lots of issues on defense. Stephen Gilmore appears to not be equip to the complex defensive scheme of the Patriots. Communication breakdowns have haunted the Patriots across the defense. However, this is the Patriots and while they are on pace to be the worst defense in NFL history, Bill Belichick doesn’t have five Super Bowl rings as a head coach without at some point fixing leaks on his team.
The Atlanta Falcons are barely still the best team in the NFC. But if Matt Ryan does not improve his play, Detroit, Washington, Carolina and/or Green Bay will gladly take their spot with no hesitation. The Denver Broncos got back on track after their let down against the Bills. They have enough pieces to be Super this year, if you know what I mean.
Look out, the Buffalo Bills may be for real. Tyrod Taylor is playing efficiently. The defense is playing superb behind its improved secondary thanks in large to the addition of rookie cornerback Tre’Davious White — my top rated cornerback in the 2017 NFL Draft. Their loss to the Panthers now does not seem bad at all. They also have wins over Atlanta and Denver. And their close win in the season opener against the Jets just became a good win. Now, can they keep it up?
The Kansas City Chiefs showed why they are the best team currently in the NFL. They got all they can handle from the rising Redskins, and thanks to Alex Smith (my pick for NFL MVP thus far), they found a way to win a classic last Monday. The only question is, can they get back up from such an emotional roller coaster last week and be ready to face the rejuvenated Texans?
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Here's a look at the controversial last play between the Wizards and Clippers today....
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Sorry Oregon, Maryland, Washington State, Oregon State. Sorry traditionalists like Penn State and Michigan....