Bandwagon Season in the NFL

Some poeple are getting on and others are getting off, but can three weeks of football really tell us anything important?

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Both New York teams, the Jets and the Giants, are undefeated and both have played well enough to start some talk of a Big Apple Super Bowl. If it happened we’d all find out that New York isn’t much of a football town; that’s what happens when both “local” teams play in another state. Both starting quarterbacks, the Giants Eli Manning and the Jets rookie, Mark Sanchez, have received a lot of the credit for their teams’ rise, but the real story is on defense.

 

The Giants bolstered the depth of their front seven in the offseason and it has paid off. Despite some key injuries, the Giants have given up only 48 points this season. The Jets brought both a new coach, formers Ravens Defensive Coordinator Rex Ryan, and a star linebacker Bart Scott, also a former Raven. Gang Green has allowed only 33 points. The Jets stern test will come Sunday against high-scoring New Orleans. With the exception of a road game at New Orleans in week six, the Giants’ slate doesn’t get difficult until November, but it stays tough from that point until the end of the season. The big issue with both teams may be managing expectations.

 

I’m not sold on the other undefeated teams yet. I’m close to being convinced about New Orleans and their 40-points-per-game offense (yes, 40 points a game and they led the NFL in offense last season too). I’d like to see what they can do against a good team in cold weather, but that may have to wait until deep into the playoffs. The Denver Broncos are undefeated due to a weak schedule and the aforementioned fluke catch (against Cincinnati.) They are improved, but with their upcoming schedule, it could be December before the Broncos win again.

 

The Minnesota Vikings owe the schedule makers a big debt for their undefeated start, but things are about to get a lot tougher. They are looking at an October that includes two games with the Green Bay Packers, and one each with the Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers; that should be a good gauge of how good the Vikes are.

 

Of the seven winless teams, two, the Miami Dolphins and Tennessee Titans, look like good bets to get off the mat and reach respectability; both had tough early schedules. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kansas City Chiefs and the St. Louis Rams may be works in progress all season. They have well-regarded rookie head coaches who might chalk up this season to on-the-job training. Fans of the Carolina Panthers and Cleveland Browns might want to watch a lot of NCAA football, since their next blast of hope will be in next year’s draft.