Who’s the Team to Beat?
A little late, but midterms suck so we’re combining Week 6 & 7. Take a look at what’s been going on around the NFL.
We’re almost at the halfway point of the NFL season and it’s still unclear who the top team is. I can’t remember the last time the league has been this competitive, usually there’s a few teams still undefeated but this year has been full of surprises.
We saw two 4-1 teams in Philadelphia and Carolina rock their Color Rush jerseys on Thursday night of Week 6, in a matchup that might be the most meaningful Thursday Night game in recent memory. Cam Newton did just about everything he could to help the Panthers win, but forced a few too many throws leading to 3 interceptions. Philly had a 14 point lead in the 4th quarter, and that was too much for Carolina to come back from, ultimately ending in a 28-23 win for the Eagles. The last undefeated team, Kansas City, was hoping to remain undefeated against Big Ben and the Steelers. But after coming a 5 interception game in Week 5, Roethlisberger had other plans. But it was Le’Veon Bell who stole the show, with 179 yards and a touchdown on 32 attempts. The Chiefs tried to claw back in the 4th, but it was too late and just like that the last undefeated team took their first L of the year.
Last week I talked about the OBJ injury, and this week another player was added to the list of star players that are out for the rest of the reason.
Rodgers is the latest player added to the last, and arguably the most valuable to his team. And we saw that in Week 7, when the Packers started Brett Hundley in their 26-17 loss to the Saints. The Packers passing game struggled without Rodgers, with Hundley throwing for just 87 yards. For Green Bay to have any chance of making the playoffs, they better hope that either Hundley figures it out or they can manage to run for 300 yards each game. Or Aaron Rodgers is some sort of superhuman and recovers in time to come back and put this team on his one functioning shoulder and win out.
The list keeps getting longer and longer every week, and as it grows the NFL is becoming more and more competitive, and now we’re seeing teams like Miami and San Diego actually being able to compete. Weird.
Week 7 saw the Eagles win again, this time against the Redskins. They’re now at 6-1, and knocked Kansas City from the #1 spot in the power rankings. I might not be completely sold on them being the best team, but still sold enough that I decided to load up on Eagles players in my fantasy football league. Wentz has launched himself into MVP contention with Alex Smith, but even though it’s a weak race this year you still have to respect the performance that the second year QB has managed to put together this year. Already with 17 touchdown passes, he’s passed his total from the year before, while only throwing 4 interceptions at this point.
As for the other MVP candidate, Alex Smith and the Chiefs have cooled off a bit since starting the season on a hot streak. After a 5-0 start, the Chiefs have had a tough couple of weeks. First, that loss to the Steelers in Week 6 that I mentioned earlier, and then a 31-30 loss to the Raiders on Thursday night of Week 7 in a finish that you had to see to believe.
A couple of holding penalties kept the Raiders alive with no time on the clock, before Carr eventually connected with Crabtree in the endzone to tie the game, before Tavecchio hit the go-ahead PAT. The Chiefs have dropped two straight, and playing host to the Broncos on Monday night, a game that they can consider a must win against a division rival.
In the meantime, the Eagles look to be the team to beat, but the season is still young, and there’s plenty of time for the Patriots to still earn that spot back.
In case you missed it, check out the Week 5 recap here.