Before I say anything else – Congratulations to the New England Patriots organization for reaching the Super Bowl for the third time in four years and eight time in 17 years. Nobody in the league has been able to even come close to the consistent excellence they have displayed. With that being said, I can’t help but see a theme that has followed the team throughout the 2017/18 season – they have had a lot of crucial calls go their way. I’m not suggesting to any degree, that they haven’t earned a spot in this title game, but rather I want to point out a few incidences I have noticed over the course of their campaign. Let me elaborate:
I love the AFC North rivalries and Steelers versus Bengals is always penciled in on my schedule, but Pittsburgh has now won six in a row and nine of the last ten in this matchup. In the seven games they’ve played over the last three seasons, only two were decided by more than one score, but Cincinnati somehow can’t seem to finish against their division rivals, despite objectively putting up a better effort a lot of times. I want to dive into why the Bengals can’t seem to make this an even series.
With eight weeks and the trade deadline in the books, there’s plenty of perceptions and realizations around the league. I tried to sum up these developments in twelve observations, I believe to be true. Not everybody will agree with all of them, but I trust what I see with my eyes and I’ll try to make you by what you read here.
After looking at the state of college football over the last two weeks, I want to shift the focus back to the NFL. With two weeks in, we have learned something about each team and while some of them have started better than expected, a few others have underachieved. In this segment, I’m taking a look at three teams with a 0-2 and 1-1 record each, which have crucial matchups coming up. I don’t want to overreact to a team’s record after two weeks of game action, but those squads are largely expected to compete for a playoff spot at the end of the year and could have their next contest determine how the rest of the season will go for them or maybe even be the deciding factor in terms of making it to the postseason or not. So this list does not include juggernauts like the Patriots, who lost their season-opener, or teams who will most likely finish with a top ten draft pick once again.
The preseason always offers undrafted free agents a shot to earn a roster spot, other plays a way to move up on the depth chart and some just a chance to show the coaching staff what they’re capable of. In this segment, I want to point about twelve players, who I thought proved something in these games leading up to the regular season. All of them fit a different bill and the results will vary for each of them. Either way, all of those guys impressed me and helped themselves earn some more playing time.
There have been a couple of spectacular rookies who have been in the conversation all year like Dak & Zeke in Dallas or Joey Bosa in San Diego, but there are a lot of very good rookie and sophomore players who rarely anybody talks about. They migt not all have put up huge numbers, but they are stars in the making.
Every NFL season brings new surprising underdog-stories and disappointments. After three weeks the standings look a lot different to how analysts predicted them to be and there have been a bunch of things going on around the league that not a lot of people saw coming. Here are some of them: