A Recap of the Beginning of the NFL Season
By: Ryan Garrett
Six weeks have passed since the NFL Kickoff Game between the reigning Kansas City Chiefs and the upstart Detroit Lions. Some of the storylines and questions that were asked about during the offseason have been resolved or at least touched upon, so here is one thing to know about every team before week seven.
This Miami offense has to be one of the fastest and scariest offenses in the history of the NFL. Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, Raheem Mostert, rookie De’Von Achane, and Tua Tagovailoa have all played at an MVP level and are frontrunners in the competitive AFC East right now.
After the insane overtime loss to Zach Wilson’s Jets in Week One, Josh Allen’s Bills have gotten right back on track. Losing to the Jaguars in London and almost losing to the New York Giants hurt, but they still have serious Super Bowl aspirations.
New York Jets
The Jets had legitimate Super Bowl aspirations after trading for four-time MVP quarterback, Aaron Rodgers. Only four plays into the season opener, Rodgers went down with a torn Achilles tendon and is now out for the rest of the season. Zach Wilson hasn’t played as bad as last season in Rogers’s absence, but it is clear that Wilson is not the answer. The defense has been completely dominant and completely shut down the Eagles offense. Hopefully, Rodgers can come back soon and bring New York to the playoffs.
New England Patriots
Never bet against Bill Belichick. This season has been awful for Belichick’s squad, but the best coach in NFL history will most likely bounce right back and defy the new expectations, with or without Mac Jones at quarterback.
The two biggest problems with the Ravens every year have been injuries and having no great receivers. The offensive problem seemed to be fixed the first couple weeks of the season, but after a horrible showing against the Steelers, it looks like Baltimore really needs to get a receiver before the trade deadline on October 31st.
If this offense can get going, this team could be a threat in the competitive AFC North. The defense will not be a problem, but Kenny Pickett really needs to step up for Pittsburgh.
Losing Nick Chubb was a devastating loss to this team, but they seem to be making up for the loss with the passing game doing better with Jerome Ford taking over the ground attack. They won a thriller against San Francisco with PJ Walker as quarterback meaning that this team could make some noise when Deshaun Watson returns.
The first four weeks showed a shell of the Bengals’ former glory, but Week Five may have been a turning point for Cincinnati. Joe Burrow looks like himself again and the defense was crucial in the win over the Seahawks. Watch out for this team to make it back to the Super Bowl.
The Jaguars should really move to London. They had back-to-back wins there against two really good teams; the Falcons and the Bills. When the Jaguars came back to the States, they beat the Colts in a statement AFC South win. This team could be competing for the top seed in the AFC.
If Anthony Richardson didn’t keep getting hurt, he would be in Offensive Rookie of the Year conversations. He has only played in four games and already has four rushing touchdowns and 136 rushing yards. Having Gardner Minshew as the backup quarterback should keep this team in slight contention, but he can’t keep having games like the one against Jacksonville. Expect this team to make some noise later this season when Richardson gets back.
The Texans deserve a ring after killing it in the draft. Quarterback CJ Stroud has been impeccable with a 59.6% completion percentage, 1,660 yards, 9 touchdowns, only one interception, and a quarterback rating of 96.4. Give this young team a couple seasons and they will be a lethal threat in the AFC.
Honestly, losing Ryan Tannehill to injury could be a good thing. He hasn’t been looking good so far this season, and it would be better to roll with either Malik Willis or Will Levis. Tennessee won’t be a contender this season, but Willis or Levis could take steps forward and lead this team to victory further down the road.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs were good before their MVP, Taylor Swift arrived. Now, it seems like nothing will stop the games from getting the highest ratings the NFL has ever seen. They had an unconvincing win against the Denver Broncos in Week 6, but they should be able to bounce back.
Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders are not a playoff caliber team and probably won’t be with Jimmy Garoppollo as their starting quarterback. They have taken advantage of bad teams, but don’t expect this team to win many more games this season.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers have a promising team but the problem is their coach. Brandon Staley does not know how to run a team and L.A. needs to fire him immediately. Justin Herbert is a top five quarterback and they shouldn’t waste his potential.
The Broncos defense has been atrocious. Letting Miami score seventy points should have gotten defensive coordinator Vance Joseph fired, but they still have him. As long as he is running the defense, Denver will not be winning anymore games.
Philadelphia looked like last year’s Super Bowl squad until they got destroyed by the Jets’ defense. It is not time to hit the panic button yet, but they can’t keep having games like that if they want to repeat last year’s success.
The Dallas Cowboys are doing what they do every year. They look amazing the first couple of weeks, then lose some winnable games, and win just enough to make the playoffs, where they fall. So far it looks like that is exactly what they are doing this season.
Sam Howell is not as good or as bad as people are saying. Some people are saying he is a top fifteen quarterback and some are saying he should be benched. The Commanders should take a look at what they have in him and then go from there. They have some key offensive and defensive playmakers and could really turn this season around.
New York Giants
So much for New York’s playoff hopes. The two offensive centerpieces Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones are both injured, leaving the Giants only 1-5 after playing horrible games against every team they’ve played besides the Cardinals and the Bills.
After a statement win against Kansas City in Week One, Dan Campbell’s gutsy Lions have just gotten better and are clear favorites in the NFC North. With a top ten offense and a much improved defense, this team could make a deep playoff run.
Green Bay Packers
Jordan Love’s first three games looked promising, but he looked terrible against the Lions and the Raiders. The defense has been average, but not good enough to carry the deadweight offense. This team is coming off of a much needed bye week, and has a much needed bounce-back game against the Broncos in Week 7.
This season is the flipside of last year’s playoff season for the Vikings. They went 11-0 in one-score games last season and are now 1-4 in these games. Losing Justin Jefferson for a majority of the rest of the season will only make this team worse. The Vikings have a chance to turn it around, but it’s more likely they get around 7 wins and try to rebuild after this season.
After a horrid start to the season, the Bears seem to be a little better after beating the Commanders in Week Five on Thursday Night Football. If Justin Fields can come back from the Week 6 injury swiftly and keeps playing like he did then, the Bears may have a quarterback of the future for the first time.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs fell victim to the surging Lions. They could still be playoff contenders but they need to be able to be competitive with teams like the Lions and Eagles, both of which they lost to.
Bijan Robinson has been as good as expected, but Desmond Ridder does not seem to be the right guy at quarterback for Atlanta. This team does have a bright future with young studs like Robinson, receiver Drake London, and tight end Kyle Pitts, but they do need to figure out what to do at quarterback if they want to make the playoffs.
New Orleans Saints
This team is the definition of a hit or miss group. After two one score wins over the Titans and Panthers, they lost a thriller to the Packers, got blown out by the Buccaneers, blew out the Patriots, and lost to the Texans. There is no telling which version of the Saints will come out on the field each week which makes it hard to get a good read on them.
Trading up for Bryce Young in the draft seemed to be one of the worst decisions in the entire draft by a team not located in Green Bay. With a 63.2% completion percentage, 967 yards, 6 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, and a 78.7 passer rating, it seems that he is not the guy in Carolina. It’s still way too soon to give up on him, but with a winless season so far, Carolina needs to address their many problems.
San Francisco 49ers
If this team could avoid injuries, they would be the best team in the NFL. With Christian McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel, both exiting the game against the Browns due to injury, things aren’t looking good for this team.
Seattle most likely won’t win the division, but they are favored to get the fifth or sixth seed and will probably make it to the playoffs. Geno Smith’s success last year was not a fluke.
Los Angeles Rams
Anyone who thought that the Rams were going to be tanking this season were very wrong. Rookie receiver Puka Nacua has been an amazing asset for Matthew Stafford and will be in Offensive Rookie of the Year talks all season. Cooper Kupp came back and is just as dominant as before his injury. This team could be a wild card team.
This team started with a promising squad, but fell back down to Earth after upsetting the Dallas Cowboys. Hopefully, Kyler Murray can come back soon and potentially save this team.