Even the NFL losers get lucky sometimes
What I learned in sports this week was that we’ve reached the quarter pole of the NFL schedule and my outlook on this season is as unclear as it was a month ago before a game was even played.
Thought by some to be on track to go 16- 0, New England is barely 3- 2 after surviving Tampa Bay on Thursday night. The Dallas Cowboys are a loss away from matching their number of defeats from last season. Even the New York Jets, a popular favorite to have the worst record in the league, possess two more victories than the other squad in New York, which was thought to be a potential Super Bowl contender.
Sadly, we also learned this week the world lost Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Tom Petty at the age of 66.
To honor the Super Bowl XLII halftime act, since every NFL team is trying to go “Runnin’ Down a Dream” of raising a Lombardi Trophy, here are some early storylines for NFL teams and their respective Petty classic.
‘Learning To Fly’
“I’m learning to fly, but I ain’t got wings. Coming down is the hardest thing.”
Deshaun Watson hasn’t come down since leading Clemson to the national championship last January, then being drafted 12th overall by the Houston Texans in March. He certainly wasn’t showing signs of decline after his five- touchdown performance last week against Tennessee.
After being inserted into action during Week 1 vs. Jacksonville, Watson has improved his completion percentage, touchdown to interception ratio, and in the past two games, the Texans have scored 76 points on offense.
Watson’s career is in its way early stages. Yet it’s one that looks like it’s just taking off.
‘Free Fallin’ ’
This request and dedication goes out to the Giants at 0- 4.
Lack of pass protection, ineffective ground game, please stop me if you’ve heard this before?
Since the NFL- AFL merger, only the 1992 San Diego Chargers made the playoffs after starting 0- 4. With a trip to Denver and visits from the Chiefs, Rams, and Seahawks, sorry G- men, the future isn’t looking much brighter.
‘TheWaiting (is the hardest part)’
Feel free to argue whether the Kansas City Chiefs are the best team in the NFL. The fact is they’re the only remaining undefeated.
What’ll be held against the Chiefs is — no matter how good they look in the regular season— it’ll be difficult for many to believe in K. C. as a Super Bowl contender until they reach the AFC championship game, something that hasn’t happened since Joe Montana was under center in 1993.
Also an undefeated start hasn’t always paid off for Kansas City. Four times before in the Super Bowl era, the Chiefs were the last unbeaten team of the season. In all four seasons, they did not win a playoff game.
Raise your hand if you wrote off Jared Goff as a draft bust last season.
For the adjustments in just months with the sophomore quarterback and how he’s used Todd Gurley to ignite the Los Angeles Rams’ offense ( 35.5 ppg), Los Angeles head coach Sean McVay is the early favorite for coach of the year.
The Rams have already turned heads at 3- 1. A win over Seattle today, will have people talking about a power shift in the NFC West.
A main reason the Denver Broncos are 3- 1 is a defense that ranks tops in rushing and total yards al- lowed while allowing just 18.5 ppg.
Four weeks in, the Denver run defense has halted running backs Melvin Gordon ( 54 yards), Ezekiel Elliot ( 8 yards), LeSean McCoy ( 21 yards), and ganged up on Marshawn Lynch ( 12 yards).
Not good news for those on Denver’s schedule in November and December when the weather will force an opponent to run.
‘Into the Great Wide Open’
Four Weeks in, 13 left to go. Will the Cowboys‘ Elliot still be suspended games? Are Carson Wentz and the Eagles the surprise NFC contenders or is it the Detroit Lions with their opportunistic defense ( 11 takeaways)?
Are the Bills for real? Are the Raiders in for a rocky road? What direction will the Redskins go after a 2- 2 start?
To alter a Petty lyric, “Into the great wide open, under those skies of blue. Out in the great wide open” and I haven’t got a clue.
Wes McElroy hosts a daily sports talk showweekdays from6-9 a.m. onWRNL(910).
Texans quarterback DeshaunWatson has improved his completion percentage and his touchdown to interception ratio as the season has progressed.