With a quarter of the season in the books, we have one team reigning over all the others.
The Kansas City Chiefs are the only undefeated team through the first four games, after the Buffalo Bills upset the previously undefeated and reigning NFC champions Atlanta Falcons.
The reigning Super Bowl champions New England Patriots are not looking so good through the first quarter.
In the AFC, the Patriots, Bills, Chiefs, the Denver Broncos, Jacksonville Jaguars and Pittsburgh Steelers all have a say in who will be the best. The Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was injured again so we will see how they will rebound from that.
In the NFC, the Falcons are still towards the top with their 3-1 record but the Philadelphia Eagles, Detroit Lions, Los Angeles Rams, Carolina Panthers and Green Bay Packers are all challenging them. The Packers are a bit suspect with their lackluster defense and the Panthers are very inconsistent for me to put any faith in what they may do.
The Falcons have been good but their offense is not clicking like it was last year and their young defense is still trying to come together. There is still a lot of football to be played, but the league’s best offense last year is not looking like the best offense this year. Especially now with all the injured they have endured. It’s a good thing their bye week came early because they really need it to try and get themselves back to the Super Bowl team they were last year.
Not only are they the favorites to win the AFC West, they are the favorites to win the AFC, ahead of the Patriots. Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt is the X factor the Chiefs have been waiting on. It’s great they found this unsung hero because Alex Smith is not going to win them a championship my himself. But they can definitely win one with Alex Smith.
Though Smith is showing that he still has plenty of life left in his arm, he is no Tom Brady or Aaron Rogers. He needs a special player by his side, someone who can carry the Chiefs when he cannot handle the load.
Excellent news for Kansas City as it seems they have found that player in Hunt, who hasn’t slowed down since his record-breaking performance against the defending champion Patriots in the season-opener in Foxborough.
The Patriots, on the other side, are having some troubles. Their defense looks really horrible. Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and company have gotten by with bad defenses in the past, but this is bizarre.
The Patriots are usually immune to Super Bowl hangovers; you don’t win five championships and 14 division crowns in 16 seasons by resting on success. But early in this season, the Patriots finds themselves with an uncharacteristic 2-2 record including 1-2 at home, where they are usually invincible.
No need for the fans to start panicking now. Let’s face it, they are still the Patriots and you can never count them all the way out no matter how they may look early in the season. There is still a lot of football to be played.
To win the NFC, the Atlanta Falcons need to get their offensive line together in order for them to make the run deep into the playoffs. Their offense has given up six turnovers in the last two games, one of which they still managed to win and the second they had the opportunity to win the game.
That was with their star wide receivers Julio Jones and Mohammed Sanu out with injuries. That is a test of how great this offense is. They have a lot of injuries with defensive end Jack Crawford now out for the season with a torn bicep, Vic Beasley (hamstring), Ricardo Allen (concussion) and Courtney Upshaw (knee/ankle) still recovering. With all those issues, their offense is still dynamic, if only they can get their offensive line together.
The Eagles and the Lions are showing they are also a force to be reckoned with. Both have good balance on either side of the ball.
They force turnovers on their respective defenses and take care of the ball on offense. They are definitely two teams to watch in the NFC.
Shaquita Newton is a sports blogger. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.