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The NFL's Weak Five

Mill Woods

Posted on September 30, 2019 14:51

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Remember “Not For Long”? Last time I wrote about teams that had played weak opponents during the first three games but were about to get a real test. The Cowboys did not survive their big test — the Saints — and the defending champion Patriots barely survived a scare by the underrated Bills. The Rams went down in a massive upset. Fans and experts alike were flabbergasted.

The old saying is: "On any given Sunday . . . "  Count me in the ranks of those fans who enjoy this uncertainty.

After the first quarter (four games), there are only two 4-0 teams left.  The Chiefs survived a major scare by the underrated Lions, who would likely have won were it not for a weird 100-yard fumble return where several Lion players got lazy and assumed the play was over.  (The Chiefs and Patriots, by the way, will meet in December.)

The Browns, playing at home, got a super-impressive win against the Ravens, but in a Sunday full of upsets and near-upsets, only three home teams won. My picks went a mere 6-9 (that never happens). In Sunday’s most exciting (and highest scoring) game, the unpredictable, unbelievable Bucs put all-day pressure on Ram QB Jared Goff and upset the Rams in Los Angeles, knocking them from the ranks of the unbeaten. No one saw that coming!
 
In the NFC West, the 49ers are 3-0 but can hear loud footsteps, as the 3-1 Seahawks chase them (and the Rams have the same record). Soon, the division matches will sort this out. In the NFC North, the Packers and Bears are sitting pretty at 3-1, but watch out for those dangerous Lions and Vikings. 
 
Before we discuss the contests of NFL Week Five, I will start assessment of the first quarter of the season by naming my “Weak Five”: the Dolphins, Bengals, Broncos, Redskins and Cardinals — five winless teams that show no sign of improving. Right behind the Weak Five are the Jets with an 0-3 record (they had a bye), and then the Falcons and Steelers with 1-3 records. Six NFL teams are fifty-fifty with two wins, and in today's "National Parity League", that means they are right there in the playoff mix.
 
So far, I have not been surprised by the slumping Steelers and Bengals, but I was surprised that the Falcons started slow four games in a row, losing three of them. The job of HC Dan Quinn is now on the line. I was not surprised that the Lions and Browns are so much improved, but the 49ers? We will soon find out if that team is as good as their record. And, although I did not pick the Broncos to make the playoffs, I have been surprised by just how poorly their offense is playing.
 
Considering their opponents so far, the Bears, Vikings, Titans and Rams are playing the best defense, in my view; offensively, the Ravens and Chiefs impress me the most. The Patriots are often the only NFL team that has both top-ranked offense and defense, but I will need to see them beat tougher opponents. And the Chiefs’ defense has given up a lot of points.  There is a lot more football we’ll need to see!

Mill Woods

Posted on September 30, 2019 14:51

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The Cowboys remain unbeaten in CHL play.                

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