It's been a weird and wonderful first quarter of the NFL season.
It's of no real surprise that New England and Denver are both 4-0 up and still amongst the unbeatens. It IS a real surprise that Kansas City and New Orleans are, too. It's a shocker that the Washington Redskins are having a shocker at 1-3, and the New York Giants are actually worse at 4-0.
Anyway, Alex Ferguson ranks the NFL teams in the first quarter of the season.
Denver Broncos (4-0)
After demolishing all four teams that have got in its way, the Broncos and Peyton Manning look like a scary proposition for anybody. This Wes Welker experiment's working out, right?
Kansas City Chiefs (4-0)
New England has survived three out of its first four games, and is probably the worst 4-0 team in the NFL right now.
Quotes of the week
OK, stand up if you thought that the Chiefs would start the season 4-0. Nobody? Right. Anyway, the Chiefs are really great against the pass (2nd in the nation), and they've been excellent at generating turnovers. This has meant that the offence hasn't had to be brilliant. Which it's not.
Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints (4-0)
After ripping apart Jacksonville and San Francisco, the Seahawks should have lost at Houston last week. They really should. But Marshawn Lynch is one of the NFL's best running backs, and they are great against the pass. New Orleans, on the other hand, are the survivors, coming off heart-stopping wins over Atlanta and Tampa Bay before schellacking Arizona and Miami. BOLD PREDICTION: Drew Brees is going to be a good QB (!)
New England Patriots (4-0)
New England has survived three out of its first four games, and is probably the worst 4-0 team in the NFL right now. Tom Brady's receivers really aren't that great, but Brady's the best game manager in the NFL. Interestingly, the 1-2 punch of LaGarrette Blount and Stevan Ridley's doing pretty well this year. Defensively though, this team's mediocre.
Miami Dolphins (3-1)
Despite getting blasted by New Orleans on Monday night, I've been impressed by the Dolphins this year. They've survived battles against Indianapolis and come back to win a game they had no business winning against Atlanta, and played three out of their first four games on the road. Credit where it's due, 'Fins.
Cleveland Browns (3-2)
Who saw the Cleveland Browns going 3-2 after losing their starting QB and trading off Trent Richardson, their starting running back? Well, the defence is ranked in the Top 10 against both pass and rush, folks. And it doesn't give up a ton of points, either.
Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts (3-1)
The Titans have had a pretty easy opening schedule, but 3-1 is nothing to complain at. The defence has been fantastic, and it's helped shore up a poor offense. But this Titans offensive line is still young, and folks, offensive guard Chance Warmack is the real deal. On the Colts, we love the leadership of Andrew Luck, who's doing a great job of replacing You-Know-Who, but we love the defence for this season: They are fantastic at grabbing turnovers (6 INTs and 2 Fumbles already).Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions (3-1)
Yeah, we know Detroit should be above Chicago because Detroit beat Chicago last week, but get this: Chicago's middle-of-the-road offence and defence is still winning games. Detroit, on the other hand, puts up a ton of points (lowest score is 21), but gives up a ton too (lowest points score given up is 25). Both teams looking equally 'fun'. Which may or may not be good for the humour of the teams' fanbases.
Buffalo Bills (2-3)
EJ Manuel might be the best QB the Bills have had since Doug Flutie. Of course, Manuel is helped by a great young wide receiver in Robert Woods (as well as Manuel's speed), which helps an offensive line that's already given up 11 sacks. Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller are having great years at running back, too! Defensively, they've been pretty poor against rush AND pass, but they are winning. And that's OK.
Carolina Panthers (1-2)
We're not joking when we say this is the best team with a losing record in the nation. The Panthers have lost two games by a total of six points, and they've been fantastic at both running the ball and stopping it. We love Cam Newton, too.
New York Jets (2-2)
Honestly, we were expecting a lot worse.
Dallas Cowboys, Cincinnati Bengals, San Diego Chargers, Houston Texans (2-2)
The Cowboys have started the season unspectacularly (but we love their excellent pass defence, btw), while the Bengals surprised us by losing a heartbreaker to Chicago, trouncing Pittsburgh and Green Bay, and losing to....Cleveland. And if you're a Chargers fan, then you might want to consult a heart specialist. San Diego can't be good for the system. Houston fans, on the other hand, are levelling a lot of criticism at their QB, Matt Schaub. If this gets worse, get ready for the critics baying for Schaub - and maybe Wade Phillips' - job.
Green Bay Packers (1-2)
Green Bay had one of the roughest Septembers with travels to San Francisco and Cincy sandwiched with a home game against Washington. They finished 1-2, but we are alarmed by their horror-show pass defence - even if the other side of the ball is just fine.
Arizona Cardinals (2-2)
Told you Tyrann Mathieu was pretty special, didn't we? He's had a sack and a forced fumble...and watch as the QBs start throwing the ball away from him in games - as they did in college football. Offence-wise, they can't seem to be getting anything going. WITH Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald. What's going on with that offensive line, coach?
Atlanta Falcons (1-3)
Might just be one of the best 1-3 teams in the NFL....and we mean this. They could well have come out of New Orleans and Miami 2-0, and the loss to New England showed more about how Tom Brady's a better QB than Matt Ryan (even if Ryan led a furious comeback at the end of the game). If Ryan's receivers can catch and 'Matty Ice' himself stops melting, the Falcons will be fine. Bad start, though.
St Louis Rams (1-3)
After winning Game 1, the Rams have lost three straight-and the last two by a pretty large margin, too. St Louis is desperately missing a good running back like Stephen Jackson, their erstwhile running back, and a good offensive line. They can't stop the rush, either(30th in the country). We worry.
San Francisco 49ers (2-2)
They might be even, but we expected more from the 49ers, we really did. They didn't show up against either Seattle or Indianapolis, and it's pretty easy to run against them. This team could struggle to get into the play-offs this year...making their game at Wembley pretty interesting.
Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings (1-3)
There is no doubt that Chip Kelly's hurry-up offence is a lot of fun to watch. But Mike Vick's FIVE turnovers this season have hurt the good work of LeSean McCoy badly. And the defence? When you're 31st against the pass and 26th against the rush, we'd argue that it's pretty horrible. This ain't Oregon, Chip. And as for Minnesota, they've got a future Hall of Fame RB in Adrian Peterson, but they can't stop the pass, which does not bode well in a pass-heavy divisional schedule. Have they thought of drafting or trading for one? Great to see the Vikes fans in London though!
Tampa Bay Buccanneers (0-4)
Not a great stretch of luck for the Bucs, who are having their own issues with want-away QB Josh Freeman. Tampa Bay is 0-4 despite losing three games by a TOTAL of six points. But they have no offense. And by God, do they need an offense.
Washington Redskins (1-3)
Washington seems to have a knack of going behind by double digits early on, but thanks to Oakland's lack of good QBing, stopped themselves going 0-4. But this Redskins team, folks, has been dreadful, and needs a quick turnaround. Otherwise, Mike Shanahan's out of a job.
Oakland Raiders (1-3)
The Raiders only win of the season came against Jacksonville. What does that say about these awful Raiders, folks?
Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants (0-4)
The Steelers don't have a running game, they're old, and they can't seem to stop the run, either. As for the Giants, Eli Manning's having a 'mare, leading the nation in most interceptions with 9. It's difficult to defend a short field, folks.
Jacksonville Jaguars (0-4)
Send this team to LA.....please