This Season’s Surprises (so far)

So here we sit, 4 weeks (almost) have passed and we’re seeing some very interesting story lines develop.  The NFC East has combined for 4 wins and the 0-4 Giants are only 2 games behind the division leading Cowboys.  How about the Dolphins and Chiefs starting off a combined 7-0?  Lastly, perennial AFC power Pittsburgh is off to an 0-4 start.

Let’s start with my favorite story line so far, the 4-0 Chiefs. What’s been the winning recipe for Andy Reid and the Chiefs thus far?  In my opinion, their success lies in field position and turnovers.  Kansas City is tied for the league lead in the giveaway/takeaway column with a +9.  Alex Smith has done a GREAT job of picking and choosing his downfield shots and he’s completing just over 60% of his passes while only throwing 2 picks to his 7 TD’s.  In addition to Smith being efficient, the Chiefs have been able to do some damage on the ground, as well.  Jamaal Charles is averaging 72 ypg while Smith is also putting his legs to use, averaging nearly 38 ypg. Finally, the Chiefs have the 10th ranked defense according to ESPN.  McCluster and Demps have also been solid in the return game.

Moving on, let’s take a look at the Giants and Steelers, who are a combined 0-8.  The Giants are experiencing some major o-line issues as Eli has been sacked 14 times and the run game is only averaging 57.8 ypg.  The same can also be said for the Steelers, Big Ben has been sacked 15 times while the run game is averaging 58 ypg.  Defensively, the Steeler’s defense has yet to force a turnover and find themselves at -11 in terms of turnover ratio.  The Giants are sitting at -9 in turnover ratio; both teams find themselves in last place in this category in their respective conference.  I think both these teams need to reevaluate their offensive line situation and figure out something to take some heat off of Eli and Big Ben, the threat of a run game is non-existent for both.  While the news has been pretty dreadful for both teams this year, there is a silver lining beneath it all … both teams are only two games back in their respective division races.

  • Injuries aren’t helping either team
  • Both defenses are respectable in terms of yardage surrendered
  • The WR’s for both teams don’t always seem to be on the same page as their QB’s
  • Both D-lines need more of a pass rush

And now for some final thoughts:

  • I think Miami’s first loss comes tonight
  • The NFC East and AFC North are still wide open
  • Peyton Manning is good
  • If the Lions play 4 quarters and don’t self-destruct they’re a threat in the NFC North
  • If Seattle’s passing game starts getting hot look out!
  • The Pats are playing tough with makeshift skill players, Tom Brady is getting some help in the way of yards after catch.
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