Just three weeks into the NFL season, teams are already starting to separate themselves from the rest of the pack- for better and for worse. Going into Week 4, there are just five undefeated teams remaining (Ravens, Broncos, Patriots, Eagles, and Vikings). But which of these teams are for real? We all remember how the Atlanta Falcons started off the 2015 season at 5-0 and ended up missing the playoffs. So, let’s take a look at each of these 3-0 teams, and I’ll offer my opinion on them moving forward.
New England Patriots
Its gotten to the point where I want to see if the Patriots can win with Julian Edelman at quarterback. The Patriots have taken down formidable opponents, such as the Cardinals and Texans, thanks to their mastermind head coach, Bill Belichick. The defense has looked solid and their offense has survived with two backup quarterbacks and without Rob Gronkowski. At home against the Bills in Week 4, the Patriots will most likely pass the baton to Tom Brady with a 4-0 record. How can a 4-0 team get better? Give them one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history and the league’s best tight end. Moving forward, I don’t see the Patriots losing more than three for four games as they will contend- like they always do- for a Super Bowl.
After the first two weeks it was evident that the Broncos would rely on their defense to carry them; however, their offense exploded for 29 points against a tough Bengals’ defense in Week 3. Trevor Siemian was the biggest surprise of them all, as he threw for 312 and four touchdowns. In addition, Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas combined for 217 yards and three touchdowns. Should we regularly expect these types of performances from Siemian moving forward? Probably not. But the Broncos should feel good knowing that he is capable of facilitating the offense and putting points on the board. Moreover, the Broncos have a very favorable schedule moving forward. Boasting one of the best defenses in the league and possibly an emerging offense, Denver will be a tough team to beat.
After a very disappointing 2015 season, the Ravens started off 2016 on the right foot. Currently, their defense is ranked as 3rd best against the run and 10th best against the pass. Tallying the 13th most yards in the NFL through three games, the Ravens’ offense has been good, but has yet to impress. They also won three close games against mediocre to lesser opponents. Continually winning close games isn’t sustainably over a whole season. Looking specifically at the next five weeks, the Ravens have a tough schedule ahead of them. I think the Ravens make an improvement over last year’s performance, but ultimately, they miss the playoffs. They have a good defense, but not good enough to make up for their average offense.
Who needs Adrian Peterson and Teddy Bridgewater anyway? For me, the Vikings have been the most impressive team thus far. In just three games, they have taken down two top NFC teams and have done so with a quarterback who was signed just a week before the regular season. Sam Bradford, who is currently in his 7th NFL season, has never looked more comfortable under center during his professional career. It’s incredible to see how quickly Bradford has developed a rapport with tight end Kyle Rudolph and wide out Stefon Diggs. Meanwhile, their defense has all the ingredients to be one of the best in the league for years to come. With a favorable schedule ahead of them, expect the Vikings’ stock to continue to rise as the season progresses.
After embarrassing the Steelers on Sunday, the Eagles have generated a lot of buzz around the league. There’s nothing noteworthy about beating the Browns and Bears, but when you beat one of the best teams in the league by a score of 34-3 you deserve to be talked about. Many people- including myself- counted out the Eagles before the season even started. Now, it looks like there is a storm brewing in Philly. Carson Wentz, their unflappable rookie quarterback, has thrown for 769 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions through three games. Both their offense and defense have shown the potential to compete with the top tier teams of the league. Moving forward, I think the Eagles have a good shot to compete for the NFC East division title. While I don’t believe they have the potential to put together a playoff run, the future is bright for the Eagles.