Egan on Football: The NFL's UnpredictabilityDate: October 5, 2017
By: Keith Egan
Another week of games, another week of surprises in this crazy unpredictable NFL season. With different results from week-to-week and no real consistency, it is hard to take away anything so far to make predictions. Nonetheless, I will try anyway.
- Is Carolina back? Are the Patriots not the team we thought? Maybe Both? For the second straight week, and for the third time this season, the Patriots have been out-played by their opponents on their home turf. Despite pulling off the win last week against the Texans, New England has shown extreme vulnerability, especially defensively, where they have given up the second most yards ever by a defending Super Bowl Champion in their first four games. While great defensive teams, such as the Chiefs and Broncos, are striving in the AFC, the Patriots do not look as bulletproof as they have in the past.
- Carolina, on the other hand, is one of my predictions from the beginning of the year still left standing. After a frustrating 2016, the Panthers have found a rhythm once again, and Cam Newton is back to playing like the man who looked like the next face of the NFL. Now at 3-1, the Panthers sit atop the toughest division in the NFC, and have a chance to redeem themselves for past failures.
Not to speak too soon, because I'm not sure if I am ready to predict this, but a team like the Bills could find their way into the playoffs this season. With 11 sacks, 277 tackles, six interceptions and five forced fumbles, Buffalo's defense has proven themselves as a scary opponent. This past week, they gave the NFC Champions their first loss and opened the eyes of many across the league. However, this team does not have a playoff offense. Tyrod Taylor's 182 yards is average at best, and LeSean McCoy cannot carry this team. But the defense can with decent play offensively.
- No, the Bills are not winning the division. If that happens, I will be totally shocked, but barring injury, New England will maintain the dynasty in the AFC East. However, Buffalo can sneak in if the AFC South falls to inconsistency and the AFC West finds one of its three playoff-caliber tams falling apart as the Raiders hope that it's not them.
- The Giants are back to their ways of frustrating fans across the nation while being two barely good field goals from being 2-2. Instead, New York is at 0-4 and all hopes of the season they wanted are almost gone. In the end, it's just a bad combination of players for the Giants. With a terrible offensive line, Eli Manning needs to be more mobile. He has done this to the best of his ability, but still has trouble. As a counter attack, New York has gone with a quick game offense. This is great when you can feed the ball to Odell, but the acquisition of Brandon Marshall is now a bad fit. He hasn't found a rhythm in ten yard and under routes, and is just not that type of receiver.
- Meanwhile, the running game is stagnant, while rookie Wayne Gallman from Clemson is going to be given his fair shot after scoring his first touchdown against the Buccaneers this past week. Even defensively, the Giants need to be better. Eli Apple played well last year, earning him respect in New York, but costly mistakes this year have hurt that reputation. Landon Collins hasn't made the same impact as last season, but he can't do it alone. All aspects of this team need to be approved upon, but the fact that their weaknesses have overrode their strengths, could mean a loss in relevancy for the remainder of the season.
- The London games are stupid and poor play is making them even worse. For a second straight week, the people of the UK have seen a terrible football game that many people in the U.S. didn't even get to watch. This is not exactly a takeaway on Week Four, but something I felt I should put in here. If it has not already been made clear, money is more important to the NFL than quality football.
- This an American sport. If London gets to have multiple football games a year, make them on American time. Everyone gets to watch, Roger Goodell makes his money, and London can start getting into football, as they should. That being said, as long as terrible teams are still being sent overseas for these games, they should not even be there.
Players of the week:
Offensive: Bilal Powell
Powell's 163 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown where the Jaguars defense forgot to touch him down, gave the Jets their second straight win this week. The Jets have surprised many thus far, and Powell's play this week contributed to that.
Defensive: Luke Kuechly
Kuechly had 14 total tackles, 12 of which were solo in the Panthers win at Gillette Stadium. If the Panthers want to be the team they were before, this is the Luke Kuechly that needs to show up each week. Thus far, they are headed in a good direction.
Week 5 Games to Watch:
Patriots AT Buccaneers- Not sure where exactly either of these teams stand right now, so hopefully this game gives a bit more insight. Tampa Bay is still a game behind due to their unexpected bye week, and New England has struggled so far. Going on the road for the second time this season, the Patriots look to right the ship.
Panthers AT Lions- This is an absolute must watch game as a football fan. The way this season has gone, it is extremely tough to tell where some teams stand. This game will offer a bit more insight on not only the teams playing, but also the Patriots, Vikings and others. Both current leaders in their divisions, it will be interesting to see who shows out on Sunday.
Seahawks AT Rams- Are the Rams for real? Time to find out. Playing at home against another team coming off a big win, the Rams will be tested in a game where a lot of eyes will be on them. For the Seahawks, losing would be losing control of the conference, while the Rams would continue to have Seattle's number.
Keith Egan can be found on Twitter @Keith_egan10 and can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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