With Week 6 under wraps, we’re now one-third of the way through the newly adopted 18-week NFL regular season. For most sports fans, six games are just enough of a sample size to make judgments on which teams/players are failing, meeting or exceeding expectations. So let’s break things down and make some overreactions based on what we’ve seen so far. Of course, anything could happen over the next twelve weeks, so not everything I say can be taken as scripture.
The Arizona Cardinals are the only undefeated team in the league. Kyler Murray has quickly become the superstar quarterback that was expected of him when he was the top draft pick in 2019. And with the signing of JJ Watt, their defense is finally starting to come into its own.
Sitting only one game behind them in the NFC are the Dallas Cowboys, whose only loss came from a wild Week 1 finish against the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Cowboys won only six games all last season, but Dak Prescott’s recovery from injury is a big reason for this year’s turnaround, as well as the defense no longer being the worst in the league.
For better and for worse, these teams have performed exactly as one would expect. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Green Bay Packers, Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans all have winning records and are at the top of their respective divisions. Many of these teams, such as the Titans and Bills, already have such commanding leads that a playoff appearance is a virtual lock.
On the other side of the spectrum are the Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars, each with only one win or less. It’ll be interesting to see which of these teams make the first move when it comes to tanking for the top spot in next season’s draft.
The Kansas City Chiefs have appeared in the Super Bowl in the previous two seasons. Now they sit at the bottom of their division at 3-3. What happened? Well, they’ve turned the ball over a league-high 14 times, and their defense has been even worse than expected. But it’s also a little unfair to say the Chiefs are in last place when they’re only one game behind the division-leading Chargers. There’s plenty of time and talent available for the ship to be turned around.
The Seattle Seahawks are not in as nice of a position as the Chiefs. They’re last place in the NFC West and a whole four games back from the Cardinals. Even worse is that their star quarterback, Russell Wilson, will be out for an extended period as he recovers from finger surgery. Other injuries to key players may make this a forgettable season for the usually dependable Seahawks.
State of the MVP Race
Unfortunately, the NFL usually has the most boring MVP race of all the major sports. The past eight MVPs have been quarterbacks, and there’s no reason to believe that streak is going to be snapped this season as the top eleven betting favorites are all in that position. Kyler Murray is the favorite so far as he has led the Cardinals to an undefeated record and has been doing it in style. Not far behind him is Josh Allen of the Bills and Dak Prescott of the Cowboys.
Rookie Quarterback Struggle
Despite an NFL-record eight quarterbacks being taken in the first three rounds, none of them have performed all that well. Trevor Lawrence, Mac Jones and Zach Wilson have all experienced growing pains as they’ve adjusted to the huge expectations set upon their shoulders. We’ve been spoiled the last few years with rookie quarterbacks as Kyler Murray and Justin Herbert both won the Rookie of the Year award in the previous two seasons. Time will tell if these rookies will be able to live up to the high bar set by their predecessors.