In the NFL almost nothing is predictable with more surprises after Week 3

KEVIN DEITRICK, Sports Columnist

As we have learned from  a previous article highlighting some of the key injuries so far in the NFL, this has been one crazy season after just three weeks. Here, I would like to discuss some of the big surprises so far this season, and the biggest disappointments.

First, one team that has done surprisingly well so far is the Atlanta Falcons. After disappointing seasons in 2013 and 2014, going a combined 10-22, the Falcons are looking good this year with a 3-0 record while getting impressive play from quarterback Matt Ryan with 946 yards and five touchdowns. Although the three teams they beat, the Eagles, Giants and Cowboys, have a combined record of 4-5, Atlanta looks like they could be in playoff contention in 2015.

In 2014, first and second year receivers took the league by storm with arguably the best rookie receiving class of all time. Wide receivers like Odell Beckham Jr., Jordan Matthews, Sammy Watkins, Deandre Hopkins, Brandin Cooks and Mike Evans all had major contributions to their respective teams. This year, it has been somewhat of a different story.

The top five leading receivers are: Julio Jones, Antonio Brown, Steve Smith Sr., A.J. Green and Larry Fitzgerald. Jones is the youngest of them, doing it all at age 26; next are Brown and Green at 27, also young, but they have been great for a few years now  (and let’s be honest, if you are able to play professional football for more than four years you should be considered a veteran); next in the league with 349 receiving yards is Smith, and at 36, he is proving he’s still capable of being a very reliable receiver. Finally, you have Larry Fitzgerald at fifth with 333 yards. In his 12th year, “Sticky Fingers” is still looking like one of the best wide receivers in the NFL.

Another surprising team after week three is the Buffalo Bills. At 2-1, their only loss came to the New England Patriots, losing 40-32. Their quarterback Tyrod Taylor has looked very solid going 58-78 with 714 yards and seven touchdowns against three interceptions. That is a 74.4 completion percentage, and he’s boasting a 116.1 quarterback percentage that is good for fifth in the NFL. Their two wins were impressive, beating the Colts 27-14, a team that has made the playoffs every year since drafting quarterback Andrew Luck in 2012.

Now for some disappointments. The Philadelphia Eagles: Just about everything about them has been disappointing. After an offseason of huge trades, it was looking like the Eagles were ready to make a run at a Super Bowl after trading for Sam Bradford from the Rams, and signing superstar running back Demarco Murray. After the first three games, Bradford has 678 passing yards and just three touchdowns against four interceptions. Murray isn’t even leading the team in rushing, nor is he second.

Murray, the defending rushing champion last season, a guy who made a name for himself with the Cowboys rushing for 4,000 total yards in four seasons in Dallas, has just 21 carries and 11 yards. If I have done my math right, and I’m not a math major here, but Murray is averaging just half a yard per carry. Murray is not only failing the Philly faithful, but he is also failing the millions and millions of Fantasy Football owners across the country who drafted him first overall. We will wait and see if the Eagles can put it all together and make the playoffs, or crash and burn.

Another current disappointment is the St. Louis Rams. With one of the best defenses in the league, they were looking to finally put the offense together after trading Bradford to the Eagles for Nick Foles, who had 6,500 passing yards with 46 touchdowns in three seasons with Philly. After a huge upset against Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks, coming back and winning in overtime, they have failed to put it together offensively against the Redskins and Steelers, scoring a combined 18 points in those games. Their defensive line has lived up to expectations, sacking opposing quarterbacks 13 times.

Finally, the Indianapolis Colts, starting the season 1-2, have a few ugly losses against the Bills and Jets. They had an impressive comeback win against the Tennessee Titans, led by rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota. The Colts are at the bottom of the league statistically on both sides of the ball. They have gotten disappointing plays from Andrew Luck, who has also made several fantasy owners angry with his poor play. He has only completed 56 percent of his passes, and has thrown seven interceptions.

Don Shula, former coach of the Miami Dolphins has a quote that I think fits nicely here, “Sure, luck means a lot in football. Not having a good quarterback is bad luck.” Ironic, isn’t it?

These are just a few of the many surprises and disappointments so far. But there are surely more to come in the next 13 games. Who will make the playoffs? Who will win the Super Bowl? Will Demarco Murray rush his way out of mediocrity? Will Sam Bradford tear his ACL again? These are all very important questions that will surely be answered.