Which undefeated teams are legit?
After three weeks, the NFL has seven teams that are still undefeated. Now, it is time to look at who are the early season contenders out of this group, and who are the pretenders.
The Seahawks are led by the early season MVP Russell Wilson. He has thrown for 925 yards to go along with 14 touchdown passes and only one interception. While their defense has struggled, the Seahawks still boast impressive wins over the Patriots and Cowboys. As long as Wilson stays healthy, this Seahawks team may be the best team in the NFC.
Green Bay Packers
While the Packers have not had to most impressive schedule to start the season, it is impressive how they have won their games. The fewest amount of points the Packers have scored in a game this year is 37. Aaron Rodgers has silenced the critics who said he was on the decline as he has thrown for 887 yards with nine touchdowns and zero interceptions. Aaron Jones has added a boost in the run game averaging 101 yards per game, giving this Packers’ team balance on offense. If the defense can tighten up a bit, the Packers look like a good bet to finish as a top-two team in the NFC.
The Bears are probably the surprise team out of all the remaining undefeated teams. However, there are some glaring warning signs about this team. First, their schedule has allowed them to beat up on the Lions, Giants and a Falcons team that creates a new way to lose a game with each passing week. Secondly, the Bears have already made a quarterback change, benching Mitchell Trubisky for offseason acquisition Nick Foles. Foles was able to complete a second-half comeback to beat the Falcons in week 3 (not as impressive as it seems) and head coach Matt Nagy has named Foles the starter going forward. The Bears haven’t been tested yet, however, their schedule toughens up in the next month so we can gauge just how good Chicago really is.
The Steelers feel like a more talented version of the Bears. The combined record of teams they have faced this year is 0-9. Ben Roethlisberger looks good following his season-ending elbow injury last season, as he has thrown for 777 yards with seven touchdowns and only one interception. They also have arguably the best pass rush in the league, racking up 15 sacks through three weeks, headlined by stud TJ Watt. Looking ahead, Pittsburgh doesn’t really have that challenging of a schedule, however, it is hard to see them competing with the likes of Kansas City and Baltimore in the playoffs.
Kansas City Chiefs
There has been no evident Super Bowl hangover for the defending champs, as they have started off the year on fire. Patrick Mahomes continues to make it evident that he is the best player in the league, recording 898 yards passing with nine touchdowns and zero interceptions. However, the addition of rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire has given the Chiefs a dominant threat in the run game, something that has been lacking in the Mahomes era. However, the part that makes this Chief’s team scary is the improved defense. They are giving up only 20 points per game. They have been able to stump the likes of Deshaun Watson and last year’s MVP Lamar Jackson. Through three weeks, the Chiefs have shown that the AFC still goes through them.
The Titans were a feel-good story last season, reaching the AFC Championship game after making the switch to Ryan Tannehill. The Titans are following the same formula that worked for them last season, lean on Derrick Henry and the run game and get just enough from Tannehill to win games. However, their defense has taken a step back as they have given up 30 points in two of their first three games. The good news is that they won, however, the combined record of their three opponents to start the year is 1-8. Until they prove that they can beat a good team, I will be a little skeptical of this Titans team.
The Bills couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season, while the competition they have faced hasn’t been the greatest, quarterback Josh Allen has taken a step forward. He has thrown for 1,038 yards with 10 touchdowns and one interception. With the Bills lacking a run game early in the year, it is encouraging that Allen has been able to carry the Buffalo offense. If you want to win in the playoffs, you need your quarterback to make plays, and that is what Allen has done. The defense should improve after some bad performances against the Dolphins and Rams. For now, the Bills look like the third-best team in the AFC.