Clock Dodgers NFL Split
(Top 5 – Bottom 5)
Did you enjoy that? How head scratching has this season been through the first four games? Answer……. very. If you think you think you have it bad, just think about us poor saps that have to analyze and rank these teams. “Any given Sunday,” truly has been the story of this season so far. I have a feeling that we’ll finally see some separation between the good, the bad, and the elite by the time we get halfway through the season. Until then, let me take a stab at who those are at this moment:
1. Kansas City Chiefs (4-0)
It came close, but the Chiefs found a way to pull it out at the end. Good teams find ways to win all game. What was a relatively slow start for Kansas City, eventually turned into a hard fought victory. Alex Smith and company pulled ahead late with a field goal that was closely followed by the Chiefs’ defense finishing the Redskins off with a fumble returned for a TD. Kansas City sits atop the rankings as they look to be one of the most balanced teams in the NFL so far. (Last Week Ranking: 1st)
Last Week Ranking: 1st
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1)
I promise, the Steelers won this game even if Antonio Brown didn’t get the memo. All I have to ask is, what the hell did that water cooler do to him? All jokes of Brown’s in-game tantrum aside, the Steelers rebounded well from their head-scratching Week 3 loss. They move up in the ranks despite another “meh” road performance form Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. We may be sick of hearing it, but there is undoubtedly a drop off between home and road performances for the aging Quarterback.
Last Week Ranking: 4th
3. Green Bay Packers (3-1)
Green Bay put it on the Bears so bad Mike Glennon was offered up as tribute in order for John Fox to prolong his time as head coach. This one is interesting, because surveying the entire Green Bay roster is not that impressive in itself. However, having arguably one of the greatest Quarterbacks ever has elevated Green Bay to a status of constant contention. As long as they have this man, they’ll be in the running.
Last Week Ranking: Unranked
4. Atlanta Falcons (3-1)
The slide down wasn’t because they lost, it was the way they lost. Atlanta seemed determined to give a surprisingly good Buffalo team the edge in this game. Quarterback Matt Ryan threw two interceptions and coughed up a fumble that led to a defensive touchdown for the Bills. Even with all of these offensive blunders, Atlanta found themselves in position to try and win this game late. They came up short, but I still believe they are one of the league’s top teams.
Last Week Ranking: 2nd
5. New England Patriots (2-2)
It seems the concerns I stated I had for the Patriots last week came to light again this week. Once again at home, the Patriots looked defensively inept when it came to slowing down their opponent. I am still not willing to write them off as quick as some others are, but I am now worried going forward. They remain in my top 5 with the thought being that Bill Belichick will figure out some way to turn this rag-tag defense into a serviceable unit that can compliment his offense.
Last Week Ranking: 3rd
Outside looking in:
Buffalo Bills – So far they are the surprise of the season. After letting their best cornerback walk and trading away their star receiver, Buffalo has come out looking better than they did with that talent before. One could even say they were right in letting Stephon Gilmore leave, given how bad he has looked so far after signing a big deal with the Patriots. While they may lead their division, I am not yet ready to put them above a Patriots team that has proven they can win late in the year.
Denver Broncos – John Elway heard the criticism all of 2016. Which means he knows Denver’s run game was awful on both sides of the ball. In Elway fashion, he went and addressed it all at once. His new additions have stifled run games on the defensive side of the ball. On top of that, Denver has one of the top running games in the league thanks to an improved offensive line blocking for CJ Anderson and Jamaal Charles. If Denver can solve their redzone issues, there’s no way to keep them out of the top 5.
Detroit Lions – They’re 3-1 but could easily be 4-0. Detroit went on the road and ground out a win against a tough division opponent. Granted, it’s still Case Keenum they faced. Their next four games will be against some of the league’s best Quarterbacks, which will let us know if Detroit is here to stay.
28. Los Angeles Chargers (0-4)
One of my not-so-good calls of the preseason. I told as many people as possible to not count out the Chargers, who seemed to be getting back almost every inured player they lost from last year. Now the Chargers have been at least competitive in every game so far, but at some point you have to be able to win a close one. Sadly, Los Angeles doesn’t see to have what it takes to do that.
Last Weeks Ranking: Unranked
29. New York Giants (0-4)
I’ll be honest guys, there’s not a lot to get excited about outside of Odell Beckham Jr. when it comes to the Giants. Yes, their defense is pretty stacked with talent, but it hasn’t seemed to translate to wins for them. New York finds itself in quite the predicament. In a season where many had them returning to the playoffs, they are winless through four games. Could it be time for a coaching change?
Last Weeks Ranking: Unranked
30. Indianapolis Colts (1-3)
Well, it started out nice? The Colts seemed to be competing early. In fact, they took a lead over the Seahawks into halftime. Then, Seattle put a 22 point third quarter on them and it was pretty much over after that. Indianapolis is absolutely dying to have their star Andrew Luck return to the field as soon as humanely possible.
Last Weeks Ranking: 31st
31. Cleveland Browns (0-4)
Head Coach Hue Jackson is said to be very happy with how his rookie Quarterback is playing so far. That’s probably the only thing he’s happy with at the moment. Kenny Britt has not been the offensive spark they signed him to be, and they desperately need Myles Garrett and Jamie Collins to return to play ASAP. Cleveland will dwell at the bottom until they can put some solid game performances together.
Last Weeks Ranking: 30th
32. San Francisco 49ers (0-4)
They look better than last year, but that’s an unbelievably low bar to measure against. San Francisco lost on the road in a somewhat snooze-fest of a game. I don’t believe coaching to be an issue for the 49ers at this time. They are a very incomplete roster that is rebuilding for the future. These things take time, and until they start to get some talent we won’t know what Kyle Shanahan is capable of as a head coach.
Last Weeks Ranking: 32nd
In danger of falling:
Chicago Bears – The Bears are hoping their shiny new Quarterback will turn their season around. As a man who has watched a lot of John Fox coached games, I’m pretty skeptical. We will see if the Bears can figure out under what looks to be a far more talented Quarterback in Mitchell Trubisky.
Cincinnati Bengals – They got a win!!!! Wait, it was against the Browns? Oh, they got half a win! Honestly guys, it’s hard to get excited over this one when we pretty much know who the Bengals are at this point. The best thing that can be said is that Andy Dalton has looked far better after the change in offensive coordinators.
New York Jets – It seems the Jets are even more terrible at tanking than they are at football. They are still one of the bottom tier rosters as far as talent is concerned. There were some surprising wins early, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves on the Jets, they are who they thought they were!!!!!
Thanks for tuning in for this week’s edition of the Split 10! As always, I’d love to hear any of your feedback in the comments below or on Twitter: @eddiecee23!!!!