Five Things We Learned from the First Two Months of the NFL Season
It’s hard to believe that the NFL regular season is just about halfway over. So far it’s been one of the most unpredictable in recent memory, which was made clear in the season opener when the Chiefs went on the road to New England and beat the defending champs by 15 points. With plenty of injuries, upstart teams, and surprise stars so far in 2017, let’s take a look at what we’ve learned.
Alex Smith and the Kansas City Chiefs are poised for a deep playoff run.
Just one year removed from being bounced in the Divisional Round by the Steelers, Andy Reid’s Chiefs squad has seemingly flipped a switch this year, winning their first five games against some stiff competition – which includes the Patriots, Eagles, Redskins, and Texans. Kansas City has thrived under the leadership of former No. 1 overall pick Alex Smith, who has completed 69 percent of his passes this season, throwing for 16 touchdowns and zero interceptions. The Chiefs running game has been excellent as well, with rookie Kareem Hunt averaging over five yards per carry over his first 150 carries as a professional. While not traditionally thought of as an NFL powerhouse, Kansas City’s balance and talented defense should make them a team to watch for the rest of the season.
Carson Wentz and the Eagles represent a changing of the guard in the NFC.
After a solid rookie campaign, Eagles signal caller Carson Wentz is showing no signs of being in a sophomore slump. After leading Philadelphia to a 7-9 record in 2016, the second overall pick has equaled that win total in 2017 in just eight games. Wentz has already eclipsed his 2016 totals in touchdowns and has been much better with his ball security, throwing just five interceptions. Wentz’s fantastic play has been a catalyst for the Eagles this season, and is the main reason why they sit atop the NFC standings with a 7-1 record. After making the playoffs just once since 2010, Philadelphia has the makings of a perennial Super Bowl contender for years to come.
Sean McVay has the Rams rebuild on solid ground.
It’s been a long time coming for the Rams. The newly-relocated side suffered through five years of mediocre play under coach Jeff Fisher, the Rams decided to shake things up by hiring 31-year-old Sean McVay as their head coach. McVay has long been celebrated as one of the better offensive minds in the league, and he has already done a fantastic job with his new team. Just last season the Rams only won four games with Fisher at the helm, and they’ve already passed that watermark less than halfway through the season. Former No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff has started to develop, and McVay’s offensive scheme has worked wonders for running back Todd Gurley. If the Rams can remain consistent, they should be a fun team to watch in the playoffs come January.
DeShaun Watson was just what the doctor ordered for the Texans.
Saying that the Houston Texans quarterback spot has been a revolving door since the team’s inception is putting it nicely. Houston has seemingly done a fantastic job of stopping the bleeding at the game’s most important position by drafting quarterback DeShaun Watson from Clemson. The 22-year-old has exploded onto the scene, racking up multiple passing touchdowns in five out of his first six starts. Watson has found another year in his last four games specifically, throwing for 16 touchdowns and just five interceptions. Watson is still learning on the job but he’s breathed new life into a Texans squad that had flat lined over the past few years.
The Chargers face an uphill battle to get a foothold with fans in Los Angeles.
The Chargers move to Los Angeles has gotten off to a particularly rocky start. After breaking the hearts of countless fans in San Diego, the team has struggled mightily attendance-wise since relocating. The Chargers currently play their home games at the StubHub Center, which is a 27,000 seat stadium designed to accommodate an MLS team. The Chargers have yet to sell out a single one of these games and often times the stadium is packed with fans of the visiting team. Yikes. The long-term prospects of having two teams in Los Angeles seem dicey at best at this point, and the Chargers face long odds to win over fans in a city that has little history with the team.
(Image courtesy Freepik.com.)