The first four weeks of this season have been exciting to watch. From the Detroit Lions and Arizona Cardinals tying in Week One to Tampa Bay having a historic scoring Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams, the 2019 season has lived up to expectations a quarter of the way in. It’s been proven before that the first four weeks don’t always show the total picture of who will do what, but there are significant flashes of what can stay true while the season progresses. Here’s some things that could possibly hold true before Week Five.
- Those laughingstock teams that have had an awful decade or so will get the last laugh. The predictions of the Cleveland Browns being on top of the division, while contested, drove the conclusion that the team would be much better than in years past. While they’re 2-2, they’ve played some quality teams and could still show us they’re the real deal. In the meantime, teams that have been laughed off for being choke perfectionists seem to be gaining respect in the league. Both the Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions have played hard and have one loss total after September (with the Lions adding a tie). The Raiders have the tiebreaker over the Chargers to stay in second place for now, and the San Francisco 49ers are at the top of the NFC West, with two 3-1 teams behind them. If all four teams can keep this up, they’ll be tough to face heading into December.
- There’s a fresh, clean slate for all the teams in the AFC South heading into October. Who would’ve thought after Andrew Luck retiring, the Texans cashing out, and then Nick Foles being knocked out for the season that none of it would matter since every team would be 2-2? The Texans are still the favorite to win the division, but the other three teams have shown they are capable of taking that away. Tennessee has two quality wins on the road in Cleveland and Atlanta, Jacksonville may have a keeper in Gardner Minshew II, and the Indianapolis Colts, (minus their performance at home against the Raiders) were the closest to a 3-1 record. Whoever wins this division could possibly be the luckiest, and will have to win at least 3 games against their other rivals.
- New England is the favorite to get to the Super Bowl…again, and it will stay that way until a team can fully knock them off their pedestal. Take the NFC out and there doesn’t seem to be a team that can dethrone the Patriots within their conference. The Bills, while coming close, probably won’t be a scare within the AFC East. The Ravens and Browns can’t figure things out just yet, and the best chance team Kansas City can’t stop them when it matters. Unless the Patriots get bit by the injury bug, it’s theirs to lose.
- Despite all the hype with passing the ball, running-backs have been the biggest key factor so far. Need more proof? Ezekiel Elliott averaged less than 2 yards per carry for Dallas in a two point loss to the Saints this past Sunday night. The Browns and the Jaguars rode to victory on massive games from Nick Chubb and Leonard Fournette. Kerryon Johnson has helped turn the Detroit Lions into a two-way threat while taking pressure off Matthew Stafford, and the rest of the NFC North has established theirs (insert Dalvin Cook here). Last but not least, Melvin Gordon has returned after the Chargers stumbled for three straight weeks. In fact, the worst teams right now have struggled to run the ball. While Washington has had some injuries with their RB core, Miami, the Jets, Denver and Arizona have had poor performances running the ball.