Five Most Surprising NFL Trends In 2017
Five Biggest Surprises Of The 2017 NFL Season
Philadelphia Eagles Command The NFC East
The week six Thursday night matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Carolina Panthers ended up being more important than expected, because both teams had a chance to grasp the top rung of the NFC ladder. Cam Newton and the Panthers coughed up the opportunity while Carson Wentz and the went into a hostile stadium and emerged as a serious contender.
The Eagles defense has continued their above average contributions from last season, forcing turnovers and punishing opposition rushers. A rejuvenated offense features Wentz rounding into his prime and ex-Patriot LeGarrette Blount taking care of rushing duties.
Now that the Eagles possess sufficient scoring, Philadelphia joins Atlanta and Green Bay as the teams to beat in the NFC. Washington and Dallas will need to be close to flawless the rest of the season to catch Philadelphia, and the New York Giants are already out of the running. The NFC East now belongs to the Eagles.
Patriots, Jets & Bills Share Top Spot In AFC East
There isn’t a single human being who predicted that the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills would share the same record as the New England Patriots after week five. Prior to the start of the 2017 regular season, the Patriots were given the best odds to win their division, conference and the Super Bowl. New England weren’t just front-runners, they were overwhelming favorites to breeze through the season.
Perhaps the most shocking development would be the Jets winning three games in a row, after speculation that they could go 0-16 in 2017. Instead, fellow MetLife Stadium tenants New York Giants appear ready for a winless season.
Things promise to return to normal for week six, with the Patriots visiting the Jets in East Rutherford while the Bills enjoy a bye week. However, if the Jets somehow manage to beat New England in week six, the entire division will be a dogfight for the rest of the season.
New York Giants Lose Five In A Row
There’s no way the Giants should be this bad. New York purchased a massive defensive upgrade before the 2016 season, leading to a playoff appearance. Before the 2017 campaign, they signed Brandon Marshall to open the field up for Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr., and drafted promising tight end Evan Engram to add versatility.
When Beckham took a low hit in preseason and missed the first game due to an ankle injury, it turned out to be a sign of things to come. The Giants offense has been so out-of-rhythm that Eli Manning couldn’t get a snap in time with the game on the line.
Injuries have now completely decimated the offense, with Beckham, Marshall and three other wide receivers hurt. The defense has been exhausted due to a lack of Giants possession. No one expected a Super Bowl from the Giants, but no one expected a hopeless squad either.
Kansas City Chiefs Big Lead Over The AFC
Pretty much everything has gone right for the Kansas City Chiefs, beginning with their dismantling of the Patriots on the opening game of the NFL regular season. Coach Andy Reid was gifted an unexpected boost in speed during the offseason, adding a little bit of an extra edge to the offense. The results have been spectacular, with Kareem Hunt leading the NFL in rushing by more than a hundred yards.
The Chiefs have the best offense in the league, proving their strength against tough competition, including New England, the Houston Texans and the NFC-leading Philadelphia Eagles. Coach Reid probably wants to give up less than 22.2 points per game, but the Chiefs point differential of 10.6 shows that an average NFL defense should be enough as long as the offense remains the best in the league.
L.A. Rams Challenge Seahawks With Top NFC Offense
Jared Goff has been handled with kid gloves compared to most NFL players because he showed an incredible amount of talent in college. As the former number one overall pick in the NFL draft, he was forgiven for posting the worst QBR in the NFL last season – an abysmal 22.2.
Exit coach Jeff Fisher and enter Sean McVay, a coach who believes competitive football should be fun. New offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur was also installed this year, and the turnaround has been remarkable.
Instead of constantly berating his team, coach McVay focused more on inspiration and clever play calling, and the results reveal themselves most in Goff’s performance. The sophomore pivot has more completions and TD throws than last season, while cutting his interception rate nearly in half. Jared’s passer rating spiked from 63.6 last year to 94.1 in 2017.
After a tough loss to the Seahawks, the Rams have a soft month ahead of them, giving them a chance to pull ahead of Seattle. If coach McVay continues to inspire his men, Seattle will be looking over their shoulder the rest of the season.
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