Most Disappointing Teams So Far
Case #1: The Philadelphia Eagles
After barely eking out wins in the first two weeks of the season, Vick and company got decimated in Arizona in week 3. Then after a big win against the Giants, the Eagles lost a pair of extremely tough games: the first to in-state rival Pittsburgh, and the second at home to the Lions after blowing a 16-point 4th quarter lead. With how crazy everything’s been so far, the Eagles could truthfully be a lot worse than 3-3. They still have 5 of their 6 divisional games left to play, and the fate of the NFC East will depend greatly on how those matchups turn out. Coming off this week’s bye, it will be very interesting to see if Vick can cut down on the turnover spree he opened the season with (13 in the first 6 games).
Case #2: The Detroit Lions
Defensively they haven’t been terrible. What’s held the Lions back so far this season has actually been the offense. The passing game has barely had a pulse in the first three quarters of games, and the late game surges have fallen short in all but two occasions so far. With two games against the Packers, one more against the Bears, and games against both the Falcons and Texans still to come, the Lions’ playoff chances at this point are looking rather slim.
Case #3: The Carolina Panthers
You can’t blame Newton for being frustrated, as the team suffered its fourth loss of 7 points or less this past weekend. Now at 1-5, 2012 should be mostly devoted to finding a more concrete identity to the Panthers offense. Can Newton cut down on the turnovers and will his extremely high amount of rushing attempts continue (currently at nearly 8 per game)?
Case #4: The Buffalo Bills
After the big offseason acquisition of Mario Williams, the Bills defensive woes were supposed to come to an end. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case so far. Allowing a total of 227 points in 6 games (2nd worst to the Titans at 238), the Bills have struggled to keep pace in the extremely mediocre AFC. Luckily, at 3-4, the Bills are only half a game back of the top wildcard spot because half of the conference is stuck at 3 wins. The remainder of the schedule isn’t too difficult and a playoff push will mostly rely on whether the Bills can beat some of the other teams currently at the 3-win platform: Miami, St. Louis, Indianapolis, and the Jets.
Case #5: The New Orleans Saints
With wins in their last two games, things are definitely looking quite a bit better for New Orleans, but looking ahead to their first six matchups in early September, I’m sure very few people would have predicted a 2-4 start to the season. They’ve surrendered 24+ points in all six of their games and even though they’ve scored at least 24 in all six as well, tougher defenses down the road could really give the Saints a hard time. With Atlanta sitting pretty at 6-0 and meetings with the 49ers and Giants still to come, things don’t look great for the Saints to come out on top in the South. But winning 7 of the last 10 isn’t something I’d put past Brees and company, and there’s a chance that 9 wins can get you into the NFC’s top 6.