There’s a saying in football and I think it’s true – there are more games being lost than won, meaning it’s more likely a team loses a game by some bad decisions, situational football or such as rather than one factor earning them a victory. Some prime examples would be several teams taking their foot off the gas pedal and getting scared against the Patriots after holding a lead, the Packers’ epic collapse at Seattle in the 2015 NFC Championship game when everything seemed to go wrong at the end of the game and these three games from Sunday, I want to present to you. With this article I don’t want to take anything away from their opponents, because they did what they needed to in order to walk home victorious, but rather I want to show how the losing teams could have easily turned fortunes in their favor. To do so, I will illustrate three different types of game developments and complexities – one team that gave away a big lead, one that put themselves in a hole early they couldn’t climb out of anymore and one that put up the better performance and had plenty of chances to win, but couldn’t get the job done.
Like I do after four weeks of every NFL season, it’s time to look at all 32 teams and rank them based on what they have shown so far. While their record is the main indicator for this list, the opponents they have faced so far and other factors, like injuries or lineup changes, influence my decisions as well. Of course projections play a role to some degree to differentiate between actual contenders and those whose record can be misleading. Therefore I have multiple two-win teams in my top ten, while there’s a 3-1 squad that didn’t even crack my top ten. Find out how all these teams stack up against each other.
Three weeks into this NFL season we have seen some tremendous performances by individual players and teams. After analyzing Patrick Mahomes’ early success, I decided to give some other players credit for what they have shown so far. However, we all marvel over Drew Brees defying odds and how Khalil Mack is wrecking offensive gameplans on a weekly basis. So rather than pointing out the obvious superstars of the game, I want to bring those guys into the spotlight that I think aren’t talked about enough. Moreover, I won’t mention seasoned veterans like Fletcher Cox, who has been an absolute nightmare for opponents, or rookies like Kerryon Johnson, who I predicted to have a big year anyway. With that being said, here’s the list:
Patrick Mahomes was one of the most polarizing and fascinating draft prospects I can remember in years at the quarterback position. He put up mind-boggling numbers at Texas Tech, including a senior year with over 5000 yards and 41 touchdowns through the air. At his pro day, Mahomes threw the ball 80 yards and he showed off his tremendous arm talent throughout his collegiate career, when he was tossing deep bombs on a weekly basis. However, he came from an Air Raid offensive system, which have produced dozens of signal-callers who have put up crazy stats in college but never were able to come close to that kind of success in the pros. Therefore the Chiefs received some criticism for trading up all the way to the tenth overall pick for their quarterback in 2016, with Alex Smith still on the roster. Less than two years removed from that, Mahomes now has set a new NFL record for most passing touchdowns in his team’s first two games with ten of those and has his offense scoring 40 points per game. I want to recap why I had him graded as a second-round pick and how he has proven me and so many other analysts wrong in such phenomenal fashion.
With the first week of the season in the books, I thought it would make sense to give a short update on all 32 teams around the league. Now having watched every single matchup, I came away with one observation for each NFL squad. For plenty of them I came up with several statements, but I went with the most apparent one to me. Usually I go by divisions, but for the purpose of this I listed them in alphabetical order.
Like I do every year, I’m about to put myself out there by predicting the top three candidates for all the major NFL awards and how I think the playoff picture will look like. Once again, I have gone week by week for every single matchup, considering days of rest, previous matchups, etc. and put together the seedings for each conference as a result. Then I predicted the following postseason matchups going all the way to Super Bowl LIII. You will find my filled-out schedule in Excel format at the bottom of this article and feel free to burn me once February rolls around. For now, this is how I think the 2018/19 season will pan out and I couldn’t be more excited to actually watch things come together.
Time to switch back to NFL football! I have now watched pretty much every snap of the first three weeks of preseason and it’s time to point out the guys, who have impressed me the most. I’m not here to tell you that legends like Tom Brady have looked sharp, but rather this list is about rookies and a few second- and third-year players, who aren’t on a lot of people’s radars at this point and have looked like impact performers to this point. Not all of these youngsters might see a significant amount of snaps this season because of the veterans ahead of them taking away opportunities, but they have looked like guys who could step in and make a difference for their teams. With that being said, these young men have caught my eye:
Finishing up on my top five positional rankings for this upcoming NCAA football season, we switch over to the defensive side of the ball. Once again, these lists are about where those guys stack up as college players – not as eventual draft prospects. So the criteria I base them on is the tape I watched on them the last couple of seasons and the jump I project them to make this year. With that being said, I can’t help but look ahead to some degree, since I could easily see eight defensive players drafted in the top ten next April and most of them should be on the D-line.
After revealing my most intriguing storylines heading into the 2018 college football season, I wanted to release my top five positional rankings, like I did a year ago as well. To make the criteria clear – this list is about the actual college players, as a combination of what they showed me last season and what I expect them to be in 2018. So this is not a look forward to these young men as draft prospects in 2019. Therefore, you might find some names that won’t be discussed a lot from next February to April. With that being said, I want to start with the offensive side of the ball and I will get back to defense next week.