Which teams are the Real Deal?
Week 5 is when we start really seeing which teams are the real deal and which teams are fools gold. The Panthers seem to be legit after two consecutive road victories versus good teams in the Patriots and the Lions. Cam Newton finally seems back and better than ever after a bad first three games coming back from a shoulder injury. The Panthers will be further tested at home against another team that may be the real deal in the Philadelphia Eagles on what should be a great Thursday Night Football game. The Eagles have played relatively easy opponents so far aside from their lone loss to the Chiefs. The Eagles also had a similarly hot start last year, so some skepticism is warranted, but Carson Wentz has looked good though more than a little bit lucky and the Eagles have found ways to win. The other surprises so far this season struggled today as the Rams took an ugly loss at home to the struggling Seahawks and the Bills got beaten by a struggling Bengals team. The Jaguars surprised everyone (again) and absolutely dominated the Steelers in Pittsburgh behind a stellar defensive performance and a huge day for Leonard Fournette. Atlanta and Denver are both 3-1 and had bye weeks so they will come out next week hoping to reassert themselves as real deal contenders. I also have to mention the 5-0 Kansas City Chiefs who have looked great so far this season as potential real deal candidates. The Chiefs have lots of play makers on both sides of the ball, but have struggled against high level teams in the past. They look to be legit so far.
The Patriots headline a list of early season disappointments this season as they have started 3-2 after numerous preseason predictions of lofty records such as 16-0. The Patriots defense has been downright awful so far and will need to get better if they are to have a chance to repeat in the Superbowl and prove themselves as the real deal. The Steelers have also been very shaky so far this season although they are still 3-2. Oakland has struggled with injuries and just bad play while starting 2-3 on the season. The Cowboys have also started a sub-par 2-3. The Giants came into the season as a highly touted team but have started out a horrific 0-5 and haven’t looked good at all. They were also dealt a huge blow with Odell Beckham Jr. out with a leg injury requiring surgery.
Tank city…..or not?
After the offseason narrative was pushed that the Bills, Browns, 49ers, and Jets were tanking, two of those teams have winning records through five games as the Bills and Jets have started 3-2. The Browns and 49ers have been as bad as advertised at an abysmal 0-5 to start out the season. Indianapolis and the Chargers started out 0-4 but each got a win today against teams that are now 0-5. The Jets and Bills each seem to not be the real deal as far as tanking is concerned. The Bears are also a team to watch out for in terms of abysmal records, though Mitchell Trubisky is finally making his debut on Monday against a tough Vikings defense. Look out for most of these teams plus the Giants at the top of the draft order this spring.
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