Every season is filled with surprises. Games that are surprisingly won or surprisingly lost. Teams that catapult to the top of the standings when no one dreamed it possible. Solid teams that plummet to the bottom of the standings in spite of their talent and previous accomplishments. The NFL can be as unpredictable as the weather and that is one of many reasons why we love it so much. Here are five of the biggest surprises of the season in my opinion. They are in no particular order.
1. The New York Jets have won three of their first six games. Who would have guessed, other than Coach Ryan, that the NFL’s most dysfunctional team would win three games in the entire season?
2. The Pittsburgh Steelers are 1-4 and in last place in the AFC North. That means that even the Cleveland Browns are ahead of the Steelers. It has been decades since the Steelers had a season like the one unfolding this year. Even their own quarterback declared them the worst team in the NFL. Ben has obviously not seen the Jaguars play.
3. The Kansas City Chiefs are undefeated at 6-0! We all knew that Andy Reid was a good coach, but undefeated as we approach the halfway mark? C’mon man, that is an awesome turnaround for any team. I will be cheering for the Chiefs to continue. Their good fans deserve it.
4. The New York Giants are 0-6 and look awful. We love the Manning family and any member of the Manning family gets a pass for just about anything, but one has to wonder just how long Eli can milk his family’s street cred. Even more vulnerable is head coach Tom Coughlin’s job in the wake of six straight losses. Really? The Giants 0-6? See #1 above for additional insight.
5. The #5 biggest surprise is a tie between the 1-4 Falcons and the 1-4 Redskins. Both teams have suffered catastrophic injuries which certainly will put the brakes on any season. The Falcons have lost their entire receiving corps and the Skins are trying to rehab their quarterback. But injuries aside, no one in Atlanta or DC thought that they would be at 1-4.
Stay tuned as more surprises are sure to come!
- NFL Week 6: Live Scores, Highlights and Reaction (bleacherreport.com)
I like Marvin Lewis. A lot. I like the professional way in which he has represented the Bengals over the years. I like the way he has reached out to players in personal distress and seen many of them turn their lives around. I like the many contributions he has made to his community. Coach Marvin Lewis has exemplified likability and loyalty which are two character qualities that go a long way with owner Mike Brown and the Cincinnati fan base.
However, there comes a time when NFL coaches need to win football games. That time has come for Marvin Lewis and the Bengals. We all know what a tremendous man Coach Lewis is. He has proven himself in those areas, but its time to win.
Yesterday’s loss is clearly on Coach Lewis and his staff. The Bengals are are a clearly superior team to the Cleveland Browns. Many have predicted the Bengals to play in the Super Bowl, or at least go deep into the play-offs. They have added tremendous talent on both sides of the ball. They have drafted well and made key free agents acquisitions. They have a quality team that is loaded with talent and ability.
So why does such a talented and superior team line-up against a struggling opponent and play as poorly as the Bengals played yesterday? Coaching. Preparing a team to play well and demanding that from your players is squarely on the head coach. And it appears that Marvin Lewis, as likable as he may be, simply cannot get his team fired up enough to beat an inferior opponent with a quarterback making only is second start in the NFL.
The Bengals were not just defeated yesterday. They were manhandled. The high powered offense that supposedly makes defensive coordinators lose sleep was totally silenced by the Browns defense. The Bengals ferocious defensive front allowed a rookie quarterback to play like a Hall of Famer. No passion. No emotion. No determination to win, and that is on the head coach. Perhaps losing has become acceptable to an organization so familiar with it.
If it were not for a double fumble and a crazy, fortuitous bounce at the end of the Bengals-Packers game the team with such a high ceiling would be 1-3 right now. With the Patriots next on the schedule don’t expect winning to get any easier in the near future.
I like that I like you Coach Lewis, but the time has come to win.
Week 4 presents a number of intriguing match-ups as the 2013 NFL season heads into the first turn. Among the interesting match-ups are:
1. New York Giants (0-3) at Kansas City Chiefs (3-0)
Can Eli and the Giants really start 0-4? I know that the G-Men are notoriously slow starters but 0 and 4? Really? Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium is one of the NFL’s toughest road environments and Andy Reid has his team hitting on all cylinders right now.
2. Seattle Seahawks (3-0) at Houston Texans (2-1)
Russell Wilson and the Seahawks look really, really strong right now. The Texans, on the other hand, is a team that many believed would make a Super Bowl push behind Defensive star J.J. Watt. This might be the best game of the week and reminiscent of the O.K. Corral.
3. Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) at Cleveland Browns (1-2)
Round 1 of the Battle of Ohio will take place on the shores of Lake Erie. The Bengals are clearly the better team but the Browns announced last week that they were going to play with reckless abandon. A team with nothing to lose is always dangerous.
4. Miami Dolphins (3-0) at New Orleans Saints (3-0)
A battle of unexpected unbeaten teams. Are the Dolphins for real? Will Drew Brees be Drew Brees? There is no bigger stage than Monday Night Football and the world will be watching to see if Miami will shrink from the moment.