Warrior Weekly: NFL overreactions

WSPNs Aditya Weling shares some of his reactions after the first few weeks of the NFL season.

Credit: WSPN Staff

WSPN’s Aditya Weling shares some of his reactions after the first few weeks of the NFL season.

With the beginning of the NFL season in the books, many people think that they have an idea of how their team will fare over the rest of the season. Like Wall Street, teams’ stocks are rising, falling, or in some rare cases, exactly where they started. As such, like every year, some teams are vastly outperforming expectations, while others are simply not reaching the bar that was set for them this summer. Internally, every player and coach in every one of these locker rooms, those with high spirits and those with low, is trying to make sure that their team stays level-headed. However, we’re not on any team, so now it’s our turn to look at some early-season overreactions.

The Cardinals are the best team in the NFC.
This might not seem like going out on too much of a limb, as no one can deny that the Cards are flying way higher than most thought they could. A large majority of people probably had them as the worst team in the entire division. The 49ers, who are only two years removed from a Super Bowl appearance, are returning multiple starters who were lost last year, in what was an injury-ravaged season. The Seahawks, well…they have Russell Wilson. And the Rams return the best defense in the league, headed by possibly the best two defensive players in the league, as well as a new quarterback in Matthew Stafford who is thirsty for some winning football. However, Kyler Murray and the Cardinals have outperformed all of them so far. Off to a 5-0 start, Arizona is fresh off their best wins of the season, trouncing the Rams in a battle of the unbeaten and a close victory against the 49ers. Things may change going forward, but Murray’s MVP-caliber play has his team looking like the one to beat.

The Chiefs’ defense will keep them from winning the division.
Now for some controversy. The Chiefs were widely considered to be the presumptive Super Bowl favorites before the season started, and many are holding on to their predictions even after their rocky start. Sitting with a 2-3 record at the bottom of the AFC West at the quarter pole, no one can deny that they don’t look even close to how we envisioned. While they are still explosive, and averaging the second most points in the league on offense, they also have the third most giveaways in the league. Patrick Mahomes, who is widely and correctly considered to be the best quarterback in the league, leads the league with 16 touchdown passes, but has thrown at least one interception in each of the past four games, tied for third most on the season. However, the real hindrance for this team, unsurprisingly, is their defense. They are giving up the second most points and yards per game, and it’s not getting better any time soon. The Chiefs are a mishandled punt away from being 1-4, and their fellow divisional foes in the Chargers, Raiders and Broncos all have winning records. Mahomes may have an even higher gear that can overcome his team’s shortcomings, but we’re betting that while the Chiefs will be playoff bound, they’ll start in the Wild Card round.

The Buccaneers’ injuries will end their chance of repeating.
In the betting odds and power rankings, right behind the Chiefs, and sometimes even ahead, were the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, led by the greatest quarterback to ever live, Tom Brady. The ageless wonder is off to a hot start this season, only behind Mahomes in touchdowns so far this season. However, even the GOAT is human, as evidenced by his poor play in his emotional return to Foxborough, a place in which he led the Patriots to six Super Bowl championships. His team is 4-1, with an absolute drubbing conducted by the Los Angeles Rams in a 34-24 loss, in which the score suggested a closer game than in reality. Among the many reasons for their championship season last year, their stellar health might be at the top of the list. This season, however, is a different story. In their most recent game against the Patriots, the Buccaneers had just one of the four starting cornerbacks that trotted out against Dallas in week one still in the game. The results are staggering, as Tampa now has the worst statistical passing defense in the league. We’re not saying it will keep them from the playoffs, but the ever-evasive Super Bowl repeat just got a whole lot harder.