by Liam Tormey ’22
It is now a couple weeks into the National Football League (NFL) season, and there have been both surprises and concerns for many teams in the league.
It goes without saying that COVID-19 is going to be the biggest issue this season. Going into Week Four, the Pittsburgh Steelers were supposed to travel to Tennessee to face the Titans, but, due to an outbreak of cases in the Titans camp, the game was rescheduled to Week Seven. The Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers game was moved to Week Eight. Both the Steelers and Titans went into Week Four undefeated and have proven to be playoff contenders.
The Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots were supposed to face off on Oct. 4 but had to reschedule to a Monday night game after Patriots quarterback Cam Newton tested positive for COVID-19. With Newton in quarantine, Brian Hoyer got the starting job. Hoyer played a terrible first half before being replaced by second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham in the second half of the game.
With both rosters at capacity, the Chiefs and Patriots have been two of the more impressive teams in the league. Surprisingly, the Chiefs are the first team ever to start 4-0 for four consecutive seasons. Their impressive display against the Ravens in Baltimore has many believing they have a good chance to repeat winning the Super Bowl.
For the New England Patriots, Newton looks like he has found his new home. The Patriots hope to get him back for their Week Six matchup against the Denver Broncos, a game that was moved from Week Five following more positive cases in New England. Newton’s arm and his ability to run the ball have added a new dimension to New England’s offense. And with Bill Belichick as the coach, anything is possible for the Patriots this season.
Credit must be given to the other undefeated teams in the American Football Conference (AFC). The Buffalo Bills are the leaders of the AFC East, and quarterback Josh Allen looks ready to lead his team to a successful playoff run. Head coach Sean McDermott has continually given Buffalo a sound defense since coming from the Carolina Panthers as a defensive coordinator.
In the National Football Conference (NFC), the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers are at the top of the list for impressive teams thus far. Russell Wilson, who has never received an MVP vote, has been at the top of his game, proving how he has become one of the best deep-ball throwers in the league. Not many people believed in the Packers before the season started, but Aaron Rodgers has proven the doubters wrong, giving his team one of the best starts to the season.
The Atlanta Falcons and the Houston Texans have been the disappointments of the season. Atlanta blew back-to-back leads against the Dallas Cowboys and the Chicago Bears in games they looked certain to win. The Texans have had problems all over the board after trading star receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Both teams have now fired their coaches, Dan Quinn and Bill O’Brien, after winless starts to the season.
The unpredictability of this football season mirrors the unpredictability of 2020. Although there have been surprises, disappointments, and league-wide challenges, it has been exciting for fans just to have football back on their televisions.