The Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams are the league’s two top powerhouses in 2018
We are now weeks into the NFL season and it has been chock full of surprises. Here is a breakdown of how each division is shaping up so far.
AFC North: The Pittsburgh Steelers entered the season as the heavy division favorite due to the offensive trio of Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’veon Bell, but due to drama surrounding Brown and Bell, they haven’t played and the team now resides in the cellar. The Cincinnati Bengals currently own the division lead. They are followed by the Baltimore Ravens, who are a good team riddled with offensive inconsistency. The upstart Cleveland Browns have now doubled their win total from the past two years and own the tiebreaker over the Steelers.
AFC South: The AFC south is a pretty mediocre division this year — not necessarily living up to preseason expectations. The Jacksonville Jaguars were supposed to be more dominant than their 3-2 record thus far, and Deshaun Watson’s return has not spelled immediate success for the Houston Texans. The Tennessee Titans — with their stout defense and shaky offense — currently own the division lead with a tiebreaker over the Jags. The Indianapolis Colts are 1-4 and in fourth place.
AFC East: The New England Patriots are not their usual dominant selves, holding a 3-2 record thus far, but the division still runs through Foxborough. The Miami Dolphins hold the same 3-2 record, but have not been as good statistically. The Buffalo Bills and New York Jets, led by their rookie quarterbacks, each hold 2-3 records a piece. This early on in the season, it is still anyone’s division.
AFC West: The Kansas City Chiefs are the league’s biggest surprise of this season, so far. They hold one of two perfect 5-0 records, led by an electric offense. QB Patrick Mahomes is having an MVP-caliber season out of nowhere to lead the charge. Phillip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers are in second place at 3-2. The Denver Broncos follow at 2-3, with the Oakland Raiders in the cellar at 1-4.
NFC North: A questionable pick from the 2017 draft, Mitchell Trubisky is now proving why he was drafted #2, overall. The Chicago Bears are shocking the league with a 3-1 record which leads the NFC north. The Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings follow in second and third, each holding a 2-2-1 record. The Detroit Lions, with their struggling defense, fall to fourth.
NFC South: The NFC south was one of the league’s best divisions in 2017, and many expected that to continue. The New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers both hold identical 3-1 records. The Saints have had no trouble scoring points, even if it means outscoring opponents in shootouts. On the other hand, the Panthers don’t have to put as many points on the board due to their defense. Ryan Fitzpatrick’s career revival is the story of the Buccaneers, but they are still at .500 with a 2-2 record. The Atlanta Falcons have been disappointing to say the least and hold a division worst 1-4 record.
NFC East: Statistically, this division is among the league’s worst. The Washington Redskins pace the division at 2-1 but have not been fully tested as a potential playoff team. The defending super bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles have been struggling. Their 2-3 record is tied with the cowboys. The New York Giants — with their own internal drama — sit at 1-4.
NFC West: The Los Angeles Rams are red hot right now, riding one of the league’s most potent offenses and an above-average defense. The team reminds fans of Kurt Warner’s greatest show on turf, when they were still in Saint Louis. No one in the division even comes close to matching their firepower. The Seattle Seahawks have returned to mediocrity the past few seasons and currently stand at 2-3. The Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers are both 1-4 and are looking to turn things around.
This is how this NFL season is shaping up through five games. Stick around, because there is still a lot of football left to play.
— Zach Kaufman