The Centipede

Week 4 NFl Highlights: Top Teams

Max Koehler ’22 and Finn Boyle ’22

     With the 2018/2019 NFL season starting, this is a summary of the NFL Week Five top 3 teams and defending super bowl champions based on their performance in the first four weeks of the NFL season. Performance is measured by the team’s record, injuries suffered, and performance of individual players.

     The number one team is the Los Angeles Rams. The team comes in at number one for their heavy-hitting defensive front, starring Ndamukong Suh and Aaron Donald with three sacks combined in week four. Their young Quarterback, Jared Goff, has showed up with 465 yards, five touchdowns, and a perfect QB rating in week four. With arguably the best running back in the league, Todd Gurley II, the Los Angeles Rams are undefeated so far.

     Kansas City Chiefs are close behind in second place. With their young second year quarterback Patrick Mahomes, they have been unstoppable in the AFC with a perfect 4-0 performance. Mahomes has broken multiple records since becoming a starter this year, including the most touchdowns thrown in the first three games of the season. The Chiefs offense has put up more points than any other team so far with not only quarterbacks as the star players, but also running backs and receivers. With Kareem Hunt, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, the Chiefs’ offense is bound for a great year. Currently, the only weakness is their defense, which has allowed the second most passing yards and the fifth most rushing yards against them.They are currently ranked last in the league in total defense.

     New England Patriots are third in the league. After coming off a rough start to the season, the Patriots shocked the AFC East by beating the current leaders, the Miami Dolphins, by a large margin. While Tom Brady underperformed for the past two weeks, he has been improving his game. With the return of Julian Edelman, Trey Flowers, Patrick Chung, and Eric Rowe, the Patriots get back a large chunk of what they have been missing in their roster. Sony Michel and James White, the Patriots’ running back duo, made a splash with 224 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns combined against the Miami Dolphins. The Patriots seem to be working better as a team with a better defense and more confidence.

     Following the Patriots, the following teams are ranked fourth through tenth: The New Orleans Saints, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Philadelphia Eagles, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, and the Chicago Bears.

     Philadelphia Eagles, the defending Super Bowl champions and seventh in the league, have not lost their team spark. The Eagles’ shaky start to the season was primarily affected by their lack of players due to injuries. With star wide-receiver Alshon Jeffery being questionable for return to play and Darren Sproles being out of play, the Eagles are a few steps behind other teams. However with the return of their quarterback, Carson Wentz, and the depth of the Eagle’s roster, it appears that the Eagles may be pushing for another NFC Championship.

     These rankings are based off the beginning of this season and, especially with the unpredictable NFL this year, standings are bound to change. With injuries, trade deals, and coaching changes, teams could begin to lose momentum, or start to gain more.

     The New Orleans Saints come in fourth and have been an offensive powerhouse through the first four games of the season, with the third most points put up, behind only the Chiefs and the Rams. Drew Brees, the Saints veteran Quarterback has been very good, despite being thirty nine years old. So far, he has 1,295 passing yards and 8 passing touchdowns. Their star running back, Alvin Kamara has already put up 611 yards from scrimmage and 6 total touchdowns after coming off an Offensive Rookie of the Year season. These numbers are almost half of his total yards and touchdowns from last year. Michael Thomas is also leading the league with 42 receptions. His 445 receiving yards make him fourth in the league, and he has 3 reception touchdowns. Despite the Saint’s recent  success on defense, it has not always been their strong point. It is currently is currently ranked the 24th best defense in the league. This ranking needs to improve if they want to make it far in the postseason.

     The Jacksonville Jaguars are currently fifth in the league. The team is looking to be as good as last year as well as their defense, if not better. While their first four games were mostly against low ranked teams, they held the previous AFC Champions, the Patriots, to 20 points while simultaneously putting 31 on the board. The defense also held the superb Titan offense to only nine points. However, Quarterback Blake Bortles has been relatively inconsistent.  The only thing that Bortles will be sure to do in a game is throw an interception.

     Tennessee Titans are right behind the Jaguars in sixth place, having taken everyone by surprise last year. They made a nearly impossible comeback against the Chiefs in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. So far they have stayed relatively consistent with their statistics from last year, with a 3-1 record and a couple big wins against the Eagles and the Jaguars. Without their star quarterback, Marcus Mariota, for the first few weeks, the Titans struggled with a 1-1 record and a loss in the season opener to the Miami Dolphins. However since his return in week three, the Titans have won two games in a row. In week four the Titans narrowly beat the Eagles in a 26-23 OT win with impressive performances from Marcus Mariota and their 2nd year, first round draft pick receiver, Corey Davis, who had 161 receiving yards and the game winning touchdown. Unfortunately, their run defense has been weak with a ranking of 24th in the league.

     Philadelphia Eagles, the defending Super Bowl champions and seventh in the league, have not lost their team spark. The Eagles’ shaky start to the season was primarily affected by their lack of players due to injuries. With star wide-receiver Alshon Jeffery being questionable for return to play and Darren Sproles being out of play, the Eagles are a few steps behind other teams. However with the return of their quarterback, Carson Wentz, and the depth of the Eagle’s roster, it appears that the Eagles may be pushing for another NFC Championship.

     The Baltimore Ravens have started off well for the second year in a row, and their record is 3-1 in the first four weeks, placing them eighth in the NFL. They had a strong start last year, but the Ravens failed to live up to the hype they set  in the first four games and ended with a record of 8-8, missing the playoffs. This year looks like a different story with all of the team performing very well. The Ravens have benefited from performances by their veteran quarterback, Joe Flacco, who had 363 passing yards and 2 touchdowns in last week’s win over the Steelers. With a good start to the season, the Ravens have a good shot at making it to the postseason.  

     The Cincinnati Bengals also came out strong in the beginning of the NFL season. Their offensive is solid with their elite receivers and above average running backs. Their defensive line is also strong, especially with Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins earning two sacks in total by week four. The only weakness of the Bengals is their QB, Andy Dalton. He performs poorly under pressure, as seen in week three when the team faced off against Luke Kuechly and the Panthers and managed to throw four interceptions.

     The Chicago Bears, tenth in the league, came out with a surprisingly strong start these first four games. In the first game they lost by one point against the Packers despite notable effort.  Respectively, the Bears had two wins over the Seahawks and Cardinals in week two and three respectively. n week four, they destroyed the Bucs 48-10 with QB Mitch Trubisky scoring six touchdowns. While this team looks promising, their first four games were against lower ranked teams, the next two games are against the Dolphins and Patriots who are generally considered tougher opposition. These upcoming games will determine if the team is going to live up to its potential this season.

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Week 4 NFl Highlights: Top Teams