Ahhh, it’s Week 3 of the NFL. Key players are beginning to get injured, while others are preparing to come back to help their team. Seems like the perfect time to initiate an absurdly early undefeated teams discussion, doesn’t it?
There are currently eight undefeated teams in the NFL, and by the time the majority of people read this, there will likely be seven, barring a tie in the New England Patriots and Houston Texans Thursday Night dandy. So, the question is, do any of them have a chance to go undefeated?
Thursday night’s matchup will be telling. Should the New England Patriots get to 3-0 behind the rookie arm of Jacoby Brissett they will put their name into the mix. We already discussed last week that Bill Belichick can win with anyone. If he can get to 4-0 without Tom Brady, without Rob Gronkowski, you better bet he can get to 16-0.
Should the Texans come out 3-0, well, it’s just not so easy for them. I could be a homer and tell you the obvious, that Brock Osweiler still doesn’t look 100 percent comfortable in the offense, but the defense is simply that good that it will allow Oz a few more weeks to get the system down and going. But the truth is that their road schedule is absolutely brutal. The Patriots start it off tonight, but their road slate takes them to Minnesota — who despite all of their injuries have a sick defense — Lambeau Field, Mile High, the always tough Indy, and a date with the Raiders South of the Border (that’s Mexico City, not the infamous rest stop in South Carolina). Undefeated teams need some help, some luck, and that road schedule doesn’t seem to provide it.
The Baltimore Ravens are still undefeated, but let’s be real. They’ve played the Buffalo Bills — who are already firing coaches — and the Cleveland Browns — who are already arguably worse off than when the season started. Let’s just go ahead and cross them off the list.
They are tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are the anti-Texans. Philly, Miami, Baltimore, Cleveland, Indy and Cincy. Are Baltimore and Cincy tough road venues? Absolutely, but the Steelers are comfortable there, winning twice in Cincy last year, once in the playoffs. And that offense? It will only get better now that Markus Wheaton is back and Le’Veon Bell is close behind. Their defense definitely has holes, but they could do it.
If the Steelers get to 3-0 that means the 2-0 Eagles won’t. I will admit it. Carson Wentz looks like the real deal. But like the Ravens, they beat the Browns and the Bears, two of the worst teams in the NFL. Does that mean I think they are going to fall apart? No, I think this team is going to surprise a lot of people. Are they going 16-0? Here’s all I have to say. If you have watched NFC East football since the inception of the divisions, no NFC East team will ever go undefeated. These guys simply beat the hell out of each other. The Redskins could win three games this season, and they will be on the road against the Eagles, the Cowboys and the Giants.
Speaking of the New York Football Giants, the post Tom Coughlin era has started off undefeated. Along with what I just said in regards to the NFC East, after this week’s matchup against the Redskins, the G-Men go to Minnesota and Green Bay in consecutive weeks. Undefeated or not, that’s no easy task. Throw in a matchup in Pittsburgh in Week 13, and their road to 16-0 gets that much harder.
The Vikings are 2-0, behind a combination of Shaun Hill and Sam Bradford at quarterback. That’s impressive, folks. They are also going to be without All Day AP for the foreseeable future, if he doesn’t decide to hang it up after his most recent injury. Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata have proven they can carry the load before. Stefon Diggs is proving to be a legitimate wide receiving threat and as we already discussed, that defense is Top 5 worthy. They have the Panthers on tap this weekend, and not too difficult a road schedule ahead of them, barring their annual trip to the frozen tundra. Anyone besides Sam Bradford behind the wheel, I may believe, but come on. He’s Sam Bradford.
That leaves the defending Super Bowl Champs. They have a pretty simple road schedule, playing the AFC and NFC South. They also have a historically grand defense. Yes, they have Trevor Siemian, but they also have two legit wide receivers (even though Emmanuel Sanders looks lost thus far) and it also looks like they have a running game again with the re-emergence of CJ Anderson. Playing at Arrowhead is always tough, and I truly see the Raiders putting together their youth and new pieces and making a push for the AFC West. The question isn’t WILL the Broncos go undefeated, it’s do they have the chance to? With a young QB managing games and improving weekly, a solid run game and that defense? They certainly have a chance, right?
We know no matter what that at the end of Week 3, two more undefeateds will have fallen. We also know that going undefeated through the regular season is the rarest feat in football. Will it happen this year? Well, it’s certainly fun to hope, even if it is Week 3.