NFL Season Off to a Hot Start
Two weeks in, the NFL season has been all that football fans could ask for.
By Ryan Ford
Football season is back. Fans are allowed back in stadiums, in most cases at full capacity, and the energy so far has been electric. The NFL has just concluded their second week of games as of this writing, and already there have been many storylines and surprises. For those who haven’t been paying attention, here’s some of the more noteworthy developments at this point in the 2021 season.
Tom Brady continues to defy Father Time
One of the oldest sayings in all of sports: “Father Time is undefeated.” No matter what, at some point an athlete will just be too old and beaten up to continue playing their sport at the highest level. Eventually, this will be true (you’d think?) about Tom Brady, but if these first two weeks are any indication, he still has a lot more left in the tank.
Through two games, Brady leads the NFL in passing touchdowns (9), is 8th in QBR (65.0), and sits at 5th in passing yards (655). Most importantly, his Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 2-0. Watching the tape, his arm looks as strong and lively as ever. Pretty good for a 44 year old QB, who has played in the NFL longer than some of his teammates have been alive. There’s a lot more football left to be played, but Tom Brady is looking like one of the favorites for the NFL MVP early on in the season.
New-look Ram’s offense has the NFC West looking like the NFC’s Best
Ever since the Los Angeles Rams lost Super Bowl LII to the New England Patriots in 2019, something just seemed off about the relationship between QB Jared Goff and wunderkind head coach Sean McVay. The Rams never returned to the Super Bowl with Goff, and after two disappointing seasons, he was traded to the Detroit Lions along with several draft picks for Pro Bowl QB and former number one overall pick Matthew Stafford.
So far, the marriage between Stafford and his new play-caller McVay has been must-watch TV. The Rams’ offense looks amazing, and alongside a defense that was the best in football last season, they have outscored teams 61-38—good enough for a +23 point differential that is 6th in the league. Stafford has made all the difference, as he sits 4th in the NFL in QBR (78.1) and has propelled the Los Angeles Rams to a 2-0 start with his veteran leadership and cannon of an arm.
Add in the hot starts of Kyler Murray’s Arizona Cardinals, Russell Wilson’s Seattle Seahawks, and Kyle Shanahan’s San Francisco 49ers, and it’s looking like the NFC West (a combined 7-1 record and +72 point differential through week 2) is once again one of the best divisions in football.
Biggest Surprises of the Season So Far
The Las Vegas Raiders sit at 2-0 following impressive wins against the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Many were skeptical of the Raiders following another off-season in which they made questionable draft picks and overhauled their entire offensive line. But so far so good for Jon Gruden’s Raiders, as Derek Carr is making his case for the most underrated QB in all of football.
Another team off to a surprising start are the Carolina Panthers, who are also undefeated through two weeks after clobbering the New Orleans Saints this past Sunday, 26-7. Newbie quarterback Sam Darnold has been impressive (3rd in the NFC in QBR at 66.3), and their defense has been top notch (1st in yards allowed in the NFL at 380).
Meanwhile, Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen has had a lackluster start to the campaign. Following a 13-3 regular season and a 2nd-place finish in MVP voting in 2020, Allen and his Bills were popular bets to win the Super Bowl this year. However, they sit at 1-1 through two weeks, and even though they are fresh off a blowout win against the Miami Dolphins, Josh Allen hasn’t been himself. He currently sits at 23rd in the league in QBR (44.6) and 32nd in yards per attempt (5.3). Again, there is still plenty of time to regain his MVP-worthy 2020 form, but this is certainly not the start that he and Bills fans were hoping for.
Image Courtesy: Bleacher Report
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Ryan Ford '23,