It’s the end of the first quarter of the season, which means this week it’s time for teams to assess how they performed in the first quarter and see how they can improve in the next. For this week’s postgame review, let’s take a look at each Division and see where the stories are:
NFC North: The Vikings…are 3-1?! This has to be the biggest surprise of the season so far…and not just in the NFC North. The Vikings have a solid running game led by RB Adrian Peterson and QB Christian Ponder has been good – more than just efficient. The Bears are also 3-1 and the Packers aren’t far behind at 2-2, but the Lions shouldn’t be counted out either quite yet despite their 1-3 record.
NFC South: Atlanta has this all but wrapped up already. They are sitting pretty at 4-0 with the Bucs and Panthers back at 1-3 and the Saints a shockingly dismal (sorry, Liz!) 0-4.
NFC East: The NFC East is always exciting, but I think it will be a dog fight for 1st in this Division this year. The Eagles are 3-1 by the slimmest of margins, and the other three teams (Giants, Cowboys, Redskins) are all 2-2. In the end, I’d bet the Giants come out on top. They have a way of pulling it out at the end.
NFC South: It was kind of assumed that the 49ers would have this Division locked up at this point, with the Cardinals, Rams, and Seahawks having a history of less-than-impressive records. But it’s been surprisingly competitive out in the West, with the biggest surprise coming with the Cardinals 4-0 start. The 49ers aren’t far behind at 3-1, but the Cards look way better than expected nonetheless.
AFC North: The Steelers and Ravens look good, the Browns look bad, and the Bengals look like a dark horse to challenge for a playoff spot. So: same old, same old.
AFC South: This is the Texans Division to lose. They’re undefeated, and the other three teams (Colts, Jaguars, Titans) only have one win a piece. Stranger things have happened, but barring an overwhelming collapse the Texans can basically punch their ticket to the playoffs already.
AFC East: You’d think, with the abysmal performances of the Jets and the Bills over the past few weeks, that this would be an easy domination for the Patriots. But the three are squarely tied at 2-2 with Miami pulling up the rear at 1-3. In my opinion, though, that won’t be the case for long. The Jets are beat up and confused and the Bills are…the Bills. Welcome to the playoffs, New England.
AFC West: The Chargers are 3-1 (somehow) and the Broncos aren’t far behind at 2-2. The Broncos schedule, however, is brutal, so they might take a dip in the standings over the next few weeks. The Raiders aren’t as awful as their 1-3 record suggests. The Chiefs are far worse than their 1-3 record suggests.
P.S. A final exam is forthcoming! Details soon!