One quarter of the NFL season is complete, which of course is impossible because it was just 48 hours ago that the Seattle Seahawks were opening the season in Green Bay. Seemingly, at least.
Some fast starting-teams will now assume the mantle of “chic pick” to win their division, but Field Gulls readers will not be fooled so easily — you guys can turn the other chic with the best of ‘em, and provide legitimate, objective answers to counteract the passing flavor of the day (we see you, Los Angeles Rams).
Part 1 of this post polls you about the AFC, asking you to predict division winners based on the immense sample size of four games. Once that’s done, please check back in a few hours for the NFC rundown and corresponding polls.
The journey through all eight divisions starts with the AFC East, where the New England Patriots are off to their usual —
Standings: BUF 3-1, NE 2-2, NYJ 2-2, MIA 1-2
The Bills have already won at Atlanta and against Denver, in ostensibly two of their five toughest games of the entire season. New head coach Sean McDermott (not a fake generic coach name) has Buffalo atop the scoring defense lead, giving up just 13.5 points per game.
The Bills get to host the Chiefs Week 12 but have nobody scary on the docket until then. It’s not inconceivable to picture them at 7-3 or better when they travel to Arrowhead.
The Patriots, who for their part led the league in scoring defense last year, are surprisingly allowing 32 points per game and have 17 players on IR or listed as questionable on the injury report. The Jets are 2-2 mostly because of the Jermaine Curse, which is real and afflicts teams with unexpected victories.
Jay Cutler had zero interest in pretending to be a wide receiver in this wildcat set pic.twitter.com/gaoYyqFXpg
— Eric Fawcett (@Efawcett7) October 1, 2017
Who do you like to win the division?
Standings: PIT 3-1, BAL 2-2, CIN 1-3, CLE 0-4
My preseason pick to win the conference is the Steelers and even if I wanted to change it, the integrity deadline has sorta passed. As it is, they’ve already won two division road games; their only loss was in overtime at Chicago. Pittsburgh will win the North and secure a first-round bye along the way. Do not let those #facts influence your vote.
The Bengals have looked like the second-worst team in the AFC at times. (Yes, I know they share the conference with the Colts.) For all the shit we give the winless Browns, Cincinnati is in a pretty bad place right now too, with a lead back (Joe Mixon) averaging 2.6 ypc and a quarterback (still Andy Dalton) looking either horrible or average, depending on the Sunday, but never in between.
Standings: JAX 2-2, HOU 2-2, TEN 2-2, IND 1-3
Marcus Mariota is hurt, again, and missing time, again. This time it’s a hamstring, so it’s anyone’s guess what severity and prognosis to attach to the injury, besides “that can’t be good.”
(Wilson has never missed a start in his career.)
I don’t know what to say about Jacksonville yet. First-place Jacksonville. Other than the Jaguars put DT Michael Bennett on IR for the year with a pec injury, which seems like overstepping their authority a little.
The Colts won a game. It was at home. Against the Browns. Will they win another? They’ll have to, if the one reader below who predicted them to win the AFC South is to be trusted.
Bigger question. Andrew Luck has now missed four games and his return does not look imminent. If Indianapolis falls to 2-6 without him, does the team just say “screw it” and elect to shut him down for the season?
Standings: KC 4-0, DEN 3-1, OAK 2-2, SD 0-4
It’s a good year to no longer be in the AFC West. To be frank, most years it is better to be hanging out in the NFC instead. The 2002 interconference move has chiefly benefited the Seahawks, who’ve spent the century raiding the division, even charging into the Super Bowl three times, with brains and brawn cooperating along the way.
Some AFC Westworld facts for your consumption:
- Andy Reid’s Chiefs are 26-4 in their last 30 regular-season games.
- The Broncos are all about run defense, after giving up 95 rushing yards total to LeSean McCoy, Ezekiel Elliott, Melvin Gordon and Marshawn Lynch.
- Speaking of Denver, its sparkly 3-1 record comes on the strength of three home wins. We’ll know a ton more about the Broncos after Weeks 7 through 9, when they visit the Chargers, Chiefs and Eagles in succession.
- The Chargers may be 5-15 since the beginning of last season, but eight of the losses are by a combined 21 points.
It’s not good, though, when you fail to fill an MLS stadium with an NFL product, and you have to resort to tarp because far fewer than 27,000 bought tickets.
It’s a far cry from the CLink, Brandon Mebane.
Part 2, where we inch our way through the NFC divisions, arrives later today. Giving the Rams fans enough time to find this post and troll the poll.