After three weeks of NFL football it looks as if we’re in for an awful lot of surprises during the 2021 season. The term “any given Sunday” truly applies, as no dominant team has emerged yet.
NFL parity is something else. The Ravens got bailed out by a missed DOG call and a 66 yarder against a winless team. Cincy dominates Pitt and is being handled by an 0-3 team. Pitt beat Buffalo. Tellin ya, this type of stuff isn’t exclusive to the Steelers
— J.R🙅🏻♂️ (@J_R_607) October 1, 2021
The champion Buccaneers haven’t looked like the team that got hot and used that electricity to become the first team to play in and win the Lombardi Trophy in its home stadium.
Their defense has been downright subpar, and if not for a 44-year-old QB bailing them out in a Week 1 last second-win over the Cowboys, they’d be 1-2.
What Happened To Chiefs’ Dynasty?
The Kansas City Chiefs were the overwhelming favorites to once again hoist the Lombardi Trophy at season’s end.
This year’s defense has looked worse than the 2018-19 defense that cost them a trip to the Super Bowl in star quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ first season as the starter.
Who said the Chiefs were overrated? Who said the Chargers are a contender? pic.twitter.com/YVoQP6sKnK
— MJ (@TheMJTake) September 26, 2021
The offense looks unusually average at times. KC’s brand new offensive line is trying to mesh to protect Mahomes better, and Josh Gordon was brought in to help with the lack of a true No. 2 receiver behind Tyreek Hill.
Los Angeles Rams Rise To Top?
The Los Angeles Rams have looked great to open the season (3-0) with wins over the Bears, Colts and a (34-24) benchmark win over the Buccaneers.
The addition of quarterback Matthew Stafford and speedster DeSean Jackson gives Rams coach Sean McVay a home run-hitting QB/WR duo that he’s lacked the last couple of seasons.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 26, 2021
Now the offensive maestro can use his entire playbook and create mismatches on the perimeter.
The defense is a staple. Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey and new defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, are a deadly trio.
Bet On The Las Vegas Raiders
The Left Coast said don’t forget about us, and the Las Vegas Raiders are 3-0 with wins over the Ravens, Steelers, and Dolphins.
Something happened in Vegas this offseason and it’s made the “Rayduhs” one of the most physical teams in the league. Quarterback Derek Carr has been excellent. The addition of defensive coordinator Gus Bradley seems to be paying off.
Looking To Shake The Block
Not to be outdone in “The Valley of the Sun” are the undefeated Arizona Cardinals who are led by MVP front-runner Kyler Murray, and an opportunistic defense led by Chandler Jones and JJ Watt.
Can't see the haters. pic.twitter.com/oJfqPar33g
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) October 1, 2021
In a poll taken by some talking heads, head coach Kliff Kingsbury was voted most likely to be fired first this season. This 3-0 start has quieted all that chatter.
Bottom To The Top
The top teams are going to do what they do, but we’ve seen our share of surprises this season. The Carolina Panthers are sitting at 3-0 as they’re led by former New York Jets quarterback castaway Sam Darnold.
The Denver Broncos are another surprise undefeated team (3-0) behind a dominant defense and professional quarterback play from Teddy Bridgewater.
So are the Broncos a threat to the Kansas City Chiefs’ AFC West hegemony or a paper titan? They seem interested in finding out themselves with another postseason contender coming to town. https://t.co/6A0ZdgpiQw
— Denver Post Broncos (@PostBroncos) October 1, 2021
Things are beginning to turn for the Bengals franchise under the leadership of former Heisman Trophy winner and 2020 No.1 overall pick Joe Burrow. They are 2-1 after a huge comeback win over Jacksonville on Thursday.
#Bengals QB Joe Burrow says he audibled for a screen to CJ Uzomah to set up the game-winner: “You guys have heard me talking about knowing the playbook in the back of my head… I know their defensive coordinator (Joe Cullen) has a Baltimore background." pic.twitter.com/dF1RxoRYxc
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) October 1, 2021
Pretenders Of Parity?
Season-opening losses by the Browns, Bills, and Titans may have caused folks to pump the brakes on the Super Bowl talk all three were receiving in the offseason.
Teams like Washington, Seattle, Indianapolis, and Minnesota — thought to be possible playoff teams — look nothing like it three weeks in.
Are they capable of turning it around? Of course, but unless they get better in many different aspects of the game it won’t happen.
Parity seems to be occurring around the league, and in this era of free agency it looks as if it could become the norm.