The NFL is officially midway through the season and there are plenty of headlines.
Andrew Luck’s retirement shocked everybody and changed the entire landscape. Antonio Brown had helmet issues and his run with the Oakland Raiders ended before it started. Kareem Hunt got suspended for eight weeks.
Currently, New England and San Francisco are kings of the hill, both undefeated.
With a deadly WR core and the best defense in the league, the Patriots may go undefeated and have a cakewalk to the Superbowl. Next up is the Baltimore Ravens, who many say is the team with the best odds to beat them.
Looking at their division, the only competition is the Buffalo Bills, who are 5-2 and bouncing back from a disappointing campaign last year. Meanwhile, the Miami Dolphins are winless and still looking for their first win.
Lamar Jackson made history earlier this year by becoming the first player in the Super Bowl Era to throw 200 yards and for 150 on the ground in one game. His performance is leading the Ravens this year 5-2. At the bottom of the division, the Bengals are on the same level as the Dolphins with zero wins.
Then there is the AFC South, where the top spot is up for grabs. Jacoby Brissett is filling Luck’s shoes. Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins contribute to a successful Houston Texans.
Last but not least, the AFC West. Patrick Mahomes is out with an injury but Matt Moore has held down the fort and the Chiefs are division leaders. Raiders in their last season at Oakland are giving the fans a great farewell season. Then there’s the Chargers. Austin Ekeler took the ball and ran with it after Melvin Gordon held out. In Gordon’s first game back he fumbled at the one-yard line and cost the Chargers a victory.
San Francisco is surprising everyone in the NFC and with a defense similar to New England and Tevin Coleman breaking out recently, the 49ers could find themselves facing the Patriots in February.
However, the NFC is a different story than the AFC. Starting with the 49er’s division, where three teams are playoff-worthy. Russell Wilson is putting on a clinic in Seattle, who are 6-2. Reigning NFC champs, the Los Angeles Rams sit at 5-3. No. 1 pick Kyler Murray is doing well in Arizona, with David Johnson on the sidelines.
Saints are getting blessed this year with both Drew Brees and Teddy Bridgewater performing outstandingly. New Orleans has won its last six games and are a serious threat to come out of the NFC. Christian McCaffrey is carrying the Panthers after Cam Newton went down earlier this year.
In the NFC North, the Packers are rolling behind Aaron Rodgers and Aaron Jones. Kirk is showing up for the Vikings and the Lions are clawing their way up the ranks at 3-3-1.
Rounding out the NFC is the West where Dallas and Philadelphia are battling for the top spot. The New York Giants were on the Daniel Jones hype train for two weeks before reality hit and they are on a four-game losing streak. Finally, the Redskins have gone through all four QBs and that hasn’t helped them as they are 1-7 on the year.
Jared Goff leads the league in passing yards with 2,367 yards. Russell Wilson is throwing the ball into the endzone every game and leads the league in passing touchdowns with 17.
Minnesota’s own Dalvin Cook is in the midst of a breakout year and in the running for Most Improved Player, leading RBs in yards with 823 and nine TDs. Christian McCaffrey could be the first RB since Adrian Peterson to win MVP this year and is second in TD and fourth in rushing yards, behind Leonard Fournette and Nick Chubb.
In the air, Tampa Bay’s dynamic duo Mike Evans and Chris Godwin both have six TD’s. Breakout star DJ Chark Jr. also is tied with six TD’s as well. Michael Thomas leads WR’s in receiving yards with 872 but that’s due to having two great QB’s. Kansas City’s Kelce is the best TE with Mahomes at the helm.
New England’s defense reigns supreme in the AFC and New Orleans in the NFC. On special teams, plenty of kickers have won or lost their team a victory this year on the last play, highlighted by Titans kicker Cairo Santos missing four field goals against the Bills in week three.
The undefeated 49ers face off against rookie Murray and the Cardinals in a Thursday Night showdown, kicking off the second half of the season.
Header photo by AP.