NFL Week 4: Can the Undefeated Teams remain… Undefeated?
In 2009, things were different. The NFL had seven undefeated teams, 18 squads with one or two wins in their pocket, as well as seven other squads with goose eggs in their win column as week four approached.
Times certainly have changed, especially in the current 2010 season where only three teams remain undefeated and five have yet to win a game.
Although, five of those seven undefeated teams in ’09 made the playoffs, so does that add any pressure to the current three perfect teams?
The Chicago Bears in ’09 were in somewhat of a similar situation, but with a [2-1] record, entering week four. Yet, they finished the season in third place, [7-9].
Sure, the “Monsters of the Midwest” have shown promise and poise this season, but all of their wins haven’t looked pretty nor haven’t been able to exhibit the fact that they are a great team. The referees gave the Bears an early holiday present in week one against the Detroit Lions, calling back Calvin Johnson’s touchdown reception, which would have given Detroit their first week one win since 2007. The Bears looked somewhat decent against a Dallas Cowboys team that destroyed their chances of winning due to penalties and Tony Romo’s decision making, but also, seemed unable to stop the Green Bay Packers air attack on Monday Night Football.
This week the Bears face a physical New York Giants squad on Sunday, but who knows if their offense can fend off a struggling defense. Are the Bears playoff bound? It’s too early to tell, but unless their offense can play like the defense has been doing in their past three games, chances are they maybe sitting at home in January and not playing post season football. Although, this is the NFL, so time will certainly tell as the season progresses.
On another note, they have already wrapped up two divisional wins, which might be pivotal in the long run.
The Kansas City Chiefs were awful last season, pathetic maybe even the best way to describe a team that finished the regular season with a record of [4-12]. Although, they are currently off to a fast start, but can they keep their current momentum going?
Don’t look at quarterback Matt Cassel, but instead his tight end, Tony Moeaki, who currently leads the team through three games with 12 receptions, two touchdowns and 123 receiving yards. Their running attack is also a reason they are undefeated. Third year back Jamaal Charles has rushed for 238 yards and one touchdowns, but has also split carriers with Thomas Jones, who has piled up 217 yards on the ground and one touchdown.
Besides their offense, the defense has played phenomenal and who deserves some recognition for this, (drum roll please), well, the one and only Romeo Crennel. Boy do all New England Patriots fans wish he was taking care of their defense at this time, but the Chiefs have pressured their oppositions quarterback and have recorded seven sacks. Linebacker Derrick Johnson leads the team with 25 tackles and one forced fumble.
Kansas City will have to wait another week to play their fourth game of the season because this week they have a bye, but don’t expect head coach Todd Haley to take his foot off the pedal because games against the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts will be important measuring sticks for the young squad.
The Chiefs undefeated record is a great story, but don’t expect it to continue past week six or seven. The AFC West is a mess and the way their divisional foes are playing, certainly means that this particular division will be up for grabs as the season comes to a close in January.
Finally, the Pittsburgh Steelers who were coming off their sixth Super Bowl win last September, began their ‘09 season with a win in week one against the Tennessee Titans, but also, a loss too. Steelers players and coaches watched their strong safety Troy Polamalu suffer an injury, which eventually sidelined him for the remainder of the season. Although, all NFL fans have to appreciate the toughness and courage Polamalu displayed when he tried to return to the gridiron that season.
Now the Steelers are off to a very fast start. Both back up quarterbacks Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch have been part of the reason for their success, but so has the defense too. This defense is impressive, mean and resembles the old glory days of the 1970 “Steel Curtain.” Of course James Harrison and Lawrence Timmons may not be or could combine to “Mean” Joe Greene’s standards, but their efforts are certainly being noticed.
Wins against the Atlanta Falcons and Tennessee Titans were important, but beating up the Tampa Buccaneers showed that this offense is can be dangerous. Despite Dixon’s injury, Batch looked almost too perfect for this team, as he threw for three touchdowns and record 186 yards through the air in their recent victory against the Buccaneers. It certainly seems that the 35-year old quarterback still has an arm and can sling it down the field.
This Sunday the Steelers will host the Baltimore Ravens in an early, but important AFC North division match up. Both teams know this game could translate toward future success this season and possibly a division championship too, but don’t expect the Ravens defense to allow an explosive running attack of Rashard Mendenhall to chew them up or Batch to throw multiple touchdown passes. This game will show the NFL fans if indeed the Steelers can be an unbeaten team for a few more weeks.
So, there you have it, our Noontime Sports break down on the three remaining undefeated teams in the NFL. Below are all of the 32 teams records from 2009 entering week four and in bold are the playoff squads. Did your team make the playoffs? Should NFL fans assume that if a team is undefeated or [2-1] that they are a lock for a playoff spot? Who knows, but the NFL season is just getting started and this year it looks like there might be a few teams who are flying under the radar that might be playing an additional 17th or 18th contest after January 2, 2011.
Teams that entered week 4 in ’09 [3-0]:
Baltimore Ravens/Denver Broncos/Indianapolis Colts/ Minnesota Vikings/New Orleans Saints/New York Giants and New York Jets
Teams that entered Week 4 in ’09 [2-1]:
Atlanta Falcons/Chicago Bears/Cincinnati Bengals/ Dallas Cowboys/ Green Bay Packers/New England Patriots/Philadelphia Eagles/San Diego Chargers and San Francisco 49ers
Teams that entered Week 4 in ’09 [1-2]
Arizona Cardinals/Buffalo Bills/Detroit Lions/Houston Texans/Jacksonville Jaguars/Oakland Raiders/Pittsburgh Steelers/ Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins
Teams that entered Week 4 in ’09 [0-3]
Carolina Panthers/Cleveland Browns/ Kansas City Chiefs/ Miami Dolphins/St. Louis Rams/ Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tennessee Titans