The following Sports Agent Blog contribution is courtesy of Brandon Thorn.
The Kansas City Chiefs – I wrote last week about how under the radar the Chiefs were after beginning their season 2-0. Heading into week 3, Head Coach Andy Reid downplayed the significance of facing the team he coached for 14 years, the Philadelphia Eagles. After the victory, Reid was noticeably giddy. He beat the team that ran him out of town just 9 months ago. Last year, Kansas City was tied for a league worst -24 turnover differential. This year, the Chiefs lead the NFL with a +9 turnover differential, proving true the adage, “If you take care of the football, you can beat anybody.”
Next week the Chiefs host the reeling New York Giants, who are 0-3, and are a desperate football team. Expect this team to be 4-0 heading into a tough road game in week 5, against the underrated Tennessee Titans.
Miami Dolphins – After four straight losing seasons and no franchise quarterback since Dan Marino, Dolphins fans were tired and frustrated. And after drafting quarterback Ryan Tannehill in the first round in the 2012 NFL Draft, that has shifted. Now, the Miami Dolphins are 3-0 for the first time since 2002 and have two very impressive victories; a road win over the Indianapolis Colts in week 2 and a week 3 win over the Atlanta Falcons. QB Ryan Tannehill has shown moxy and poise beyond his years and is the catalyst of this team. Tannehill threw 2 interceptions and was sacked 5 times yesterday, but did not fold. Miami was down 23-20 when Tannehill led a 75 yard drive in the 4th quarter to win the game.
Next week on Monday Night Football will be the Dolphins opportunity to show the world they are for real, as they travel to New Orleans to face the 3-0 Saints in primetime.
Cincinnati Bengals – These aren’t your father’s Bengals. Fresh off of a thrilling win over the Green Bay Packers, Cincinnati is 2-1 and travels to Cleveland next week to take on the lowly Browns. The victory over the Packers is exactly the kind of wild finish that usually sends a team on a surge. Both teams turned the ball over 4 times, Cincinnati was down 30-14 nearing the end of the 3rd quarter, appearing to have lost their chance to win. What happened next had to be seen to be believed. Quarterback Andy Dalton threw two straight touchdowns and the defense shut down quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense. In the 4th quarter, Green Bay was leading with 3:47 left to play when cornerback Terrance Newman had a fumble bounce into his hands and returned it 58 yards for the game-winning touchdown.
Week 5 the team hosts New England, who will be healthier by then, and that game will give us a more accurate gauge of how serious we should take this Cincinnati team.
Pittsburgh Steelers – Coming off of a 40-23 loss to the Chicago Bears and their worst start since 2000, Pittsburgh has started off flat and most surprisingly, sloppy. With key players such as wide receiver Mike Wallace and cornerback Keenan Lewis allowed to leave in the off-season and All-Pro center Mike Pouncey’s season-ending injury, the team has had plenty of excuses. What the Steelers are known for is adapting and overcoming, no matter the circumstances. That is the Steeler way, which makes their home loss to the Bears even more surprising. The Steelers turned the ball over 5 times, while forcing zero turnovers themselves. I am not buying into the Steelers tanking the rest of the season, or even missing the playoffs, yet. I trust that Head Coach Mike Tomlin will demand better from his team and they will turn their season around.
Next week the Steelers travel to London for a matchup against the 0-3 Minnesota Vikings and I fully expect them to stop their skid with a victory.
Washington Redskins defense – We saw some improvement from the Redskins offense, they gained 420 yards and Robert Griffin III should not be benched like many people have been saying. The team’s defense on the other hand, has been absolutely atrocious. They are ranked dead last (32nd), and have given up just under 1,500 total yards in 3 games. Quarterback Matthew Stafford threw for 385 yards and was sacked only once in Sunday’s game. Before anybody talks about RGIII’s slow start, the defense should be the biggest concern. Fortunately, next week’s game against the Oakland Raiders will give their pass defense a break, but their offense will have to come to play for them to beat a deceivingly good Oakland Raiders team.
New York Giants – This is getting really ugly for the Giants. Heading into Sunday’s game, the Giants were 0-2, as were their opponent, the Carolina Panthers. Both teams were desperate for a win and the Giants forgot to show up, getting pounded, 38-0. This was a coming out party for the Panthers, who many believed were the best 0-2 team in football. The Giants meanwhile, suffered their worst loss of the Tom Coughlin era, and to make matters worse, head to Arrowhead Stadium next weekend to take on the surging (3-0) Chiefs. The thing to keep in mind here is that the Giants and Head Coach Tom Coughlin are at their best when their backs are against the wall. Next week is the perfect opportunity to do a 180, by winning a game that nobody will pick them to win.