Biggest Surprises from the NFL 2017 Season’s First Quarter
If someone would have told you that the Buffalo Bills and the Los Angeles Rams would be 3-1 after four weeks of the NFL 2017 season, they would probably have told you that you were crazy. Better yet, tell them that the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots are just 2-2 and have one of the worst defenses in the league. Yeah right! It’s true, though, and these are just a few of the surprises in this young NFL season.
Remember the Amazon series All or Nothing: A Season with the Los Angeles Rams? Times were tough under former head coach Jeff Fisher who was eventually fired. His replacement, Sean McVay, is the youngest head coach in modern NFL history. He has also led his team to a 3-1 start including last week’s impressive 35-30 win over Dallas. The Rams have the No. 1 scoring offense in the NFL 2017 through four weeks averaging 35.5 points per game. Running back Todd Gurley looks like a new player. There is still a long way to go and L.A. will be tested this week when they face the Seahawks in Seattle. Thus far though, the Rams have been a pleasant surprise.
So, like the Rams the Bills have a new head coach in Sean McDermott. Thus far this NFL 2017 season, Buffalo has surprised everyone with a defense that leads the league in points allowed per game (13.5). The Bills win over Atlanta in Week 4 proved that they are for real. McDermott and company forced three Falcons turnovers and won at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta against the reigning NFC champions. The running game is solid with LeSean McCoy, but if Buffalo really wants to surprise some people with a potential AFC East title, they are going to have to figure out a way to throw the ball. Tyrod Taylor and the Bills’ passing game averages just 171.5 yards per game, 31st in the NFL.
Prior to a Week 4 Thursday night win over Tampa Bay, the New England Patriots had given up 30 points or more in consecutive weeks for only the second time in franchise history. After holding the Buccaneers to 14 points, the Patriots are now giving up 28.4 points per game, 30th in the league. That’s a far cry from the unit that led the NFL in scoring defense a year ago. Head coach Bill Belichick and his rocket scientist defensive coordinator Matt Patricia are going to have to figure things out or the Patriots could be in danger this season. They still have games with Denver, Atlanta, Oakland, and Pittsburgh. Don’t forget, they also face those surprising Bills twice.
When Kansas City selected Hunt in the third round of this year’s draft, they probably had no idea that he would burst onto the scene like he has. Hunt leads the NFL in rushing with 502 yards through four games. He became the first player in NFL history to score 50-yard-plus touchdowns in each of his first three career NFL games. Hunt is the big reason why the Chiefs lead the league in rushing, are second in scoring (30.5 points per game), and, most importantly, the NFL’s last remaining unbeaten team at 4-0.
The Lowly Giants
A year after earning a wild card with an 11-5 record, the New York Giants already have four losses. Yes, the Giants are one of four teams – Cleveland, San Francisco, and the Los Angeles Chargers are the others – without a victory this NFL 2017 season and it has been an atrocious offense that is the reason why. Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was hurt in the preseason and missed Week 1, but he is back in the lineup. Quarterback Eli Manning has been sufficient, but the Giants running game is absolutely awful. The team averages just 59.3 yards per game and the Giants leading rusher after four weeks has exactly 61 yards (Paul Perkins). New York is averaging just 15 points a game and if that doesn’t change quickly, the Giants will be drafting in the top five next season.
Since taking over the starting quarterback job in Houston, the Texans rookie is 2-1 as a starter. He displayed his talents in a 57-14 win over Tennessee in Week 4. Watson accounted for five total touchdowns, four passing and one rushing. The Texans have scored 90 points in their last two games and a big reason why is Watson, the first-round draft pick who won a national championship at Clemson a year ago. Watson is extremely efficient completing 64.9 percent of his passes. He has seven touchdown passes to just four interceptions. His performance against the Titans earned him the AFC Offensive Player of the Week.
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