1. The Kansas City Chiefs are Playoff Contenders!
A year after finishing 2-14, the Chiefs (3-0) seem to be on pace to have a bounce back season under new head coach Andy Reid and new quarterback Alex Smith. Wins over the Jaguars, Cowboys, and Eagles have caught national attention and the team is considered a hard team to beat. Kansas City has all of the elements of a wild card contender- great running back, above average quarterback, ferocious defense, and tremendous, if not the top, home field advantage. I predicted them to reach the AFC Conference Championship, and, as most know, they finished last in the overall. But my prediction could come true this year.
2. Sean Payton and the Saints are Dangerous Again
After the Bountygate led to the suspension of Coach Sean Payton, New Orleans (2-0) finished short of the playoffs last year. Now he returns and the team has playoff aspirations. Not only has the offense performed well, but the defense, led by new defensive coordinator, Rob Ryan, has stopped opponents. If the Saints keep up their performance, they could run away with the NFC South.
3. In the NFC East, Expect the Unexpected
In Week 1, all 4 NFC east teams went against each other, and each game had eye-popping results. The Cowboys beat the Giants 36-31 because their defense forced 6 turnovers, and held on to win after blowing a lead. While some people thought that the Giants-Cowboys Sunday night game was exciting, the better of the two was the Eagles-Redskins game. Simply put, it was revolutionary. Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia offense got out to an early lead because of their new fast-paced offense and poor start by Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris, and won 33-27 after a late Redskins comeback. In Week 2 though, each of the 4 teams lost. The Cowboys lost to the Chiefs 17-16, the Redskins lost to the Packers 38-20 in a blowout, the Giants and Eli Manning lost to the Broncos and Peyton Manning, 41-23, and the Eagles lost in a great game to the Chargers, 33-30. Add in a Philadelphia loss on Thursday night to former coach Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Cowboys are the only team at .500. But with Eli Manning’s clutch play, the Eagles’ fast paced offense, the electrifying duo of RG3 and Alfred Morris, and the dangerous Cowboys team are all capable of having surprising seasons.
4. Indianapolis and Miami are AFC Contenders
The AFC has changed a lot in the last 3 years. Ray Lewis and Ed Reed have left the Ravens, Peyton Manning left the Colts to join the Broncos, New England lost Wes Welker to Denver, and a few teams have established themselves as playoff contenders. Two of these teams are the Colts and the Dolphins. Last season Indianapolis (1-1) had a magical season that ended in a playoff berth. After losing OC Bruce Arians, they were expected to decline. But instead the Colts have gotten better, adding running back Trent Richardson and defensive end Bjoern Werner. In the AFC East, the Miami Dolphins (2-0) have also made a few changes in the last couple years. They have found a franchise quarterback in Ryan Tannehill, have added stars on both offense and defense, have created awesome new jerseys, and are a threat to the New England Patriots for the AFC East title. In week 2 the two contenders went against each other, and the Dolphins won. It will be interesting to see if one or both of these teams make the playoffs.
NFLRUSH Kid Reporter