In any professional sports league, it always takes a few weeks for things to settle down, before anything can be evaluated with any degree of confidence. There are always likely to be a few strange or funny results thrown up, which might look significant at the time, but end up just being anomalies.
The NFL is now four games into the 2021/22 season, so it feels like a good time to evaluate some of the big stories that have unfolded, and make some predictions on who we think will make it to the playoffs, who could go on to win the Super Bowl, and which teams might face the indecency of losing all of their games. For any fans of online sports betting who will be searching for the best NFL odds on their apps, then reading on could prove useful if you are thinking about who to bet on in the upcoming fixtures.
Only one team who still has a perfect record
A major sports league like the NFL is always more fun when it is competitive, and when there aren’t the same old teams who are successful each year. So it is good to look down the standings to see only one side who has won all four of their games so far. That team is the Arizona Cardinals, who are currently leading the NFC West.
The Cardinals opened the season with a 38-13 victory over the Tennessee Titans. The Titans are currently 2-2, so aren’t exactly a weak side, so it was impressive that the Cardinals managed to win by such a large margin. They followed up this victory with a win against the Minnesota Vikings, in a thrilling game that saw the lead change several times, with the Cardinals just about holding on to a one-point lead.
Their following two fixtures were slightly more routine wins, defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars 31-19, then taking apart the L.A. Rams 37-20. The Cardinals have a tough assignment next, up against the San Francisco 49ers. Can they continue their winning streak? All will be revealed in a few days time.
Brady finally starting to slow down?
Last week’s tie between the New England Patriots and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was a reunion for seasoned pro Tom Brady, who played for the Patriots for many successful years before moving south to Tampa, where he picked up his seventh Super Bowl win. Many thought Brady was past it when he moved to the Bucs, but last season showed he still had a lot to give.
However, in this fixture against his old side he was thoroughly outplayed by his replacement, Mac Jones. Despite becoming the NFL’s all-time passing leader in this game, he seemed to struggle, not throwing a single touchdown, and going 22-for-43 as the Patriots restricted the Bucs to just field goals. While on the other side, Jones went 31-for-40, threw two touchdowns and picked up 275 passing yards, compared to Brady’s 269.
In the end, it didn’t matter, as the Bucs and Brady still won the game 19-17, but it certainly won’t have gone unnoticed that Brady was outshone by Jones.
The Jets finally get a win, while the Lions and the Jaguars remain pointless
Of all the 32 teams in the NFL, it looked like the New York Jets were bound to have the worst season. Their opening games went from bad (losing 19-14 to the Carolina Panthers) to worse (on the wrong end of a 25-6 defeat to the Patriots) to downright embarrassing (a 26-0 loss to the Denver Broncos).
Head coach Robert Saleh must have been cursing his luck and was desperately searching for something positive. The ray of light came in game four, where they finally won a game, beating the Titans 27-24. The Jets now travel over to London to take on the Atlanta Falcons and will be hoping the English crowd cheer them on to glory.
Meanwhile, only the Detroit Lions and Jacksonville Jaguars remain without a win this season. The Jaguars face off against the Titans on Sunday the 10th, while the Lions head north to face off against the Vikings. Will either side pick up a victory this week? Possibly, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see one, if not both, still without a win come this time next week.
It might be a little too early to tell, but we could take an educated guess at who might make it to the off-season. In the NFC, as discussed, the Cardinals look in great shape, as do the Dallas Cowboys, the Greenbay Packers and the Buccaneers. Over in the AFC, the Buffalo Bills, the Cincinnati Bengals and the Baltimore Ravens have started well, so will be hoping their form carries on all the way to the end of the regular season.