We are five weeks into the 2020 NFL season, and it has been exciting to see football return. COVID 19 has moved a few games to later dates, rookies have shined, and a few teams have surprised us so far. In this article, I will be going over the biggest takeaways, surprises, and some hot takes.
The Bears now have a tremendous amount of confidence going into week 6. (a slight overreaction)
After replacing Mitchell Trubisky with Nick Foles mid game against Atlants, Chicago has stuck with Foles the last couple of weeks, and he hasn’t disappointed. Against the Colts, the offense wasn’t able to get going, but they were able to make it a close game down the stretch. The more important thing is that they bounced back after the loss to Indianapolis, and beat Brady’s Buccaneers Thursday Night. Both sides of the ball contributed, as the Bears defense held Tampa to just 19 points. The offense kept a rhythm going, and was able to put the kicker into a position to make the game winning field goal. The Vikings haven’t gotten to a strong start, which could mean that Nick Foles could eventually lead the Bears to a playoff berth. Something that Chicago fans should be looking out for is the connection between Allen Robinson and Nick Foles. Throughout the last three games, Robinson has averaged about 105 yards per game, as well as two touchdowns.
Although this may not be THE year for the Chargers, they have a lot to look forward to.
The Los Angeles Chargers selected Justin Herbert with the 5th pick out of Oregon, and so far, he has played some great ball. The problem is that the Chargers are finding ways to keep giving double digit leads away. Take their Monday Night game against New Orleans for example. With less than a minute to go in the first half, Los Angeles was leading 20-3. The defense couldn’t keep up with Drew Brees’ pace, and let up a touchdown to cut their deficit to ten. The Saints got the ball back in the third, made it a one possession game, and took complete control for their. Yes, Keenan Allen wasn’t available for Justin Herbert in the second half, but the Chargers were left blank after getting the ball to midfield. Not just that, but they could’ve ended the game on a 50 field goal, missed off the post. Yes, all three sides are to blame for the loss, but the main takeaway is that Justin Herbert could very much own a winning record, with wins over Tampa Bay and New Orleans. Close, tough losses are just things that Herbert will have to push through as a young quarterback. Statistically, its been a great year for Herbert, and NFL analysts all know that he will be a threat to Kansas City later on in the AFC West.
Teddy Bridgewater and the Panthers are not a joke.
Many people had the Carolina Panthers at the bottom of the NFC South, and even in the bottom 5 of the NFL coming into the season. So far, Teddy Bridgewater has done an outstanding job with quieting the critics. He hasn’t had his best offensive weapon, in Christain McCaffrey for the last couple of weeks, but has still found a way to get the job done one way or another. Him and newly acquired wideout Robby Anderson have had great chemistry, combining for 377 yards through their first four games. D.J. Moore is also an underrated WR that Bridgewater is starting to connect with. In a tough NFC South, where you have to play the Saints and Bucs twice each, it may be hard to sneak in a playoff spot, but you never know. Not just that, but Panther fans will have a lot to look forward to when CMC gets healthy. These next few seasons should bring joy to Carolina.
The Cleveland Browns
The Browns have been viewed as a joke by many for a very long time. People thought that those jokes would come to an end after Cleveland traded for OBJ, but went 6-10 his first year. So far, they have gotten off to a quick start, going 4-1, after dropping their first game to Baltimore. In their win against the Cowboys, we were able to see the offense using all weapons, unleashing their potential. They did lose Nick Chubb, but Cleveland has Kareem Hunt to back him up. The Browns’ latest win came against the Indianapolis Colts, in which we saw the defense have one of their greatest games so far. You can only hope for the best for the Browns, as it has been 10+ years of pure disappointment. If Baker Mayfield can continue to consistently get the ball to Odell and Jarvis Landry, this team will be headed towards the right direction. I predict that Cleveland will make the playoffs this year, but I am not too sure that they will get super far with a young team with close to no playoff experience.
This one may not be a huge surprise to some, but it is something that is easily noticeable, and rare. We all saw a new record of 13 receivers taken in the first round, and they have not disappointed. We have seen players like CeeDee Lamb and Justin Jefferson dominating, and we have also seen injuries to players like Jerry Jeudy. In today’s NFL, you can expect more breakout games from these young receivers, but to see what they have done these first few weeks is pretty incredible. So far, CeeDee Lamb is the one who has stood out to me. Being on the same team as Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, I didn’t expect him to have a huge season, despite having a ton of talent. Lamb has had two 100+ yard games, and 433 total receiving yards (6th in the NFL). As for Justin Jefferson, he could end up being a great replacement for Stefon Diggs, if the Vikings can train him well. He has a pretty good quarterback in Kirk Cousins, and these two could be a special duo before we know it.
A Hot (and early) Take
The Tennessee Titans will make the AFC Championship game again.
I would go ahead and give my early take that the Titans will make the Super Bowl, but it’s too early in my opinion to go ahead and make that bold statement. So far, we have seen a very tough team in the Music City. Their fourth win came in blowout fashion against a great Buffalo Bills team 42-16. Ryan Tannehill has put up great numbers lately, and Derrick Henry has shown no signs of slowing down. The Chiefs have looked tremendous as well, as I think these two will face in a rematch for the AFC crown. The Titans are underrated, but they will make a ferocious roar come postseason time. They have shown that they can win big games, and shown strength on both sides of the ball. With the addition of Jadeveon Clowney, it just makes the defense that much scarier.
Top Photo: The Chicago Tribune