Overreaction: Bengals can’t cure their Superbowl hangover.
After a rough Monday Night Football game Joe Burrow is now 0-4 against the Browns and the Bengals sit at 5-4 on the season. The Bengals are missing reigning NFL Offensive Rookie of the year Ja’Marr Chase and will be without him for the coming weeks while he nurses a hip injury. When the Bengals win the headlines are “Bengals are back to Superbowl form” but realistically they can’t seem to take a form at all.
Sitting at .500 Cincinnati’s four losses are to Mitchell Trubisky and the Steelers in OT, Cooper Rush and “Dem Boys” by 3, the Ravens by 2, and then getting trounced on MNF by the Browns 32-13. The wins are blowouts except for only beating the Saint by 6 in week 6, the rest of their wins are by double digits. The Bengals are still good, the problem has been the competition is too. Talent-wise, they blew other teams out and the score reflected it, but when the talent was even the flaws of the Bengals become magnified.
Joe burrow has been sacked the second most in the NFL, 30 times through 9 weeks. Only Justin Fields has been sacked more (33). Their inability to create an effective run game can also be tied to their offensive line issues and what leaves them having to throw so often. The Bengals rank in the bottom five in every major running category but are in the top five for almost every passing category. If the Bengals can find a balance they can find consistency in their play.
Not an Overreaction: The Jets have a legit defense.
Sunday’s win against the Buffalo Bills was a feel-good story for the rebuilding Jets, but it carries more weight than that. Though the offense has looked less than spectacular, putting up just shy of 22 points per game. However, it hasn’t needed to be anything but average with how well the defense has played. According to Sportsnaut.com, the Jets have a top 5 defense in the NFL. They allow just 4.8 yards per play which is 5th in the NFL.
This Jets defense tormented NFL MVP candidate Josh Allen and the Superbowl favorite Bills all Sunday. Holding the NFL’s number one offense to just 17 points. They even gave Allen his worst performance of his career, holding him to a sub-50 quarterback rating and holding him to 205 yards through the air with 0 touchdowns. Allen was sacked 5 times on Sunday, a season-high, and could only find success running the ball. Allen rushed 9 times for 86 yards and 2 touchdowns in the Bill’s loss.
The Jets also kept his favorite targets, Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis, contained. Diggs managed 5 catches for 93 yards and Davis caught a measly 3 catches for 33 yards. Their success has come from the revitalized defensive line, first-round pick Sauce Gardner, new additions D.J. Reed and Jordan Whitehead, and long-time NFL Vet Lamarcus Joyner have all contributed to reshaping this defense and the culture of the New York Jets.
Overreaction: The 2021 quarterback class is filled with busts.
It may be too soon to call it, but the 2021 NFL quarterback class has not exactly lived up to the hype that surrounded them. Picks 1,2 and 3 were quarterbacks and 5 were taken in the first round, (8 in the first 3 rounds) the most in the history of the draft. Since the draft, Only Mack Jones was put in a situation to win once he was drafted to New England at pick 15.
Only Trevor Lawrence has been the outright starter since being drafted number 1 by the Jaguars. Lawrence had to battle the Urban Meyer experiment and has shown signs of improvement under Doug Peterson. Zac Wilson and Trey Lance have already battled serious season-ending injuries in their short careers, but both have excellent defenses to help ground the young QBs. Even Justin Fields has shown great growth in the wake of the Bears going full rebuild for the young QB.
It has only been a season and a half, the quarterbacks in every draft can’t be Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes, they are generational talents. The teams need to build around their quarterbacks to gain success, and pending injuries most have. The Jags just traded for Calvin Ridley, the 49er’s traded for CMC, the Jets drafted a wide receiver in the first round (Garret Wilson), and traded for Jacksonville’s starting running back James Robinson after their electric rookie Breece Hall went down to injury. The Bears added a weapon in Chase Claypool and the Texans have a star in Dameon Pierce.
I would argue the most unlikely of all the quarterbacks that were taken and have had relative success is Davis Mills who was drafted 67th by the Texans. He became the starter last season beating out Tyrod Taylor and was named the starter for this season. Houston is in a full rebuild after Deshaun Watson’s ugly exit and much like all of the other teams with young QBs hasn’t put a full team around their starter yet.
Not an Overreaction The Vikings are a sleeper to win the Superbowl.
Though they only beat the Washington Commanders by 3 points, the Minnesota Vikings have all the makings of a Superbowl sleeper. Minnesota is loaded with Pro Bowlers on both sides of the ball and just added one of the best Tight ends in football at the trade deadline (T.J, Hockenson). The Vikings have notable wins on the season, but like usual, struggle when the lights are brightest.
This comes from their starting quarterback Kirk Cousins having known to struggle under the weight of Primetime Football. Cousins is 68-63-2 in his career as a starting quarterback in the NFL, he is a woeful 2-10 on Monday night football and he is 10-18 in Primetime. Cousins tend to fold when the pressure is on, since 2015 Cousins’ 18 Primetime losses are the most among active quarterbacks in the NFL according to stathead.
The Vikings have all the pieces to make a run at the Superbowl, especially with how open the NFC is, with the Eagles currently looking like the only contender in the conference. Minnesota could have a deep playoff run if they can find a way to win when the pressure is on.
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