Chad Clinger: The story so far in the NFL

The National Football League is in the sixth week of play.

I felt it necessary to do a little write up now that the Boston Red Sox are no long in the MLB playoffs. Yeah, yeah, I know, the Indians are still playing. Take it easy, okay? The wound is still fresh.

Although football is my least favorite of the three major sports, there are some exciting things to highlight about the start of this 2016-2017 season.

First, let’s start with the bad news. The Cleveland Browns.

Cleveland has yet to win a game this season and is tied with the Indianapolis Colts for most points allowed. While both teams have given up 148 points, the Colts are 2-3 and the Browns 0-5. Now that that is out of the way, I move on.

The New England Patriots saw the return of Tom Brady in week five, against the Browns. Everyone was ruling the Patriots out, me included, having to start the season with Brady suspended the first four games. But, Bill Belichick and his wizardry were able to salvage a season, starting 3-1 in Brady’s abscence. New England sits atop the AFC East at 4-1.

Pittsburgh is also 4-1 and leading the AFC North. Houston has started the year at 3-2, which leads a weak AFC South. The Oakland Raiders are one of my surprise teams. The Raiders are 4-1 and tied a top of the AFC West with the Denver Broncos. The Broncos? Yes, the Broncos, the same team that won last year’s Super Bowl, lost Peyton Manning to retirement and a commercial acting career and their back-up quarterback to free agency.

The NFC has some pretty good storylines, as well.

First up is “America’s team,” the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys are without “stars” Tony Romo and Dez Bryant. However, the rookie duo of Dax Prescott and Ezekiel ‘Zeke’ Elliott have led Dallas to a 4-1 start this year. Elliott, a former Buckeye, is the top rusher in the NFL with 546 rushing yards.

The Seattle Seahawks are leading the West with a 3-1 record and the Atlanta Falcons sit atop the South at 4-1. The Falcons’ Matt Ryan is the top passer in the NFL. He has amassed 1,740 yards this young season and even had himself a 503-yard passing game against the struggling Carolina Panthers.

My other surprise team this year is leading the NFC North. The Minnesota Vikings are the NFL’s only undefeated team. Injuries and losses aplenty, Minnesota still finds itself at 5-0. I am sure my step-father is happy, while “Cheeseheads” everywhere are left scratching their collective noggins.

Some other observations of this early ‘16-‘17 season?

If you are playing the San Diego Chargers, you are probably going to have some points scored against you. The Chargers are the highest scoring team in the league, with 152 points over their first five games. Yet they are 1-4. They may put up 35 points, but you may walk away with the win.

If you are playing the Seahawks, you probably won’t score much or see many scored against you. Despite having a 3-1 record, Seattle has only put up 79 points this year, but has only allowed 54. However, the well known defensive presence of the Seahawks hasn’t been the best defense so far. The Philadelphia Eagles have allowed a league-low 51 points, while scoring 115 en route to a 3-1 record in the NFC North.

It is too early to make any accurate predictions for the remainder of the season, but, a few things I can hang my hat on include: there will not be an undefeated season; Jerry Jones will go back to Romo once he is healthy; Romo will finish the season hurt; Zeke will be the offensive rookie of the year; if the Bengals make the playoffs they will lose and the Cleveland Browns will win just two or three games.

It’s okay Cleveland, there is always next year … or the Cavaliers.

Chad Clinger

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